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How To Lube a Motorcycle Chain

By Walter F. Kern

Consult the owner's manual for your bike for any recommendations on chain oiling made by the manufacturer. In the absence of such recommendations, consider the following as guidelines.

Here's How to Lube a Chain:

  1. Your motorcycle chain doesn't need much cleaning if you just ride on normal streets. WD-40 and a rag is about all you need and even then not very often.
  2. If you use gear oil, oil the warm chain after your last ride of the day using a brush (not an oil can). Put something under the chain to catch the drips and wipe off excess with a rag. Let sit overnight.
  3. If you use WD-40, spray on warm chain any time. Give it a couple of minutes to drip off or wipe off excess with rag. Ride anytime. Fly-off is moderate.
  4. If you use spray-on lubes, be sure to spray onto a warm chain. Do not over saturate. Spray it on the inside of the chain. That way on your next ride it will be slung outwards, through the chain.
  5. For O-ring chains, lube the chain hot. Spray PJ1 Blue Label chain lube directly at the center of the rollers at the rear of the rear sprocket. Move the rear wheel slowly and continue to apply. Let it dry.
  6. Clean-up: Oil and WD-40 are the easiest to clean up but also can create the biggest fly-off mess. PJ lubes or Chain Wax leaves the least amount of fly-off, but can build up on the chain itself.
  7. Chain lubing is another of many reasons why you shouldn't buy a bike without a centerstand.


Quick Tip: Warm the chain, lube every 500 miles, don't get any on the tires, ride bike right after to work it in, and remove excess after your first ride.

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