For your motorcycle's chain to remain operational, its tension must be checked every 500 miles. Other maintenance regimens like cleaning and lubricating must also be done regularly. If you're a DIY motorcycle owner, here are the basic maintenance procedures that will help keep your chain in good working condition:
Removing rust from and lubing a motorcycle chain
What you'll need:
- Shop rags
- Chain lubricant
- Fingernail brush
- Blocks/Rear stand
- Protection goggles
- WD-40 or kerosene
Step 1: Raise the rear tire off the ground by putting blocks under the bike. By doing so, you'll be able to spin the rear tire and move the chain easily, making it more accessible for cleaning.
Step 2: Get your shop rags and cover the exposed parts of the bike. Hide as many areas as possible as they may catch dirt splatter as you scrub the chain.
Step 3: Apply WD-40 on both sides of the motorcycle chain. Allow it to penetrate into the inner portions of the chain for at least five minutes.
Step 4: Put on your protective goggles. Get your fingernail cleaning brush and spray WD-40 onto it. Brush both sides of the chain, working well on its small sections. Move the chain while you're cleaning it by spinning the rear tire.
Step 5: Wipe dirt off the chain and take a closer look at the chain for remaining rust. If you still notice some rusted spots, re-spray with WD-40 and let it sit for 5 minutes. With the fingernail cleaning brush sprayed with WD-40, scrub off stubborn rust until the area is clean.
Step 6: Apply motorcycle chain lubricant into the chain, paying more attention to the O-ring on every link connection.
Tightening a motorcycle chain
What you'll need:
- Tape measure
- Owner's manual
- Spanners/torque wrench
- Motorcycle chain cleaner/lubricant
Step 1: With its engine off, set the bike on its center stand. While you can tighten the chain even if the bike is just on the side stand, the center stand lets you balance the motorcycle's rear wheel much better.
Step 2: To prevent dirt splatter on nearby components, place newspaper, cardboard, or large rags under the chain and sprockets. Spray chain lubricant. This kind of lubricant is oftentimes sticky, so make sure it won't get into the brakes and other motorcycle components. Let the lubricant sit for a few minutes.
Step 3: Run the chain manually by slowly rotating the rear wheel. Rub the chain clean using a rag. For the chain to work smoothly, it must stay clean and well lubricated.
Step 4: Check your owner's manual for the correct tension limits of your motorcycle's chain. Measure the slack in the chain by pulling the lower chain down, pressing the upper chain up, and getting the measurement of the gap in between the two opposite chain rivets.
Step 5: Get the measurements at different points of the chain by turning the wheel to move the chain. Make sure the motorcycle chain is stretched uniformly. If the measurement is within the set limits, you only need to do slight adjustments. But, if you find out that the different points along the chain have different stretch, the chain now needs a replacement.
Step 6: Check if the front and rear wheels are properly aligned by placing a string on the bottom of the front tire and stretching it up to the rear wheel and assessing if the distance of the string to your bike on each side is the same.
Step 7: Chain adjusters are usually placed on either side of the axle, so you have to loosen first the axle nut before you can access the adjuster locking nuts. Twist the adjusters until the wheels are balanced and the chain's correct tension is achieved.
Step 8: Tighten the adjuster locking nuts, followed by the axle nut. If your adjusters come with a locking pin, put it back in place or replace the pin. Spin the wheel back slowly while lubricating the wheel and checking its tension.