Maintenance of the motorcycle chain: cleaning, lubrication, tension, change

The motorcycle chain is a fundamental part of its mechanics. It is a basic piece that we are all very used to seeing, so much so that it is not always given the attention it requires. In this article we will solve in a very simple way the possible doubts that you may have about the maintenance of a motorcycle chain. We will discuss how and when to clean it , how and when to oil it , how and when to stretch it and when to change it .

This piece, which is really a set of links, is responsible for transmitting the circular movement that leaves the engine to the rear wheel. Therefore, in accelerations and retentions is subject to much stress , which will be higher the greater the power and torque of the motorcycle. You have to be aware of always keep the chain clean, oiled and well tensed. Let's see it.

When to clean the chain of the motorcycle

Before talking about its lubrication, you have to take cleanliness into account. A dirty chain, with mud or sand, will always suffer a greater wear, which in turn will be transmitted to the attack pinion and to the crown, which is known as the secondary transmission. It will be of little use to take it well lubricated if it has a lot of dirt . This must be especially taken into account in motorcycles that circulate a lot by field or roads, and even more if there is mud.

On asphalt bikes, it is not necessary to clean the chain every time we are going to grease it. You have to do it when it's dirty or, for example, make you aware of keeping an order. We should also look at if you have too much dry anterior fat and cumulative. In my case, I usually do it when I see it dirty if I have driven in very dusty areas or, if not, every three bearings. Since I do not do too many kilometers a year, normally two or three times a year is enough for me.

How to clean the motorcycle chain

A easel that leaves the rear wheel in the air will be of great help in all maintenance operations of the chain. Otherwise, it will be very uncomfortable and we will take much longer. On the other hand, putting a cardboard under the bike will save you having to scrub the floor afterwards to keep it clean.

The most used product among bikers - or at least the best known - is the WD40 chain cleaner , which is a great degreaser . We put on some latex gloves and proceed to clean the chain.

Spray the degreaser through the central area of ​​the chain while turning the wheel with the other hand. The goal is that the product falls in each and every one of the links , especially for its internal part. We give a couple of full laps to the chain of the bike and ready.

Much of the dirt or the previous dry grease will have disappeared with just spraying the degreasing product; but there will always be something left. With a toothbrush, for example, we can rub the chain lightly -helping the rear wheel to rotate it- and so we will make sure to leave it clean and remove all the debris.We refer to greasing the chain, but really greased these three pieces that make up the set, in addition to the skids or possible tensioners you can carry. In addition, it also improves comfort because the sound is lower and its operation is smoother.

We all wonder how often or how many kilometers you have to lubricate it, and the truth is that it does not you can say an exact time or mileage, but rather orientative. Everything will depend on the type of use because, as I said before, you do not need the same care a vehicle that is always on asphalt and in ideal conditions -without dust, dirt or rain-, on a motorbike which is in constant contact with the earth and mud.

In bikes designed for use in asphalt it is often said that, if it is not circulated in very dusty areas or roads, it is convenient to carry out cleaning and lubrication of the transmission kit every 800 or 1,000 kilometers approximately . If the driving is aggressive or is usually driven at high speeds, it will be best to shorten deadlines, since the chain undergoes greater efforts and is subjected to higher temperatures.

Logically, if we use the motorcycle in a circuit, we must lubricate it in every day of batches. If the track is very long, we should not skimp on greasing the entire transmission kit twice if necessary.

For those people who go out to ride a motorcycle very often

strong> and that do not travel many kilometers throughout the year -as a server-, it is convenient to shorten these deadlines . For example, I take as a reference two route exits - my routes do not usually exceed 250 kilometers - or two complete fuel tanks. In my case, there are times that two or three months pass so that it travels that 500 kilometers approximately, especially between the coldest months of the year.

How to lubricate the chain of the bike

Once we have the chain clean, we proceed to your oil . It is a simple and faster operation than the cleaning of it. In just 2 minutes we can complete this operation. However, it is necessary to have certain cares and considerations.

Again with the engine off and the rear wheel without touching the ground -with transmission in neutral so the wheel is free-, we take the chain lubricant and spray it Little by little throughout the chain . As a tip, to make it easier and take advantage of the product, it is best to stand behind the bike, on the side of the chain, and spray it directly on the crown on the top while we rotate the wheel to help distribution .

A novice mistake is to throw is to spray the grease product to the chain from the side. In addition to that, the internal part will not be well lubricated, we will not always fully hit the chain, staining the floor of our garage a lot and, sometimes, soiling the swingarm or the wheel itself with grease.

As in the case of cleaning, for lubrication, a couple of full turns to the chain should be enough so that both the chain, the pinion and the crown, are perfectly lubricated. Eye, a couple of full turns of the chain are not two turns to the rear wheel.

When to tighten the chain of the bike

The motorcycle chain has to have an optimal tension, it can not go too tight or too loose .In addition, it "stretches" more or less when the suspension works , so it also varies depending on the weight that falls on the rear end.

Each motorcycle is a world and each manufacturer can recommend a specific voltage. Normally they will tell us to do the check in the lower center point, between the attack pinion and the crown, and that the oscillation that allows us to be about 2 centimeters . I repeat, it depends on the manufacturer, but if we do not have the exact data, this can be a good reference.

You have to check this tension frequently . We only took a few seconds to do it and, for example, we can measure the slack of the chain of the bike every time we greased it. The chain is becoming less stressed by use and wear little by little, so we should not overlook it. A slack chain, besides giving a more rough behavior to the bike, can be really dangerous.

How to tighten the chain of the bike

Regarding how to tighten the chain, it will depend on each motorcycle, then there are several systems . The most common are the screw system , with a screw on each side of the swingarm at the end. Acting on these screws we will delay -or we will move forward if we have gone through tension- the axis of the wheel a few millimeters , which will directly affect the tension of the chain of the moto

The first step is to loosen the motorcycle shaft , a very large and robust nut. Eye, loosen, do not remove completely. With it being a little released to allow that linear displacement, it's more than enough. Once this axle nut is loosened, we can already act on the tension system , which as I said before, is usually by means of some screws in the end part of the swingarm.

We should not forget that on the bike we will go and, perhaps, a companion. With this I want to remember that when we climb the chain will tense more, so we should check up a few times; so if we can ask someone to come up for us , better than better. This will make it much easier to adjust the chain of the bike. We will save a lot of time and we will do it with greater security. Remember, if we do not have the manufacturer's data, a couple of centimeters of slack is usually ideal.

Do not forget to leave everything tight and in its place, it is say, that the wheel is well centered!

When to change the chain of the motorcycle

As in the case of lubrication and cleaning, we can not talk about "x" kilometers for the replacement, because will depend on the use that we have given to the bike, the style of driving and maintenance. Of course, what we should always be clear is that the motorcycle drag kit is completely changed , it is not worth changing a chain, while the crown and then the pinion. Remember, the whole set of one, crown, attack sprocket and chain at the same time.

We will realize that the transmission kit is in the last when we can not delay the wheel anymore to give the appropriate tension - unless we have mounted a longer chain than would be appropriate at the time -.

On the other hand, wear is perfectly appreciated on the teeth of the crown , because they lean forward for the effort they receive from the chain. In addition, the crests of these teeth are also less sharp.In extreme cases, some tooth of the crown may even disappear, but we should never reach such a limit.

The replacement of the transmission kit is already a more complicated task that needs to be specific knowledge and tools. Therefore, if you do not have advanced knowledge, it is best to leave it in the hands of professionals.

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