We all love to ride hassle free, and we all like to save a few dollars where we can.
There are a few really easy maintenance tips that will help you with both. One of the most important is to clean your motorcycle chain.
If this is something you suck at – hopefully these few tips will help get you started
Why clean your chain?
What is all the fuss about?
Your motorcycle chain is a moving part – one that is subject to a lot of dirt and road grime. If it is not cleaned and maintained properly, the dirt works it’s way into the rollers/links/o-rings. As you ride your bike, the dirt grinds away at the chain and sprockets and wears them out. Then you are up for new ones and the old hip pocket is empty again.
There are a number of tools that will help you get the job done with minimum fuss.
- Paddock or centre stand
- Chain cleaning Brush – specifically designed to help ensure all sides of the chain get a scrubbing. A worthwhile investment.
- Chain Cleaner or kerosene. There are a number of chain cleaning products on the market – test them out to see what suits you or use good old kero
- Garden hose with a nozzle that squirts
- Air hose – or strong arms to crank that back wheel around
- CRC/DWF/WD40 or other water dispersant
- Chain lube – again there are heaps of choices on the market, and there is the age old debate lube or chain wax. More on this later
Get that bike onto a centre stand or paddock stand.
Either spray the chain with chain cleaner – making sure to spray both sides of the chain and take to it with the chain brush….or set yourself up with a few inches of kerosene in the bottom of an icecream container to dip the brush into as you scrub the chain. Don’t be scabby with the kero – get plenty on there and work it into the chain to free up all that gunk.
Turn the wheel to make sure the full length of the chain gets the treatment, and make sure you attack the inside of the chain as well as the outside. Don’t rush this step. It’s really important to work the cleaner into the chain to free up the dirt, road grime and old dried up lube. Take special care to clean the inside edge of the chain, it’s hard to get to but really important to get clean.
Now take to it with a hose. Some riders choose to skip this step, but you have just invested some precious riding time getting all the dirt loose – no point leaving it there to continue grinding away at your chain. Squirt water right up under the chain guide around the front sprocket, do the inside and the outside, turning the rear wheel to make sure the whole chain gets a bath. It’ll be looking a whole lot cleaner by now.
It is really important to dry off the chain now, or it will rust and you will still be up for a new one, so bring out that air hose. This will not only shift the excess water sitting in the rollers, but also any dirt you missed with the hose will go with it. Now, not everyone has an air hose. If this is you – then make sure your bike is on a stand and is secure, and spin that back wheel with your hand as fast as you can to flick off the excess water. Repeat this, spinning the wheel in the opposite direction.
Once the chain is pretty dry, spray it with DWF, CRC or a similar drying lubricant. Spin it around a few times – this allows the CRC to penetrate the chain and disburse any residual moisture hiding in the chain rollers. Don’t be scabby with it, make sure it is worked right into the guts of the chain and there is no water left. Sop up the excess with a rag afterwards. Hold the chain with the rag and turn the wheel. Watch out for your fingers and don’t get the rag jammed in between the sprocket and the chain.
Not much left to do now but apply some chain lube. Some on the outside …and some on the inside. Spin the wheel around and check that all the links are moving independently. Your chain will be clean as a whistle. All the rollers free, chain is lubed up and the bike is ready for its next big ride.
Get a full demo on You Tube…
or go shopping for supplies…
or head out for a ride…