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Chain Questions for my upcoming trip to S. America

1398 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  greywolf
Hi folks:

I'm planning on riding my bike to San Diego and then swapping out the chain and sprocket there. But I have a few questions (as always) as I prepare for my upcoming trip to S. America (next month!)

1) Which chain is generally accepted to be the best (and that you'd recommend that I throw on for my trip)?
2) I think it's generally accepted to replace the rear sprocket at the same time is this right? Again, which sprocket would you go with?
3) I've also heard that you don't need to replace the front sprocket because it's made out of steel and not aluminum (I believe). So I never need to replace it?
4) What spare(s) would you take with you on this trip? A spare sprocket? Chains are pretty heavy and bulky I think.
5) Also do Vstrom chains have master links? What chain tools would you bring (master links, braker/riveter tool etc)

Best,
David
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your quesrions..

your questions imply a lack of familiarity with bike and lack of research, so be careful relying on being your own mechanic on the road

front sprockets suffer the most wear as they have a smaller radius and tooth-chain contact forces are higher than for the rear sprocket

master links on good chain seem to me to be rivet type - u would have to buy a clip type separately

(I have to replace chains etc on both my bikes this month)

if u figure a chain to last at least 15,000 miles - how does that compare to your planned trip mileage

i can't speak to alum rear sprockets
 

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1) Which chain is generally accepted to be the best (and that you'd recommend that I throw on for my trip)?
Chains are commercial rated, you can look it up.
(I'd recommend you go back with the oem chain, I've been through 3 of them and they've ranged from 17,000 miles to 28,000 miles. It mostly depends on how you take care of them.)
2) I think it's generally accepted to replace the rear sprocket at the same time is this right? Again, which sprocket would you go with?
May be generally accepted, but I strongly disagree. On all the bikes I've ever owned, the rear sprocket wears the least of the 3 components. In my experience, the rear sprocket will easily last through 2 chains, usually 3.
I'd go back with the oem sprocket, as it should easily last 50,000 miles with proper adjustment and maintenance.
3) I've also heard that you don't need to replace the front sprocket because it's made out of steel and not aluminum (I believe). So I never need to replace it?
Both fornt and rear oem sprockets are steel. I've got over 50,000 miles on my DL650 and recommend replacing the front sprocket about every ~15,000 miles
4) What spare(s) would you take with you on this trip? A spare sprocket? Chains are pretty heavy and bulky I think.
I take 4-6K mile trips almost every year and the only thing I worry about is tires, but see #5.
5) Also do Vstrom chains have master links? What chain tools would you bring (master links, braker/riveter tool etc)
They have riveted (permanent) masterlinks, not clip types. I bring all the tools to replace a chain, 2 clip masterlinks, and a short section of chain on my trips, but have never needed them.
 

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Hi folks:

I'm planning on riding my bike to San Diego and then swapping out the chain and sprocket there. But I have a few questions (as always) as I prepare for my upcoming trip to S. America (next month!)

1) Which chain is generally accepted to be the best (and that you'd recommend that I throw on for my trip)?
2) I think it's generally accepted to replace the rear sprocket at the same time is this right? Again, which sprocket would you go with?
3) I've also heard that you don't need to replace the front sprocket because it's made out of steel and not aluminum (I believe). So I never need to replace it?
4) What spare(s) would you take with you on this trip? A spare sprocket? Chains are pretty heavy and bulky I think.
5) Also do Vstrom chains have master links? What chain tools would you bring (master links, braker/riveter tool etc)

Best,
David
1--Any good brand top line chain is excellent. The chain and sprockets Blair (SVracing.com) sells is excellent and a good price. Suzuki OEM sprockets are also very good. If you have a Vee, 530 size chain and sprockets will offer longer life (wider rollers); on a Wee the stock 525 size is fine.
2,3--Both are steel and both wear. Worn sprockets shorten chain life.
5--Strom chains use riveted master links. You'll need a chain breaker/rivet tool.

Regular and adequate lubrication is a key to long chain life. For a trip where you don't know what supplies are available, a chain oiler that uses any oil might be wise. I'd choose gear oil, available everywhere, for its increased level of antiwear and extreme pressure additives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
your questions imply a lack of familiarity with bike and lack of research, so be careful relying on being your own mechanic on the road
I have no illusions that I'm a master mechanic; and have been riding motorcycles less than a year. That being said; I feel I've learned quite a bit in the past year.

In terms of research I probably could have searched the forums prior to posting... you have a point there. Most of my questions are better researched.

I'm sure I'm going to learn a lot more about my motorcycle on this trip. And thanks for taking the time to answer.
 

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I would make a suggestion as well... use your chain break tool on an old chain a couple of times before you leave, for two reasons. One, to familiarize yourself with "how to". Second, to make sure the tool works, and has no hidden flaws that (according to Murphy) will make themselves known as far away from civilization as possible. :headbang:
I've never done a motorcycle chain, but have a lot of experience with roller chain in industrial applications.
 

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Think about this

A friend of mine rode from Key West FL to the tip of So. America and back. He did the "iron butt" thing, he has a vest full of iron butt patches.
ANYWAY Think about this = He had 2 sets of tires, chains, sprockets and other "stuff" sent half way, I assume to a Suzuki dealer. He changed all that half way down and again on the way back.
Then a month or 6 weeks later, he took off from Key West to Alaska and back, got another patch, he's in his 60's =
he did run into some Mexican cops that tried to shake him down for $200, he said they settled for $20.
Good luck
 

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If you have not check it out, maybe good to do. I pick up windshield for my scooter from John he a very nice guy, both John & Dan have E-Mail address on their site. Ritch

Moto Brothers
 

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I would make a suggestion as well... use your chain break tool on an old chain a couple of times before you leave, for two reasons. One, to familiarize yourself with "how to". Second, to make sure the tool works, and has no hidden flaws that (according to Murphy) will make themselves known as far away from civilization as possible. :headbang:
I've never done a motorcycle chain, but have a lot of experience with roller chain in industrial applications.
Yep, and get a junk tire to practice tire plugging, and practice any other repairs you might feel the need to practice here where advice is available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Question:

Would you folks bring an *extra* chain with you if you were swapping out in San Diego? I am inclined to say no as its a huge volume/weight item.
 

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EK or DID chains are fine. The chain the comes on the V-Strom is the DID VM2 and it is an excellent chain. Replace both sprockets and the cush drive rubbers. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE USE A CLIP-TYPE MASTER LINK!!! Sure as s**t you'll be in the middle of nowhere and you'll stop to get lunch and that ^&%$#@%^&*!!! clip will be missing. Gee, ask me how I know. Rivet that puppy. If you choose to not follow my advice, you can use 520 chain clips on a 525 chain (ask how I know that being out in the middle of nowhere with a tractor store being the only thing in sight). Have a whole pocket full of those clips, you'll need 'em. Of course, you can ride 100 miles without a clip, too... yes, been there, done that.

I say this stuff in humor, but please, rivet that chain.
Steve
 

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The possibility of the clip coming off is only part of the story. The pins on a rivet link are much tighter in the side plate. A clip link can develop metal fatigue on the side opposite the clip from pin movement. Ask Travellingstrom.

 
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