How to tighten, clean and lube your motorcycle’s chain

It’s your motorcycle’s chain that relays the power from the flywheel to the rear tyre. If it isn’t in a good shape or doesn’t have the right amount of tension, you’ll face transmissions losses, experience jerks when you accelerate and in some cases, may even end up breaking it. To ensure that your motorcycle’s engine power is transmitted to the rear wheel in a noise-free, efficient and smooth manner, the chain tension should be checked and tweaked from time to time. In this video, we’ll tell you all about how to check and adjust your motorcycle’s chain tension. We’ll also show you the right way to clean and lube your motorcycle to ensure that it functions optimally.

Keep necessary tools handy

Before you start, make sure that you have all the necessary tools required to carry out the procedure. Typically, a pair of large spanners to loosen the axle and sprocket and a smaller spanner to tighten the chain is what you’ll require. Each motorcycle is made differently though, and your specific motorcycle model may require special tools. Make sure you have the correct tools handy before you start. For this video, we have used the TVS Apache RTR 160 as a demo machine, and the tools shown are suitable to adjust chain tension for that bike only. Be advised that the tools required and the procedure to adjust your specific motorcycle’s chain tension may be different. Also, make sure that you have a good quality chain cleaner and lube to clean and lubricate the chain after you have adjusted the tension.

Adjusting the chain

While adjusting chain tension is a simple procedure, there are some things that you have to be careful about. Do not over-tighten the chain as it may lead to breakage, increased sprocket wear and reduced functioning of the rear suspension. Do not leave it under-tightened too, as the motorcycle will operate in a noisy, jerky manner in that case, and may off the sprocket as well. About an inch’s slack is generally considered good, and that’s what you should aim for while adjusting the tension. Always make sure that the wheel is properly aligned by using the markers for axle and sprocket nuts on either side of the swing-arm.

Cleaning and lubricating

Once you have tightened the chain, it’s a good time to clean and lube it as well. However, never put the motorcycle in gear and use its engine power to move the chain while cleaning as it may cause injury. Always rotate the wheel in neutral gear while using your hand. Once the chain is cleaned properly, spray or apply the lube evenly from top and ensure that it has entered the inner parts of the chain properly. Check and service your motorcycle chain every 500 km for optimum performance.

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