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The Importance of Chain Maintenance

I decided to write this post after coming across a post on a facebook group I am a part of where the OP was asking for recommendations for new chain and sprockets because their chain snapped. Naturally, I asked to myself, “How did the chain snap?” To the comments!

Someone else asked the same question, and the OP’s response was that it was an old chain and they had it serviced at the dealer at the beginning of the year and was hoping to get another year out of it.

Queue the red flags, the sirens, the red alert, everything! They had it serviced at the beginning of the year! Why is this bad? Well, unless they only rode a couple hundred miles and never in the rain then there needed to be more maintenance done. Don’t get me wrong, it is possible that they only rode a couple hundred miles during the year, but by the way the comments were going from the OP this was not the case.

You should always lube your chain after riding in wet weather or washing the bike – this is critical. I will get into more on that in a minute. You should clean and lube your chain about every six hundred miles or so. If you are on a long trip you can get away with just lubing it rather than cleaning it all the time as you do need a water source to rinse the cleaner off.

Why? Well, the chain is metal for one. We aren’t talking stainless steel or aluminum, just regular steel. What happens when regular steel gets wet? It rusts. What also happens? The water seeps into the pins (unless they are sealed, but even then it can still get in there) and rust forms which then causes friction which causes wear. By not lubing your chain after it gets wet, you are going to shorten it’s life quite a bit and it won’t be as safe to ride. Water can also remove the lubrication, which then wears your sprockets.

As for cleaning – think about where that chain is. What it is going through and picking up. Dust, dirt, tar, little gravel, grass and more. This stuff just accumulates which then causes premature wear on the chain and your sprockets. So cleaning it off every so often is just a good idea, but you need to wash the cleaner off before lubricating otherwise the cleaner will actually render most of the lubricant useless.

You might be thinking, okay – so I’ll just replace the chain and sprockets (remember to always change both, never just one or the other) as the wear. Well, that’s like saying you’ll just change the oil in your car when it gets low rather than at it’s scheduled maintenance thereby leading to wear on the engine. When your chain starts wearing prematurely, it isn’t a natural wear. It cuts grooves and weakens links in the chain. Now think about this – if you’re going 70mph and the chain snaps it’s going to fling up, rip the plastic chain cover to shreds, then smack your engine typically ripping a chunk right off thereby destroying your motor. Is it really worth it then?

Another benefit to regular maintenance on a chain is it gives you a chance to inspect it. Notice any bad wear patterns, or bad looking links. Things that may be an indication of an impending failure so you can take care of it before you end up totaling your motor.

A well maintained chain and sprocket set should be able to last 20k – 30k miles. Neglect can shorten that drastically.

Do yourself a favor, take the time to maintain your chain. If you’re going on a long trip, make sure to carry chain lube with you for if it rains.

Stay safe out there and keep the rubber side down.

Chain Maintenance

No, Motorcycles Do Not Own The Road – Neither Do Cagers

This post is more of a rant than anything else, but it needs to be said. Motorcycle riders get a lot of hate toward them. I am not sure why, but they do. Sure, there are a few bad apples out there, but that is true for anyone. Police, doctors, firefighters, lawyers, general contractors and more, but for some reason motorcycles get a lot more hate – with the exception of police these days.

The thing is, most of us are considerate riders – though we are more prone to make a point when you screw up. Post after post on social media where a rider shares a video of a car obviously taking the motorcycle riders right of way gets flak and hate comments with one comment being the most common, “You don’t own the road.”

Well you don’t own the damn road either, and when you pull out in front of us, turn in front of us, or when you merge into our lane with us next to you – you are performing an illegal action. That’s right – illegal! When you cause somebody to have to brake or swerve, you have taken their right of way away, and that is illegal. It is called “Failure to yield right of way.” Look it up, I’ll wait…

It doesn’t matter if you do it to a car or a bike, it is illegal. It is just more fatal or catastrophic for us motorcycle riders. See, despite what a lot of cagers (the term used for people who drive cars and never ride or have ridden a motorcycle) believe, motorcycles cannot stop quickly. You are talking about two inches of surface area on the asphalt that has to stop 400+ lbs of bike plus the rider. If the bike does grip, it is easy for the rider to go over the handle bars, or actually flip over completely. If the tires slide, it is bad because it can cause the bike to low side or high side (flip the rider off rather than lay it down). So the inability to wait five more seconds for the rider to pass may now have caused a loss of life. I’m not talking about when bikes follow too close and you brake check (another entire topic), or a deer runs out and you slap on their brakes and they rear end you – that’s just normal driver error suffered by some car and motorcycle operators.

I am talking about the failure to yield the right of way. Do you ever pull out or make a turn and hear a bike horn – probably not, most are pathetic. How about the high revs of a sport bike or the growl of a cruiser revving up to let you know that you just f**ked up. Yea, you did. They had to hit their brakes – and it doesn’t matter if they have to slam on them or just have to brake where they normally shouldn’t have – that is taking their right of way and you are at fault- and yes, if an officer sees this it will most likely result in a traffic citation.

We don’t own the road – but you guys think you do. Oh, they are small and on a bike, they’ll have to deal with it cause I’ll win. Well that mentality will make you so poor so quick because guess what – most of us have cameras now. That whole mentality of pulling out quick enough to get your rear bumper around so that it would be rear-end collision making it the fault of the person hitting you is done and gone – because if you take their right of way away, you are at fault, not them – the issue was always proving it – which now with cameras we can. And yes, we can legally record video of anything we want on public road ways because it is public and it is admissible in court for both the traffic citation you will receive, the liability of damages you will receive, and the personal injury lawsuit you will receive – or worse, wrongful death.

So to any of you who rant about motorcycles not owning the road when we share a video where someone obviously took their right of way away, I say turn in your driver’s license and don’t ever drive again, because you are obviously one of the assholes who do that or would do that. One of these times a biker is going to go down because of you, you are going to laugh, then you are going to be poor and possibly in jail (yep, you take the right of way away and it results in death its involuntary manslaughter at the minimum).

Change your attitude. Look twice. Remember, bikes cannot stop quickly and they may be moving faster than they look, but not just that – don’t take someone’s right of way away whether it a car or a bike. Just wait a few lousy seconds for a bigger opening. I cannot tell you how many times people have pulled out right in front of me and there is literally no one as far as you can see behind me. Just wait for the clearing. Save a life. Save yourself from the lawsuits. Obey the law.

Remember to always look twice too. The excuse of: “I didn’t see them,” doesn’t really work in civil court when you are facing lawsuits. Also remember we have cameras, and we use them religiously.