The Brain Bucket

How to Clean a Motorcycle Chain: Basic Motorcycle Maintenance For Beginners

Nov 23, 2019 12:00:00 PM / by RumbleOn Road Captain

Do you have 15 minutes? Perfect. That’s all you need to clean and lube a motorcycle chain. 

Basic motorcycle maintenance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but something as simple as cleaning and lubricating a motorcycle chain will go a long way in extending the life and performance of your bike. Plus, it’s easy.

How to maintain a motorcycle chain

Signs of motorcycle chain wear include: 

  • lots of side-to-side “wiggle room,” 
  • links that slide back and forth under compression and tension, and 
  • "shark fins" and/or sharp teeth on your sprocket caused by inconsistencies in acceleration and deceleration, or when the bike chain is really old (hence why you should be diligent about replacing the chain). 

If you aren’t sure about replacement schedules, consult your owner’s manual, but it’s typically every 300-500 miles.

Just like knowing how to change your motorcycle oil is an integral part of being a motorcycle owner, so is knowing how to properly clean and lube a motorcycle chain. After you gather all of the necessary supplies and figure out the motorcycle chain type, the rest is a walk through the park.

Beginners: Looking for some nifty motorcycle maintenance tips to keep your bike chain in good health? Read on below.


Click on the infographic to zoom in.

Motorcycle maintenance tips to maintain a chain


Does your bike have a plain or sealed (i.e. O-ring) bike chain? Do you use a specific motorcycle chain cleaner? Let me know in a comment!


Start your next adventure: Sell a motorcycle online today. 

Not sure where to sell motorcycles? RumbleOn is always a ready buyer. If you have a motorcycle, car, truck, or SUV taking up space in your garage, we’ll gladly take it off your hands. And to answer your question about how to sell a motorcycle to us, all you have to do is submit it for a no-obligation cash offer on our website and a trained Specialist will reach out to you in 15 minutes with your RumbleOn Cash Offer. Keep the cash outright or use it towards a Rumble Ready Ride of your choosing! I use RumbleOn exclusively to sell my motorcycles, and haven’t looked back. Get started on your vehicle sale today.

Get My Cash Offer

RumbleOn Road Captain

Written by RumbleOn Road Captain

Your fearless leader in all things to do with motorcycle education. I cover tips and advice for motorcycle riders, motorcycle product reviews, and pretty much anything I think is useful to my fellow bikers.