Whats invlolved with chain maintenance? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-03-2009, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Whats invlolved with chain maintenance?

Sorry for the elementary question. I have always had shaft drive or belt driven bikes. So whats involved in chain drive maintenance? I read on another thread the need to oil every 200 miles... Is that right? I am known to do 600-1000 mile days which would mean I am stopping 3-4 times in a ride to oil the chain. Heck, my last bike let me go 375 miles once without stopping. Do the sprockets and drive gear need to be replaced every time the chain gets replaced? How hard is it to change? Any special tools needed? Just curious. I thought they made chains with o-rings that kept the chain from needing oil all the time.
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-03-2009, 04:36 PM
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Welcome to my weekend project ;-)

Do a search on "Chain Maintenance" also "Dupont Teflon" and "Sprockets". You will find a wealth of information (trust me).

There are two crowds:
Teflon/Spray
Oilers

I'm in the former group.

I have my old sprockets & chain off the bike right now, tomorrow I will put on the new sprockets (17/43) and new chain. I just switched to a 530 as others have reported a much increased service life.

Also check the Maintenance section, there are a couple of stickies up there on chain/sprocket replacement.

The short answer is 'yes' you have to do maintenance, but it might not be as bad as it sounds. I do a kerosene cleaning of the chain about once every 600 or so miles (more if the weather is dry). I try to do a Teflon spray once a week or once every 300 - 400 miles. If it rains out, I spray my chain down when I get home. If you grab a small can of the Dupont Teflon spray, you can pack it with you and spray your chain on those long rides.

The other option is an oiler, I don't have one, and probably won't get one anytime soon. Do a search for more info on the oilers.

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Last edited by PhotoBiker; 10-03-2009 at 04:39 PM.
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-03-2009, 04:44 PM
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Hey look your post made #2 on the list:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=chain+maintenan...romtrooper.com

Seriously, though, lots of good reading available at those links and by all means heed the latest tips about NOT lubing, spraying wiping, or otherwise messing with your chain with the bike running and in gear on the centerstand...

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post #4 of 17 Old 10-03-2009, 05:52 PM
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What they said. I've gone to clean and lube every month.I don't ride enough to hit 600 miles in a month some times. But have gone about 1000 miles between cleaning and lubing. I agree that you should probable spray the chain down with some good lube if you ride in the wet alot. I have only 14,000 miles on the 06 Wee. I have found chain maintenance not a big deal with the center stand, plus I use the Kennetemax chain cleaner. I used to ride bicycles and mountain bicycles, so I'm used to cleaning and lubeing chains!!! I had five bicycles for myself at one time. It's not a big deal in my book. Just be ready to get dirty. Also make sure to pull the plastic cover off the front sprocket to clean out the crap that builds up there. Use an extension of about 12 inches on a 1/8 inch socket (I think) and you can get the screw out on the bottom by the shifter very easy. It took me two years to remember and assemble the tools to do that right.

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post #5 of 17 Old 10-03-2009, 08:51 PM
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So whats involved in chain drive maintenance?
Cleaning, lubing, and setting slack as it stretches.

I read on another thread the need to oil every 200 miles... Is that right?
The sun will still rise if you lengthen the maintenance interval. I recall a post from someone who did minimal (read:none) chain maintenance and still got respectable mileage out their chain.

I am known to do 600-1000 mile days which would mean I am stopping 3-4 times in a ride to oil the chain.
That's crazy talk. I bet even hardcore people only do it at gas stops.

Do the sprockets and drive gear need to be replaced every time the chain gets replaced?
That's the usual advice. The sprockets (particularly the front) wear. A worn chain will wear new sprockets and worn sprockets will wear a new chain faster than if it's all new and wears together.... or so they say.

How hard is it to change? Any special tools needed?
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. You'll need a few sockets, a torque wrench, and a gigantic socket or wrench (on the Vee it's a 32 or 33mm - don't remember). I looked at buying a giant 1/2" drive 32mm socket until I realized that my local Autozone will loan them out for free (deposit required).

I thought they made chains with o-rings that kept the chain from needing oil all the time.
They do. I just changed my original OEM chain at 19,000mi, and the only thing I did for the last 5000mi was spray some WD40 on it now and then. I don't know the lifespan of non- O-ring chains, but I'm sure it's nowhere near that.
post #6 of 17 Old 10-03-2009, 10:32 PM
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In addition to the lubes mentioned, add chain wax, goopy spray stuff, and dry lubes with volatile penetrating solvents that evaporate the liquid away, and near-worthless products like WD-40.

Here's info about modern o-ring chains
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-ring_chain
http://www.motorcycle.com/products/a...ains-3524.html

O-ring chains need lube for the side plates, rollers, and sprocket teeth. If you choose oil, use gear oil. It contains extreme pressure agents for boundary lubrication that engine oil does not have. Cleaning is equally necessary. Anything that is sticky will hold abrasive dirt...great for wear, bad for chain & sprocket life.

My choice is a dry lube in a penetrating volatile liquid. The DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Lubricant is getting lots of good press. I use a moly & graphite industrial chain product, Schaeffer's Moly Roller Chain Lube #227 (more), that works great but is hard to find. One would have to contact the company, get the contact for the regional distributor, and find a way to buy just a case of 12 cans (maybe share with buddies).

By the way, chain does not stretch. Once the o-rings fail, the lube gets out and dirt gets in, and the pins and bushings wear, the chain lengthens, but nothing stretches.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-04-2009, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for answering my question. Switching from my original post a bit, I have never owned a chain drive bike before. Its always been shaft or belt but mostly all shaft drive bikes. What can I expect from a chain drive compared to shaft drive other than maintentance? Does it get jerky at all? Is it as smooth or close to it?
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-04-2009, 12:09 AM
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A chain is more efficient than a shaft, wasting less power. It can handle gravel and rock getting kicked up better than a belt. It does require lubing and sometimes cleaning though. If properly adjusted and not worn out, you won't feel a difference but you may hear one.

Pat- 2007 DL650A was ridden to all 48 contiguous states. I didn't quite make it to 17,000 miles on the 2012 DL650A.
Nicknames I use to lessen typing, Vee = 2002-2012 DL1000s. Vee2=2014-2016 DL1000s. Wee = 2004-2011 DL650s. Glee = 2012-2016 DL650s
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-04-2009, 03:02 AM
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Greywolf....I'm sure you can answer this: Is Simple Green ok to clean the chain with. I've been using it and it seems to work well. I have not been able to get an affirmative answer.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-04-2009, 03:22 AM
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I hate chains. Wish the bike had a belt or shaft drive. I get caught out in the rain far too often, and don't have the inclination to do chain maintenance as much as I should.

Got a scott oiler, haven't gotten around to installing it.

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