Final Drive Maintenance

Final Drive Maintenance


Every now and then something comes across one of our benches that makes me want to learn from it. The particular motorcycle (pictured) can teach us a few things. The first would hearken back to a recent article
[Inspect Before You Buy; posted Nov 14, 2013],
in which I discussed the importance of inspecting a vehicle before you purchase it. The second, and more to the point of this article, is why chains need regular maintenance.

Case in point right here. This is an example of a combination of not taking proper care of the chain along with running the chain and sprockets beyond their life span. As seen in this image the sprocket teeth are almost worn flat. The only thing preventing the chain from just spinning on the sprocket is that is was over-tightened with too much tension on it.

I’ll start with that the current owner bought the bike “as is” and is correcting the problem.

When properly taken care of, a chain and sprockets should last 25,000-30,000km. Once your chain is adjusted all the way back to the stops, it’s time to replace BOTH the chain and sprockets.


Replacing only the chain is a false economy and doesn’t solve the problem, as a new chain on worn sprockets will wear out in half the mileage.

Pictured here is an example of a brand new sprocket. There is a definite difference in the shape of the teeth when compare to the above image.

To get maximum distance out of them, preventative maintenance is what is needed. Most manufacturers recommend doing this every 500km or so. If you ride a lot and in all kinds of weather – check, lube and adjust the chain weekly. If you are not sure how to do this either find a basic course to teach you or have a shop do it for a nominal fee.

Use a good quality chain lube. That is where an experienced shop can help you pick the right brand. Read the chain lube instructions for proper application as there are a few techniques that will make it work better. A chain that is taken care of not only saves you money but can also prevent potential injury or worse damage to your bike.

Chain and sprockets are one of what I consider the three most import parts of a motorcycle; Tires, Brakes and Chain & Sprockets. Skimp on any one of these three and you bike will not perform to it’s full potential and you may be asking for trouble.

Take care and keep riding,


Behind the Counter