When to replace motorcycle chain

When to replace motorcycle chain and why?

The motorcycle chain is one of the most crucial parts of your motorbike. The experienced bikers will tell you just how important it is for you to monitor the condition of your chain.

For quick inspection, you will probably look out for grease build up, rust, slackness and worn plates. It would take you about 10 seconds to figure out whether your chain needs cleaning, lubrication or alignment.

You will need to pay special attention to the chain since if they are not in good condition, they may affect the overall performance of the motorbike as it is a crucial part of the transmission mechanism. A dysfunctional chain may also result in damages to other parts of the bike as well as cause injuries to the rider.

So what are the signs for an aging chain?

There are several red flags for a chain which is reaching a crucial point for replacement.

A pulled out chain

You should start by inspecting the adjusters on the swingarms. Try and pull the chain backwards as far as possible. If you have seen half a tooth, then you should consider replacing the chain.

Extreme tightness

To check for tight spots, turn the wheel and examine the whole stretch of the chain for tightness. Normally, the tension should be uniform on the whole chain, so if you find any differences in this tightness, you can fix the problem via lubrication or cleaning it.

Alternatively, just replace it and move on!

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Stretching out

If you pull the chain and you see a space between the sprocket teeth and the chain links, then you should know that the chain has been overly stretched out. 

Ideally, the sprocket teeth should stay on the inside of the chain links. If this condition is violated, you can control the tension by use of a chain monkey or just replace it.

The teeth

You should check if the teeth are severely worn out and become blunt or even broken. Instantly replace it if these two conditions check out. 

If you want sprocket teeth that last longer, you should go for the ones that are made of steel as they are more resistant to wearing out.

Refer to manual

When you buy a motorcycle, the normally come with a manual which guide you as to when you should replace your sprockets and chains. 

Of course this manual cannot always be accurate, since you cannot expect the cycle between a rough terrain rider and a smooth one to be similar.

You can also get expert advice from mechanics and auto-shops on how spaced out your replacement cycle should be.

Noisy chain

If the chain produces strange noises when there is motion, then this is an indicator of internal friction. Consider replacing the chain if you experience this.

One way of extending the service life of your motorcycle chain is proper maintenance. In fact, it is the only way of prolonging this life.

Maintaining the chain involves cleaning it as well as oiling it. We shall give you a simple guideline on how to go about these two simple maintenance practices.

Cleaning the chain 

In order to properly clean the motorcycle chain, you should use a brush and kerosene. This solvent would help in removing the excess grime and grease that the chain may have accumulated.

Lift the rear wheel off the ground so that it can spin comfortably. Carefully clean the chain and then you should let it dry before you can start lubricating it.

Oiling the chain 

Although the experts would advise you to oil your chain once the motorbike has clocked between 600 and 1000 miles, the rate at which you lube the chain is dependent on a number of factors. 

These factors include the terrain where you ride, the climatic conditions of your area, your mode of riding the bike and the quality of your chain.

Conditions for oiling the chain 

As stated at the end of the cleaning process, the chain should be completely dry before lubing.

You should also ensure that it is warm.

The process

You should start by oiling the inner part of the chain, where the rollers meet the sprockets. If the layer is thin, ensure that you do not use excess oil. 

In order to ensure that the whole of the chain is oiled, you should be making adjustments. The rate of these adjustments would vary depending on factors such as the level at which the chain is worn out.

Also read: Can you jump start a motorcycle with a car

How to change the chain

If you reach the point of replacing your motorcycle chain, there are several tools that should be in tow. They include a riveting tool, a blow torch and a torque wrench.

Start by loosening the bolts on the front sprocket. We advise you to do this while the chain is still on the bike as this would ensure that you will use minimum force.

Once you have loosened the bolts, proceed to break the chain. Remove the small grub screw and then push out one of the chain’s pins by use of a small bolt. You will then use the torque wrench for sprocket replacement.

Installing the master link

Start by smearing the lubricant on the pins and inside the X-rings. You should then proceed to assemble the master link around the two ends of the chain. Ensure that the X-rings are in the right positions.

Once you have put on the sprockets and the master link is in position, you should peen the master link’s pins. Use the Terra-X tool to push the pins against the grub screw’s steel ball.

Finally, place the wheel for the proper chain tightness. Adjust all elements as specified and you will be good to hit the road with the new chain on your bike.

In conclusion

We hope that this piece has helped you grasp the tenets behind replacing the motorcycle chain and its importance. You can also use the simple guideline to change the chain yourself and avoid extra manual labor costs.

Finally, you should note that maintaining your chain only buys you time because a point always comes when you should replace the motorcycle chain.

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