How Often Should I Lube My Motorcycle Chain?

How Often Should I Lube My Motorcycle Chain?

Maintaining a good habit of lubricating motorbike chains is the only way through which you can increase the age of your motorcycle chain. Do you also find yourself asking the same question, how often should I lube my motorcycle chain?

The ideal thumb rule is to lube your motorbike chain once your motorbike covers 1000 miles. However, you should consider lubing your motorcycle chain more frequently if you ride a lot in the hot weather. Because hot weather can cause your motorcycle chain to become dry. 

So how to clean and lube a motorbike chain and replace your motorbike chain with a new chain. Stress not. In this post, I’ve covered all your questions. 

How Often Should I Lube My Motorcycle Chain?

Most of the riders sat on the fence when it’s about lubing the motorbike chain. The lubing period of a motorbike chain depends on how much you ride, whether you ride, and how much off-road you ride. 

It’s a trend for lubricating motorcycle chains every week. And I don’t recommend jumping on the bandwagon unless you’ve proper knowledge of what you’re doing. 

The ideal thumb rule is to lubricate the motorcycle chain every 1000 miles if you’re a city rider.

However, if you ride off-road a lot, then I recommend checking and lubricating the motorbike chain every month. 

I always recommend checking your motorbike chain every three or four weeks so you can lubricate your chain before you miss the boat. 

What’s the Need for Lube Motorbike Chain?

When riding, your motorbike chain is the only component that connects the engine with the rear tire.

Riding a motorbike causes stretching of the motorbike chain causing the chain to shatter easily.  

The top reasons for the brittle chain are the lack of lubrication, too much tension, and high temperature. And the only way you can save your motorbike chain is by lubing it regularly.

Many riders I saw using kerosene oil for lubing the chain. If you also do this, then your motorcycle chain maintenance routine will go down in the flame in the long run. 

Experts around the globe don’t recommend using kerosene to lubricate the motorbike chain because kerosene oil doesn’t have any lubrication properties. 

Additionally, the kerosene oil wipes up completely once your motorbike chain comes in contact with moisture.

Instead of making your motorbike chain lubricate, the kerosene would leave your motorbike chain dry.

Chain grease or lubricating oil is the come rain or shine for lubing the motorbike chain. I also recommend always using waterproof and dust proof lube so that the lube can’t wipe it out once your motorbike comes in contact with moisture.

Also, read my previous post about motorcycle maintenance and how can you save your money on your motorbike maintenance. Click here to read.

Ideal Lube Agent Properties?

If you’re planning to buy a lube agent for your motorbike chain, I would always recommend checking the points below. 

The Viscosity: 

Viscosity refers to the thickness of a liquid and how easily it flows. And I recommend choosing a thin liquid that can quickly go in between your motorcycle chain.

The problem with thick-containing liquid is that it starts attracting dust particles, making the motorbike chain dry again.

Additionally, the thicker the lubricating oil, the lesser will be the absorption rate. So it’s better to only go with less viscous motorbike chain oil. 

Waterproof: 

The ideal lube agent should be waterproof so that you can even ride your motorbike in humid weather. 

Also, read my previous post about how chain wax is better than lube. Click here to read.

Is It Important to Clean Motorbike Chain?

Yes, it is essential to clean motorbike chains, and you can do this with the help of chain cleaners. In the market, you’re going to find two types of chain cleaner: Water-based and second is solvent-based. 

But what both things are, don’t worry, I’ll explain to you.

Types of Water Cleaner. Advantage: Disadvantage: 
Solvent-based. Some solvent-based cleaners are easily affordable. It may react with other motorbike parts. 
Water-based. You don’t have to spend much time on chain cleaning.Some water-based cleaners are expensive. 

Solvent Based: 

Solvent-based or traditional chain cleaner is the cleaner you need to spray on your motorbike chain until the chain is cleaned.

The most significant disadvantage with the solvent-based cleaner is that you’ve to apply a whole can of spray on the chain. 

Water-Based: 

Water-based chain cleaners have water-like consistency, and after spraying, it becomes a gel-like substance to eat all the dust stuck on the chain. 

With a water-based cleaner, you don’t have to spend much time cleaning, and you can wash the chain with water afterward.

Undoubtedly water-based chain cleaner is on the ball, but the best thing about this type of cleaner is that they are 100% eco-friendly and won’t react with other surfaces of your motorbike.

Types of Chain Lubricants?

There are two different types of lubricants; grease type and dry lube. Although both are effective, you should use grease-type lubricant during winter while dry lube in summer.

Types of Chain Lubricants.Advantage: Disadvantage: 
Grease type. Prevent the chain from corrosion. It can be thrown by the motorcycle chain. 
Dry lubes. Chain lube can penetrate anywhere in the motorbike chain. Dry lube isn’t very effective against corrosion protection,

Grease Type: 

Grease-type lubricants are best for use in the winter season; these lubricants make the protective covering around the chain and prevent corrosion.

Applying a considerable amount of grease on the chain ensures lubricant for a longer time. 

The main disadvantage of using grease lubricants is that they are easy to flow and can be thrown off by the chain; as a result, the other motorbike parts can be contaminated. 

The other disadvantage of using grease-type lubricant in dryer seasons is that it’s sticky, which means dust can attack your motorbike chain, making your chain stuck. 

Dry Lubes: 

Dry lubes are best for use in the dry season; these lubricants aren’t sticky, which means chain lube can penetrate anywhere in the motorbike chain.

The main disadvantage of dry lubes is that it doesn’t have good lubrication power and could not last for months.

And the best thing is that nowadays manufacturers are making dry lubes which can last for months. 

Additionally, dry lube isn’t very effective against corrosion protection; still, dry lube is the best thing since sliced bread. 

Steps for Chain Maintenance: 

Bad chain health is nowadays the elephant in the room for riders. If your regular chain maintenance includes washing the chain and lubing when it dries, then you should read these steps. 

Here’re the steps below that you need to follow for good chain health.  

Steps for Chain Maintenance:
Observe Carefully.Examine the chain closely for any damage.
Try to rotate the rear wheel, in the ideal condition the rear tire should rotate freely or smoothly
Closely examine the sprocket for any damage.
Don’t forget to examine any rust or corrosion.
Chain Cleaning.Always remember to clean the chain before lubricating it.
Use a soft bristle brush or nylon brush if there’s any dirt between joints.
Don’t use high-pressure jet sprays as it causes water buildup in between O, Z, and X rings.
Lubrication.Lubricating the motorbike chain after riding, not before.
Don’t go with cheap quality motorbike chain lubrication.
Always get your motorcycle in the centre stand so you can rotate the rear wheel easily.

Observe Carefully:

The first step for good chain maintenance is a close inspection which includes inspection of any damage or tear of the motorbike chain. 

  • Examine the chain closely for any damage, or you can consult the motorbike manual. 
  • Try to rotate the rear wheel; the rear tire should rotate freely or smoothly in the ideal condition. If you’re unable to turn the rear tire, then I recommend loosening the chain a bit. 

And if you don’t see the result afterward, then your motorbike might need a new chain.

  • Closely examine the sprocket for any damage and make sure the teeth aren’t curved.
  • Please don’t forget to inspect any rust or corrosion in the last step, as the corrosion might happen because of insufficient lubrication. 

Chain Cleaning: 

Chain cleaning is the second and most important part of good motorcycle chain maintenance. Cleaning the motorbike chain helps to get rid of dust, making dust paste when combined with lubricant. 

The ideal rule is to clean the chain every 500-800 miles. 

  • Always remember to clean the chain before lubricating it. Please don’t use any stiff bristle brush for chain cleaning as it could harm your chain. 

Additionally, please don’t use any detergent and petroleum-based cleaner such as kerosene. 

  • Use a soft bristle brush or nylon brush if there’s any dirt between joints. After cleaning, use clean water to remove any dust between the joints. 
  • I recommend not using high-pressure jet sprays as it causes water buildup between O, Z, and X rings. Make sure your motorbike chain is dry before lubrication. 

Lubrication: 

You should lubricate your motorbike chain every 1000 miles, but you can also lubricate the chain every 500 miles if you do a lot of off-road riding. Here are a few things you should know before lubricating your motorbike chain. 

  • I recommend lubricating the motorbike chain after riding, not before. The lubricating agent needs some time to evaporate and form gel-like material; it also helps the lube penetrate between the links. 
  • I also recommend not choosing cheap quality motorbike chain lubrication. You can go with water-proof lubrication to extend the chain life in humid weather. 
  • Always get your motorcycle in the center stand so you can rotate the rear wheel easily. Aim for spraying lubricant in between the chain, and spray until you cover three complete chain revolutions. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What’s the need for a lube motorbike chain?

To protect the motorbike chain from dryness and stretching, you need to lube the motorbike chain.

Why viscosity is critical when choosing a lubricating agent?

The problem with thick-containing liquid is that it starts attracting dust particles, making the motorbike chain dry again. That’s why you should always choose a low viscous lubricating agent.

Why it’s better to buy a waterproof lubricating agent?

The ideal lube agent should be waterproof so that you can even ride your motorbike in humid weather. 

What’re the types of motorbike lubes?

There’re two types of motorbike lubes; dry lubes and grease-type.

Why shouldn’t use kerosene oil for lubrication?

Instead of making your motorbike chain lubricate, the kerosene would leave your motorbike chain dry and that’s why it’s better to avoid kerosene oil for chain lubrication.

Final Verdict: 

How often should I lube my motorbike chain? The ideal thumb rule is to lubing your motorbike chain once your motorbike covers 1000 miles. However, your motorcycle chain can become dry if you ride a lot in the hot weather. 

Riding a motorbike causes stretching of the motorbike chain causing the chain to shatter easily.  

The top reasons for the brittle chain are the lack of lubrication, too much tension, and high temperature. And the only way you can save your motorbike chain is by lubing it regularly.