Motorcycle chains are generally the dirtiest part of a bike. They pick up 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 chain is essential. A dry and unclean chain 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 wheel in contact with the ground. Chains are generally made of hardened steel, but can also be made of titanium, aluminum, or plastic.
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 chain 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 Motorcycle Chain
You will require the following items to clean your motorcycle chain:
- Motorcycle Chain Cleaner or Degreaser
- Chain Lubricant
- Soft Bristled Brush
- 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.
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!