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How to-maintain motorcycle chain and sprocket

How to-maintain motorcycle chain and sprocket

Snapshot: Motorcycle chain maintenance is easy, buying a new chain set is hard!

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One of the basic DIY things a motorcyclist should know about is maintaining chain and sprocket of a motorcycle. It’s cheaper maintaining a motorcycle chain than replacing it. In this article, we are going to tell you exactly why it is important to take care of the chain and how it can be done.

1.Inspect the type of chain:

There are two types of motorcycle chains to start with. First is the plain motorcycle chain that is made up of metal to metal repeated links without any seal in between. Since there is no seal between these links, these type of chains are relatively easier to take care. The other type of motorcycle chain is sealed chains which are basically of three types O-ring, X-ring, or Z-ring chains. These types of chains basically use a rubber seal between inner and outer links. These seals help to keep the lubrication inside the pin and hence extends the overall life of a motorcycle chain.

2.Gauge the chain set:

A sloppy chain set can reduce the crispness of the way your throttle feels. If the chain set has not been taken care, it sure will reflect in the way your bike responds to the throttle inputs. Watch for the ‘side to side’ movement in the chain, it should not be present there. Also how much the chain is compressing or stretching under tension, the movement should be minimum. If it is stretching like a rubber band, it needs to be replaced. Take a closer look on the master-link in the chain, it should be in a fine state. The master link lock joins two ends together and is instantly recognizable as it looks different from other links.

3.Examine the sprocket state:

Apart from the chain, you should also be aware of sprocket condition. The way your sprocket looks totally depends on how you ride your bike and your riding style. If you accelerate fiercely and deaccelerate in the same manner, the sprocket teeth become sharp with time. While if you deaccelerate gently, the sprocket teeth tend to appear like shark fins. An idol sprocket should have flatheads not pointy heads or shark fins.

4.It’s time to use cleaner and lubricant

Before anything else, make sure your bike is parked on a center stand, or you can use a paddock stand that is majorly available across the bike accessory markets. This makes the cleaning process much easier, or you would have to ask somebody else to hold the bike sideways in order to make the rear tire free-wheel.

You can use kerosene for the cleaning process, or a chain cleaner spray. Kerosene is comparatively much cheaper to use and hence it comes as a good option. Make sure you spray it in abundant and there is no muck left behind. You can use the grunge brush to remove the sticky stuff from the chain. After this process, leave the chain to dry and do not lubricate until the chain is fully dried up. If you apply lubricate while there is still clean fluid on the chain, part of the lubricant will drop down with the cleaner fluid. So it’s better to let the chain dry off and then go for lubrication part.

You can gently rub a dry cloth over the chain repeatedly so as to allow the cloth to soak all the cleaning fluid. After the chain is clean and dried, use chain lubrication fluid on all faces of the chain. All sides of the chain should be properly lubricated as leaving either side will only keep your chain partially lubricated. Avoid getting the lubricant splashed on other parts such as sprocket or wheel or any other place, as it sticks with dirt and looks awful.  

5.Ideal time for chain cleaning and lubricating?

The chain cleaning and lubrication should be done every 500 to 700kms, depending on the usage. If your bike ends up in the dirt every time you are back from a ride, then you should do it more often at around 500 -600 kms. If you do not off-road, or your roads are comparatively cleaner on the chain set. You can do it sometime around 700kms.

Note: Do not clean or lubricate the motorcycle chain when the engine is turned on. This may get you in danger. Always make sure the engine is off and you free-wheel the rear tire manually.  


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