When to replace the chain?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by fishallnight, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. fishallnight

    fishallnight Fishallnight

    Dec 7, 2007
    I know the subject chains gets beat to death, but I have one more question on the subject.
    When do you replace your chain? Not at how many miles, because that depends on riding style, cleaning habits, etc.
    I have an 08 Wee with 20,000 miles on the stock chain and sprockets. I take very good care of them and I can't see any wear on the sprockets, but I am starting to get 3-4 very slight tight spots on the chain. They almost go completely away when the chain is freshly cleaned and oiled, but after riding a little, you can put it on the centerstand and spin the rear wheel slowly and see a few very slight sticky spots. You have to really watch for them to see them.
    So, does that mean replace it all now, or do I have a couple more thousand miles on it? When I do replace, I'll do sprocket and chain at the same time. Probably the DID set from bikebandit or whoever has the best price.
  2. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

    Jul 9, 2005
    Central Coast, Cal
    There are several methods for checking a chain. I like pulling the chain off of the rear sprocket from the rear most point. Do this at various places (lots of them) along the length of the chain. If the chain pulls away from the sprocket more than half the distance/height of the teeth at any point, then the chain is toast.

    If you have a center stand, it is even easier. Just put it on the CS, then rotate the back wheel while popping up on the chain at the mid point on the lower side. If you see/feel any tight spots, it's done.

    Also, don't forget to just merely look at the sprocket teeth. If any of the them are worn or shark finned, then they are toast and ergo, your chain is done as well.

    I would suggest at your mileage no matter how well you've maintained your chain and sprockets, the stocker units will be done. Suzuki doesn't use that good of a product from the factory. (No knock, they all do it.)

  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    May 29, 2002
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Chains fail & stretch fast at the end.
    Replace it. 20K is a nice average life.
  4. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

    Jan 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you have the service manual it will have directions on how to check the length for chain stretch. This is a quote from the manual using the stock Suzuki 525 chain: " You tighten the chain up using both adjusters so the chain is under tension. Count out 21 pins ( 20 pitches ) on the chain and measure the distance between the two points. If the distance exceeds the service limit, the chain must be replaced. The service limit on the 20 pitch length is 319.4 mm or 12.57 inches. "

    Hope that helps.
  5. devo2002

    devo2002 -Devo

    Nov 12, 2010
    Los Angeles
    My first chain on the strom went around 20K. Looked good with a kink or two. As mentioned above, you could probably get another 10K but why risk it, 20K is very respectable and gives piece of mind that you can go another 20 no prob
  6. fishallnight

    fishallnight Fishallnight

    Dec 7, 2007
    Ok, thats about what i figured but needed to hear it from some other folks. I am going to order one of the d.i.d. chain and sprocket kits from bikebandit.com for $153. The kit has stock 15/47 gearing. I'd like to go with the 16/47 but cant find a kit with that.
    Thanks eveyone for the advice.
  7. JohnG.

    JohnG. Long timer

    Mar 18, 2006
    Cooma N.S.W.
    After a while youll notice a chain develops a 'tight spot', I always adjust at this point and change the sprockets and chain when I begin to feel vibes or clicking.
    I guess im not a hard rider usual get 30k + miles from my chains with lots of chain gel loving :wink:
  8. Norty01

    Norty01 RIDERCOACH

    Jan 30, 2014
    Be sure to get an "X-ring" or "O-ring" or even the new "T-ring" chain as they last a lot longer than a "no-ring" chain. Always replace BOTH sprockets with the chain, or you'll be wasting your money.

    Some riders can get 40,000 miles out of a high quality chain.

    Some riders can destroy a chain in 1 single ride by immersing in salt water and then neglecting it.

    Lube it often, clean/inspect it often. That's the best you (or anyone) can do.

    D.I.D. makes decent chain. (Go "Top of the line" here.)

    TSUBAKI makes good chain. (See above.)

    CZ makes great chain. (IF you can find it.)

    On a lighter note...

    Best recommendation for sprockets would be Spaceley Sprockets.

    Cogswell Cogs are so-so (LOL!)
  9. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

    Jul 5, 2008
    The great state of confusion
    I agree with Norty - mileage is not a good indicator of chain life/wear, there are too many variables.
    I just bought a new EK x-chain for my bike and it says on the box to replace it at 1% "elongation" for non-ring chains they say 1.5%.
    DID and Tsubaki have similar recommendations IIRC Tsubaki says 1.25%

    Both DID and Tsubaki make wear gauges that they give away for free if you can find one. Here's a picture:


    I don't want to start an "oil thread' with regards to the need to always replace sprockets and chain at the same time and I'm not sure which side of the argument I'd come down on if I did ... :lol3 ... but it doesn't seem like it would "always" be required to me?

    With chains being replaced (in theory) at 1% - 1.5% elongation that's really not much slop, and while the sprocket teeth are all nice and uniform at the beginning it would seem to me that the front will wear at a different rate than the back most of the time anyway given different number of teeth and perhaps different materials?

    Maybe I'm missing something there ... It's happened before ... :lol3