Motorcycle chain cleaning is an essential maintenance procedure on all chain-driven bikes. While everybody have their favorite chain cleaner, the topic of the suitability of WD-40 as a chain cleaner (and as a chain lube) is amongst the most controversial ones in chain maintenance chats. Some swear by it, while others swear at it.
The biggest concern motorcycle owners have on the choice of cleaning fluids on their o-ring (or x-ring, or z-ring) sealed chain is the effect of the fluid on the o-ring itself. The 0-rings serve as a seal that locks lubricating grease between the pin and the roller of the chain, significantly increase the chain’s useful life as compared to non-o-ring chains. Any deterioration of this rubber o-ring will allow grease to escape and contaminants such as dirt, mud and other yucky stuff into the tiny crevices inside the chain, leading to a drastically reduced chain life.
The idea that WD-40 reacts with rubber, swelling, softening and making it brittle has been debunked. MC Garage produced an excellent video to demonstrate this:
With a new chain on, I decided to take a peek at my front sprocket.Some of you might have remembered that I performed a deep cleaning of my front sprocket only about 800km ago. And so I expected it to be relatively clean now. But when I popped open the sprocket cover…
At 12,000km, the chain on my Pulsar 200NS had developed an uneven wear across the length of the chain. This set of original Bajaj sprocket and chain was replaced for US$45 in Phnom Penh’s Bajaj dealership when I was touring Cambodia.
Com’on! Be truthful! When did you last maintain your motorcycle cables? Your clutch cable? Throttle cable?
Just a couple of days ago, as I was on the road, I spotted someone pushing his motorcycle along the side of the road. I wasn’t in a rush for time, and I pulled over to check out what was wrong with his machine and also see if I could offer any assistance. Turns out, his clutch cable had snapped and he was pushing his bike along to the nearest workshop to get it replaced.
I couldn’t leave a fellow rider in the lurch and offered to help him push. So with one foot on my motorcycle and the other one on his, I maintained a slow speed and pushed his Yamaha along until 3 junctions down the road. He then told me the workshop was just round the corner and he could push it the rest of the way. So I wished him luck and rode off.
When I got back that evening, a startling realisation dawned upon me – I have NEVER lubricated my clutch cable nor my throttle cable. Heck! I didn’t even know how to access it!
So when I got back home, I played with the clutch lever and throttle handle. Lo and behold! I did notice that my cables are beginning to feel “stiff” and slightly “sticky”. So I flipped through the 200NS service manual, whipped out my set of tools and can of WD40 and started squirting generously at both ends of both cables. I also took the opportunity to lube the clutch and throttle springs as a rust preventive maintenance.
Ah! So much smoother now…
Reminder to self – Don’t get stranded. Periodically lube the cables!
*Picture of frayed cable from internet. Thankfully, that is NOT my cable.
The Bajaj Pulsar 200NS was introduced in 2012 with much fanfare then. It was the first 200cc triple-sparked single-cylinder engine that the Indian company ever produced – a technology revolution at that time. As with every new engine, service intervals called out in the owners manual tend to be on the conservative side for some checks. Take the valve / tappet clearance for example – it was recommended to check and adjust if necessary at every 5,000km!
Since 2012, Bajaj has sold a healthy number of 200NS and thus their engineering team also has a better idea of the performance and tolerances of the parts. In the latest version of the 200NS owner’s manual (combined as a 200NS and 200AS owner’s manual), some notable difference from the original Rev 1 (May 12) version of the 200NS manual as follows: Continue reading “Updated Pulsar 200NS Recommended Service Intervals”
It’s been 14,000km since I had my engine top rebuilt in Chiang Mai and I’ve not done the valves clearance check on my Pulsar 200NS. And since it was the Chinese New Year holiday and I’ve completed my CNY visiting, with some time at hand, I decided to DIY the valve clearance check this afternoon.
After removing the 4 bolts on the engine head cover / valve head cover, carefully remove the cover taking care not to damage the gasket. I visually inspected my head gasket and found it to be in excellent condition (approx 6 months old), and although I bought a new piece for this procedure, I had decided that it was good enough to re-use. I’d probably replace it if / when it starts to leak. Continue reading “Valve Clearance Check on my Pulsar 200NS”
When was the last time you opened up the front sprocket cover when chain cleaning? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been rather lazy to do just that. For the last 10,000km since the chain and sprocket set was replaced, I don’t recall myself opening up the front sprocket. After all, why does one need to? Especially if you’ve been diligent about cleaning and lubing the chain, right?
My bike’s side stand seem to have given in to the weight of the bike. When kicked down, it folds forward more than usual, causing the bike to lean forward more than usual. In fact, I was fearing that the side stand will one day reach a tipping point just give way. And if it happen to be in a typical Singapore motorcycle parking lot, it will make for some interesting motorcycle domino scene.
Eventually got it replaced at Universal Motors for S$20. Bike now leans more normal.
My 200NS has run for 44,000kms and coming to 4 years. And that includes the arduous 2-month SE Asia Tour earlier this year. I don’t think the fork oil on my bike has ever been changed. The Bajaj owner’s manual calls for a fork oil change interval of 10,000km. But this is one of those things that is commonly neglected – and yes, I’m amongst the guilty ones.
You see, I bought the bike pre-owned and I have absolutely no history of its previous maintenance. So I took the bike to Universal Motors and tried to schedule for a fork oil change. But the mechanics there dissuaded me and casually mentioned that “it’s not a necessary procedure unless it starts leaking oil”. And since there was a pretty long queue with 5 other bikes before my turn, I decided to hold out the fork oil replacement for awhile at least.
Just then, it almost seem as if my Pulsar had a soul, it didn’t seem to like the neglect treatment. And in protest, the fork seal start leaking 6 days after my visit to UM. So, now I REALLY have to get it changed. Continue reading “Pulsar 200NS Fork Oil Change”