Chain tool on long trip?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by ggemelos, May 19, 2015.

  1. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    I am in the process of putting my tool kit together for an upcoming multi-year trip (starting with South America and hopefully turning into a RTW). Being that we are traveling on 250s, I am trying to keep the weight down and being critical of everything we bring. One item I keep going back and forth on is a chain tool (breaker and press/riveter). I have never taken one on a trip before, but up until now my longest trip has been one month - 10k miles. Is it a must have, strongly recommended, or leave it at home? Also, any recommendations on light weight tools that can handle her 428 chain and my 520, most I have seen (like the Motion Pro) only work of 5xx chains? Thanks in advance for any feedback.
    #1
  2. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

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    I would not bother taking one, modern chains don't often break unless you really neglect them and if you are shortening or fitting a new one the supplier or local bike shop will lend or rent you one.
    #2
  3. banjobart

    banjobart Been here awhile

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    Take a couple clip type repair links and a mini tool. I have seen chains break a link that were not very old, not many miles on them. I take a tool, spare link and sometimes a spare chain.
    #3
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  4. Bdowntime

    Bdowntime Adventurer

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    .

    I'll just be doing a 3 week stint on the TAT. I am leaning toward not taking mine. My shop basically said the same thing as the 2nd poster. I just installed a new chain and rear sprocket, the front sprocket didn't even look like it had wear. I think this will suffice.
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  5. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the feedback. I am leaning toward leaving the chain tool at home.
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  6. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

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  7. Auto-X Fil

    Auto-X Fil Been here awhile

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    I agree: fit a new chain, and inspect every time you're in a city where you could easily get a new one installed.

    On a 250 dual-sport I would replace the front sprocket at 5k, and replace both sprockets at 10k, if they look like they need it or not. I'm assuming that would be easy to fit in, +/- a couple thousand miles for each service. Chains don't break unexpected, especially on a 250, but they do go from "not too bad' to "awful" really fast, once the o-rings fail.
    #7
  8. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    I also vote "leave it at home." I've seen chains and sprockets that went bad but never totally failed. As long as you keep an eye on it, you should be able to get to wherever you need to go to get it replaced. As someone mentioned, change the front sprocket out around 5000 miles or so. Then watch for the shark fin shaped teeth on the sprocket which indicate it's time for a change. Also, if you find you have to start adjusting the chain more often, it's getting to the end of its life.

    Start with a high quality X ring chain and good quality steel toothed sprockets, and it may last your whole trip on a 250.
    #8
  9. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the advice. I keep a close eye on the wear of the sprockets. I have to say that changing the front sprocket at 5k miles seems a bit early. Do people generally see that much wear in their front sprocket by 5k miles? I am currently just under 5k miles on my WRR and have not noticed that much wear. I will definitely check again. My plan was to replace the chain and sprocket on my WRR when I got to California from New York (so another 3k miles or so), so I can get a new chain on the bike before heading south. At that time my wife's XT will have about 4k miles on it. I was debating changing the chain on that bike too, although it seemed a bit early. Opinions?

    As for parts, I am packing two sets of front sprockets and one rear sprocket for each bike (all OEM parts). I am pretty sure I can find chains anywhere, I was not so sure about sprockets.
    #9
  10. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

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    I wouldn't take the tool. But I did learn my lesson about trying to re-use sprockets. I put a new chain on my XT250 at about 8000 miles. I thought the sprockets looked fine and they only had 8k on them, so I didn't replace them. But then 1000 miles later it was slipping on the rear sprocket. Now I just replace everything when the chain says it's time. Then you don't have to worry.
    #10
  11. TheDecepticon

    TheDecepticon Wannabe

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  12. Homercules

    Homercules Doh!

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    Motion Pro has their T-6 light weight chain tool as well. Small and light enough that I carry mine on every trip.

    Oops! I see the T-6 dosent do the smaller chains like I thought
    #12
  13. jnowako

    jnowako jake

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    I keep a chain tool in my bag 9 outta 10 times.....barely ever need it but with a tool and a few master links on hand your ride can continue for the day and you wont be stranded.......i hate the extra weight of the tools on my bike, but id need ten hands to count how many times theyve paid off for myself or a friend
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  14. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    I have always carried a chain breaker and press in the tool kit, with an appropriate clip-type master link and even a short section of the same type chain. It seems I've needed to replace my chain mid-trip about as often as not (sand + chain lube = excessive wear) and it's just easier on my brain if I've got the tools to make a fix if and/or when needed.

    John
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  15. slammer218

    slammer218 Slammer

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    I wish I would have had one when I sat along the road in Alaska fo 10.5 hr. waiting for a truck ride. It was early spring and not much traffic when mine broke. Had a spare link but no breaker. Lot of good that was. And it was snowing. Have one on me all the time now.
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  16. gmk999

    gmk999 ____ as a Rotax

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    I take the tool. only ever needed it once. but it sure was handy

    Truth is tho, if you are using master links then a file and a punch are all you need to remove a link or so.
    Definately Bring spare links and half links..
    #16
  17. JutSeguin

    JutSeguin Adventurer

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    I take a chain tool with me these days.

    My master link came apart in Whitehorse 3 years ago. Luckily I was still in town, so I called the dealer, located a new clip type master link and ran across town to get it before they closed. Actually, I convinced the guy to stay open 15 minutes later for me. However, without a chain tool I had to improvise to get the master link on. You still need a press to get the link together, I used a small c-clamp I bought at Canadian Tire.

    I'm not one to tell you that anything is a must have, it's your adventure, I'm just saying that I bring mine with me.
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  18. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto

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    I'd take it as its not much additional weight. Good to have and when/if you need to replace your chain and sprockets, you can break the chain yourself to get the right length. Check out the Ironman sprockets too, they seem to last forever and chain life is directly related to sprocket wear.
    #18
  19. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Better to be prepared than to wish you were
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  20. Junyah

    Junyah @ the speed of plaid

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    I carry a punch and a hand file with me. Both have come in very handy for other tasks. A chain tool does one thing and one thing only.
    #20