Big Ed's Workshop - Chain maintenance
Maintenance on your motorcycle can save you time and money when it comes to repairs. It also gives you a closer relationship with the bike and will help you spot things that could cause a problem before they become one. In my years as a mechanic I saw many fall into the trap of not looking after their chains. A chain and sprocket job is a couple of hours work so if you prolong the life of these components you'll get a lot more miles for your money. Here's my guide to keeping your chain good.
Firstly the chain must be adjusted to the manufacturer's specifications which you'll find in your handbook or in most cases on the swinging arm. If it's too tight it will be putting stress on the chain and the sprockets and eventually lead to it wearing up quicker. On the other hand if it's too loose it could jump around, grinding the teeth on the sprockets leading to an eventual break.
I've seen chains in all sorts of conditions, I think the worse was on a CBR125 where the chain was actually dragging on the floor; how he rode it I will never know!
Adjustments are as easily done, loosen the spindle nut and adjust until the chain feels as it should. Beware that when you tighten that nut back up it will tighten the chain a bit so make room for that in your adjustment.
Now what I do here may be a little away from the norm but I've found it to be incredibly good at keeping a chain in fantastic condition and lengthening its life. Stick an old towel or rag underneath your chain and get yourself some gear oil, yes gear oil, cover the chain in the stuff with a paintbrush. Nice and thick works for me. I tend to leave it for a couple of minutes after until the real excess has dropped off, spin the back wheel to clear more. Then you want some standard chain lube, spray that on the length of the chain and again leave for a few minutes. You may find the side of your back tyre will get some oil on it on the first ride, wipe it down and you'll be fine after that.
I find this method really keeps the chain good for a long time without having to come back to adjust or lubricate. I will say keep an eye on the teeth on your sprockets though as a long lasting chain can outlast the sprockets themselves.
30.05.14 - Big Ed