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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,

I have a 2010 Wee with about 15,500 KM. Original OEM chain and sprockets. I am fairly anal and diligent about lubing the chain and inspecting it regularly.

I was talking with a co-worker who recently replaced a chain on his rice-rocket. He said he was having a problem that seems similar to mine.

At low traffic crawl speeds around town I noticed my bike tends to "chug " or lurch forward slightly. He said this was happening with his bike, and on suggestions from people he removed his chain and inspected it.
Apparently it was stretched, but only in certain spots. He was told that at slow speeds the sprocket grabs the chain differently depending if it is at a stretched portion of the chain. This causes the rear wheel to grab as its sprocket rotates through the different sections of chain. I have inspected my chain on the bike and the tension seems good, and I do have lots of tension adjustment left.

I haven't removed my chain yet as it is a daily commuter for work. The sprockets seem to be in very good condition as well.

The wife and I have a long-range (about 3,000 km) bike trip planned through Washington State in about 3 weeks, and I was wondering if I should replace my chain before we depart?
I have a copy of the 2004 shop manual and checked it for info, but couldn't find anything pertaining to chain life. Just inspect it every 6,000km.

1. Any suggestions?
2. Any ideas on if I should try and get an OEM chain, or upgrade the chain and sprocket?
3. If I change the sprocket should I change the number of teeth as I have seen suggested on some posts?

Thanks
 

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If you see red rust dust coming from the rollers, replace the chain.
If you find some tight links, replace it.
If you can pull the chain away from the rear sprocket at the 3:00 position, replace it.
The specified max length of a section of chain due for replacement is valid, but tricky to measure precisely. If you are a helicopter technician, you'll be able to get an accurate measurement. And, it can measure OK but have seizing pins & bushings that are wearing excessively. The chains have five parts, side plates, pins, bushings, rollers, o-rings that hold lube in the pins & bushings. The pin & bushing wear is the so-called stretch.

If the chain has the specified slack, no tight links, no rust under the rollers, and is snug on the sprockets, I'd ride it. Check that the chain runs straight off the rear sprocket, don't rely on the swing arm marks for alignment. Never over tighten the chain--rapid chain wear results, and maybe more expensive problems.

Chains don't stretch. They wear inside the rollers, get longer & weaker. Your mileage and lube history suggest much more life remaining in that chain, but check. (I've seen a 6,000 mile chain with rust under the rollers and dying.)

The OEM chain and sprockets are very good, but so are many other brands. The top lines from DID, RK, EK, Renthal, JT are excellent. The U. S. wholesalers' brands may have less life but are good value at the price--Parts Unlimited, WPS, BikeMaster. I don't know who Canadian dealers use for aftermarket sources.

Sprocket size depends on your rpm range. If you want less buzz at high freeway speeds, go up to a 16 tooth front (but you don't have high speed freeways on the island, not like Calgary, or Spokane, or L.A.). If you want more grunt on trails or two-up on steep mountain roads, go 14 on the front. Front sprockets are cheap and easy to change. If you don't like your choice, it is easy to switch.
 

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I agree with PT.......unless your drive system (i.e. chain) was neglected for the first 10,000 miles, you should have another 5,000 - 10,000 miles of life remaining in it. Inspect as PT said. If you have doubts, and plan on keeping your bike for another 10,000 - 15,000 miles, go ahead and buy a new chain to take on the trip (assuming you have the space to store it on the bike??) for peace of mind?? Of course, a shop will need to install the chain (if an emergency replacement becomes necessary) unless you have a chain breaker tool, link press, etc to do it yourself. Take a small squeeze bottle of oil (or an aerosol can of chain lube) to lubricate the chain every 500 or so miles on your trip. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
PT,

Thanks for the awesome info. I'll do a more detailed inspection of the chain as you described.

Yes I am (or was) a helicopter tech. Now a Flight Engineer on RCAF choppers. Funny thing is I can take apart a multi-mllion dollar helicopter with a Gerber, but I still find working on my bike and Jeep scary at times :)- Just never had the background tinkering experiance with vehicles.

mark444

I have TONS of storage space on the bike, but if it comes to the point I need a new chain on a long trip i will grab the Visa and call for a tow truck.

Thanks again
 
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