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Visionary
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4,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I ride a shaft drive bike but I recently have resurrected a crash damaged but otherwise very nice 2001 Marauder 800 for my stepdaughter to learn on. I changed the tree and a few parts, stuck a battery in there and it fired up like a champ..I was amazed! Then I realized that now that it's on the road I am responsible for a chain drive bike, and am looking for some advice, I have 2 questions.

1) Roughly how often should I be lubing the chain? I sprayed it twice with chain lube to get it loosened up ( the bike sat in a garage for 5 years) in the first 100 miles, it's working fine now but I'm just looking for a rough idea of how often to oil it, it does make a mess each time so it's a bit of a pain cleaning up afterward. Any tips or suggestions about chain lubrication?

2) How tight should the chain be? Right now it has very slight slack on the bottom when running, I think it could use a bit more tension but before I do it I figured I'd ask here.

BTW, we had some concerns about her ( 25 year old) learning on a pretty big bike for a first timer but since it was free except for the repairs it seemed like it was worth a shot. Well she made us proud... in 3 weeks she has gone from learning how to use the clutch and gear shift (she drives a stickshift car so that helped a lot) to riding with her mom and I on the highway so at least in this case it worked out just fine, she will be taking the MSF course and getting her license in 2 weeks. It must be nice to be 25 and fearless....
 

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Gone
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23,907 Posts
1) You can't go wrong with a little lubrication every 400-500 miles or after riding on wet roads. Every other fill up is a good guide. There are a lot of chain products, but I like the DuPont Multi Use lubricant. It sticks to the chain, penetrates well, and doesn't make a mess. There are probably a lot of others that do the same.

2) The chain needs to have a good amount of slack in it to accommodate suspension travel. A little loose is better than too tight. Generally, there should be between 3/4 to 1 inch or more of free play at the center of the chain. Since every motorcycle is different, check the owner's manual and set it to factory specifications to be safe and avoid unnecessary wear or damage to the drive train.
 

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American Legion Rider
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23,527 Posts
I never could get the chain right when I had one. What I started doing was have my wife sit on the passenger seat and not stand at all. Then I adjusted it to just start to be tight. That's not how you are supposed to do it but I stopped having problems after that. Chain always had some slack but not very much. But I did go to a belt soon.:D There's an art to deal with a chain and I admit I didn't have it. Just did what worked for me.
 

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Commute Racer
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2,225 Posts
One thing I have learned about chains, at least O ring ones, is that you CAN put too much oil on them. You don't need it, and it just gets everywhere and attracts grime, and grime kills chains.

Spray the bottom section of chain aiming at one inner joint and give a soft stream on the can with the tiny hose attached as you spin the rear wheel to make a full rotation of the chain, then aim at the other inner joint and repeat. Grab a rag and wrap your hand around the bottom chain with it and spin the wheel again (in reverse from normal rotation so your hand isn't drawn into the sprocket if you spin too quickly or grab too hard with the rag) Wipe the chain off well and you're done.

I would also suggest cleaning the chain roughly every 3-4th lube with kerosene soaked rag. If you need a little extra cleaning power, use a brush but don't go crazy with pressure.


Chain tension should be listed in the owners manual. Take note of HOW they say to measure it. Some are listed at the full travel from pulling down on the chain to pushing it up, and some list it as just pulling down and measuring from the chain guard on the bottom of the swingarm.
 

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Pale Rider
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528 Posts
I've heard every 300 miles. And, yes, the DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry, Wax Lubricant is a good one. I tried JB's... What an awful mess!!! The DuPont is quite good, with little fling off, if left to dry after application.

I put mine on the center-stand, idling, in 1st gear. Get down near the chain, and lightly spray as the chain spins by. Then shut it off, wait 10 minutes before riding. The DuPont Teflon is pretty dry, so it attracts little grime to chew up your chain.

Even the modern X-ring chains need lubrication on the sides of the plates. The internal lubrication is for the rollers, but that grease is behind rings. The outside of the chain still needs lubricating. Proper lubrication will allow 20k, or more, miles of smiles. Without lubrication, the chain will fail long before that. Better to over-lube, than under-lube it.

There is a tool, called, The Grunge Brush. Look it up on the Internet. It is made specifically for motorcycle chain cleaning. Worth your while, and your money. Cheers!
:coffee:
 

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American Legion Rider
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23,527 Posts
There is a tool, called, The Grunge Brush. Look it up on the Internet. It is made specifically for motorcycle chain cleaning. Worth your while, and your money. Cheers!
You mean that works better than a dill pickle???? :coffeescreen:
 

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Visionary
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4,614 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone, this was exactly the kind of practical chain experience I was looking for.

Ride safe!!!
 
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