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How To Clean Your Motorcycle Chain

  • motorcycle chain

    The biker lifestyle is all about the ride, but without a properly maintained chain, you won’t be riding anywhere. Motorcycle chain maintenance is simple and easy to do. It extends the life of your chain and sprockets, and prevents damage to your bike. If you don’t clean and lubricate your chain, it will eventually fail, brake, and likely rip its way through your motor causing engine damage and a dangerous biking situation. To avoid damage and ensure your motorcycle is in top working condition, learn to properly clean and lubricate your motorcycle chain.


    How To Clean and Lubricate Your Motorcycle Chain

    It doesn’t take long before dirt, grime, and grease to build up along your motorcycle chain. Be sure to clean your chain before it causes bigger problems. You should clean your chain every 3000 miles. An easy way to remember is to clean your chain every time you change your oil.


    You will need the following supplies:

    • Cloth Rag
    • Brush (such as a toothbrush, nail brush, or paint brush)
    • Cleaning solution (such as motor oil, kerosene, or mild soap)


    First, put your bike up in a stand to lift the rear wheel off the ground. Turn the rear wheel until the entire length of the chain is exposed. If you don’t have a stand, simply walk your bike inch by inch in order to reach the whole chain in sections.


    Use your rag and cleaning solution to scrub any dirt and grime off of the chain. If you haven’t cleaned in a while, it may require a little extra elbow grease. For hard to reach areas, use a brush but be sure not to leave any bristles in the chain. For really tough jobs, soak the grime in oil to make it easier to remove.


    Don’t stop scrubbing until all you can see is clean, bare metal on the interior and exterior of the chain. Remember, do not use harsh substances like gasoline to clean your chain, unless you want to ruin it. Also, be sure to clean in a well-ventilated area.


    You should also lubricate your chain every 500 miles of riding. Without lubrication, a lot of heat will build up and cause your chain to stretch. Be sure to always lubricate your chain when it is warm just after riding so it can absorb it properly.


    Do You Need To Replace Your Chain?

    While you’re cleaning your chain, it’s a good idea to do an inspection. Motorcycle chains need to be replaced when they are stretched out.


    You probably need to replace your chain if:

    • It pulls significantly away from the sprockets when you pull it straight back
    • Your sprockets look like small hooks instead of distinct points
    • There are tight links or kinks
    • The distance between sixteen pins is greater than 256.5mm
    • The deviation between tight spots and loose spots is too much

    Don’t Forget Your Owner’s Manual

    Do you know where your owner’s manual is? You should, because it contains a wealth of information about your specific make and model. Review your manual to find out cleaning and maintenance tips for your exact motorcycle chain. You may also be able to locate a copy of your owner’s manual online by searching for your make and model. 


    With a little know-how, you can keep your motorcycle chain working properly. Be sure to clean, lubricate, and inspect your motorcycle chain regularly. Also, watch for signs that it needs to be replaced. By following these tips, your motorcycle chain should power your bike through many years of riding.


    How To Clean Your Motorcycle Chain