How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain

MC Garage shows you how to get a deep clean on really dirty chains

Chains get dirty. Really dirty. Wiping your chain down with a cleaner-moistened rag works well for removing superficial grime prior to applying fresh lube, but occasionally (with every oil change anyway) you should give your drive chain a deep clean. Here's how to clean a motorcycle chain.

Chain cleaning

Step 1

The best time to clean your chain is after a ride when it’s good and warm. Park your bike on its centerstand or on a rearstand near a hose. You’ll understand why in a moment.©Motorcyclist
How To Clean A Motorcycle Chain

Step 2

Place a piece of cardboard beneath the lower rung of the chain to block overspray, and then liberally apply an O-ring-safe chain cleaner to the entire chain.©Motorcyclist
How To Clean A Motorcycle Chain

Step 3

Gently scrub the chain with an old toothbrush or a chain-specific brush such as the Tirox 360 brush ( used here.©Motorcyclist

Step 4

Clean your rear sprocket with a solvent-soaked rag. If necessary, remove stubborn grime with a plastic putty knife. Bonus points for removing the front sprocket cover and scraping the crud from the countershaft-sprocket pocket.©Motorcyclist
Chain cleaning

Step 5

Rinse the chain with a hose to wash the cleaner off. Resist the urge to pressurize the stream with your thumb, and don’t even think about firing up the pressure washer.©Motorcyclist
How-To Motorcycle Tech Tips

Step 6

Take the bike for a short ride (5 miles or 10 minutes) to dry the chain and to warm it up. Then put it back on a stand and apply your lube of choice to the overlapping links of the lower rung. Wipe off excess lube, check your chain slack, and you’re good to go.©Motorcyclist