One of the most crucial elements to safely riding a motorcycle is the maintenance and care of your chain. It requires just as much attention as, say, your brakes. Chains are responsible for transferring the power of the engine to the rear wheel. When you clean your motorcycle chain regularly, you get to know when it needs to be adjusted. Adjusting your motorcycle chain is considered to be one of the easiest ways to dive into motorcycle maintenance.
There are two main types of the chains: O-Ring chains and Non-Sealed chains. The main purpose of the O-Ring chain is to keep the lubrication inside. These chains have little o rings between the rollers and the link plates that are used to keep the grease inside of your chain. So it is very important to lubricate the chain immediately after riding when it is warm. The Non-Sealed chain, however, requires the most maintenance and you will have to keep a closer eye on it. Given that, many of racers and riders prefer this chain because it tends to have less friction. Additionally, there are many older bikes that are not compatible with the O-Ring chains.
Depending on your style of riding, the chain must be inspected and maintained every 600-700 miles. Read these simple steps below:
1) Chain Lubrication
It is advised to lubricate your chain with a good quality lubricant spray. First, spray the lubricant towards the full length of the chain. It is recommended to buy the lubricant that is specifically made for motorcycle chains. Wipe away all the excess lubricant after spraying. Inspect the rear tire of your bike to make sure that it is not greasy. There are also kits available to make this process a little easier. Be very careful that you keep your hands away from the chain when the wheel is moving.
2) Check the Tension
In order to check the tension of your bike, grasp the lower run of the chain about halfway and then move the chain up and down. One can also check several spots on the chain by moving the bike ahead and checking the tension. If the movement of the chain varies from spot to spot then the chain might have a tight spot. If you find that the chain moves up and down about an inch, then it needs to be tightened. And if the movement is severe then the chain is to be replaced.
3) Adjusting the Chain
The user’s manual has information on how to tighten or loosen the chain, as there are different types of adjustments that could be needed depending on the circumstances of your bike. First of all, you need to loosen the axle that will allow the wheel to move. Now, turn the adjuster screws until you reach the proper adjustment. When the proper slack is achieved and after you have tightened the wheel back up, make sure that the alignment of the wheel is correct. The procedure for adjusting may vary from bike to bike so keep a check on the manual for the proper procedure.
4) Cleaning the Chain
No matter what method you use to clean your chain, it is recommended to warm it up by going for a ride beforehand. This will help to get rid of the grime that is accumulated on the chain. Also, be sure to avoid any solvents when applying cleaning product to a chain. You can also put your bike up on a stand with the rear wheel off of the ground to wash it. You can even use a mild soap and a brush to scrub out the dirt. Make sure that you use a softer brush on the chain with rings and wipe up the grease with a clean cloth.
After following the above steps you will discover just what a difference a cleaned and lubed chain can have on your bike. It's time to get back out on the road!
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