How to lubricate your motorcycle chain correctly

Lubrication and maintenance of your vehicle is essential and this fact is not unknown to anyone. Regular commutes often lead to lot of wear and tear to chains as compared to any other part of the automobile engine. Chains are the prominent portion exposed to nature whereas other components are almost always lubed and protected from the external surroundings. 

In most of the contemporary motorbikes, the chains are not covered completely, and are subjected to all kinds of dirt, dust particles, and liquid forms while riding. This reflects upon the chain’s lifespan and can reduce its performance in absence of regular and proper upkeep. This blog explores the ways in which you can lubricate and clean the bike chains appropriately and ensure the better health of you vehicle overall. You can do this on your own at home. 

Guide to clean and lube your bike chain

  • Ride the vehicle for few minutes – Before cleaning the chains, it is important to get the machine running for like 5-10 minutes to heat up the chain so that it loosens the grime and the cleaner can penetrate better.

  • Park the bike and switch off the engine – Put the vehicle at a comfortable position, mostly on a center stand as chain lubing is much easier that way. Remove the keys from ignition for safety purpose. 
  • Know the chain type – There are two types of chains in this case – plain and sealed. A plain chain will have metal-on-metal links with no seal in between. Whereas sealed ones have a rubber seal between the inner link and outer links to keep grease inside the pin and road dirt out. Understanding the type of motorcycle chain will make you gauge the way in which you can get the grime off it. 
  • Mask the rear wheel and tyres before cleaning – Cover these parts to ensure that the brakes or tyres are not exposed to chemicals. If you accidentally happen to get the lube on disc brake rotors or pads, you’ll need to get new pads to be safe. So instead mask the rare wheel, tyres and brake pads with a large plastic sheet and tape it properly. 
  • Investigate the chain and sprockets well – Observe the chain and sprockets of your bike in order to know their exact status or whether it needs any revamping. The automobile manual gives a maximum length of a given number of links of your chain.

    If that quantity is more than referred one in the manual, it’s too worn. Another way to check the wear and tear is to tug on a link of the chain at the rearmost portion of the sprocket on the rear wheel. If the chain is very worn, it will pull away from the sprocket instead of hugging it like it should. Next, check if the master link is secure or not.

    Go for the sprockets after that. If you see the shark fins, meaning the leading edge of the sprocket tooth wears more heavily than the back side, you need to refurbish the sprockets as well.

  • Shake the chain cleaner well and spray it on the bike chains – Spray the chain cleaner on inner surface and lower side of the chain. Make sure it a few inches away from  where the chain interfaces with the rear sprocket on the lower side. Also spray on top of the chain, preferable where the chain leaves the rear sprocket on the top. While spraying from one hand, use the other hand to rotate the wheel so that you can inspect it well and close enough. 

  • Brushing/Scrubing the chain – Two types of brushes are involved in this process – grunge and soft bristle brush. Use the soft one to clean the links and rollers whereas the grunge to remove the heavy dirt. Clean the chain thoroughly as it will provide better adhesion of motorcycle chain lube. 

  • Spray the cleaner again – You can re-soak the chain in the cleaning agent and see to it that all sorts of dirt remains are vanished with that process. 

  • Wipe the chain – Use a soft cloth like rug or maybe an old t-shirt to wipe the chain. It should remove the cleanser completely for better lubrication. Let it dry for about 10-15 minutes. 
  • Lubricate the chain – Use the chain lube only when the chain is dry and clean. Apply this lubricant thoroughly to all sides. Once you are done with  inner and outer sides, rotate the wheel a few times by hand to spread the lube equally. Ensure that you are using a proper chain lube and not any engine oil as lubricant because it might not work on long term basis due to its viscosity. 
  • Clean up the chain and get ready for the ride-  Remove the excessive lubricant to reduce the splatter while riding. Start the bike and once it warms up, engage first gear and drop the clutch. Let the wheel rotate freely for a few seconds and then get on it for a safe ride. 
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