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.

 

Tool ideas by Gary in AK


It’s always great to hear what other ADV riders are doing with their bikes and farkles.

Our guest Blogger is Gary from Alaska, Gary Rides a 650 VStrom and here is his solution to carrying tools and where he bought his tool kit from…thanks Gary!

Thought you might like this as a possible blog topic – motorcycle tools to take on the road.  In this niche topic, I would offer Blue Ridge Racing tools as the best, and this is what we carry.  They are not cheap (in quality or price), and as you browse their kits, you can see they are put together with logic by riders.

In addition to the stage III kit, I have two of these:  http://www.agrisupply.com/manual-canister-large-with-neoprene-seal/p/67670/&sid=&eid=/
mounted on the inside of my left rear SW Motech case frame.   My Blue Ridge Racing Tools are in these tubes as well as tire plugs, valves, etc.

http://www.blueridgeracing.com/motoStore.htm

Hope this is useful…

Gary

BeadPro Tire Bead Breaker and Lever Tool Set


I think this is a great idea to assist with tire changing.  IF We end up buying the 2013 BMW F800GS bikes we will need to practice fixing flats.  The 800 has tubed tires versus our F650GS twins, which have tubeless. 

Any thoughts? Has anyone tried these? Waste of money?

Continue reading “BeadPro Tire Bead Breaker and Lever Tool Set”

Cruz TOOLS – Because OEM kits Suck


SOURCE:  CRUZ TOOLS HERE

We have learned that the tool kits that come with many bikes just suck.  So, we started out our new and improved tool kit for our Beemers with a Cruz Tools kit and have since added many other might need extras from our own garage.  We feel the Cruz set up provides a good foundation and the quality of their tools are pretty decent. 

Continue reading “Cruz TOOLS – Because OEM kits Suck”

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