Cleaning the chain on your dirt bike creates a comprehensive, involved task that requires a thorough attention to detail to do correctly.
You'll need a host of tools and cleaning supplies, some extra help and a lot of spare time. Many riders bypass this part of clean-up and leave it to a professional chain cleaner. And, don't get us started on the lubricating process. So much work!
Actually it all takes about five minutes.
Place your bike on a stand, grab a grunge brush, a can of degreaser and your favorite lubricating spray. Use the brush to work away debris, turning the rear wheel as you move down the links. Rinse and repeat, as needed. Once clean and dry, spray on the lube. Done and done. Cleaning the chain makes up one of the easier jobs after riding and usually it's half clean by the time you've worked through everything else on the bike, anyway.
Mechanic's Note: Don't use a wire brush or degreaser with O-ring style chains.
However, those muddy days offer a bit more challenge and sometimes requires removing the chain if you run into trouble extracting a stubborn piece of debris or grime. Or, for the meticulous type who enjoy getting into the nooks and crannies of their dirt bike then go right ahead and remove the chain.
How to Remove a Dirt Bike Chain
Removing a dirt bike chain might prove tricky at first because it requires disconnecting the master link. You'll need a pair of pliers. (Some riders use screwdrivers but we don't recommend it.) This applies to both standard and O-ring style chains. The process becomes quite easy and takes all but five seconds after a few tries. Use one end of the pliers on an adjacent link as leverage while squeezing the closing end of the pliers to push the master link out.
Once removed, clean the chain using the grunge brush (or any stiff brush) and/or soak inside a container filled with degreaser. Don't forget to hose off the degreaser before applying lubrication! Replace the chain by wrapping around the sprockets and re-attaching the master link.
This requires more work than the five minute job above but a definite positive to removing the chain means getting a better visual for any wear on the chain, master link and the sprockets especially if close to the manufacture's recommendation for replacement.
You don't need to remove the chain very often for cleaning. Most of the time, probably 99.9 percent of the time, cleaning the chain requires the more simple process as noted above. Brush any debris off, remove the dirty grease and oil then spray fresh lubricant. But some riders enjoy spending the afternoon tinkering with their rides and really giving their dirt bike a once over especially if lots of time passed between rides or a big race day is ahead.
So, if the mental fight is half the battle in a Motocross race think of the confidence you'll gain knowing the time and effort put into a full detail cleaning of the shiniest dirt bike chain at the gate.
Check out these other favorite articles to help get you up to speed: