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Cleaning chain before lubrication


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Firstly having migrated from cycling last year, I am slightly surprised that chain cleaning isn't mentioned more often. perhaps They are obsessed because of efficiency since they only have leg power, but wear is also an issue. With that in mind I have carried over my chain obsession.

My can of muc-off says to clean and decrease before the 1st use. I imagine that I should be using greaser /detergent for that. What about the 2nd use?

Revzill says to use Kerosene. That must be for an oil based lubricant. Yesterday I bought a can of WD-40 chain cleaner which claims to be fast drying but it leaves something behind. My next door neighbor just keeps applying gear oil. I don't know what the question is - except to ask what everyone else does.

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Shaft :mrgreen:

As for lubing a chain I used to clean it and lube it every 500 miles or so or if it needed it

for cleaning I just used to buy chain cleaner a lot of people use paraffin for lube I used to use all sorts :lol:

D.I.D used to recommend gear oil for their chains not sure id they still do but mostly thats what I used

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Kerosine/Parrafin is ideal for cleaning the chain.

I brush it on, run the bike round the block, then wipe it off with a rag.

Leave to dry for a while then re-lube. WD40 does a good job as well.

In the summer I sometimes use gear oil, bushed on, its less messy than spray can grease. It doesn't stay on long, but after a few applications the chain ends up cleaner.

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Kawasaki also recommend gear oil . Some chain lubes are very sticky and consequently will gather abrasive fine grit . The resultant paste will subsequently wear out the moving parts of the chain . So it makes sense to thoroughly clean the chain from time to time instead of just spraying more chain lube on top of the dirt.I generally use a very light oil such as 3 in 1 spray from Poundland as a cleaner and then re apply a sticky chain lube .

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What does the handbook say...

(after checking slack)


Clean the chain and sprockets while rotating the rear wheel.

Use a dry cloth with chain cleaner designed specifically for O-ring chains, or neutral detergent.

Use a soft brush if the chain is dirty.

After cleaning, wipe dry and lubricate with the recommended lubricant.

Recommended Lubricant:

Drive chain lubricant designed specifically for O-ring chains.

If not available, use SAE 80 or 90 gear oil.


I consider myself 'new' to chains... as Ive not owned or even thought about a chain driven bike since the early/mid 1990s. And even then.. a couple of brand new bikes, I had a scottoiler fitted from new. And didn't keep the bikes very long.. so to be frank, I've not had to think about a chain since the late 1980s!!

But, coming back to them, I have a few observations. make it easy for yourself, either fit a scottoiler (or similar) Or, make it less of a chore by either fitting a centre stand, or having a paddock stand. So, you can easily rotate the wheel and do all the above with the minimum of fuss. This is why, the moment I read the specs for my bike, I knew straight away that a centre stand had to be the first priority. fitted from new.

I'm not in any rush to fit a scottoiler.. but, who knows? that may well change as time goes by.

Ive been using the cheap bicycle citrus degreaser from Wilko. I bought one of those cheap blue square end chain brushes from eBay. and a can of 'oil based' silkolene lube. With it being winter.. just as with my push bike, I wont use wax based lube.. its too wet and the stuff just washes off. on the push bike and presumably its no different on the motorbike.

I understand the owners manual.. and ultimately DID are telling me to use proper bike lube unless Im in the back of beyond and cant buy it.. then use Gear oil. So.. gear oil as a last resort? Thats fine by me. Im probably never going to be in that type of situation.. middle of outer Mongolia and no chain lube for a 1000 miles.

I thought it odd that Honda/DID recommend a "neutral detergent" - and thats probably the easiest of all. its usually the cheapest stuff you can buy (not for dishes) and easy enough to find.. and easy to use. Just rinse it off with water afterwards and allow it to dry. I would likely have a ride round the block to speed that up and also warm the chain so the lube can more easily penetrate.

I can see some people getting upset about using 'detergent' on a chain.. but there it is in black and white direct from Honda/DID.




Im at about 750 miles now.. and have cleaned/lubed the chain twice. it was no big deal and not exactly a chore. But, I did make a point of making it easier for myself from the get-go. Centre stand. Brush. Degreaser. Rags. Lube. and some cardboard. (to stop the lube getting where it shouldn't.)

oh.. and making some time. like 10 minutes to do the job. Also, Im thinking that actually taking the time to do this very minor task means that you are more likely to spot a problem in its very early stages before it can get out of hand. As is implied at the top of this (overlong) post. cleaning and lubeing the chain should be done after checking the slack.. which is something that should be done fairly regularly.. properly.

One quick edit. The owners manual says "clean chain and sprockets"

that's sprockets PLURAL.

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I have used the dry wax chain treatments on both my push bike and motorcycles - in both cases the chain rarely needs cleaning as a the dry wax doesn't attract dirt. I rode Land's End to John O'Groats using that stuff and was the only one in our group not to have chain problems.

For the motorcycles I use Wurth's chain dry wax and tend to give the chain a quick spray little and often. They seem to thrive on it as I rarely need to adjust them or do much else with them. The trick is to give the chain a quick spray after a ride so the wax has time to dry before next time out.

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Bike up on stand, cardboard below bike and hold a half a4 piece behind chain to protect body work, spray muck off chain cleaner (or wd40) on chain, rotate wheel, spray, etc till covered, hold this 99p brush from ebay on the chain,




Rotate wheel vigorously. Wipe with an old towel, apply muck off wet lube, rotate wheel all the while.

Enjoy the smell of the muck off and smile at your shiny chain.

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