XR650L: Chain Roller Installation Guide

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Spud Rider, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    I have never liked the chain guide slider on my XR650L. :dood Therefore, I decided to replace the chain guide slider with two chain rollers. :nod I wish to thank forum member Natey at Thumpertalk; the information he posted inspired me to perform this modification. :clap

    http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=915107

    Based upon my research, I discovered motorcycle chain rollers basically come in three sizes: large, small, and smallest. :deal Most motorcycles use either the large, or the small chain rollers. A lesser number of motorcycles employ the smallest chain rollers. :wink:

    Both the large and the small chain rollers come equipped with ball bearings, bolts, and nuts. Large chain rollers typically have a diameter of 40mm, plus or minus 2 mm. Small chain rollers typically have a diameter of 32mm, plus or minus 2 mm.

    The smallest chain rollers typically have a diameter of 25 mm, plus or minus 1 mm. With a diameter this small, the smallest chain rollers do not come equipped with ball bearings. Also, the smallest chain rollers do not come equipped with either bolts, or nuts. :huh

    I recommend you select a chain roller that is 24.0-25.5 mm wide. A chain roller wider than 26.0 mm might not fit inside the XR650L's chain guide. :deal

    Based upon the advice of Natey, I decided to place a small chain roller at the front of the XR650L’s chain guide. Most small chain rollers should work, so I looked for the best deal, and decided to buy a Primary Drive, lower chain roller designed for the 2004, Honda, XR400R. This chain roller is 31mm in diameter. I bought this Primary Drive chain roller from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.

    http://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/p...8&navTitle=Drive&webCatId=9&prodFamilyId=9522

    Also based upon the advice of Natey, I decided to place a smallest chain roller at the rear of the XR650L’s chain guide. To avoid shipping charges, I ordered a chain roller in the Parts Unlimited catalog from my local Honda dealer. :wink: I ordered a Moose Racing, upper chain roller designed for the 2009, Honda, CRF230F, having part #1231-0041. This chain roller has a diameter of 24 mm. Since this smallest chain roller did not come equipped with a bolt, I went to the local Ace Hardware store and bought a 5/16 x 2-inch bolt, with 24 threads per inch. I also bought a nyloc nut to fit this bolt, and 4, ¼-inch washers. :deal

    After removing the worn out, chain guard slider, I drilled the bolt holes in the chain guide to enlarge them to 5/16-inch. Using a ¼-inch washer on each side of the chain guide, I installed the small chain roller in the front hole. Using the 5/16 x 2-inch bolt and two washers, I installed the smallest chain roller in the rear hole. I was careful not to tighten either bolt so much that the chain rollers could not rotate. :wink:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After riding about ten miles, I checked both chain rollers to ensure they were rotating. Both appeared to be working well. :D

    [​IMG]

    The chain rollers do not make any appreciable noise I can hear. So far, I am very pleased with the results of this modification. I will keep you updated as the miles roll by. :1drink

    [​IMG]

    I also installed a large chain roller to replace the chain slipper just behind the countershaft sprocket. :D I finished this job at twilight, so I didn’t have time to take any photographs. I will take photos, and post the details of this installation tomorrow. :nod

    Spud :wave
    #1
  2. ThumpnRed

    ThumpnRed Pig Wrangler

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    Thanks for doing the leg work on this. I have been toying with the idea of doing this mod for a bout a year but have yet to pull the trigger. I have stood in the local Cycle Gear with rollers in hand wondering if they would fit or not. Curious to see the pictures of the chain slipper replacement roller.
    Thanks Spud!
    #2
  3. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    Excellent post, thanks. :thumb

    I also replaced the frame slider on my XRL with a roller and had no issues.

    Also, a piece of advice. :feelgood You can periodically pull the rollers and pop the seal off and clean them and replace the grease, then put the seals back on. It is easy to do and there is a surprising amount of crap that gets by those seals.:devildog
    #3
  4. Ghost_Mutant

    Ghost_Mutant looking for bionics

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    Cool, I've considered doing this mod once my slider finally wears down to the mark.

    One thing I want to ask you:
    Did you consider using a sleeve for the roller to slide on, instead of directly on top of the bolt?

    I would think that a properly sized sleeve would allow several advantages (particularly for the smallest roller):
    -using a sleeve slightly wider than the roller would allow a tighter installation without stopping the roller from turning.
    -a sleeve with thin/fender washers on the ends would prevent side wear to your chain guide plastic as the rollers turn.
    -perhaps there is a sleeve and smaller bolt combination so that you wouldn't have to drill out the guide plastic?

    Does anybody know if the bikes that use these rollers from the factory also have the sleeves I'm describing?

    Two more questions, is the guide slightly pinched in your installation? Is there room for a sleeve like I'm describing with the roller widths you used?
    #4
  5. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    You're welcome, Red. :D

    I have installed extra-large foot pegs on my XR650L. Therefore, after removing the stock chain slipper, I found it easiest to remove the left foot peg before I drilled the mounting hole to enlarge it to 5/16-inch. I also discovered I had much more room to install the front chain roller after I removed both the sprocket cover, and the shift lever. :wink:

    Based upon the advice of Natey, I decided to employ a large chain roller to replace the chain slipper. Once again, most large chain rollers should work, so I looked for the best bargain, and decided to buy a Primary Drive, lower chain roller designed for the 2000, Honda XR600R. This chain roller is 38 mm in diameter. :deal

    I placed a ¼-inch washer on the supplied bolt, and shoved the bolt through the chain roller from the engine side of the frame. I then added 4, ¼-inch washers to space the roller evenly under the chain. Adding another ¼-inch washer on the outside of the frame, I attached the supplied, nyloc nut. :nod

    [​IMG]

    Unlike the chain guide rollers, the slipper chain roller makes a little noise at low speeds. :nod However, I don’t find this noise objectionable. :1drink

    [​IMG]

    Spud :wave
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  6. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    You're welcome, and thanks for the tip, Kawidad. :D

    Spud :wave
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  7. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    Since the small chain roller is supplied with a bearing, I did not consider using an additional bushing. I did consider using a bushing for the smallest chain roller, but the 5/16-inch bolt fit so well, I discarded the idea. I originally intended to install 1/4-inch washers between the chain rollers and the inside walls of the chain guide. However, I did not have sufficient space to install the extra washers. :deal The chain rollers seem to work well, so I am going to ride for a few hundred miles before I consider modifying my installation. :nod
    No, the chain guide was not pinched in this installation. However, using the chain rollers I selected, there is no additional room for washers or sleeves inside the chain guide. :1drink

    Spud :wave
    #7
  8. Bbasso

    Bbasso my name is Rob

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    thanks
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  9. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    You're welcome. :D I went for a ride this afternoon, and the chain rollers performed well. :nod

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The chain slack looks good, so I think I chose the proper dimensions for the different chain rollers. :nod

    [​IMG]

    I got the bike (and the chain rollers) muddy on a snowy gravel road. :wink:

    [​IMG]

    I rode about 90 miles today. The chain rollers are still tight, and the wear on them is minimal. So far, everything appears well with my chain roller conversion. :D

    [​IMG]

    Spud :wave
    #9
  10. flyingwombat

    flyingwombat frozen dead guy

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    :super

    Nice, thanks for sharing! I'll put this on the list for when my sliders are worn out.
    #10
  11. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    +1 :clap

    I need to list out the parts and get them on hand. :nod
    1) Primary Drive, lower chain roller designed for the 2004, Honda, XR400R.
    2) Moose Racing, upper chain roller designed for the 2009, Honda, CRF230F, having part #1231-0041.
    3) 5/16 x 2-inch bolt, nylock nut, and washers.
    4) Primary Drive, lower chain roller designed for the 2000, Honda XR600R.


    Another fantastic mod Spud! You are a true craftsman :deal

    I really appreciate you bringing me up to speed on the background info., too! :D

    :feelgood
    #11
  12. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    You're welcome, Wombat. :D

    Spud :wave
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  13. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    Thank you, Ono. :D I used a total of ten, 1/4-inch washers to complete the job.

    Today I did some chain maintenance before I went for a ride. Therefore, I seized the opportunity to remove my chain guide, and inspect the rollers. :nod

    [​IMG]

    After about 100 miles of wear, the chain guide rollers look very good. :D Both rollers were still securely fastened to the chain guide; I believe this is a robust modification. :nod

    [​IMG]

    Even though the fit is tight, the small, front chain roller turns easily. :nod

    The smallest, rear chain roller doesn't turn easily; however, it still functions very well. :D The smallest roller seems to function much as a tougher version of the chain guide slider. :deal This smallest chain roller turns enough to evenly distribute the wear, while producing less friction than the stock slider. :nod

    After re-installing the chain guide, I went for a nice ride. :nod I eagerly await the official arrival of spring. :happay

    [​IMG]

    Spud :wave
    #13
  14. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    The large chain roller is doing a superb job replacing the chain slipper. :clap After 100 miles of wear, this chain roller appears almost brand new. :D

    [​IMG]

    Spud :wave
    #14
  15. Ben99r1

    Ben99r1 Long timer

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  16. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    I don't mind at all, Ben. :D Thank you for letting us know about your good experience with the Primary Drive Chain Guide. :nod

    http://www.rockymountainatvmc.com/p...&navTitle=Drive&webCatId=9&prodFamilyId=24705

    Does this chain guide have three holes, or two?

    Spud :wave
    #16
  17. Ben99r1

    Ben99r1 Long timer

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    The outer plate has 3 holes. The inner plate only has two. the chain guide is made for a few bikes. That's why in the pic on the site has 3 holes. Ben
    #17
  18. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    So Spud, if ya don't mind me asking, what drove you to use a "smallest" roller toward the rear instead of using two "smaller" rollers?
    #18
  19. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

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    That's an excellent question, Ono. :nod Utlilizing the previous research of Natey, I believed the "smallest" chain roller would line up best with the chain, and minimize wear on all components. Based upon 100 miles of riding, I have confirmed the "smallest" chain roller is a very good size for the chain roller placed in the rear of the chain guide. :nod

    However, I must admit, when I ordered the "smallest" chain roller, I thought it came equipped with a sealed bearing; it does not. :deal Nevertheless, the "smallest" chain roller is doing a perfectly acceptable job. :D Indeed, the "smallest" chain roller is doing a much better job than the crappy, Honda, chain guide slider. :huh However, upon further reflection, I think four other options might work as well, or better, than using a "smallest" chain roller in the rear of the chain guide. :nod

    1) Don't install any chain roller in the rear hole of the XR650L chain guide. This option might prove especially good if you are employing a rear sprocket larger than 45T.

    2) Install a second, "small" chain roller in the rear hole of the XR650L chain guide. Since the "small" chain roller is 31 mm in diameter, it only has a radius 3.5 mm larger than the "smallest" chain roller. :nod

    3) Drill a new, 5/16-inch hole placed slightly forward, and approximately 2-3 mm lower than the existing rear hole in the chain guide. :wink: The lower, more forward placement of the "small" roller will provide the same roller height as the original placement of the "smallest" roller. :nod Also, the forward placement will provide more clearance for larger rear sprockets.

    4) Order a TM Designworks, PLR-400 chain roller. This chain roller is more expensive than the Primary Drive chain rollers; however, it employs a sealed bearing, and it has the same dimensions as the "smallest" roller I installed. :deal

    The Primary Drive chain rollers are an excellent value, and they are working very well on my XR650L. :D Since the Primary Drive chain rollers are so inexpensive, I am going to order a second, "small" roller, and experiment with option #2. If I don't like the results, I can always go back to my current configuration, or experiment with option #3. :wink:

    If one doesn't mind spending the extra money, I'm sure option #4 will work great. :D Indeed, I am happy with the results I have achieved using the "smallest" chain roller without a sealed bearing. :nod However, a roller with a sealed bearing will turn more easily, and be a bit quieter at slower speeds. :wink:

    Spud :wave
    #19
  20. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ¿to post or to ride?

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    I love your experimental mind, sir Spud. Indeed, we do tend to analyze alike in these types of situations. It is a good thing we aren't neighbors working together or we would be dangerous :huh
    What do you think of the idea of two parallel aluminum plates, say 1/8" to 3/16", mounted together through spacers to the swingarm, and then locating "large" chain rollers in the position we deem appropriate in relation to the chain path to the sprocket? Or maybe would the sides really need to be plastic in case they get slapped by the chain as it enters the end? I'm just thinking out loud here.... :patch
    #20