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Old 04-04-2015, 10:28 AM   #1
Oxg OP
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How long do drive chains last?

I know there are a few variables here. Such as size, weight, right hand input, etc. but, assuming I am just riding, with very little hot roding how long should a high quality (in this case X ring) drive chain last? Of course it is properly adjusted, lubed and periodically cleaned.

I am asking because my X ring now has over 6K, looks new. I am planning a 10k trip this summer with my DL650 and am wondering if I should replace the set before the trip.

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Old 04-04-2015, 11:01 AM   #2
Walterxr650l
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On my XR650l, my chains have gone between 10,000 and 15,000 miles. I would always start a 10,000 mile trip with new chain and sprockets.

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Old 04-04-2015, 11:15 AM   #3
JustinP
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I've gotten 34k out of a chain on the Hayabusa (Stock RK GB530GXW). Other chains I've gotten less than 15k out of (EK ZZZ for example. So many variables, there is no real answer.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:08 PM   #4
Racer111v
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Personally I would do chain and sprockets before a trip like that. It's just so much easier at home than on the road.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:45 PM   #5
JustinP
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I wouldn't do the chain and sprockets unless it needed it. Simple solution, inspect the current chain and sprockets.

Sprockets - are the teeth still nice and "crisp"? Any rounding of the teeth? Any bending of the teeth?

Chain - check for tight and loose spots. Refer to the bike manual for the measurement spec for acceptable wear and measure the stretch.

No sense throwing away a chain with another 15k+ miles on it. Can always replace a chain on the road. Unless you never maintain your chain, I'd be surprised if it didn't last 16k miles (current + trip)
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:54 PM   #6
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i've had them go between 15 and 25k. I check mine by feeling for lateral play. Frequent cleaning/lube = dramatically longer life. Once the chain has worn enough to let the grease past the seals it's time to change. You will know by the huge ring of dirt and grime thrown against the engine case. I've managed to limp out another 2-3k after that, but those were very nervous miles and applying lube several times a day. The chain sounded like rocks in a can.
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Old 04-04-2015, 02:14 PM   #7
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my experience. I clean and lube maybe every 2 k
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Old 04-04-2015, 03:21 PM   #8
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Wee Stroms seem to be very gentle on chains. I had a friend with a 1st gen got 25k miles out of her first OEM chain and sprockets and that was all high speed commuting and no Scottoiler. At 6K I certainly wouldn´t be worrying, I think you would be unlucky if you didn´t get another 14k miles (at least) depending on maintenance obviously.

ETA: Survey of owners, 85% claiming over 20K miles, some of those over 30K miles.

http://www.stromtrooper.com/v-strom-...our-chain.html

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Old 04-04-2015, 03:40 PM   #9
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I buy DID top of the line (callin' it ZVMX last I looked) chains,JT steel sprockets,lube with DuPont multi-purpose lube and get 30-40K from a set on my Tuono. I change the front sprocket every 15K or so and lube the chain every tank or two. Might clean it with a wire brush once-twice in the lifetime of the set.
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Old 04-04-2015, 05:39 PM   #10
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KLR has pulled 20k a couple of times. First time I was simply getting nervous about the mileage and changed it. Kept it as a spare. Decade later it is still in the same bag.

I would pull the 6k and set it aside. New chain and sprockets for the 10k, keep going until that is used up, put the 6k back on and keep going.

I would expect a good chain to last 10k. Beyond that it is a matter of inspecting and replace as needed. I would not plan on it lasting 16k although it probably would.
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:37 PM   #11
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I'm at 30K on the original chain and sprockets on my VFR. Spray it with Dupont chain Saver every 500 miles or after a rain ride. Still looks good.
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:44 PM   #12
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25 k on my KLR and on the 3rd chain and counter sprocket, if you ride off pavement a lot the dust combines with the chain lube to form a cutting paste which will eat the teeth off the counter sprocket in no time. For on road use only and with regular lubrication, the chain and sprockets will last much longer. Bring your favorite spray lube with you.
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:18 PM   #13
davidji
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A good reason to install a new chain before a 10k mile trip is to reduce the chance you'll need to adjust it during the trip, or reduce the number of adjustments needed. If it's all pretty new not sure I'd change sprockets. Maybe flip the front one if possible?
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Old 04-04-2015, 08:24 PM   #14
PeterW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxg View Post
I know there are a few variables here. Such as size, weight, right hand input, etc. but, assuming I am just riding, with very little hot roding how long should a high quality (in this case X ring) drive chain last? Of course it is properly adjusted, lubed and periodically cleaned.

I am asking because my X ring now has over 6K, looks new. I am planning a 10k trip this summer with my DL650 and am wondering if I should replace the set before the trip.

Oxg
With a semi-auto chain oiler I'm getting around 60,000k's on a DL, my nerves give way before the chain and rear sprocket show serious wear.

Lube every second fill and it should be fine. If you are nervous, just change the front sprocket as that wears first and significantly faster than anything else

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Old 04-05-2015, 01:19 AM   #15
abhibeckert
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Unless there's a manufacturing defect, teeth will start snapping off the front sprocket before the chain is worn out.

And when you replace the front sprocket, you should also replace the chain and rear sprocket.

Just slide the wheel back as the chain gets older/stretched to keep the appropriate amount of tension and replace the chain when the front sprocket looks badly worn out.

In my experience how long they last depends wildly on the quality of the chain you've got and how/where you ride. Does it look like teeth are going to start snapping off the front sprocket? If not, then your chain should still be fine.

If I was about to do a 10k trip, I probably would replace the chain and sprockets. But keep the ones you have now to put 'em back on at some point in the future. Just make sure you keep them as a set, never mix chains/sprockets of different ages.
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