Chains need lube. it's a simple fact, but one that
many riders either neglect or just don't realise. If
you don't lube it, or don't lube it enough, then it's
going to wear out real quick. Not only will a worn
chain reduce power transmission to the rear wheel,
but it's going to wear out your sprockets real fast
too. So how is it done?
The easiest way is to have the bike on a stand with
the rear tyre off the ground. Chuck the bike in
neutral and lube the part of the chain where it runs
underneath the swingarm. You could lube the
portion of the
chain over the top of the swingarm, but you will make a mess on your swingarm as you do it, and the lube really
needs to be applied to the bottom (the side that touches the sprockets) of the chain. When you apply the lube, you
should be trying to get it into the sides of the chain, where the rollers meet the side plates - that's where it's really
needed. Once you've lubed the first portion of the chain, just rotate the back wheel to expose a fresh piece of chain
and continue on until the whole thing is done. Then give the back wheel a few good spins to really work the lube into
it and you're all done.
You can also do it at your campsite / base by tilting the bike on it's sidestand to that the rear wheel lifts off the
ground, or you can get someone to wheel the bike along while you crab walk behind it applying lube.
All of these methods work, none of them are hard, and as a general rule, a hard ridden dirt bike should have it's
chain lubed between rides or at least a couple of times during a days riding. But what do you use?
Obviously you need some sort of lubricant, and there are many to choose from. Some people still use engine oil
(old or new) but there are many better products. Almost everyone uses some sort of aerosol can just for the ease of
application. There are some that are specifically designed for dirt bikes, but as yet I haven't tested any, as they tend
to be a lot more expensive that standard lubes. Generally, you are looking for one of the less sticky types, because
we really don't want dirt sticking all over our chain. If the can you're looking at purchasing lists 'sticky' as a feature on
it, buy a different brand.
When you are doing a lot of sand riding, beach, dune or similar, it's often better to substitue a lighter lubricant and
put it on more ofter. WD40 or similar products work well. These types of lube hardly catch any sand or dirt at all, but
they don't stay on the chain for as long either. Be warned though, they may not be compatible with 'O' Ring chains
as they may harm the O rings or even wash out some of the internal lubricant.
So now you've got a very basic run down of lubing your chain, there shouldn't be any reason not to keep it well
lubed. If you do try one of the specialist dirt bike lubes, drop me an email and let me know how it went. Are they
really worth the extra cash?