April showers bring … mud. And mud brings greater wear and tear to your bike’s sprockets and chain. Grime and gunk also create drag that robs your bike’s performance. Keeping the drive train clean and free of crud will extend the life of critical components and maximize its usable power. Here’s how to live and ride crud free.
True Grit. Like sandpaper, dirt and mud are abrasives that rapidly wear away material on your bike’s chain and sprockets. After each ride—especially after riding in mud or rain—take a few seconds to visually inspect the condition of your bike’s drive train. If it’s coated, splattered or caked with mud and grit, don’t put the bike away until you’ve done a thorough cleaning. But beware; there’s a right and wrong way to clean the bits that get your bike’s power to the ground.
The Cleaning Solution Solution. Heavy grime may seem to call for high-pressure washing and heavy-duty solvents, but those can actually do more harm than good. High-pressure washers can penetrate sealed chains and capture water inside where it can rapidly corrode the chain. And chemical cleaners—including petroleum products—can break down those protective synthetic rings, allowing dirt and water to get to the chain’s pins and rollers. Avoid kerosene and penetrating products such as WD-40 as well. So, what does that leave you with? Always use a motorcycle chain cleaner designed specifically for the job. Spray it on generously and let it soak for several minutes. That’s when it goes to work breaking down the dirt and muck all by itself.
Give it the Brush Off. With the chain and sprockets well coated with chain cleaner, it’s time to brush off the grime. Use a three-sided chain brush that is made to clean multiple sides of a motorcycle chain at once. Take your time and be thorough, allowing the long synthetic bristles to get into the nooks and crannies where dirt commonly gets trapped.
Don’t forget about the front countershaft sprocket. Mud can easily get packed into the area around the front sprocket where it has little room to escape. You may need to pull the front sprocket cover to get at it for proper cleaning.
Let us Spray. Now that you’ve saturated the drivetrain with chain cleaner and brushed off the heavy muck, it’s time to give the system another generous spray of chain cleaner to flush away any remaining debris. Remember, chain cleaner is cheaper than a new chain and sprockets, so don’t be stingy; spray it on liberally!
Wipe & Dry. Take a clean, lint-free cloth and wipe down the entire length of chain and both sprockets until every surface is dirt-free and dry.
Get Lubed Up – The final step is to apply a quality chain lube to minimize friction and protect the drive train surfaces. Sunstar has a selection of premium chain lubricants designed specifically for your bike and your style of riding, whether you’re all about kicking up the dirt or gobbling up miles of pavement.
Meet the Grime Fighter. If dirt and mud riding is a regular gig for you, you may want to check out the Work-Z rear sprocket from Sunstar. The Work-Z sprocket has a unique self-cleaning offset tooth design to keep the drive system free of debris. That means less drag, less wear, and increased longevity (and less cleanup work for you). Check out the Work-Z and other Sunstar sprockets here.
When it comes to selecting the right components for your bike’s drivetrain, explore the full range of sprockets, chains, and lubricants available for your bike by visiting the SUNSTAR website at sunstar-braking.com. Need help selecting the right parts? Just ask!