Friday, October 29, 2010



Dear Trailzone Team / Dr Phil: Thank you for such a great magazine -- please keep up up the good work! I have a question with regards to cleaning a motorcycle (off-road) chain: What is the best way to clean and remove sand particles from the chain after a day's off-road riding, in particular in sand? I am reluctant to use kerosene or similar solvents due to the concern that some of the solvent may remain within the chain links where it will evaporate slowly and in the process dilute the lubricant and render it ineffective in those enclosed areas. Currently, I use warm, soapy water and a reasonably coarse nylon brush to attempt to remove most of the sand particles prior to re-lubricating of the chain after sand riding, however I am unsure how effective that is? My Suzuki DR 650 is fitted with an O-ring sealed chain. I look forward to your advice.
Jan, via

Thanks for your email, Jan. Your current procedure for chain cleaning is very close to spot-on. We’ve done plenty of research on this with plenty of race teams and riders and it’s pretty much accepted that for riding in sand a proper chain lube is not used, unless it’s one of the Dry-Lubes you’ll sometimes see around. Mostly we’ve found that lubing prior to sand with WD-40 will lube well enough without the drama of sand sticking to the chain plates, nylon guides and rollers and causing wear while it’s there. We mostly use Raceline MX60 (it's Australian-made, sold through bike shops and distributored by Ficeda Accessories -- it’s great; although we also like Hondabrite cleaner that's made in Germany and sold via the USA to Honda shops here) to wash our bikes and this includes the drive chain. After a hose off we spray the chain with WD-40 and allow this to dry off over 24 hours, then wipe the excess off with a cloth and use a quality chain lube, or, if riding in sand more WD-40.
-- Dr Phil,

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