Drive Chain Maintenance | DRIVE TIME


I use an old tooth-brush to help with my cleaning of the chain…at times I do wish I had a shaft.  I upgraded recently as I did on my BMW F650GS to a DID gold chain and this helps with corrosion especially in my area where I live and seems to last longer than the BMW OEM chain.  I also like the master link idea rather than the continuous link.  Like the fact this article highlights that the chain doesn’t actually stretch….”. (Chains don’t actually stretch; their internal clearances just get bigger.)”

The Missing Links of Chain Maintenance

SOURCE: Motorcyclist

 

Throughout motorcycling’s evolution toward more sophisticated technology, one feature of the earliest motorcycles still hangs in there like a vestigial tail––the drive chain. Simple––if not downright crude––yet efficient, it’s essentially a long string of machined bearing surfaces that lives in a harsh wilderness of water, dirt, infrequent adjustment, and insufficient lubrication. Beneath its often greasy exterior lie vital clues to ensuring its survival and longevity.

Virtually all drive chains for street bikes, dirt bikes, and ATVs use some sort of flexible ring to seal grease in the gap between the pin and the bushing, where the load on the chain is highest. The first such seals were called O-rings because their cross-section is round, but now some chain manufacturers use rings whose cross-section resembles an X or a Z. When a solid O-ring is compressed between the side plates it puts pressure on the chain joint, and can wear into the side plate over time. X- and Z-rings bend or twist when they’re installed between the side plates, so they put less pressure on the joint, wear more slowly, and seal better.

If the sealing ring breaks, the grease leaks out and that particular joint heats up, dries out, and becomes contaminated with water and rust, elongating the pin-to-bushing fit. (Chains don’t actually stretch; their internal clearances just get bigger.) This puts more load on the adjacent joints, and on the sprocket teeth. Sealing rings rarely break, but if they do, you should consider your chain toast; it’s time for a new one.

Cleaning your chain

Cleaning your chain doesn’t have to be a messy job. There are numerous cleaning tools available to make the process quicker, easier, and cleaner.

Savvy maintenance is the key to chain survival. Never clean a chain with a wire brush. Instead use a commercial chain brush (or worn-out toothbrush) to gently remove dirt from the space between the side plates and around the sealing ring. Use kerosene as a solvent, or an all-surface cleaning product like Simple Green, or a dedicated chain-cleaning solution approved for O-ring chains. Never use gasoline. (In a pinch, you can employ WD-40 as a cleaning solvent, but it’s more expensive than using kerosene.) And don’t even think about cleaning the goo off your chain with the high-pressure hose at the car wash. A strong stream of water will blow right past the sealing ring and force out the grease.

The grease behind the sealing ring is meant to last the life of the chain, but you still need to lubricate the chain rollers, which contact the sprocket teeth, and the sealing rings themselves, which can otherwise dry out and crack. Apply lube into the tiny gap on either side of the roller so it penetrates into the space between the roller and the outside of the bushing, then hit the sealing rings on either side of the chain. Do this when the chain is warm so the lube penetrates under the rollers thoroughly and spreads over the sealing rings. Wipe off the excess lube to keep dirt and grit from sticking to the chain. The chain should feel slightly oily to the touch, but not wet.

How often to lube a chain depends on how and where you ride. Every other tank of gas should work for streetbikes; more often for, say, dual-sports ridden off-road. Aerosol chain lube is the most convenient, and the most common. It consists of lubricant in a solvent that thins it out so it penetrates more easily. The solvent quickly evaporates leaving behind a thicker lubricant that’s more of a grease than an oil. But word around the back door of the shop is that regular 80-weight gear oil will do fine. In emergencies you can even transfer oil from your engine’s oil-filler hole to the chain using a screwdriver––just don’t drop it in the crankcase. (That’s the sound of your friends with shaft-drive bikes chuckling.)

Check the chain for slack every time you lube it, and adjust it on an as-needed basis. Some manuals say to do this with the bike on the sidestand, others on the centerstand. If you don’t have the manual, use this racer’s trick: Compress the rear suspension until the rear axle, the swingarm pivot, and the countershaft are lined up. Adjust the chain so there’s 10-15mm slack, then release the suspension and check the slack again. That’s the figure to shoot for next time you adjust the chain with the bike on the stand. Just make sure you use the same stand every time.

 

Guest Post – Europe 2014: Day 7 – Prague to Wemding


We left Prague around 9:30am towards Germany. Traffic was reasonably light and before long we were in the rural countryside.

Around 11:30am we had a slight setback. We were riding down a gentle hill at about 70kph/45mph (for reference the speed limit was 90kph/55mph) and without any warning at all the bike popped out from under us and we slid to a stop on the tarmac. As I was sliding I could see the bike sliding on its left side ahead of me until it reached the grassy shoulder where the wheels caught and the bike flipped over onto its right side.

We both got straight up to our feet and looked at each other, completely perplexed and somewhat shocked. After determining that nothing hurt, we realised with relief that neither of us were injured and our gear had taken the brunt of the fall. I had slid on my left side and Zev had slid on his bottom, dragging his left arm.

A few seconds later a young chap came along and stopped to help us put the bike upright and then carried on his way. I noticed there was oil all over the engine and tyres and realised we had ridden onto an unnoticed slick of tarry oil. From the direction we were travelling, the angle of the sun made it blend into the road, looking like just another patched area of tarmac.

I called 112 (emergency line) and explained what happened and they sent out the police. Meanwhile I took photographs of the area and the damaged parts of the bike. I called my insurer and went through the details. Continue reading

Day 27 – Looking for Grizzly’s


Arrived home June 14th, 2014 – these are catch up posts. Day 27 was June 12th.

After spending time in South Dakota and Wyoming I have a whole new appreciation for this region.  Although much of the states can appear to be “flat” everything this time around for me, verses in 2010 when I rode x country had a beauty to it.

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Day 19 – West Point, NY to Geneva, NY


Tracking web site click here 2014 X Country Solo Trip

After being caught in another storm, love riding in the Spring I arrived at the Westpoint Motel. A bit of a dump in some regards, like the bathroom was gross, I did not trust the linens that kind of stuff…it did get me out of the rain. I was greeted by a man behind the desk that needs to get a new job!

I spent most of the night texting home about my Beagle Cruizer who was hospitalized for not eating for days, lethargy and just overall not feeling well. I have since found out he has been diagnosed with A-Typical Addison’s Disease at the rip age of 10. Perhaps me leaving, all the change in his life as well has brought on this disease that was probably dormant waiting to rear its head. Continue reading

Day 18 – Service, Storm and Sick Dog


Day 18 of my X Country trip was spent mainly at MAX BMW in Brookfield, CT.  I needed a 20,000 KM service but decided to wait until I get home to have the valves inspected on my bike.

Cool dealer, they have loads of classic bikes on the show room floor as well as all the new models.

The service included, air filter, oil filter and oil change, top up fluids, inspection.  The Master Tech found my output Shaft Seal to be leaking oil and was replaced under warranty.  I got new front and rear brake pads, a new DID gold chain and sprockets.  Mainly preventive measures I am taking.  My tires, chain and pads all had some life left in them but I still have over 4000 miles to go.  I adjusted the ergo’s of my handle bars a bit and with Dan we tilted them back in my risers just a touch to make my reach a little closer.  Felt good afterwards when I was riding. Continue reading

KLIM Altitude Pants Review


I initially reviewed this new KLIM suit when I first got it back in April. Now that I have well over 8000 KM’s in it or 5000 miles I have some more impressions. I will try to stick with the facts of my experience with this suit and cut to the chase. These impressions I will send to KLIM. I have all ready been in touch with them regarding the staining issue.

Second up the PANTS detailed Review!

Jacket review click here

Temperature range I have ridden in has been below freezing and as high as 35 C or 95 F. Been in piss pouring rain for hours, hail, high winds and HOT weather/cold weather patterns. Longest day riding in the suit 12 hours.

Please remember this is my subjective review and experience. Not everyone will agree with me nor will you have the same riding circumstances. We all have different shapes and sizes.

 My measurements: neck-14.5 inches. Across the bust line-41 inches. Shoulders-18 inches. I have a 30.5 inch in seam. I wear a 12 in pants and between a medium/large jacket in general. I weigh 162 pounds….and loosing I have an athletic build.

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KLIM Altitude Suit 2nd Impressions/Review


I initially reviewed this new KLIM suit when I first got it back in April. Now that I have well over 8000 KM’s in it or 5000 miles I have some more impressions. I will try to stick with the facts of my experience with this suit and cut to the chase. These impressions I will send to KLIM. I have all ready been in touch with them regarding the staining issue.

First UP the JACKET detailed Review!

Temperature range I have ridden in has been below freezing and as high as 35 C or 95 F. Been in piss pouring rain for hours, hail, high winds and HOT weather/cold weather patterns. Longest day riding in the suit 12 hours.

Please remember this is my subjective review and experience. Not everyone will agree with me nor will you have the same riding circumstances. We all have different shapes and sizes.

My measurements: neck-14.5 inches. Across the bust line-41 inches. Shoulders-18 inches. I have a 30.5 inch in seam. I wear a 12 in pants and between a medium/large jacket in general. I weigh 162 pounds….and loosing I have an athletic build.

“A true woman’s fully functional feature rich jacket tailored to fit the female form promises to break new ground in women’s motorcycle apparel. From concept to completion, this garment was specifically designed to fit”

 

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