On your trusted KLR650, the chain drive has the most parts. Considering that one link is put together from 12 parts.


Anatomy of a chain

  • 2 inner plates
  • 2 outer plates
  • 2 rollers
  • 2 pins
  • 4 O, Z, X or W rings depending on the type of chain

If you do the math it comes down to slightly more than 1300 parts in the average motorcycle chain. This complexity and the high stress on the chain makes important to take good care of it.

When it is coming to chain maintenance, it is like talking about different religions and try to convince each other, about our faith is being the only way to heaven. But there is no one true way in chain maintenance.

The most simple way is to grab a brush, some engine oil and brush it on the chain.



Maybe the most popular is to apply the chain lube or wax from an aerosol spray can. While a lube is keeping the chain more wet or sticky (depending on the additives), the chain wax will result in a drier final drive. You will find on and off road chain lubricants on the shelves of your favorite motorcycle store.



Some people are using chain paste to preserve the sprockets and extend the life of the chain as long as possible.



Beside the preferred maintenance method, the frequency of the application of the above methods are also varies from rider to rider. If you are in doubt, a rule of thumb is to lube or wax your chain every time when you fill-up the bike with petrol. Also practical to apply your preferred chain maintenance method after riding in rain or on wet roads.

Do not forget to clean the chain from the dirt and accumulated old lube or wax once or twice a year.

Chain maintenance definitely takes time and there are occasions when you know jolly well, it is the time to do it, but you can’t or don’t do it. Let be honest, finally getting home on a cold and rainy day, you just want to throw your wet riding gear in the garage and enjoy a cup of tea, coffee or mulled wine in the house. You don’t feel like going out and doing the chain maintenance.

Since chain maintenance is definitely not the fun part of motorcycle ownership, people developed different, more or less, automatic chain oiling systems. Some are operated electronically, some are connected to the vacuum system of the motorcycle, some by the wind and others are manually.


Nemo 2

The only chain oiling system which did look convincing for me is the Nemo 2 system from a Slovakian company called Cobra. It is well designed, simple and keeps everything tidy because operated by the rider and does not soaking the chain and sprockets in oil endlessly. Since the oiler triggered by turning the top of the reservoir and creating pressure in it, it can be mounted anywhere on the motorcycle, even below the oiling nozzle if you want. I have seen it fitted and working on my friend’s motorcycle and one day if I will give-up on the chain waxing, this will be the system I will change to.


Nemo 2 fitted on a Yamaha XT600

While the combinations of methods and products for chain maintenance are almost endless, I would like to ask only one thing from you.  Do not use WD-40 for this purpose. WD-40 is not a lubricant, even the name of the product is coming from “water-displacing”.  It is a water-displacing, penetrating product. It will leave your chain dry and eat away the X, O, Z or whatever rings you have in the chain.


Say NO to WD-40, for chain maintenance!