How to Properly Lubricate Your Chain? For Newbies

How to Properly Lubricate Your Chain? For Newbies

The chain requires regular care to keep it in top condition. You'll need to keep it well lubricated to minimize friction between its moving parts— this helps reduce tear and wear, extend its lifespan, and enable your bike to move more smoothly.

As a motorcycle owner, learning how to lubricate your motorcycle chain properly on your own is essential for the well-being of your beloved bike. Right below here, you’ll discover an easy step-by-step beginner guide on how to lubricate your chain.

Things You’ll Need:

Step-by-step Guide for Lubricating Your Motorcycle Chain:

As you’ll discover below, lubricating your motorbike chain is an incredibly easy DIY task that requires no special skills.


Even absolute beginners can do it by following these steps…

Step 1. Get the motorcycle into position

The first order of operation involves positioning your bike in such a way that the rear wheel (where your chain is) can rotate freely.

If your bike has a center stand, you just need to lower it to put your bike in a perfect position for easy chain oiling. Alternatively, you can use a paddock stand or rear stand to raise your rear wheel off the ground.

Step 2. Check the current state of your chain

Once you can access your chain, you should make a point of closely examining it as well as the sprocket (if you have done it recently) to see their current condition and whether they need replacement.

Inspect the chain to see it has become worn out.

Check how much side to side movement your chain makes and how its links slide back and forth under tension and compression. If it allows for minimal variation, then it’s in good condition.

You should also examine the master link (the link that joins the chain ends together) and ensure it’s well secured.

Examine the sprockets for wear. Its teeth tips ought to be flat under normal conditions. If you find that the tips are sharp, it’s a sign of the leading and trailing edges being heavily worn out.

Experts recommend replacing both the chain and sprockets simultaneously if either of them is worn out. This is because replacing just one of them might not improve the situation.

Step 3. Give the chain a thorough cleaning

If you’re satisfied with the current condition, you can go ahead and clean it in preparation for oiling.


Grab your chain cleaner and generously spray it on your chain to dissolve all the old lubricant as well as any other dirt particles that might have found their way onto the chain. Work your way around your motorcycle until you have cleaned the entire perimeter.

With the entire chain soaked in the cleaner, use the cleaning brush to scrub it in an attempt to get the gummed gunk out. Be thorough with the scrubbing to ensure you obtain a cleaner chain surface where your lube can adhere more easily.

Do one more re-spraying of the chain with cleaner to dissolve any stubborn grime and gunk that won’t come out no matter how hard you scrub the chain.

Step 4. Dry the chain completely

Now use a dry cloth or rag to completely wipe off the excess chain cleaner and dry your chain. Don’t be in a rush to dry your chain; take time to ensure you get it as dry as possible.

The dryer the chain surface, the better the lubricate will adhere to it.

Step 5. Lubricate the chain

Finally, you have a clean, dry chain…and it’s ready for oiling!

Depending on the type of chain on your motorcycle, the lubricant application method might slightly vary for different bikes.

In the case of a plain chain, we suggest that you lather on the lube and wipe off any excess. By keeping the plain chain coated with the lubricant, you’ll enable it to stay in tiptop condition and perform well for miles and miles.


With a sealed chain, you should apply the oil inside the O-rings to help lubricate it properly while protecting its outer from rust.

Give the lube a few minutes before wiping the excess off. You can take this short waiting time to clean your workstation.

That’s it! Your motorbike chain is well lubricated, and it’s ready to keep your bike running smoothly for the next couple of hundred miles!

Extra Tips:

  • Consider lubricating when your chain when it’s still warm (i.e., after a ride). In this state, the lube tends to spread more easily and penetrate the roller quite faster.
  • Make sure your chain is completely dry before applying lubricant. The lubricant tends to stick more efficiently on a dry chain surface.
  • Consider washing your bike after lubricating the chain. Otherwise, you might lock water inside the chain that can result in rust and corrosion.
  • Stick to lubricants specially made for motorcycle chains. While using other options such as engine oil might help reduce friction, they’re not formulated to offer resistance to water or dust. This can leave your chain exposed to elements when riding in dirty paths or rainy weather.

How Often Should You Lubricate Your Chain?

There are mixed opinions on how regularly you should oil your motorcycle chain.

The RULE OF THUMB goes that you should consider lubing your chain after roughly every 300 miles (500km) you cover.

Some folks advocate for lubricating it after every ride. While this is entirely okay and a great way to ensure your chain stays on top of its performance, you might not have the time to do it.

If you ride your bike in dirty or wet conditions, you might consider oiling your chain more often to prevent wear and corrosion.

If you still have doubts on the right chain lubrication frequency, consult your user manual to see if the manufacturer offers you any insights on when to service your chain.

Final Verdict

Lubricating your motorcycle chain properly is a relatively easy DIY project. The process should take you around 15-20 minutes if you have the right tools for the job. Keep in mind that lubing your chain can go a long way in extending the life as well as the performance of your bike. You’ll need to lubricate your chain at regular intervals, after roughly every 300 miles, to ensure it stays in top condition at all times.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!