Using an Mx/dirt bike chain on a street bike?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Castorp, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    This is basically a chain technology question.

    I am thinking of putting a DID 520 NZ non-o-ring chain on a small street bike (an ex500). I know the vast majority of riders would advise to use an o-ring or x-ring chain for a bike like this, and I understand the reasons why, but I am experimenting with plain chains. Call me a masochist, but i want to run a plain chain--a good one.

    I am having trouble finding high quality non sealed street bike chains in the 520. The DID NZ is supposed to be a quality chain--but it is marketed as an off-road or Mx chain for enhancing performance, even at the expense of chain life. All I want is a non-sealed chain that will last longer and stretch less than the cheap plain chains.

    So my question is, Is there something about this chain that makes it unsuitable for street bike use? Or is it (as I hope) just a quality plain chain that is marketed to off road riders because most street bike riders nowadays prefer sealed chains?

    Thanks
    #1
  2. lnewqban

    lnewqban Ninjetter

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    Only possible problem I can see is the slightly different diameter of the rollers.
    Worn sprockets will not mind the additional 0.02 mm, IMHO.
    Tensile strengths are similar.
    For the Ninja 500, DID recommends the 520VX2 of 104 links:

    http://www.didchain.com/chainSpecs.html


    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Thank you for the reply. I thought it would "fit" but a second opinion is always good to have.

    If anyone out there is running non-sealed "plain" chains, especially 520s, I'd love to hear your recommendations. Thanks.
    #3
  4. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto aka: trailer Rails Supporter

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    I don’t think you are getting many replies because everyone thinks you are crazy for wanting to run a plain chain. I accidentally bought one once, right before leaving on a 1500 mile trip. I had no choice but to throw it on. I don’t remember the brand but it was a brand name. I had to adjust the chain daily on that trip and was probably close to being worn out at the end of the trip.
    #4
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  5. south

    south Been here awhile

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    (Way) back in my club (road) racing days, it was common for guys to run non-o/x ring chains because of the greatly reduced drag/resistance of the "plain" chains--with the bike on a rear stand, a robust tug/spin of the rear wheel might yield a couple revolutions on an x/o ring equipped bike; whereas the "plain" chains would just let the rear wheel spin and spin. Of course, the plain chains were shot after one or two race weekends, whereas an o/x ring chain could (easily) last a whole season, and, for the street, whatever modest gain in performance that can be had from a chain can be easily mitigated/neutralized by a whole slew of other variables/considerations.

    But, if this is something you're really jazzed about, go for it--other than perhaps a little sting to your wallet when you have to replace the chain after it (quickly) wears out, it won't hurt a thing.
    #5
  6. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Yinzer Moto, yes, i realize most riders will think I am crazy.

    South, no, I don't have money to throw away. That's why I am posting here, so I can cut down on trial and especially error.
    #6
  7. beemerkid

    beemerkid Do you ADV

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    If you're trying to be budget minded, I would suggest the old adage of "buy once, cry once." The non o ring chain will wear very quickly. Also replace your sprockets at the same time. Don't ruin a nice new chain with blown out old sprockets. Buck up the extra money for a (basic o ring, no frills) name brand chain, and new sprockets. It'll be less worry, and 10k miles from now you can look at it and still say to yourself your saving money cause you haven't had to mess with it since.
    #7
  8. Castorp

    Castorp Adventurer

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    Beemerkid, as a matter of fact, I recently ran a good brand o-ring chain with exactly what you are saying in mind. There was major o-ring failure in less than 2k miles, and I was lucky to get back home, and even luckier it didn't snap.

    And, Yes, the tension was right. Yes, the alignment was correct. Yes, it was cleaned and lubed. Yes, I changed the sprockets when I put on the chain. I have been riding this bike for 60k miles now, and I know how to do those things. It was just a bad chain. Or maybe a counterfeit (though I bought it from a reputable source).

    I also recently wore out a plain chain in less than 5k miles. It was a truly horrible chain. It rusted like crazy, no matter how much I cleaned and lubed it. It stretched like mad. It was everything riders complain about when they complain about unsealed chains. So I have a bit of experience with bad plain chains too.

    What I do not know is about these higher quality plain chains sold by DID, RK and the other good brands, usually as Mx or off road chains.

    I am wondering about them because I have found there is a tiny minority of riders out there that actually prefers plain chains. I would ignore them, dismiss them as crazy, but some of these guys know a helluva lot about motorcycles and chains. I think they're worth listening to.

    The logic is basically this: with a sealed chain you are dependent on the seals. When they go, the chain is trash. They can last 20k plus--or not. Depends on the seals. With a plain chain, it's up to you to keep it clean and lubed, but if you do, the chain can last a really long time--IF it's a good chain. That's what I'm looking for: a good plain chain, 520 size.

    I've asked for recommendations, but everyone I've come across who prefers these chains uses 530s--Diamonds usually. I need a 520, and I have yet to find a Diamond 520 motorcycle from a source I trust. When I shop around, what I find is a lot of cheap poor quality chains, and a handful of high quality chains from the more respected brands--but they're always marketed to off road riders, usually racers. I realize the idea is that a racer is not concerned with longevity. They just want to win, and the plain chain gives them a slight edge. Still, it's the only option I'm seeing for a high quality 520 plain chain. That's why I posted the question.
    #8
  9. cagiva549

    cagiva549 whats a cagiva

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    Expect maybe a couple thousand miles from it at best . Good sealed chains can run as much as 70,000 miles
    #9
  10. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    you might make it a couple hundred miles between adjustments.

    that's why
    #10