motorcycle chain rusting prevention with motorcycle cover

Prevent Motorcycle Chain Rusting After Rain With Proper Cleaning, Drying, and VCI Motorcycle Cover

Riding a motorcycle in a rainstorm is risky for a number of reasons – one of which doesn’t rear its head until after you’ve safely reached your destination. We’re talking about motorcycle chain rusting.

Exposure to the elements – rain and humidity in particular – poses a threat in the form of corrosion. Rust is specific type of corrosion that involves the chemical oxidation process that occurs when iron and iron alloys (such as steel) come in contact with oxygen and H2O. That last element can come in the form of rain, snow, sleet, flooding, ice, or humidity. (Other elements, such as dust, sand, salt, or dirt can exacerbate issues with motorcycle chain rusting.)

Most motorcycles are made with materials that are intended to be weather resistant – but they aren’t weatherproof. Getting caught in a rainstorm or forgetting to pull your ride into the garage when you first hear that rooftop pitter-patter isn’t likely to cause any real damage. (If you’re a frequent rider, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to get caught in inclement weather at some point.) However, if you keep doing so, fail to thoroughly clean and dry it, or consistently store it without a VCI motorcycle cover, you’re soon going to be grappling with issues like motorcycle chain rusting, motorcycle engine rusting, and other exposed metal rusting.

Why does it matter?

Because a rusted motorcycle chain is more than an eyesore. It’s a safety concern.Motorcycle Cover Rust Prevention

If you have motorcycle chain rusting, that chain is more likely to break. Rust is a chemical process that degrades metal surface. When the metal in question is part of a machine, that degradation will compromise its performance. Not only could this turn into a pricey problem, but it’s potentially a very dangerous one. Corrosion of a bike chain – motorized or otherwise – will result in increased friction, reduced flexibility, and potential link failure. If your chain breaks mid-ride, you’re almost certainly going to lose control of that bike – which threatens not only your safety, but that of your passengers and anyone else with whom you’re sharing the road.

Also note that if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident and poor/inadequate motorcycle maintenance is deemed to have been a contributing factor, you could potentially be stuck holding the bag for a greater share of the financial damages than you would otherwise.

That doesn’t mean every rainstorm is a reason to panic. But you should be aware of the possible risks – and proactive in protecting your ride.

Ways to Prevent Motorcycle Chain Rusting

To ensure motorcycle chain rusting doesn’t become a serious issue for your ride, consider the following regular maintenance measures to take:

  1. Regular and thorough cleaning. Your chain should – at minimum – be routinely rinsed with clean water. This might seem counterintuitive (aren’t we trying to avoid water-on-metal contact?). But the issue is dirt, debris, sand, and salt can accelerate the corrosive forces of moisture on motorcycle metals. Those need to be rinsed clean to help ensure they won’t contribute to to corrosion. Ideally, you want to use a small, stiff brush, a chain cleaner, and a mild detergent to scrub the chain thoroughly. Then rinse with clean water before thoroughly drying.
  2. Routine lubrication. After your ride is rinsed and dried, lubricate the moving metal components of your ride – including the chain. There are higher-quality lubricants specifically designed for motorcycles. Those are your best bet. Make sure to apply that lubrication evenly across the length of the chain – and let it penetrate fully before wiping away any drips.
  3. Proper storage. This is where Zerust motorcycle covers come in. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor storage solution, our vapor corrosion inhibiting VCI motorcycle covers provide the ultimate protection – not only from element exposure, but specifically to reduce corrosion risk. Our covers provide complete enclosure for your bike, and also seal in vapor corrosion inhibiting particles (which are woven into the interior material) that forms a molecule-thin layer of rust protection around metal components. Other motorcycle covers can actually exacerbate the risk of rust by trapping moisture and humidity inside. VCI motorcycle covers shield your bike with additional protection that simple cleaning, drying, and lubricating can’t provide.
  4. Avoid excessive water exposure. As mentioned earlier, a little water isn’t cause for alarm. But try if you can to avoid riding in heavy rain or deep puddles. (Such maneuvers are flat-out dangerous for more immediate reasons too, but it doesn’t hurt to remind riders the long-term damage this can do to their bike if they make it a habit.) If you do happen to get caught in wet road conditions, be diligent about following through with Steps 1-3.
  5. Seek regular inspections. Especially if you aren’t a motorcycle mechanic, consider taking your ride in every few months for a routine inspection. At the very least, have it looked at before and after each riding season (or biannually if you ride year-round). Ask specifically about motorcycle chain rusting and whether any other elements show sign of rust, wear, or other damage.

By following these preventative measures and maintaining a clean, well-lubricated chain, you can minimize the risk of rust formation, extend the life of your motorcycle chain, and ensure safer riding experiences. Remember to consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual for specific chain maintenance recommendations tailored to your bike model.

Contact Zerust for information on rust protection for motorcycles by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

Can I leave my motorbike or dirt bike in the rain? Swann Insurance

More Blog Entries:

Minimizing Winter Motorcycle Rust Risk With Proper Cover & Other Precautions, Jan. 15, 2023, Motorcycle Rust Prevention Blog