Masterlink? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-05-2018, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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So on bicycles you can get chains with a masterlink. Single speed bikes have an old fashioned master link with the outer clip that's sort of an extra plate, and even need 11 speed systems have a master link that has notches which slide in place under load. I have master links in all my bicycles to make chain cleaning easier, and I also carry one Incase my chain breaks to easily add that damaged link back in. Does such a thing exist for motorcycles and is it reliable? If this question seems retarded I'm sorry....
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-05-2018, 09:55 AM
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For some motorcycle chains, you can get a clip master link like you describe or you can get a rivet master link. In the larger sizes for streetbikes (525 is stock on all V-Stroms, and a few Vee owners have upgraded to 530) all come with a rivet master link, and clip master links are not available for many of these chains.

The rivet master link is more reliable and is STRONGLY recommended for streetbikes, given the potentially severe consequences of throwing a chain at speed.

With modern x-ring sealed chains, you do not need to remove the chain for cleaning, and you're usually not making frequent drastic gearing changes so the clip master serves little to no purpose. Clip master links are sometimes used on racebikes (which often use smaller, lighter chains anyway) to make gearing changes easier.

So in sum, there's no real-world advantage to using a clip master on a streetbike with 525 or larger sealed chain (again, you should not remove a sealed chain to clean it; you can keep it perfectly clean in situ), there's a small risk of potentially deadly consequences, and clip master links are not even available for many chains anyway.

Rivet your V-Strom chains. Period. (IMnsHO)

Buuuuut... just so you know, clip vs. rivet usually kicks off a moto-forum holy war.

My personal experience is that a properly installed clip master link can be perfectly reliable. I've never lost one I've installed (most 520 and smaller chains used on dual-sports and dirtbikes use clips and may not have a rivet master available).

However, I've spotted many, many missing clips in my time, presumably from improper installation.

What is proper installation, you ask?

1) Do not reinstall a used clip. I once saw an idiot from Montreal at a racetrack casually bend down and squeeze a clip onto his racebike's chain with two fingers after making a gearing change. He had re-used the same clip so many times he could pop it on and off with his fingernails. Predictably, a few laps later, his chain was lying on the track and he was coasting off to the side, lucky the chain ejected instead of wadding up around the countershaft and destroying his engine and/or his leg.

Obviously, out in the real world people do reinstall used clips sometimes, but the point is that you increase your risk of losing the clip by some unknown amount with every cycle. It's simply not a risk worth taking; there's little to no benefit and a potentially heavy downside.

2) Install the clip VERY carefully. "Pay attention" probably goes without saying, but it's very common to see people accidentally try to force the clip into place without getting it seated in the grooves properly, or bending the clip sideways, or twisting the clip. Clips are very easy to damage if you're not paying attention. You will need pliers, and there should be a very firm snap as the clip goes into its proper place. If you damage the clip, get a new one (yes, you'll need to buy a whole new master link; no one sells just the clips for some damfool reason).

3) CRUCIAL: Tension the outer plate against the clip. I'd guess that not one rider in ten knows about doing this, but I have no idea why -- it's critical to using a clip master link safely. After you install the clip, carefully pry the outer plate back out so it's tight against the clip. On most chains, the outer plate is a light press fit onto the pins, so you need to very carefully use a screwdriver (watch the o-rings) to pry the outer plate out a bit. (And be very, very careful and go slowly when pressing the plate onto the pins in the first place so you don't press too far and damage the sealing rings.)

4) Positioning the clip properly is important as well, but that's fairly obvious -- position the closed end of the clip in the direction of chain travel, so there's less chance of snagging.

5) Some people use a bit of safety wire or an adhesive of some sort as a secondary method of securing the clip. Seems like a good idea in theory, but I've never once seen any of these methods that actually lasts very long at all.

2002 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, Dark Metallic Space Blue
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Last edited by bwringer; 12-05-2018 at 10:05 AM.
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post #3 of 15 Old 12-05-2018, 05:55 PM
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I have always used clip type master links when replacing the OEM chain on all of my bikes over many years and I have never lost a chain, or had a clip fail. In my dirt bike fanny pack I would carry a spare - and a half link. Never used those on the side of the trail either.

My thoughts are that you do your prep at home so that you do not have to do it by the roadside.
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-05-2018, 06:01 PM
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There's not really a great advantage to using them on motorcycles. From what I understand, the clip-type masterlinks that come with these sorts of chains these days still have press-fit sideplates, meaning you'll still need a tool to get one off or on. I, too, think clip-type links can be OK, but since it's unlikely that you would want to, or have to, break the chain on the road, again I can't see the advantage.
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-06-2018, 01:03 AM
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Read the thread From Google, it appears as though most chain manufacturers advise not to use a clip type master link on chain driven drives with modern engine capacity greater than 250 - 300cc, due to the torque stress on the chain (with reference to street bikes).

Last edited by Gert; 12-06-2018 at 01:12 AM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-06-2018, 05:41 AM
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Chain quality varies greatly (usually along with price)in the 1970s chains rarely lasted more than 10k mi,now acheap chain ,well looked after can go 20k and higher quality 30k+.IMO If you are concerned about the need for repair/cleaning effort/roadside failure it is prob.easier to purchase the highest quality chain avail. and rivet it on.Many of the newer chains have finishes that make cleaning easier and a good chain wax is recommended as well.The difference in price is usually about 30 US.PS watch out for where your pressure washer points around wheel bearings/swing-arm bushings and the chain ,it has been known to cause issues. 2 cents worth
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post #7 of 15 Old 12-06-2018, 09:10 AM
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One detail: whether you use a clip or a rivet, you have to use the correct master link specific to your chain's brand and type.

For example, if you have an EK ZVX3 chain, you need an EK ZVX3 master link. There's no such thing as a generic or universal master link.

The 520 chain I use on my KLR650 uses a clip (a rivet link is not available for that particular model chain). So I keep two master links tucked into my tool kit.

2002 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom, Dark Metallic Space Blue
1983 Suzuki GS850G, Cosmic Blue
2005 KLR685, Aztec Red - Turd II.2, the ReReTurdening
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post #8 of 15 Old 12-06-2018, 01:21 PM
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Only use a rivet type master link.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-06-2018, 01:57 PM
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I had a clip type on my first change out of chain on my 650, and every time I turned around (Chain inspection or pressure) the clip was gone.
Don't know if I was doing something wrong on installation or my riding style. so just went to a rivet type and never looked back.

2007 Blue DL650 V-Strom - running out of farkle's to do so bought the VEE
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-06-2018, 01:59 PM
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Iíll try the screw type on my next chain.

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