Chain-clean­ing tips Keep it gleam­ing

Here’s how to make sure your bike’s chain gives miles of trou­ble-free ser­vice

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

A ques­tion of con­di­tion

A good main­te­nance rou­tine will make your chain last longer and feel smoother. Try to carry out chain main­te­nance af­ter a ride when the chain is warm, as the build-up of oiled crud is likely to be more sol­u­ble. Put the bike on its main stand or a rear pad­dock stand, then spin the wheel. The chain should run smoothly over the sprock­ets with no snag­ging or jin­gling of the rollers as they in­ter­act with the sprocket teeth.

Chuck out the muck

Clean the chain us­ing a ded­i­cated clean­ing prod­uct, such as this £11.99 Sdoc prod­uct. The idea is to clean the chain, not de­grease it. Chain lube at­tracts a build-up of dust and road grime which forms a grind­ing paste, dam­ag­ing your chain. This is what we want to clean off. If you’ve got a par­tic­u­larly cruddy chain you may wish to let the chain cleaner dwell for a while to al­low it to pen­e­trate the muck.

Brush your teeth prop­erly

The build-up of grease and scuzz gen­er­ated from old chain lube can be seen around the cir­cum­fer­ence of the sprocket, a bit like a tide­mark in a dirty bath­tub. This can also be cleaned off us­ing the clean­ing prod­uct and a cloth. Any stub­born de­posits can be ag­i­tated with a brush and then wiped clean with a cloth.

Look for tight spots

Us­ing a steel rule, mea­sure the freeplay at the point de­scribed in the man­ual – of­ten this is the mid­point be­tween front and rear sprock­ets. At this point the slack should be the great­est, typ­i­cal spec is 18-25mm. Check for tight spots by spinning the wheel – any rise and fall in ten­sion will in­di­cate a worn chain.

Do the splits

A split link is a semi-per­ma­nent way of con­nect­ing two ends of a chain that re­lies upon a metal clip rather than a rivet to keep the chain ends joined to­gether. Not many bikes are fit­ted with split links th­ese days, but if you have one it must be fit­ted cor­rectly. The open end must al­ways face away from the chain’s di­rec­tion of travel, so when the link is on the top of the rear sprocket the open end is fac­ing the back of the bike.

Check the ten­sion

Re­fer to your bike’s own­ers or work­shop man­ual to see pro­ce­dure for check­ing the chain ten­sion. Pay at­ten­tion to whether the ten­sion should be as­sessed with the bike on its stand or with a rider aboard. The man­ual will also give a range of ac­cept­able freeplay in mil­lime­tres, and state the point on the chain where you should mea­sure it.

Dial out any slack

Check your man­ual for chain ten­sion­ing in­struc­tions. Gen­er­ally, you loosen the spin­dle nut and the ad­juster lock­nuts, ad­just the slack out of the chain in small in­cre­ments and do it equally ei­ther side. Tighten the spin­dle nut to spec with a torque wrench, and tighten the ad­juster lock­nuts. Check the ten­sion again be­fore you go for a ride.

Us­ing chain lube

When lub­ing your bike’s chain it’s im­por­tant not to make a mess or overdo it, as you don’t want to get over­spray onto tyres or brak­ing sur­faces. Place an old rag or news­pa­per be­hind the chain then spray the lube on the in­side of the rollers a bit at a time, slowly ro­tat­ing the wheel and treat­ing lit­tle sec­tions. It’s best to leave the bike for a bit to let the lube pen­e­trate the rollers and the sol­vent to evap­o­rate away.

It’s a dirty job but not that dirty if you keep on top of ité

O Rear pad­dock stand Suit­able span­ners Allen keys O Socket and ratchet Chain cleaner and lube Old rags TOOLS NEEDED

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