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  • 5 Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Motorcycle Chain
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    5 Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Motorcycle Chain

    A chain drive that is properly set and oiled transfers power very effectively. The issue arises from its exposure to the weather and the ease with which dust and debris adhere to the grease.

    It is beneficial to the chain's durability, smooth power delivery, performance, and economy to keep it clean, greased, and adjusted.

     

    Cleaning the chain

    Using a stiff nylon brush and chain cleaning spray, clean the chain and rear sprocket every 1,000 to 1,500 kilometers. The best chain cleaning brush is a specially designed three-sided brush. Use a fresh cloth to remove any leftover dirt after cleaning. Let the chain air dry before putting on the chain lubricant.

    When the engine is running, never attempt to clean the chain. In case the bike is on a center stand or paddock stand, always turn the back wheel by hand or roll the bike forward.

    The front sprocket gathers filthy grease in its casing and is typically hidden. Every other time you clean the chain, undo the cover and give it a thorough cleaning.

     

    Lubing the chain

    After cleaning the chain at the 1,000 to 1,500 km mark, oil it completely. Spray the chain with lubricant every 300 km. Because lubricant better penetrates heated links, it is recommended to lubricate the chain after riding rather than before. Instead of lubricating the chain's outside run, where it will simply fly off, spray lubricant within. Make an effort to obtain lubricant between the side plates and the rollers as well as between the inner and outer plates.

     

    Tension

    Every time you clean, check the chain adjustment. The guidebook that came with your bike will explain how and where to measure the proper amount of looseness.

    Here's what to do, as a general guide:

    • Place the bike on a paddock stand or side stand to partially compress the rear suspension
    • Check to see if the gears are in neutral
    • Measure the distance approximately midway between the front and rear sprockets along the chain's bottom run
    • Place a tape measure or ruler on the swingarm's underside at that midpoint, then push the chain as far up and down as it will go
    • Utilizing the same location on the chain as your reference point, calculate the total distance between the two

    A road bike's general dimensions should be 25–40 mm. Anything with a supermotard-style suspension and long travel will be closer to 40–60 mm.

    A serious mishap could be caused by a loose chain or a slipped sprocket tooth. In an emergency, never hesitate to call a reputable motorcycle towing company.

     

    Adjustment

    The slack in chains will increase with wear. It's possible that the chain has formed a tight spot and has to be changed if your measurements indicate the opposite.

    To release the slack, you must:

    • Raise the bike on a center stand or paddock stand to allow the back wheel to move freely
    •  Undo the rear axle clamp nut to allow the axle to move
    • Loosen the clamp nuts on the chain adjuster while making sure the adjustment bolts do not spin
    • Adjust the bolts by one "flat" of the bolt head on either side by turning them clockwise
    • Adjusters' clamp nuts should be tightened, but make sure the bolts remain stationary first
    • Tighten the axle nut
    • Measure the chain slack again as before

    It might only be necessary to turn the adjusters one "flat" or sixth, but if not, you now have an idea of how much of an impact it will have on the chain tension. Avoid overtightening, since it can be difficult to untighten.

    Ensuring that the bike is on its wheels and the axle nut is torqued to the proper level is crucial when measuring the slack precisely the same way as before the adjustment.

    A split or cotter pin is usually used in castle nuts on axles. A new pin should always be used after you are satisfied with the adjustment.

    It's important to never forget about the towing services companies that can help you with roadside assistance as well.

     

    Checking wear

    Examining the chain and sprockets for wear is recommended every 10,000–12,000 kilometers. The chain can be significantly impacted by your style of riding. You stretch it more the harder you accelerate.

    We visually inspect the sprockets for wear. Although not often by much, the back sprocket usually wears down first. Points on the sprocket teeth are the easiest places to look for revealing signs. It should be obvious that they have a flat. Replace the sprocket immediately if any wear has reached a certain point. Additional indicators include rounded or hooked-shaped teeth.

    Remove and examine the front sprocket cover if the rear sprocket does require replacement. Generally speaking, it makes sense to replace both. The chain has probably also worn down.

    To assess chain wear, do the following:

    •  Visually inspect the chain
    • Replace the rollers if there is noticeable rust. A thorough cleaning and lubrication might save any neglected side plates.
    • Try to draw a link parallel to the ground at the back of the rear sprocket to separate it from it. A brand-new chain won't move. The chain has to be replaced if you can see at least half of a tooth.

    If those tests are successful, the procedure is the same as for measuring chain tension—you only need to do it along the entire chain. The ideal solution is to use a paddock stand since this needs turning the back wheel. A center stand can be used, but the measurement of slack may not be entirely precise. It will still function, though, because consistency in the measures is what we're aiming for here.

    Until you have rotated the chain completely, measure the slack approximately every 20 cm. Apply a dab of white-out or oil to the side plate to indicate where you began. The chain has to be replaced if the differences in the slack measurements are greater than 10 mm. Before you do, make sure the sprockets are in good condition.

     

    The Final Say

    Of course, if you're riding in dirty or damp circumstances, it wouldn't be bad to do it more frequently. To remove moisture from the chain before rust develops, some riders make sure to clean it immediately after a ride in the rain.

    That concludes the article. As previously said, chain maintenance for motorcycles is fairly easy. To find out how often to clean and oil your motorcycle's chain, consult your handbook.