How to Look after my Chain

A simple Motorcycle Chain – it’s downright crude – yet efficient, it’s essentially a long string of machined bearing surfaces that lives in a harsh wilderness of water, dirt, infrequent adjustment, and insufficient lubrication.

Beneath its often greasy exterior lie vital clues to ensuring its survival and longevity. Virtually all drive chains for street bikes use some sort of flexible ring to seal grease in the gap between the pin and the bushing, where the load on the chain is highest. The first such seals were called O-rings because their cross-section is round, but now some chain manufacturers use rings whose cross-section resembles an X or a Z.

When a solid O-ring is compressed between the side plates it puts pressure on the chain joint and can wear into the side plate over time. X- and Z-rings bend or twist when they’re installed between the side plates, so they put less pressure on the joint, wear more slowly, and seal better. If the sealing ring breaks, the grease leaks out and that particular joint heats up, dries out, and becomes contaminated with water and rust, elongating the pin-to-bushing fit. (Chains don’t actually stretch; their internal clearances just get bigger.) This puts more load on the adjacent joints, and on the sprocket teeth.

Sealing rings rarely break, but if they do, you should consider your chain toast; it’s time for a new one. Savvy maintenance is the key to chain survival.

So how do you do this…

Opinion varies as to how often you should clean and lube your chain some say every 200 miles, some say weekly basically if it looks mucky it’s time to clean it! What everyone agrees on is it’s best to do it after a ride when the chain is still warm.

Here’s a quick guide using Muc-Off Products. If you can, put your bike on its centre stand or use a paddock stand. Protect your bike and the floor with some cloths or newspapers – it’s going to get dirty.

Step 1

Spray Chain Cleaner onto chain.

Make ABSOLUTELY sure not to get any on your tyre (hence the cloths / newspaper)

Step 2

Use a chain brush to remove the muck working in sections until it’s all done.

Make sure you turn the wheel, so the chain moves away from your fingers (you’ll only do it once as it hurts like…)

Step 3

Spray MO-94 over your sprocket and chain to drive out moisture.

Avoid braking surfaces.

Step 4

Choose the right Chain Lube for the conditions you ride in.

For dry to damp conditions, use Muc-Off Dry Chain Lube.

For long-distance all-weather conditions, use Muc-Off All-Weather Chain Lube. (Contains ceramic for greater efficiency)

For wet and harsh conditions, use Muc-Off Wet Lube. (Contains polymer to repel water)

Step 5

Wait 15 minutes before riding!

(For best results, leave overnight)

Now go riding