Motorcycle Chain Maintenance

“But it has not even run 10,000 km.”, exclaimed an annoyed customer at the service center. This person was talking about his motorcycle’s chain. The service engineer just told him that the chains had lived its life.

I believe 90% or more of premature failure of chains and sprockets is because of lack of maintenance. It is not that people do not want to maintain their vehicles; it is just lack of awareness. Some even avoid it because of the cost and time involved in going to the service center to get the chains lubed. Guess what, you can do it at home at the fraction of the cost.

Today, I will share my tips for motorcycle chain maintenance. I have finalized on these over years of trial and error. Generally, I do this every 800-1000kms. Or, if I start getting jerky vibes on my foot pegs or hear noise from the chain while riding. If I ride off road a lot, I do this process as and when I wash the muck off my motorcycle.

Start with a good Chain Cleaner spray. Once you apply it leave it on for around 10 mins. This helps loosen the muck and grime stuck to the chain links. Use a chain brush to scrub the links. Apply a little more of the chain cleaner spray if needed. Wait for few mins and use water to wash it all off with a hose pipe. It works best if it does not leave a residue and washes off easily with water. In case you are out of Chain Cleaner Spray, you can use Diesel, it cleans muck off the chains, though washing it off is a tad cumbersome. Please do not try the previous steps while the engine is running.

Run the motorcycle in gear for some time on a paddock or main stand. Else, ride it around if you do not have either. This will help to get rid of the water on the chains.

Once dry, apply Chain Lube. This part is important, how you apply the lube decides if they will be all over the tires, get flung off on to the rims or be utilized without much wastage. It is best you apply the lube to the inside of the chain links and the lube gets pushed out to the outer side as it rotates. You may want to top up a little from the outside if needed. The part between the outer and inner links, where the rubber rings are located, is where the lube needs to be sprayed. I let the lube sit, without riding the motorcycle for at least 30 mins. Leave it overnight for better results.

I carry chain lube and cleaner with me when I go on long rides. And if the chain is not dirty and mucky, I lube it as soon as I end the ride. I believe that the chain being warmed up helps adhere the lube better. It is a good idea to wipe off excess lube that may have sprayed onto the swingarm or the tire and rim.

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