Motorcycle Chain and sprockets, Shaft Drives, Belts Maintenance Guide

Motorcycle Drive Maintenance Tips to keep your motorcycle at peak condition.

Motorcycles accelerate fast and have a high top speed but it is your brakes that you depend on to stop you when you need it. Learning to preform your own motorcycle brake maintenance on your bike will keeps your brakes in top condition.
Motorcycle master cylinder, brake line, caliper and disk brake (rotor).
Motorcycle master cylinder, brake line, caliper and disk brake (rotor).

 

Motorcycle Drive Maintenance

Chain and sprockets, Shaft Drives, Belts

Tip: Lube your chain after each ride when the chain is warm so the oil can easily soak in and get into all the tight spots of the chain.

These items that are essential to the well being of your bike. If not well maintained you will end up spending a lot of money all too often to have them replaced.

Chains: Lubricate them often with a commercial chain spray everytime you fill up for gas. (or at the end of each ride). Spray liberally on the side of the chain that comes into contact with the sprockets. Ensure that you spray both left and the right hand side of the chain. Position a piece of newspaper so that you do not dirty the rear wheel rim as you spray. Use a second piece on the floor to catch any drips. Wait five or ten minutes before you wipe all excess oil off the chain. This whole process is a lot easier if your motorbike has a centre stand. Spinning the back tyre will ensure that the rest of the chain is lubricated when it comes into contact with the sprocket and pinion. This is a task that is best done when you return home from your ride while the chain is still warm.

Bike chains are never taut but must be able to sag between 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ at the mid-point between the two sprockets. The sag is used when the bike suspension moves up and down over uneven surfaces.

Shaft Drives: Even though shaft drives on motorcycles require little maintenance we would suggest replacing the shaft drive oil every time you change the oil on your motorcycle. This will lead to a very long and happy life for the shaft drive.

Belt Drives: As with shaft drives, belts do not require a lot of maintenance. Everytime you change the oil on your motorcycle check the belt tension and adjust if necessary. Make sure your belt is always clean.

 

Chain Maintenance 101

If your chain is not an endless loop it will use a master link to join the two ends together. Check the condition of this link on a regular basis. Unfortunately replacing it usually requires a special tool to force it to separate. Bike chains are never taut but must be able to sag between 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ at the mid-point between the two sprockets. The sag is used when the bike suspension moves up and down over uneven surfaces.

The closed end of the master link must precede the open end on its way around (see arrow)

Cleaning. If your chain becomes very dirty e.g. after a long ride on a dirt road, leave it overnight. The crud becomes hard and is easily brushed off with a small steel wire brush the next morning. If you do want to clean it with a solvent do not use petrol as this dries out the small rubber O rings in the chain. Use a commercial chain cleaner, kerosene or diesel fuel as these are all oil based.

Chains stretch with time no matter how well they are cared for. You will know when the chain has stretched too much when you are able to pull the chain off the back of the rear sprocket. See diagram below


(Chain Tension Photo)


When you try this when the chain is new, it will not budge from the sprocket but when it has become stretched, it moves off easily.


About Michael Le Pard 1608 Articles
"Mr. Totalmotorcycle". Owner and Founder of Total Motorcycle. Supporting Motorcyclists and Motorcycling for 18 great years.