Chain Maintenance - and go! |

Chain Maintenance - and go!


Well-known member
OK riders, apparently this topic is just as convoluted as which oil to use.

I've never had to do chain maintenance, but the new bike needs it. I'm hoping to develop some good habits here.

It was recommended by a dealer to stay on top of it especially when it rains, or after dirt. I believe it's also needed every 2000k's

Ipone cleaner and grease was also recommended, and I guess I need a brush.

I also don't have a centre stand which I believe would make this a bit easier.

You got thoughts let'm rip I need your input!
From the D.I.D. site

1. Cleaning & Lubrication
D.I.D does not recommend maintaining any drive chain with kerosene.
■Cleaning a sealed chain with kerosene would cause deformation of the seal ring and can oftentimes lead to rusting of a chain due to the removal of grease on the chain’s surface, which increases the risk of chain corruption and chain failure. It is highly likely that use of kerosene on a sealed drive chain will drastically decrease the chains performance.
For cleaning and lubricating, D.I.D recommends use of exclusive oils that state to be seal-ring safe to properly maintain any drive chain.

Clean the chain by wiping with a soft cloth dampened with an O-Ring/X-Ring® safe cleaner and dry completely every 300miles (500kms) to prevent surface rust and ensures maximum performance. To protect X-Ring®, never use steam, thinner or such volatile solvents as gasoline or benzene, and a wire bush as well. Lube the chain every other use with an O-Ring/X-Ring safe lubricant.

2. Replacement Time
Recommended max stretch of sealed chains are 1% and non-sealed chains are 2% of the overall length of the chain. (Sealed = .75” of 120L chain. Non-Sealed = 1.5” of 120L chain.) Rust, stiffness, or missing X-Rings may cause the chain to break prematurely. If you find any of these circumstances, excessive elongation, or abnormal noise during use, please replace the chain and sprockets at the same time.

3. Battery Liquid/Corrosive Materials
Whenever battery (acid) liquid comes in contact with a chain, the entire chain must be replaced. This may compromise the chain’s integrity. Be sure to clean the chain after contact with corrosive materials like rock salt.

4. Replacing Sprockets
Replace them promptly with new ones when the wear approaches the maximum permissible limit, or if they sustain any damage that might affect safe riding. For questions regarding replacement of sprockets, contact your dealer’s service department.

5. The condition and quality of the entire chain system affects the performance and life of the sprockets. Check your chain for wear and adjustment, as well as sprocket alignment when replacing sprockets. A deteriorated chain system may cause extreme sprocket wear and reduced life. DO NOT change chain size and type, or sprocket tooth number and size as required by the manufacturer of your motorcycle for street legal use.

I believe the Vstrom comes with an X ring chain that is basically permanently lubed.

The lubrication that you do is to clean off debris and stop the exterior from rusting. (I didn't know about the severity of the brake fluid contamination).
I would generally lube it every 2 tanks of gas or after a full day of riding when doing 1000km/days of harder riding. If it was excessively raining or dirty, then I would slip in an extra chain lube application. If it was clear, sunny conditions on long distance trips when riding nicely, then I might lube it every other day.

It's best to lube a chain with the bike on the centre stand (so buy one because they are super useful), just after you are parking the bike, while the chain is still warm and it won't fling up on the bike since it's now parked. Some chain lube flings a lot more than others and make a big mess of the rear wheel area. Some chain lube's are thin and do a really nice job of lubing, while some are drier like the Dupont ones. Some are white in colour when applied so it's easier to see if it's still there or it's time to lube again. I use whatever and have multiple types as long as it doesn't make a big mess.

I would only clean my chain 1x - 2x a year before a V-Strom or GTAM meetup and usually I am getting no less than 50k out of each chain/sprockets set, which I would always chainge out as a set.

Some people will chainge the sizing of the front sprocket by 1 tooth in either direction to either increase the pull in lower gears, or oppositely reduce engine rpms in higher gears.

A slightly loose chain is better than a slightly tight chain. Links that are tight or stuck and do not move freely generally indicate a chain is coming to it's end of life.
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When I remember, paint brush and gear oil after a ride when it's warmed up. Not very often, because I don't like cleaning what flings off on the next ride.
Soft rag with used motor oil for cleaning, if I think it's looking particularly grimy.
Neither are necessary, but Motion Pro makes two devices that are handy if you're wondering if you're doing it right when it comes time to adjust the chain slack:

I like DuPont Chain Saver as a lube/cleaner. It does not fling off and is not sticky, so a separate cleaning step isn't really required. The chain on the last bike I bought had been treated with some super sticky crap by the previous owner and I'm still trying to clean all of that stuff off. Sand sticks to it and makes a real mess.

I basically just try to lube it when the o-rings look dry, or after it's been in the rain. Just a rag or paper towel, no stiff brushes which can damage the o-rings.
Just got back from going around Superior. There were a couple of rust spots on the chain. Lots of rain on the trip.

I put the bike on the centre stand in neutral. Left hand pouring engine oil on a rag, and rotating the tire. Right hand rubbing down the chain with the rag. Some kind of spill collector underneath.
Not sure if that's enough, but it looked pretty clean.

I've had a bike on a trip with a frozen link before and it isn't pleasant.
V-Stroms don't come with centre stands? They make chain lubrication much more convenient... I dunno if I would cough up the $500 that Suzuki seems to want though
V-Stroms don't come with centre stands? They make chain lubrication much more convenient... I dunno if I would cough up the $500 that Suzuki seems to want though
They don't, but there are OEM ones and lot's of aftermarket ones. In my experience on the older models of this bike, SW-Motech makes ones that are really easy to lift the bike with and have higher ground clearance than the OEM.
I've lubed my motorcycles without a center stand.

Lever the rear wheel off the ground by pulling the bike toward you using the front wheel and side stand as a two-pointed base. Make sure you have the front brake engaged.

Use your foot to rotate the rear wheel while it's off the ground, set the bike down again, lube that part of the chain and repeat the above steps to get at all parts of the chain.

Helps if there's someone else there to help you either lift the rear wheel or lube the chain, but you can do it yourself, it just takes more time.
Get a stand.

I’m currently using motul chain paste, on the fence if I’ll continue but no complaints.

I use kerosene to clean it, let it sit for 10 minutes on a particularly grimy chain and it eats everything. Then wipe with a rag, ready to relube.
I routinely get 50,000kms out of a set of chain and sprockets. Never a problem.

Don't overthink it, Mr. Burns. Use any chain lube, oil, whatever. I've never actually cleaned a chain; lube only. Stick loosely to the schedules mentioned above. Lube following a ride as opposed to before; a warm chain is better, and it'll give some time for the stuff set up, less fling.

And while you're at it, use your favourite degreaser and wipe down the wheel, spokes, hub, sprocket, swing arm, and anything else that is nasty. Wipe around the front sprocket, too. It's always easier to remove when everything is warm and gooey. Stay on top of this and your bike will always look great.
V-Stroms don't come with centre stands? They make chain lubrication much more convenient... I dunno if I would cough up the $500 that Suzuki seems to want though
Base models do not.
Only the XT models do.

Centre stands are not only good for maintenance in the garage but also on the roads.

Bonus is that they don't take up any space in the garage.

However you can pick up a rear stand for much less than a centre stand. Rear spools will need to be added to the bike.
Thanks all, very helpful, now I have to put it into practice.

I did a quick google search and found a post with @V-Tom advise in it, similar to what @Jayell mentions.

from his post:
" When people give you the above (or any) recommendations ask them how long their chains last. You will probably find that most chains doing any of the above last in the 20,000 to 30,000 mile range. My first two chains on my 2006 DL650 lasted 21,000 and 23,500 miles following what the manufacturer recommends.

My third chain was replaced at 46,500 miles and had some useful life left in it. I never cleaned that chain as cleanigng the chain does nothing usefull, but lubed it with Wurth HHS2000 every time I filled up the tank and after every ride in the rain. The HHS200 makes a mess, but it works. (The forth chain is still on the 2006 with 35,000 miles and lots of life but the bike is essentially retired so may not see any more mileage.)"

I like the idea of the white chain lub @shanekingsley mentions to get a visual of the amount of lube or coverage, I've seen this on newer bikes.

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