5 Steps to Clean a Motorcycle Chain

Motorcycle chains, like all other parts of your motorcycle, get dirty and need to be cleaned. Whether or not you are using the throttle, the chains collect debris and grime as you move around.

You can remove part of the filth by wiping the chain with a dampened rag, but this is ineffective; ideally, you should clean the drive chain thoroughly. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do it; we’ve written this guide to help you out. Here’s how to clean a motorcycle chain the right way.

So that cleaning your motorbike chain doesn’t seem intimidating, keep in mind that it’s a relatively simple process that should only take around 15 minutes and will go a long way toward increasing the life and performance of both your motorcycle chain and sprockets.

Why is Motorcycle Chain Cleaning Important?

Periodic chain maintenance helps the chainset last longer. The motorcycle chain tends to cling to dirt and slush, reducing efficiency. All the undesired particles that stick to the chain over time wear away the rings that hold the chain together.

Furthermore, ‘chain corrosion’ is the most prevalent problem experienced by many people who regularly do not clean and oil their bike chains. Because a rusty chain is never as efficient as a well-maintained chain, power loss at the rear wheel is unavoidable.

Leaving aside the power losses, a well-maintained chain has a far longer lifespan than one that is neglected.

Cleaning a Motorcycle Chain Step by Step

1. Examine Your Drivetrain

It’s a great idea to check your chain and sprockets for wear before you start cleaning your chain. It’s time to replace your sprocket teeth if they’re sharp and curve to one side.

Look for kinks, rust, or any damage to the rollers or plates on your chain as well. Do you see any signs of wear or damage? Then it’s time to replace your chain and sprockets, which should be done as a set to avoid your old sprockets wearing out your new chain and vice versa.

2. Get Your Bike into Position

Cleaning and lubricating a motorcycle chain is a simple procedure. If your bike has a centre stand or paddock stand, that makes things a lot easier. Either choice allows the rear wheel (and your motorcycle chain) to spin freely, allowing you to apply chain cleaner and lubrication more efficiently.

Don’t worry if you don’t have any of the above stands. You’ll be able to utilize your kickstand and some maneuvering to get around the driveway. After cleaning one portion, move the motorcycle to get access to the next. Another option is to remove the chain and work on it that way completely.

3. Spray the Chain

It’s time to start removing the filth at this point. While you can use a product like Maxima Clean Up Chain Cleaner to dissolve the existing lubrication and dirt particles on the chain, kerosene will work just as well.

Don’t be hesitant to soak things down as you work your way around the chain. New motorcycle chains are more expensive than kerosene. As a result, be generous with your application.

As you liberally apply the chain cleaner to the entire chain, consider placing a piece of cardboard beneath the lower rung to protect your wheel and tire from overspray.

Rotate the wheel to make sure the degreaser has reached the entire chain and sprockets. Allow five minutes for the cleaner to soak into and loosen the filth before going to the next stage.

4. Re-spray and Scrub the Chain

Scrub your chain and sprockets using an old toothbrush or a motorcycle-specific chain cleaning brush, just like you would with a routine chain cleaning.

We recommend a Grunge Brush, for example, has been a tried-and-true favorite for many years, and with good reason: it allows you to clean three of the four sides of your motorcycle chain at once. 

Make an effort to be thorough with the application. It will pay off in the long run. A clean surface helps the motorcycle chain lubricant to adhere better.

Scrub your sprockets as thoroughly as you would your chain, going into the gaps between the teeth where the chain rollers make contact.

To complete the cleaning process, re-soak the motorcycle chain with your preferred cleaning agent. Ascertain that the final traces of chain grime have been blown away. Motorcycle chains are killed by gunk. Remove as much of it as you can.

5. Apply Lubricant to the chain

Apply the lubricant uniformly to all sides of the chain after it has been cleaned and dried. The finest chain lubricant has a wide range of preferences, ranging from premium supplies like Maxima Chain Wax to plain old chainsaw bar oil. The advantage of wax like Maxima is that it is less likely to fling off the motorcycle chain and cause a mess on other bike areas.

When it comes to the best technique to oil a motorcycle chain, there are a few things to be aware of between plain and sealed chains. Slather on the lubrication and wipe off the excess with plain chains.

The most straightforward approach to ensure that a plain chain continues to perform well for many miles is to keep it constantly coated in clean lubrication. With sealed chains, however, the grease inside the O-rings lubricates the chain, and the chain lubricant you apply is only for rust protection on the outside so that you can use it more sparingly.

Applying too much lubrication will gather dirt and act as a grinding paste, causing it to wear down prematurely and negating the value of lubricating it in the first place. The last step is to compare the tension of your chain to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Last Words

That’s all there is to it. Motorcycle chain maintenance, as previously stated, is pretty straightforward. Check your motorcycle’s manual to learn how often you should clean and oil the chain.

Of course, it’s a good idea to do it more frequently if you’re riding in damp or dirty environments. Some riders make a point of cleaning the chain right after a rainy ride to remove moisture and prevent rust from accumulating.

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