Maintaining a motorcycle's chain is very crucial to ensure ceaseless performance. A bike's chain serves as the main medium to transfer the engine's power to the wheels; making it one of the most important components of a motorbike.
Nowadays, most imported bikes in Bangladesh come without chain covers. Before the era of modern two-wheelers, bikes like the classic Japanese Honda CG 125, Yamaha RX, and Yamaha Deluxe used to come with chain covers.
As the likes of such classic bikes are equipped with non o-ring chains, dirt and water from the roads can easily enter the rollers. Hence, the chain cover prevents the chain from wearing off while delivering proper performance. The chain covers also prevent the chain's lubricant from spilling all over the bike.
Now, motorcycles like Honda Hornet CB 160R, Suzuki Gixxer, Gixxer SF, TVS Apache 4V, Yamaha FZ, etc, are not equipped with chain covers and these bikes are a common sight on the streets. So, for such bikes without chain covers, here is a step by step process explaining how to maintain the chain.
Step 1: Preparing for the servicing
Put your bike on a double stand and spread a piece of carton underneath the bike to abstain from making a mess. Since you will be cleaning the chain, it needs to be on constant rotation. You can either start the bike and put it on first gear or rotate the wheel with one hand while you clean the chain with the other.
Step 2: Cleaning the chain
You can use the chain cleaner by spraying it all over the chain while it is rotating; keep spraying till the chain completes 3-4 rotations. The spray will wash off most of the dirt off the chain.
After that, you can use the chain brush to make sure you get all the dirt stuck in the chain gaps. Just hold the brush firmly on the chain while it keeps rotating and keep doing it until there is no dirt or grease dripping off the chain.
Then take a piece of cloth and rub the chain to dry it off. Now, you can repeat the process to ensure the chain is as clean as new or you can move to the next step.
Note: There are cost-effective alternatives to chain cleaner and chain lubricant; you can use kerosene as an alternative. Besides, a toothbrush will do just fine in case if you do not have a chain brush.
The cleaning process will depend on the condition of the chain. If it is too dirty, you will need more time and chain cleaner.
Step 3: Applying lubricant to the chain
After you are done cleaning the chain, wait for a while for the chain to dry completely and then spray the chain lubricant on the chain while it is rotating. Keep some space between the chain and the hose of the spray can. Aim the spray from the top end of the back chain sprocket so that the lubricant reaches the gaps in the chain.
Note: Engine oil can be used instead of chain lubricant. It will give you similar output. However, engine oil will attract more dust off the road as it is thicker than chain lubricant.
How often does the chain need to be lubricated?
Given Bangladesh's road conditions; too much dust on roads and highways, your bike's chain will attract dust on a regular basis. On average, you can repeat the entire process every 500 kilometres. However, it depends entirely on the chain's condition; if it starts making noise or if the gear shifting is not smooth, you should clean the chain and apply lubricant to it.