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how to maintain your motorcycle drive chain

first, understand that it needs to be done at least every 600 miles. second, realize that you just hit 2k miles on your new vstrom, and as far as you know, it has yet to be done… third, do it, now.

clean motorcycle chain

– to clean, use kerosene. I used a clean (rag) towel soaked it and scrubbed the exposed chain. since I do not possess a center stand, I had to roll the bike forward to expose more chain. rinse repeat until the entire chain had been soaked. a soft brush would be effective for those who require OCD-type clean – I did not have one thus did not reached such unsullied nirvana. there is a lot of evidence surrounding the adverse effects of using WD-40 in cleaning a chain – it is a penetrant and can wreak havok on the o-rings of chains. the suzuki owners says use kerosene, so that’s what I did.

– to check chain tension: simply push or pull on the lower part of the chain. suzuki recommends between a 0.8 and 1.2 inch give. mine was on the high side; I plan on tightening it next chain lube session. this involves moving the rear wheel back.

– to lube: use chain lube. due to availability, I chose Napa autoparts Chain and Cable spraycan lube. suzuki of course recommends their own brand, but I could not get it now. I performed the same rolling the bike forward stunt as before spraying lube on each link until satisfied.

– done? I went for a short ride around the neighborhood to ensure all felt well. it did. when I returned to the stable, I discovered a fair amount of oil fling around the rear tire and other nearby to the chain parts. a quick yet thorough wipe down ensued.

– for future: get (or make) a center stand or swing arm rear stand. this job would be much quicker may even enjoyable with the back tire free from ground contraints… continually standing then rolling the bike is a monotonous and rather time consuming task. and, probably get a better (less flingy) can of chain lube.

– good references in my quest: webbikeworld’s Motorcycle Chain Lube part one and part two, two contains a significant amount of insightful reader/editor discussion. calsci’s how to clean your drive chain article – however it contrarily suggests ye’ol’ WD-40 to clean which I would not do.

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