Drive chain lube and tension check - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Drive chain lube and tension check

I drive my 2015 to work almost everyday. I work 32 miles from home, all highway.

My Vulcan currently has 1,800 miles or so. Bought it with 400 miles. I tend to just get on the highway and hold 75mph till I get to work.

I did the 600 miles dealer service.

I then did my own first chain lube/tension check once I finally got a rear stand. At about 1,400 miles.

The chain was pretty lose, but seemed well lubed still.

I don't ride in the rain and my roads are pristine 95% of the time, so the lube stays stuck on there and doesn't seem to get contaminated.

Assuming weather is perfect week after week and I ride 5 days a week (almost never happens...), I figure I will have to do a chain lubing/ tension check every 2 weeks or 640 miles.

Then I think every 4 weeks I do a full chain cleaning (Kerosene), lube and tension check. So every other lube involves a cleaning.

Does this all sound reasonable given how I ride, when I ride and the amount I ride?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 04:16 PM
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I've heard that lubing without cleaning is just sealing in the dirt, so maybe dont do that unless it's absolutely spotless. Otherwise, seems good to me, though I'm likely guilty of chain neglect.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeepRidin View Post
I've heard that lubing without cleaning is just sealing in the dirt, so maybe dont do that unless it's absolutely spotless. Otherwise, seems good to me, though I'm likely guilty of chain neglect.
Gotta agree, clean before you lube. Lube on a dirty chain provides limited benefit and as KeepRidin notes can seal in the dirt and be counterproduct.

I just hit 500 miles on my bike and will do the 600 mile first service soon enough. After that I too will need to get a rear stand and start performing regular chain maintenance.

Which stand did you get?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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I use a venom reat stsnd. Just barely works. I have my wife hold the bike steady. With a bit of extension, like 0.5" it would be prefect.

I can fabricate, weld, etc so this is easy.

As for the chain lube and clean debate, I tried to make it clear that where I ride is very clean. The chain always looks new and clean even after 1000 miles. This is why I would consider a quick lube with no cleaning every other service.

I ride enough that I will be inspecting once a week regardless.

Of course if it looks dirty I would clean. As a mechanical engineer I understand the issues that come with dirt and mechanical parts very well.

Anyways ride safe all!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 03:04 PM
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I'm not a welder so when it comes time to get a stand I'll look for alternatives...lol

I hear what you're saying about having clean riding conditions but unless you're riding in a clean-room there's still going to be dirt, sand, etc. hiding in there. "Best practice" would be to clean it before applying the new lube...not that you didn't already know that, lol.

How much more work is it to clean the chain?

Now I'm just getting back into motorcycle riding so I'm going to have to develop my own maintenance routine too but my hope if to find something akin to this tool that I use to clean my bicycle chain as it's a HUGE time saver! My first hit on Google produced these products from Kettenmax. No clue if they're any good but they look like they operate on a similar principle to my current bicycle chain cleaning tool and that thing is a wonder...the crud just comes right off the chain and it's shiny like new. My guess is that there are more tools like the Kettenmax on the market and maybe that will make the cleaning work less painful/time-consuming?

You may be able to get away with cleaning every other lube job but in the end the "best practice" is to clean before you lube and remains my recommendation.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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The "work" in my eyes is getting the bike up, down and placing cardboard to protect the wheel and driveway. The scrubbing is minimal work.

I will consider cleaning on each service.

I use a chain brush that was less than $10. Seems to work well. Maybe in the future I will look into other products.

You can use the Venom stand. It is just a close call. Price was right.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 08:28 PM
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I use the Harbor Frieght stand for mine, it's definitely a 2 person job to get it up though. I'm a mountain bike hold over so to me it's just nice enough not to have to clean it after EVERY ride. Lol
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisbernal91z View Post
Of course if it looks dirty I would clean. As a mechanical engineer I understand the issues that come with dirt and mechanical parts very well.

Anyways ride safe all!
Oh I say give it a year... then that chain will be slinging crud and have 5" of slack in it, cause you will be tired of cleaning and lubing and tightening chains by then.

Seen it a million times...
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 12:45 AM
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Which chain lube are you using?

From years of experience on my own bikes and dozens of customer bikes Ive serviced:

1. Lube it at least every month (when chain is warm after a long ride)
2. Full cleaning is only necessary 3-4x/year or if you get caught in a nasty sand storm
3. Adjust when cold and always remember that slightly loose is ALWAYS better than slightly tight. (Most chains work well 1.25-1.5" of slack)
4. Check for tight spots EVERY TIME the bike goes onto the stand for chain maintenance
5. MOST chains will give 12-15k miles of good use when properly maintained
6. Some chains can provide 20k miles of good use when properly maintained


Ive put thousands of miles on many different chains. Ive owned and rode sport bikes for years.

Any more questions sir?
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