How to Clean a Dirt Bike Chain

How to Clean a Dirt Bike Chain
How to Clean a Dirt Bike Chain

How to Clean a Dirt Bike Chain – A dirt bike has many parts that require proper maintenance to ensure a smooth ride. One of them is the dirt bike chain. A dirt bike chain is a crucial part of off-road motorcycles that transfers power from the engine to the rear wheel. To keep the chain running smoothly and lasting longer, it’s important to clean, lubricate, and adjust it regularly. Proper maintenance prevents wear, ensures good power transfer, and reduces the risk of the chain breaking during intense off-road riding. 

If you do not keep proper maintenance in mind, you end up with a chain that needs replacement. While there are many top options in the market, it helps to have quality lube. However, if you want to know how to clean a dirt bike chain, there are a few points to note. 

To maintain a dirt bike chain in good condition, it is recommended to clean and lubricate it every 300 to 500 miles of riding. Applying lubricants after cleaning and ensuring the chain is dry allows for better transmission and prevents rust. It is also important to clean and lubricate the chain after riding in the rain, as the water can wash away the lubricant. By regularly maintaining and lubricating the chain, it can last up to 30,000 miles.

How to Clean a Dirt Bike Chain: The Process 


Before getting into the maintenance portion of the chain, you need to prep it first and the to do so, follow these steps:

Step 1: Turn off the Engine

Make sure your bike is completely turned off for safety. If you’ve just finished riding, let the bike cool down before proceeding.

Step 2: Lift the Rear Tire

Use a rear paddock stand to lift the rear tire so it can rotate freely while you clean it. If you don’t have a stand, ask a friend for help or make your own. Place a piece of cardboard under and in front of the tire to protect the floor and tire from any dripping lube or cleaner.

Step 3: Optional: Clean the Bike with Water

If your bike chain is very dirty or muddy, wash it with water and gently scrub it with a brush to remove any buildup. Use a garden hose with low pressure to avoid moving the chain’s O-rings. Finally, wipe the wet chain before moving on.

The Cleaning Process

Step 4: Spray Chain Cleaners

To clean your dirt bike chain, you have two options:

Option 1: Leave the chain on

Spray a generous amount of your chosen dirt bike chain cleaner onto the chain. Make sure to soak it thoroughly to remove the stuck grease and dirt.

Option 2: Remove the chain

If your chain is very dirty or rusty, you can remove it from the sprockets for a more thorough cleaning. You don’t need to do this every time. Follow these steps if you choose to remove it:

Locate the master link, which usually has a clip or looks different from the other links.

Use pliers to push the clip’s narrow opening toward the closed end. For rivet-type links, you can use a chain removal tool to push out the master link’s pin.

Once the clip or pin is removed, hold one end of the chain and gently pull it away from the sprockets. Place it in a small washbasin and soak it in chain cleaners to dissolve grease and dirt.

Step 5: Scrub the Chain

Use a grunge brush to scrub the chain’s outer part, focusing on the links and rollers. Spin the tire while scrubbing to clean all sides thoroughly. For the inner surface, scrub sideways as you turn the wheel. If the chain is very dirty or rusty, a brass brush can be used. Also, check and remove grime from the sprockets.

Final Steps

Step 6: Wipe and Repeat if Needed

After scrubbing, use a dry cloth to wipe off any remaining dirt and liquid from the chain. Repeat the cleaning steps if necessary to ensure a thorough clean.

Step 7: Apply Chain Lube

Once the chain is dry, apply motorcycle chain lube. Spin the rear wheel slowly while applying the lube to the underneath part of the chain. Make sure to cover all the chain links.

Usually, lubrication is done on the inner surface of the chain. Start near the sprocket and apply the lube evenly. Avoid using too much lube, especially for sealed chains with rings, as it can cause excessive wear.

After applying the lube, lightly wipe the chain with a dry cloth to remove any excess residue. Allow some time for the lube to penetrate and stick to both sides of the plates.

If you removed the chain, reattach it to the sprockets by placing back the clip or pins using the same tools as before.

Explore the importance of maintaining and choosing the right dirt bike chain Read More.

Additional Maintenance Points 

In addition to the above cleaning steps, there are other ways to maintain a dirt bike chain. To maintain a dirt bike chain, adjust it regularly to prevent stretching and wearing. Avoid spraying a pressure washer too close to the chain to prevent internal rusting. Clean the chain after each ride and replace it if you notice signs of sprocket teeth wear or if it comes away from the rear sprocket more than a few millimeters when pulled. You can also measure its length or consult your service manual to determine if it has stretched excessively.

If you want to explore more maintenance guides, check out our cleaning guide and maintenance checklist. 

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