How To Clean A Motorcycle Chain

Motorcycle chains are generally the dirtiest part of a bike. They pick up road grime and debris, whether you are ripping through the dense woods or gliding on a pristine track.

To prevent a substantial accumulation of gunk, inspecting and cleaning your motorcycle chains is essential. A dry and unclean chain with superficial grime can create undesirable friction and wear on your bike, as well as increase the possibility of a snapped chain resulting in a lost drive. This can become a huge problem if it happens at high speeds on a track.

To keep your motorcycle going strong you must keep all of its parts clean. But before moving on, let’s begin by knowing what is a motorcycle chain.

What Is a Motorcycle Chain?

A motorcycle chain is a series of metal links that connects the transmission to the rear wheel. The chain is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the drive wheel and helps keep the rear tire in contact with the ground. Chains are generally made of hardened steel, but can also be made of titanium, aluminium, or plastic.

Some common types of chains for motorcycles include z ring chain, drive chains, o rings, x ring chains, sealed chains and plain chains.

The condition of your motorcycle chain has a significant impact on how your bike rides, performs and lasts. Chain maintenance is one of the most overlooked aspects of bike care, so it’s important to learn how to clean a motorcycle chain properly.

Motorcycle Chain Cleaning Safety

Washing your motorcycle chains is generally low-risk and quite simple. However, the cleansing products used can sometimes be toxic. When cleaning your chain, always wear gloves and avoid getting the products in your eyes. If any product does come into contact with your skin, rinse it off immediately. For added safety, you can consider wearing safety glasses.

Items Required to Clean a Dirty Chain for Motorcycles

You will require the following items to clean your motorcycle chain:

  • Motorcycle Chain Cleaner or Degreaser
  • Chain Lubricant or Chain Lube
  • Soft Bristled Brush or Grunge Brush or Old Toothbrush
  • Rag or Towel
  • Bucket (If required
  • WD-40 (or Other Penetrating Oil)
  • Vice Grips or Clamp (Optional)

Steps to Clean Your Motorcycle Chain

Park Your Bike

Okay, silly as it may sound, parking forms a very vital part of the cleaning process. Park your bike on a level surface and disengage the chain from the drive sprocket. This will allow you to rotate the rear wheel without the chain moving and make it easier to clean the gunk.

Spray Degreaser on the Chain

Spray a considerable amount of degreaser onto the chain and rear sprocket. Allow the cleaner to soak for a while. The degreaser will help dissolve any built-up grime and lubricate the chain for cleaning.

Brush the Chain and Sprocket

With a brush, begin scrubbing the degreaser into the links of the chain. Be sure to clean all sides of each link. Use a different brush for the rear sprocket to remove any caked-on gunk. Take time to scrub the socket of the rear sprocket where the chain rides. If you have stubborn grime, spray more degreaser and allow it longer to soak for some time longer

Rinse the Chain and Sprocket

This step is basically why we suggest cleaning your motorcycle chain near a place that has a hose. If you do not have a hose nearby, you can use a bucket or fabric spray bottle to rinse the chain and sprocket. You can also use a few damp rags. Remove all of the degreaser chemicals and gunk from the motorcycle chain. Be careful not to spray water directly onto the engine or brake assemblies.

Dry the Chain and Sprocket

Once everything is clean and rinsed off, use a towel or compressed air to dry the chain and sprocket. Give the chain a good wipe down to remove any water droplets, which could lead to rusting.

Lube the Chain

Now that the chain is clean, it’s important to lubricate it so that it runs smoothly. Apply a thin layer of lubricant to the chain. Be sure not to use too much or you’ll end up with a greasy mess. Wipe off any excess grease to prevent it from coming into contact with other parts of the motorcycle.

Reattach Chain and Airdry

Reattach the chain to the drive sprocket and rotate the rear wheel a few times to help distribute the lubricant. Be sure to air-dry the chain and sprocket before riding so that the lubricant can do its job.

Give Your Bike a Ride

Give it a ride around the block and enjoy the difference a clean motorcycle chain makes. This allows the lubricant to set in and ensures a smooth drivetrain for a longer period of time.


Regular cleaning and lubrication of your motorcycle chain will help prolong its life and keep your bike running in top condition. As a bike lover, you would want your bike to be in its peak condition at all times. Cleaning your motorcycle chain has a major part in this. You want to ensure a smooth and efficient ride at all times.

For proper motorcycle maintenance and performance, clean and lube the entire chain with a pressure washer. Experts can help you with this. Put your bike on the centre stand and apply an appropriate cleaning agent to deep clean and get rid of the dirt particles from rubber seals, rear stand and other components of the chain. They may use clean water or other solutions to clean the chain of your bike. This enables the bike to function properly.

Remember, an excess lubricant may damage your new chain. Use good quality chain cleaner for optimal performance.

Now you know how to clean a motorcycle chain like a pro! By following these simple steps, you should be able to keep your chain in excellent condition. Happy riding!

About The Author

daniel and sarah on motorcycle

Hi, I’m Daniel and behind me (in the photo) is my wife Sarah.

We are both travel addicts who love Motorcycles, Rock-Climbing and Camping.We love to explore everything the world has to offer

We will continue to provide even more valuable content that keeps you riding safely! Keep the rubber side down :-)

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