We Indians, tend to love our bikes more & there’s nothing disagreeable in it. India falls in the tropical belt & is a home for diverse range of environmental conditions which include truckloads of dust, dirt, mud and pollution, so this requires the chain in your bike a regular care. Rains, dust, muddy and slushy roads etc. all wreak havoc with your bike’s chain which hampers your ride experience & may get you in trouble. Chain is one of the most important component of your bike as it powers the rear wheel for mile munching. And hence, the chain drive of your bike has to be well maintained so that the there is no power depletion when it is delivered from the engine via the chain tensioner to the rear wheel.
In the recent times, many manufacturers offer motorcycles with O-Ring sealed chains, which are uncovered & are exposed to the environment facing more dust throughout. Chain, whether they are O-Ring or conventional, are prone to wear and tear and need regular maintenance which is often overlooked in India & sometimes even official motorcycle service centres skip carrying out this major maintenance procedure correctly. In case you have a bike which has a retro-fitted chain cover, you can remove it and then go ahead with the job.
Get your bike on the main stand. (Incase your bike doesn’t have one, get a G-roller which suits the requirement). A clean area is always best to work so you don’t smudge up the motorcycle and yourself in this process. Since we will be using water, a proper drainage facility is essential to have. Also arrange and place your tools at a higher surface or away from the chain area. Put cardboard/newspaper or any covering material on the rims so that they are saved off the excessive fluids.
Motorcycles chains are muddy & open chains systems are like magnets to dirt and dust because of their oily surface and position on the motorcycle. The first thing these chains need is a good wash, as water will help get as much surface dirt off it as possible & it will also loosen up the remaining sludge on the chain. If water doesn’t help much in cleaning, you can use abit of kerosene to sprinkle on the chain mildly. Even chain cleaner sprays are a better option. Make sure to rotate your wheel continuously while following these methods & let all the existing grime drip off from the chain. Give it some time to soak in and then clean the chain with a toothbrush or chain cleaning brush that cleans three out of four sides of the motorcycle chain at once. Scrub hard and clean the brush from time to time & wipe down the entire chain with a rag cloth to make sure the chain has lost its sludgy black colour and gone to its original shiny metallic colour.
The last step is to spray the chain with motorcycle chain lubricant. Use the nozzle provided with the spray can and make sure to spray each link of the chain from all sides. Make sure to keep the rear wheel spinning & spray the lubricant in a controlled manner. If sprayed in excess, the chain might attract dirt & dust again. Ideally you should clean the chain within an interval of 1000-1300 kms & lubricate it within 500-600 kms. Ensure that your bike is NOT switched on and in gear for all the activities mentioned above!
While cleaning & lubricating your chain, have a check on the chain tension & rear sprocket of the bike. If the sprocket has sharp edges on all ends, it’s time to upgrade one. Hope you follow the steps as above & would maintain your chain’s life for a long haul.