How to Clean a Motorcycle O-Ring Chain

Written by justin wash
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How to Clean a Motorcycle O-Ring Chain
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Your motorcycle's O-ring chain is designed to be self-lubricating, but not self-cleaning. A dirty motorcycle chain can lead to undue friction, even with self-lubricating designs, which can lead to at best, less power getting to the rear wheel of your bike, and at worst, chain failure. In order to ensure that your chain will last its entire lifespan, it should be cleaned regularly, about every 200 to 300 miles. Keep your chain and motorcycle running properly by cleaning your chain at home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Motorcycle chain cleaner
  • Motorcycle chain lubricant
  • Shop rag or stiff bristle brush
  • Basic wrench set
  • Marker

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  1. 1

    Set your motorcycle on its centre stand so as to raise the rear tire off the ground. If your motorcycle does not have a centre stand, prop it up on a strong platform so it will not fall over while you are working.

  2. 2

    Remove any chain guards or panels that will get in the way of your cleaning by removing any bolts that hold them in place. Use a socket wrench to loosen each bolt. Keep all bolts in a safe place where they will not get lost.

  3. 3

    Use the marker to make a small mark on one link of the motorcycle's chain. This will be used to determine your starting and stopping points for this procedure.

  4. 4

    Start at the mark you made on the chain, and spray a liberal amount of chain cleaner on a section of your motorcycle's chain. Using a shop rag or a stiff-bristled brush, rub the chain thoroughly before moving on to another section of chain by turning the rear wheel. Continue in this fashion until the entire chain has been cleaned with motorcycle chain cleaner.

  5. 5

    Allow the chain about an hour to set so that any excess cleaner will evaporate before applying lubrication. Spray the motorcycle's chain liberally with lubrication, making sure to lubricate every link of the chain.

  6. 6

    Reinstall any chain guards or other parts removed for chain access with a socket wrench.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to use designated motorcycle O-ring chain cleaner to clean your chain. Other cleaners, such as WD-40, will erode the lubrication in the O-ring chain's bushings, leading to chain failure.

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