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How To Clean a Motorcycle Chain

A clean motorcycle chain will last longer and perform better, which is why motorcyclists include cleaning it in their regular maintenance. Cleaning a motorcycle chain should take less than 20 minutes and is easy to do, so there is no excuse not to do it. Another benefit of regular chain cleanings is this allows you the opportunity to examine your chain for wear and tear to determine whether it's time for a completely new chain. As already mentioned, cleaning your chain should be a regular activity; however, if you ride in especially wet or dirty conditions, you'll probably need to clean your chain more often to keep it in good condition. Below, we've outlined what to use to clean your motorcycle chain and the steps to do it right.

What You Need:

  • Motorcycle chain cleaner
  • Motorcycle chain brush
  • Chain lube

How To Clean Your Motorcycle Chain

  1. Know what type of chain you have. You will either have a plain or sealed chain. The easiest way to tell the difference is plain motorcycle chains have no seal between the links. Sealed motorcycle chains will need to be cleaned more carefully.

  2. There are three ways you can position your bike to clean the chain. The easiest is to use a center or paddock stand, which will let the rear wheel spin freely and provide easy access to the entire chain. The second way to position your bike is with the kickstand; however, you will need to move your motorcycle to access each section of the chain. Lastly, you can simply remove the chain from the motorcycle and clean it that way.

  3. For cleaning the motorcycle chain, we recommend getting a cleaner specifically for chains. A chain cleaner will do a better job of breaking down the current lubricant and removing any dirt.

    Be very generous when you spray down the chain with the cleaner. Let it soak for about 30 seconds and then use your brush to break up and get rid of gunk and dirt. Scrub the chain well, and try to get the chain as clean as possible. Wipe the cleaner and loose gunk off to examine the progress you've made, and repeat the cleaning process until the chain looks clean.

  4. Once the chain looks sparkling clean, it will need to dry before you apply chain lube. You can wipe the chain with a cloth and use an air compressor to help speed up the process.

How To Lube a Motorcycle Chain

When the chain is completely dry and clean, you can then move on to applying the lubricant. Spray the lubricant evenly all around the chain. If you have a plain motorcycle chain, you will need to coat the chain with lubricant and wipe off any extra lube. For sealed chains, you can focus on spraying the outside of the chain since the inside stays lubricated by the grease that naturally accumulates there.