A motorcycle chain is a very important part of your motorcycle. Keeping it clean and lubricated well ensures a smooth and trouble free ride. Lubricating also lengthens the life of your bike’s chain.
There are two types of motorcycle chain – an O-ring type and the simple roller chain with no rubber rings. Nowadays, most bikes come with O-ring type chains. O-ring chains have links behind each ring with lubricant trapped inside. Even with the lubricant already in each link, O-ring chains still need to have external lubricants to cut down on friction and keep the temperature down.
There are also many different types of motorcycle chain lubricants on the market. Motorcycle riders may have their own favorites. You will have to discover your own too, most probably by trial and error. Basically, there are just two formulations of lubricants that you will see: thick and sticky or thin and watery. The thick and sticky type sticks on the chain easier so the application part is worry-free. The problem is that it leaves white grease in between the O-ring links, which makes it harder for you to clean up the next time you need to lube your chain.
Lubrication is done best when the chain is still warm, so try lubricating the chain after a ride. Lift the wheel of the motorcycle off the ground by using the rear stand. Line some newspapers on the ground to catch lube drips and sprays.
Put the motorcycle in neutral and get ready to clean the chain with a cleaner specifically suggested for an O-ring type of chain. Spin the wheel slowly while spraying the chain cleaner. You should spray between the plates of the chain, too. Some people use WD-40 in place of chain cleaners, but keep in mind that it may decrease the life of the chain.
Using a metal brush, rag, old toothbrush, or paper towel, gently remove excess grime from the chain. This will create a clean surface ideal for lubricants. Be sure to reach all the sprocket teeth and chain links. After cleaning the chain, you will need to reheat it by making a short five-minute ride.
When the chain is already warm and ready, lift the rear wheels again like what you did in cleaning. Roll the wheel slowly while spraying the lubricant on the chain. Cover the entire chain, making sure to put enough lubricant between the plates. It is recommended that you spray the lubricant between the set of plates closest to you for one revolution. After that, spray some lubricant between the set of plates farthest from you for one revolution. You will not need to put lubricant on the middle part anymore as it will just spread naturally when the chain comes in contact with the sprocket.
Wipe off excess lubricant with a rag or a paper towel. Just let the lubricant set for 15 to 30 minute before driving your bike. You are guaranteed a smoother ride now that your motorcycle chain is lubricated.