How Often Should I Lube The Motorcycle Chain?

Motorcycle Chain

The chain drive of a motorcycle must be inspected and lubricated regularly. The question is, how often should you lube the motorcycle chain?

The drive chain of the motorcycle should be lubricated every 500 miles (800 kilometres) and should be checked every time after washing the motorcycle, riding in the rain, and riding in wet areas.

If the chain is not lubricated regularly, the chain drive will not transmit power properly, can lead to jerky wheel movements, and the sprocket teeth will be worn out fast.

During every chain lubrication, check and adjust the chain slack first. Then clean the chain drive with a high solvent lubricant and wipe it dry. Then, spray the appropriate lubricant on the chain sprockets.

When To Clean And Lubricate A Motorcycle Chain

The motorcycle chain drive should be checked, adjusted and lubricated periodically.

The frequency of cleaning and lubrication should be for every 500 miles (800 kilometres) of distance travelled by the bike.

Along with that, the chain drive should be checked after every washing of motorcycle, riding in the rain and riding in wet areas.

The chain should be checked for slack, alignment and the condition. And based on the condition, the chain should be adjusted right and should be lubricated thoroughly with the right chain lubricant recommended by the manufacturer.

The right chain lubricant is the one that has been recommended by the manufacturer. You can find the recommendation in your owner’s manual.

Here is an example of the chain lubricant recommendation from the manual.

So, lubricate the chain drive of your motorcycle every 500 miles (or 800 kilometres) of distance travelled. Also, check the chain slack, adjustment, and lubrication every time you wash the bike or ride in the rain or wet areas.

Why You Should Lubricate The Chain Drive Regularly

Chan drive transmits the power generated from the engine to the rear wheel of the bike.

Only when the rear wheel receives this power and starts to move forward, the motorcycle will start moving forward.

As a result, if the drive chain is not lubricated sufficiently, there will be huge loss of power during the transmission.

Also, you need to keep the chain drive in an optimum condition so that the it functions well.

Lack of lubrication might result in worn-out or damaged sprockets.

That’s why, you need to inspect and lubricate the motorcycle chain regularly.

What Happens If You Don’t Lube The Chain Drive

If the motorcycle chain drive is not checked for slack, not adjusted regularly and not lubricated, then there might be some strong consequences on the performance of the motorcycle.

First, lack of chain lubrication will lead to uneven transmission of power from the engine to the rear wheel.

If the power is not transmitted properly from the engine to the wheel, then there will be a significant loss of mileage and fuel efficiency. The motorcycle would consume large amount of fuel since most of the power is lost during transmission in the chain drive.

Second, there would be jerky wheel movements. Since the wheel is not receiving the power from the chain properly, the speed continuously dwindles.

This uneven transmission leads to a continuous barrage of jerky wheel movements in the bike while riding.

Third, chain will be worn out easily. The lack of sufficient lubrication in the drive chain will result on lots of wear and tear and more heat generation.

As a result, the chain sprockets will be worn out fast. The worn-out or damaged teeth means you need to replace the chain drive completely.

For these reasons, the motorcycle chain should be lubricated regularly. Else, the chain drive will not transmit power properly, can lead to jerky wheel movements, and the sprocket teeth will be worn out fast.

How To Clean And Lubricate The Motorcycle Chain

Here is how you need to lubricate the chain of your motorcycle.

Step 1: Position the Motorcycle

First, park the motorcycle on a flat surface. Make sure there is weight on the motorcycle. Shift the transmission into the neutral position.

Step 2: Check the chain slack and adjust, if necessary

We need to check for the chain slack first. The chain sack should be around 25 mm to 35 mm. if the chain is too loose or too tight, adjust the chain accordingly. The chain slack should be within the specified limits.

To adjust the chain slack, loosen the axle nut and the locknut on each side of the swingarm first.

Then, turn the drive chain slack adjusting bolt on each side of the swing arm. Turning on one direction will loosen the chain and the other direction will tighten the chain.

Adjust the chain slack as required by turning the adjusting bolt. And then push the rear wheel forward.

Step 3: Clean the Drive Chain

After inspecting the slack, it is time for cleaning the drive chain.

Clean the chain and sprockets while rotating the wheel at the same time. Use a dry cloth with high flash-point solvent.

You can take the help of a soft brush if the chain is dirty.

However, do not use gasoline or low flash point solvents for cleaning the drive chain. Using such low flash point solvents can result in a fire or explosion.

Also, do not use steam cleaners or high pressure washers as well. These solvents can damage the O-rings of the chain.

Step 4: Wipe the Chain dry

Once you have cleaned the chain drive, you need to wipe it dry.

Use a clean dry cloth to wipe the chain.

Step 5: Lubricate the Chain Drive

Now that we have cleaned and wiped the chain dry, there is no lubrication in the chain drive.

So, thoroughly lubricate the chain by spraying the lubricant freely on the sprockets, O-rings and throughout the length of the chain.

For lubrication, use the recommended lubricant. Do not use engine oil or any other lubricants for the chain drive. Using such non-recommended lubricants might prove harmful since they may contain substances that could damage the O-rings.

Avoid getting lubricant on the brakes or tires. Avoid applying excess chain lubricant to prevent spray onto your clothes and the vehicle.

Related Questions

How often should you get your motorcycle serviced? For motorcycle servicing, it is best to refer to the owner’s manual to find the recommended servicing frequency. As a general thumb rule, it is advised to service the motorcycle for every 3000 miles (or 5000 kilometres) of distance traveled.

Why your motorcycle chain becomes loose? The chain and sprockets are worn-out and damaged. A new chain can also become loose if your rear axle is stripped and cannot be tightened enough or a spacer is missing. Sometimes, rust on the chain can cause the loosening too.