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Motorcycle Chain Maintenance

Motorcycle Chain Maintenance October 30, 2014

So you’ve had a motorcycle for a couple of months now and are beginning to wonder when it’s time to clean your chain. Motorcycle chain maintenance is really very simple, especially cleaning and lubricating the chain. Today’s chains are very well made and will last for years with the proper maintenance. The first thing you need to determine about your motorcycle chain is what type of chain you have. There are two main types of chains in use today, O-ring chains and non- sealed chains.

O-ring chains contain O-rings within the chain that hold the lubricant in place so that you do not need to lubricate the chain as often. Non-sealed chains contain no O-rings and require more cleaning and lubricating. Chances are your motorcycle has an O-ring chain so special care should be taken when cleaning the chain. It is recommended to clean and lubricate your motorcycle chain as often as every 400-500 miles. It isn’t a difficult task and should only take a few minutes.

Why is motorcycle chain maintenance important? Motorcycle chains will wear out over time and if they are not properly cleaned and lubricated periodically, then the chain may actually begin to heat up and stretch over time. The chain may even break while riding the motorcycle causing damage to the motorbike and even causing you harm. Never take motorcycle chain maintenance lightly.

If your motorcycle has an O-ring chain, then you will need a soft brush like a toothbrush and some kind of degreasing agent. Many people just remove the entire chain and soak it in a bath of kerosene to remove the grime and build up. If you clean the chain on a regular basis then you shouldn’t have to remove the chain. Place the bike on some kind of lift and put the transmission in neutral so you can freely spin the rear wheel. You can pour a little kerosene into a spray bottle and spray the chain down with the kerosene. The kerosene will break down the buildup and grime. Allow the kerosene to work it’s magic for a few minutes and then use an old rag to wipe off the chain. If there is a lot of build up inside the chain then you can use the soft brush to remove it. Wipe the chain down again with a rag and allow to dry. Non-sealed chains may require a stiffer brush to remove the grime.

What type of lubricant should be used when performing your motorcycle chain maintenance? There are many types of chain oils available today and it’s hard to know which is the best to use. One of the best lubricants I have found to use is DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry Wax Lubricant. This is a fabulous lubricant that goes on wet, then dries. It isn’t like using chain oil because it doesn’t hold dirt and grime like oil based products. It also helps to reduce noise coming from the chain and it is easily found at most hardware stores. Whichever lubricant you use for your motorcycle chain maintenance should do a good job as long as you regularly clean your chain and lubricate it.

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