Quick Tips: Motorcycle Chain Cleaning and Lube
A smooth transfer of power and a little extra HP from the engine to the rear wheel of a motorcycle only happens when the chain and sprockets are clean.
We’ve covered motorcycle chain and sprocket maintenance extensively in the past, so here are some quick-fire tips to clean and lube motorcycle chains and sprockets.
Cleaning Motorcycle Chains and Sprockets
Before cleaning the chain and sprockets, put your motorcycle on a stand to raise the rear wheel. This allows you to rotate the wheel and makes accessing the entire chain much easier.
- Only use genuine motorcycle chain cleaner, as petroleum-based cleaners such as kerosene or the chemicals in contact/brake cleaner can damage the O-rings in the chain.
- Protect your motorcycle from overspray by holding a piece of cardboard behind the chain as you apply the chain cleaner.
- Only use a nylon motorcycle chain brush to clean the chain, as wire brushes will damage the O-rings.
- Let the chain cleaner sit for several minutes. The longer you leave the cleaner on the chain, the longer it has to penetrate the built-up oil and dirt and the more effective it’ll be at removing it.
- Rinse the cleaned chain with a hose or bucket of water. Don’t use a pressure washer because it will damage the O-rings in the chain.
Lubing Motorcycle Chains and Sprockets
Before applying the chain lube, make sure the chain is 100% dry, as any moisture left behind may prevent the lube from coating the chain and sprockets adequately.
- Don’t ride your motorcycle to dry off the chain and sprockets, as any metal-on-metal movement between non-lubricated parts could damage those parts.
- Protect your motorcycle from overspray by holding a piece of cardboard behind the chain as you apply the chain lube.
- Use chain lube formulated to repel dust and dirt for riding during the dry summer months, and a chain lube formulated to repel water for riding during the wet winter months.
Once the chain has been lubed, clean off any excess lube from around the rear sprocket and wheel to prevent it from finding its way onto the rear tire, which is a motorcycle safety hazard when riding.
Now that you have some basic tips on cleaning and lubing motorcycle chains, why not see it in action? Watch the video above to see how to clean and adjust the chain on a Kawasaki dirt bike.