Chain maintenance is very important, so that you get the maximum life out of your chain and sprockets or even, aren’t stuck on the side of the road. If the chain breaks, it can cause much bigger problems. For example, if the chain gets caught in the front sprocket, it will damage surrounding parts and potentially, your engine. If the chain gets caught in your back wheel, then your back tire will immediately lockup.
If you’ve already determined that it is not time to replace your motorcycle chain, then take a look at your motorcycle manual to get the manufacturers specific recommendations for cleaning and lubricating the chain. A good rule of thumb is to lubricate your chain every 250 miles and clean and lubricate the chain every 500 miles.
Next, it is important to know what type of motorcycle chain you have. If you have an O-ring style chain (including X-ring and Y-ring chains), you will not want to use a wire brush or it will damage the rings.
Although there are chain-lubricating kits and specially made motorcycle chain brushes, they are not necessary. You’ll find you can do the same quality job with a couple of old towels or socks that won’t easily fray (you don’t want material stuck in the chain), solvent like kerosene (preferably put into an inexpensive spray bottle), an old tooth brush, some soap and water, and finally some quality lube.
Next, it is best for you to start the process after you have ridden so when you do put the lubricant on the chain it will more easily work its way into and around the chain. To avoid having the solvent or lubricant get on your tires, you can easily cut out some rough shapes of cardboard to protect your tires.
It is helpful to put your bike on a center stand or center lift so you can rotate the tire. If that is not an option, you can leave the bike on the ground, work on one area of the chain, move your bike eight to ten inches and work on the next area of the chain, etc.
To clean the chain, first, apply the solvent and let sit for a few minutes to allow it to break up the old grease and grime. Next, wipe off chain, reapply the solvent, use the brush or toothbrush, and repeat until you can see the metal of the chain. Then, simply rotate the wheel or move the bike eight to ten inches and repeat until the entire chain has been cleaned.
Next, rinse off the solvent with some soap and water. Finally, put the lubricant on the chain making sure that the entire chain is covered, rotate the chain a few full revolutions to get the lubricant into the chain, apply some more lubricant, and then gently wipe off the excess lubricant. After completing the above, all you need to do is clean up and get back on the road.
Now if the time has come to replace your chain, make sure to check our our huge selection of motorcycle chains. We carry all make and models at the lowest prices online.