How to Lube Motorcycle Chain

Lubricating your motorcycle chain will increase the working life of the sprockets and drive chain of your motorcycle. Dirty motorcycle chains and sprockets reduce the ability of your engine to transfer drive power to the rear wheel efficiently, which will drain the strength you like so much. However, cleaning and lubricating your motorcycle is not always straightforward, but this guide will give you a viable procedure.

To familiarize yourself with how your chain feels as you clean and lubricate it, adjust the free play well in the drive chain. With time, the drive chain of your motorcycle will wear out, and it will become stretched and start feeling loose. Chains wear unevenly, and you can be sure to feel some spots to be more wrong than others. The sprockets too won’t be left out, they will wear, and the sides and tips of the teeth will change shape and wear out.

By cleaning your motorcycle regularly, you will know whether your chain needs to be tightened or if it needs to be loosened if too tight. The length of the durability of your sprockets and chains depends on the size and configuration of the motor. While the quality of the chain may partly influence this, too, you can significantly extend the lifespan of your sprocket and chain by cleaning and lubricating it regularly.

How to Lube Motorcycle Chain

For cleaning and lubricating your motorcycle chain, below are the items you will need:

  • Old clothes- you could wear old socks or cut out old t-shirts which you no longer need. You will have to use a cleaning cloth you do not use since you will have to dispose of it later.
  • Oil- you do not have to be extravagant with oil; even the least expensive one will serve the same purpose. You might also need other critical cleaning tools like a paintbrush, nail brush and an old toothbrush. When choosing a meeting, ensure it doesn’t have the potential of leaving bristles behind your chain.
  • Solvent- if you have filthy a chain, what you need is a solvent and not oil. However, the solvent you use should be suited for an O-ring chain. Anything that you use on your chain should not get to the tires. The oil from the chain or oil lubricant should not get onto your tires. If you realize your tires have become oily, be sure to wash them immediately with water and soap.

Below is the procedure for cleaning and oiling your motorcycle chain.

To start with, read the manual instruction about cleaning and adjusting the drive chain of your motorcycle. Here, you will find pointers on what is needed with the specific model of your bike.

If your motorcycle has a rear-wheel stand or a center stand– you will find cleaning the chain relatively easy. If you put your transmission in neutral, you will access the whole length by turning the rear wheel. If this does not work for you, you will have to walk your bike some inches forwards and backwards in a given period until you reach the entire length of the chain.

If you have an old sock or old cloth– soak an area the size of your palm with clean motor oil and wrap only the oily area around the chain. Start by wiping and rubbing off the blank gunk on the chain. If it has been a long period since you last cleaned or lubricated your chain, you will find it very hard to get rid of the black grime. To make it easier, you can soak the dirt with oil but still remember to be persistent.

Clean the rear part of the sprocket and the portions of the chain- which you can access and move the bike forward to expose new areas of the chain to clean. If your bike has a wheel stand or central stand, it will be easier to access the whole part of the chain but be careful not to put oily hands on your tire or pinch your fingers.

Turn the wheel- with one hand and start spinning the tire and ensure your fingers and the cleaning cloth are out of the way, and they will not get caught between the sprocket and the chain. You can use the other hand to manage the cleaning. Do not stop cleaning until you see the metal on the surfaces is bare. The main problem is internal dirt, but you cannot get at it until you have removed all the external dirt.

If you scrub the chain with an old paintbrush or nail brush- the dirt will quickly get off from the chain plates, which is where you want to clean so much. Ensure you lubricate your chain with a good quality motorcycle and a chain lubricant spray. Start by spraying forward and down to the top of the lower run of the chain and walk your bike until you have poured the whole length of the chain. When done, you can wipe away the excess lubricant.

The last step- in this is giving your tire a quick inspection to ensure it is not greasy anywhere and that all areas are okay. You might be dirty by now, but your chain is not, and that means your bike will last for long, and it will work better, but that is worth the dirt a bit, right?

You can purchase specific kits to make the process a bit easier, but they may be pretty expensive.

How Often Should I Lube my Motorcycle Chain?

If your bike gets dirty quickly, it is advisable to clean and lubricate it after every ride. If you have a street motorcycle, you can clean it after every 500-1000 miles depending on the riding environment and your riding habits. When it comes to the kind of lubricant you should use, ensure you use one compatible with your motorcycle model and type.

By lubricating your chains often, you prevent yourself from having to adjust it constantly. Motorcycle chains need the proper chain tension to perform well. If a chain is too tight, it will wear the sprockets’ teeth and stretch quickly. Likewise, if a chain is too loose, it will flop as you drive, and its teeth could shear off and break due to slack.

If you are tired of having to tension your chain regularly, you could use chain lube. The two main reasons why the chain stretches prematurely is inadequate lubricating or too much tension. If you ride at more than an idle, the movement will cause a lot of heat and wear if it is not adequately lubricated.

If you ride throughout the year in rough weather, the advice is the same but with varying details. An excellent wet lube is essential, and you might have to remove the chain and clean it well from time to time, especially during the nasty wet, cold months.

If you realize your chain is making noise, it may be signifying that you should lube it. If it starts to feel gritty, too, it is time you should lubricate it.

You have to lubricate your chain. Even if the grease inserted during manufacture will ensure the inside remains lubricated, the outside needs regular lubrication. You would not want anything to penetrate the deal, mainly if it is a cleaner wince that will remove the grease installed during manufacture and leave the inner parts without lubrication.

As you lubricate, use the lube for the proper purpose. There are different lubes, and all work differently on your bike. Some will set on the chain, while some will not and are meant for dirty conditions. A good lube will leave a film on the external surfaces of the chain to prevent moisture from the internal pins and bushes.

What happens if you don’t lube your motorcycle chain?

If you fail to lubricate your motorcycle chain, its durability will reduce, and the operational function will reduce. You will be using energy, and it will be lost to friction. Lube keeps the chain from rusting and ensures the joints of your chain are flexible. If you fail to lube your motorcycle chain, the chain and gears will grind aggressively. The components of your bike will stick and die before their time. A good ride will knock back much of the rust, but it will be persistent with trouble.

A grimy and gritty chain that is just dry is likely to wear out much faster than a lubed and clean chain. The more it wears, the more it stretches. It will start by wearing your chainrings, and you will have to replace the whole chain, which is more expensive than buying a bottle of lube once a year.


So the message is home; lubricating and cleaning your chain is critically important. Ignore your sprockets and chains, and at best, they will wear out four or three times quicker than they should, and they will knock a big chunk off the bike’s performance. At worst, it will get so worn that you won’t ride it and will have to sit on the side of a dual carriageway waiting for a van to take you home, or will break the gearbox casings if not your leg.

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