Maintaining Dirt Bike Chain Lube
Unfortunately, there is no objective answer to “when and how often should I use dirt bike chain lube?” It can be dependent upon a number of factors, like operating conditions, chain type and how frequently you ride. Regardless of these factors, we recommend following the guidelines below when you maintain your dirt bike chain.
- Lubricate the chain before every ride or race
- Lubricate the chain after each wash
- Extend the life of the chain by cleaning regularly
X-ring and O-ring dirt bike chain maintenance
O-ring and x-ring chains are ideal for riding through tough terrains like water and mud. With O-rings, the small rubber piece works effectively between the inner and outer side plates to keep dirt and other abrasive materials from getting into and damaging the chain pivot points. These rings are shaped like an O and will transform on two sides when introduced to compression, which creates a seal that keeps contaminants out and lube in.
An x-ring chain has a similar design, but the small rubber rings are shaped like Xs. Upon compression between plates, the two smaller faces will form a seal against the plate. This setup provides the same level of sealing, but with less friction and more power on the ground. Because of this added benefit, X-ring chains are costlier.
Though lubricant is sealed inside the pins, O-ring and X-ring chain rollers do still need lubrication, just like side plates and other components in order to prevent corrosion.
Non O-ring chains require dirt bike chain lube more frequently
Motocross riders tend to go for X-ring and other non O-ring chains because they’re lighter, which means more power to the ground. The additional power is a trade-off for lack of chain protection, though, because then abrasives and dirt are free to get into every nook and cranny of the chain. This means if you choose non O-ring chains, you will need to lubricate and clean the chain more frequently.
Be sure to use dirt bike chain lube before riding and after washing
A dedicated chain lube that’s designed specifically to repel dirt on the chain is what you should apply before riding or racing.
Use the manufacturer’s instructions for application. If you’re trail riding with an O-ring or X-ring chain, you should be good if you lube the chain once at the beginning of the day. If you’re riding motocross, it’s a good idea to lube the chain before each race.
Clean the chain occasionally
If you’re not getting dirty, you’re not riding right. And if you’re dirty, your chain is dirty, too. Maintaining a clean chain by performing routine cleaning can help restore it to near-new, helping extend the life of a not-cheap part.
If your chain is suffering from heavy buildup, use a soft-bristled brush to loosen the buildup. The next step would be to use a non-abrasive and non-caustic soap (like Dawn dish detergent) to wash the debris and any dirt off your chain when necessary.
If you use pressure washing to clean your chain, be careful not to use pressurized water on it directly for a long time, because water can wreck the seals on O-ring or X-ring chains.
After washing, dry the chain with a clean towel or compressed air, and finish with AMSOIL MP to dispel any leftover water and lube with AMSOIL Chain Lube to resist corrosion.