If you've ever wondered the best ways to maintain your chain, here it is in a step by step process. Now you have no excuses for not doing it every 500 miles!
Cleaning and lubricating your chain
Here is a great example of a terrible chain. Thousands of miles of neglect will cause rust, worn rollers, broken o-rings or x-rings, worn sprockets, or even a chain break causing harm to both engine cases and the rider. It is important to check chain tension and to clean and lubricate your motorcycle chain every 500 miles to prevent this. Once a chain starts kinking like the one pictures it's too late and it's time to change it, but with the right chain cleaner and chain lubricant you can keep this from happening for tens of thousands of miles.
The right tools make all the difference, and solvents are no exception. Alcohol, soap, and even WD40 will dry out o-rings, x-rings and z-rings in your chain, causing kinks, tight spots, and chatter. Motul chain clean removes all encrusted deposits: sand, dirt, oil and grease. It is a chlorine free formula that degreases the chain and is suitable for o-rings, x-rings and z-rings. To use, simply spray Motul chain clean on the inside of the chain while spinning the rear tire with your hand **IMPORTANT** do not spin the tire under the bike's power, unless you'd like a few less fingers. Let the chain clean sit on the chain for 5 minutes then scrub the chain with either a rag or a Grunge Brush (much preferred for cleaning in the rollers and getting gunk out of the o-rings).
When lubricating the chain it is important to make sure you use a good/sticky lubricant, and Motul Chain Lube Factory Line is exactly that. Rotate the rear tire and lubricate the chain from the inside in 4 inch sections making sure to not get any lube on the rear tire. The reason for spraying in 4 inch sections is to make sure you can use your other hand with a rag to prevent overspray from getting everywhere. By spraying from the inside of the chain the centrical forces will spread it through the chain, which can not be said if you spray on the outside of the chain on the sprocket. It is best to clean and lubricate the chain at the end of the day after a ride. This will get keep the chain warm as to dry the lube faster and also allow the lube to sit on the chain and harden over night. A hardened chain lube will fling less and prevent you from having a dirty tail section.
Next step after cleaning and lubricating you chain is checking and adjusting your chain tension. For adjusting chains on conventional double sided swingarms go to our next article, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Tension Conventional Swingarm," but if you would own a singel sided swing arm bike go to our article on, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Tension Single Sided Swingarm."