What happens if the chain on a motorcycle breaks?

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Motorcycles can seem to last forever, and they don’t need much maintenance. Many people forget to maintain their motorcycles, which can lead to serious damage.

Many people ask whether a motorcycle chain can break or what would happen if it did. A motorcycle chain can be broken and I have seen many possible outcomes.

What happens if your motorcycle’s chain is broken? You will lose the engine’s driving force to the rear wheel immediately if a motorcycle chain is broken while you are riding. Your motorcycle will also lose power. The chain can wrap around the back wheel, or jam on one of the sprockets. This could cause your back tire lock up and cause you to skid down the road.

If you’re going to be a motorcycle rider, you will need to know how to handle certain situations in case they arise such as a broken chain during a ride. Your life could be saved by learning how to maintain your chain or how to fix it.

What happens when a motorcycle chain breaks?

It’s easy to get in the mindset that you are invincible when riding a motorcycle, especially if you’ve never been in an accident. Safety driving can save you from an accident, but as a rider on a motorcycle you need to be aware of what’s happening with your bike.

A broken chain can be catastrophic, so it’s important you know how to prevent it and know how to handle it if it does happen. Though it’s not common among those who take good care of their motorcycles, it’s still a possibility.

There are several possible outcomes if a chain on a motorcycle breaks. Because the engine is not giving you the drive it is, your back wheel will lose power.

Although the engine will continue to run, you won’t be able accelerate. In fact, your motorcycle may start decelerating if you’re not going down a hill at all. You’ll usually hear a loud clanking sound and feel a slight jolt when a chain breaks.

The most likely scenario that the chain will create is for it to shoot back behind you. Though this isn’t necessarily dangerous for you, it could be potentially harmful for any drivers behind you because a chain can blow out a car tire or a windshield.

There are two possible scenarios that could occur, but they are less common: the chain wrapping around the back wheel and jamming into the rear drive sprocket. This scenario is much more dangerous than the previous one because the back wheel will lock up immediately. You will be unable to continue to skid down the road and will come to an abrupt halt.

This is less likely, but it is possible. This is why it’s so important to wear long pants while ridingA chain can cause serious injury to your back if you don’t have any protection. Wearing pants during a chain break that hits your leg will still give you a hefty bruise, but that’s way better that deep cuts.

How to Handle a Broken Chain

How to handle a broken chain while riding a motorcycle depends a lot on how fast you’re going and how your chain reacts to the break. I’ll cover the common scenarios most people would be in during a chain break and how to handle it.

Some people may not be able to see that their chain is broken until they are a few hundred meters away. They’re left simply wondering why they’re losing power. This is the worst situation you can be in if your chain breaks. Any time your motorcycle loses power despite trying to accelerate, you should always pull over and see what’s going on. If you’re curious about other reasons why a motorcycle loses power when accelerating, see my article here.

If your bike’s chain whips you in the back and causes injury, pull over immediately and call 911. A similar injury will require immediate attention before you can address your motorcycle.

If you’re driving at lower speeds and your chain breaks resulting in a back wheel jam, you’ll immediately know due to a sudden slow down and the back wheel dragging.

This situation can be handled at lower speeds. If you are unable to stop your motorcycle immediately, apply pressure to both brake handles. You might feel the motorcycle wobble, so it is important to try to maintain its straightness while looking for a place where you can pull over. If you have to stop the bike from turning, you can keep your feet slightly out of the way.

If you’re on a busy road with a lot of traffic behind you and no place to pull over, turn on your motorcycle hazards if possible. Attempt to point drivers to go around you; hopefully drivers behind you will be able to tell you’re in distress because your hazards are on and your motorcycle is wobbling a bit.

The situation is different if you’re going at high speeds and your chain breaks and jams itself on the back wheel or rear sprocket. Motorcyclists often have trouble controlling their bikes at high speeds when the rear wheel is locked up. You can only steer your motorcycle in a way that is free of traffic. This will result in the most comfortable landing, such as in a grassy area.

What causes a Broken Chain?

A motorcycle’s chain could break for many reasons. All of these can be avoided with good maintenance. Some people don’t realize that motorcycle maintenance is also meant to keep them safe as the rider.

Those are my thoughts. Lack of maintenance is the most common reason that a chain on a motorcycle breaks. It takes a lot to cause a chain to snap, so it’s likely that someone neglected to care for it. There are a few exceptions such as the company who manufactured it or the mechanic didn’t tension it right. Make sure you only use the best quality chains for your bike. Also, make sure to take your bike to a trusted mechanic.

Lack of proper maintenance can lead to chain failure in many ways. The first one I’ll discuss is rust. Having a little bit of rust on a chain is okay as you can’t always prevent that from happening, but a large amount of rust is a no-go. Lack of lubrication causes large quantities of rust to form. If a link becomes rusted enough it can become weak and even break.

A motorcycle chain can also break because it is too tension. A loose chain can cause the sprockets to become misaligned, which could lead to jamming. The chain should not be too tight as this can stress the links and cause them to break.

Proper Chain Maintenance

A chain that breaks during a ride can usually be avoided if you put in a little more effort to maintain it. Chain maintenance should not be neglected.

Clean your chain and remove any road grime or dirt that may have built up after any long ride. This can be done by using a damp towel to wipe it off or an air compressor to blow it off.

Chain lubricant should be used every time the chain is cleaned. To ensure that the chain is fully coated, spin the back tire and lubricate the entire chain.

Check the chain for cracks and rust. If you see an uncomfortable amount of rust or any cracks at all, it’s best to simply replace the chain and not take any chances.

One link in every chain is broken; this is the part that allows the chain to be attached. Take a look at the broken link and check that it is still intact.

Also, make sure you check your chain tension at least once per month. Each motorcycle is different with how their chain tension should be, so be sure to check your owner’s manual on what tension your chain should be at. Street bike chains shouldn’t be able move more than half an inch.

Similar Questions

Why are motorcycles equipped with different sizes of wheels? Motorcycles tend to have larger front wheels for better movement and steering. Because the engine is located in the back, the wheels are smaller and more traction-friendly. Click here for more information.

Are all motorcycles equipped for chains? Some motorcycles don’t have chains. There are many different ways that a motorcycle can produce power. While most motorcycles use a chain, some motorcycles use shaft drives or belts to provide power.

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