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Last night I set about changing the chain and front sprocket on my 2015 650. The chain had become progressively more difficult to keep from drooping right after adjusting it, so I figured it was time.

Also, as my Wee is approaching 30,000 km (18,000 miles), I figured I would change the front sprocket at the same time, whether it looked like it needed it ir not. What I saw upon removing the sprocket cover surprised me. The sprocket was worn way beyond expectation.

Once again, besides premature slackening, the chain was showing no signs of failure. I've been contentious in lubing it since day 1, and don't ride in a lot of dust or mud.

So word to the wise: have a peek under that front sprocket cover every once in a while, you may be surprised by what you see (I was).


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Wow... so I can only imagine what my 27,000 mile original front sprocket might look like. I better have a look soon. Thanks.
 

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I've got 16k miles and mine has much less wear than that.


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Good reminder!

I have had two sprockets on my 2006 DL 650 that were worse than that before I clued in. They were at 66,000 and 62,000 km (think around 35,000 Miles.) Now I check and replace earlier... around half of my expected chain life so I am doing it closer to 50,000km or around 30,000 miles.

..Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good reminder!

I have had two sprockets on my 2006 DL 650 that were worse than that before I clued in. They were at 66,000 and 62,000 km (think around 35,000 Miles.) Now I check and replace earlier... around half of my expected chain life so I am doing it closer to 50,000km or around 30,000 miles.

..Tom

Yeah, I was always under the impression that a sprocket would typically outlast a chain, all things being equal. I guess that is not always the case.
 

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That looks like an OEM front sprocket. That is worn way past out!

Front sprockets should probably be changed at least once during a chains life in my experience. The smaller the front sprocket, the more rapid the wear.
 

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Speaking of sprockets, many out there are solid steel, while the OEM has a rubber bushing, as I have been told. Is this true? I have been told that the solid steel sprockets are a harsher ride due to lack of this rubber bushing.

Rmpl
 

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OEM and one aftermarket maker offers the front sprocket with the rubber bonded to it. As far as I know this has nothing to do with ride but is simply a damper for noise. And it works, the ones without this do have noticeably more chain sing.
 

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Last night I set about changing the chain and front sprocket on my 2015 650. The chain had become progressively more difficult to keep from drooping right after adjusting it, so I figured it was time.

Also, as my Wee is approaching 30,000 km (18,000 miles), I figured I would change the front sprocket at the same time, whether it looked like it needed it ir not. What I saw upon removing the sprocket cover surprised me. The sprocket was worn way beyond expectation.

Once again, besides premature slackening, the chain was showing no signs of failure. I've been contentious in lubing it since day 1, and don't ride in a lot of dust or mud.

So word to the wise: have a peek under that front sprocket cover every once in a while, you may be surprised by what you see (I was).


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This is really excessive wear for the mileage. You must be riding in conditions where the chain picks up grit that grinds down the sprocket. If this is so you may be better off with a dry chain lube that does not attract dirt much or at least a lot less lube than you may have used.
Also the front sprocket is symmetrical, means you can turn it around at 10k and have the "new" side of the sprocket in contact with the chain under load.
 

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yeah, the rubber on the sides of the OEM front sprocket is for noise dampening. I learned that last week when I did my first chain and sprocket replacement at 32,000 miles. Although, whether you can tell it dampens noise is up for grabs. I ended up with a new front sprocket that doesn't have the rubber bushings. I can't tell if it make more or less noise. In fact, with the new chain and sprockets, it almost seems to be running quieter over all. BTW, the front sprocket that I took off my bike didn't have anywhere near the wear that Thighrod posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
This is really excessive wear for the mileage. You must be riding in conditions where the chain picks up grit that grinds down the sprocket. If this is so you may be better off with a dry chain lube that does not attract dirt much or at least a lot less lube than you may have used.
Also the front sprocket is symmetrical, means you can turn it around at 10k and have the "new" side of the sprocket in contact with the chain under load.
Yeah, I thought it was excessive as well.

The strange thing is that I hardly ever drive in gritty/dusty conditions.

Things I do that may have sped up wear:

- generally quickly accelerating from stops (and the occasional short wheely, haha)
- a few track days;
- always using engine braking when coming to a stop (i.e. I cycle down and engage each gear ever time I slow down or come to a stop).

Also, to speak to your point about switching sides to make use of both sides of the sprocket's teeth, if you look at my sprocket, both sides are pretty equally f#cked. I think this is due to the amount of gearing down I do (engine breaking) every time I need to slow or stop; accelerating stresses one side of the sprocket, downshifting to scrub off speed stresses the opposite side.

I bet folks who tend to favour clutch and brakes for slowing/stopping have less wear on the back side of their sprocket teeth than those who favour engine braking.

Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is to not assume your sprocket is OK based on the condition of your chain.

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I inspect the front often, not just for the sprocket wear (but that's important)....area just invites gunk and crap to interfere with the clutch operation. So, I pull it every few rides and give a look-see. I've found like others that it's wise to cough up the relatively cheap price for a new front sprocket mid-way through the chain life. As it wears faster, makes sense to boost chain life a bit with a new front. Rear gets changed with the chain.
 

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On the plus side, you now have a Ninja Star. Or should that be Strom Star?
 
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Here are my results, as I have a stack of like new sprockets hanging on a nail in my garage.
Original chain went 17,000 mi.(wasn't bad, but was such a noisy thing) when changed. Sprockets looked so good that the front was flipped and a new DID chain went on. That chain lasted 27,000. Total of 44,000 on the sprockets and showed little wear.
Chain 3 DID w/new sprockets lasted 27,500 mi. Sprockets looked fine.
Chain 4 DID w/new sprockets lasted 28.000 mi. Again sprockets looked fine.
Chain 5 JT(never again) w/new sprockets lasted only 10,000 mi. Sprockets like new. Flip front and put a DID on. 13,000 mi, on that now and everything as new so far.
I ride hard ,but not abusive. Always use compression braking. Bel-Ray Super Clean lube every 300 mi.
 

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A good habit would be to inspect and flip front sprocket every oil change

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Discussion Starter #19
Bel-Ray Super Clean lube every 300 mi.
I've got 3 cans of Super Clean on the way, going to give that a try for the life of this chain/sprocket. This last sprocket (and chain) was lubed for most of its life with Maxima chain wax. I later switched to gear oil when the chain started getting noisy, which I found much better (but messier) than the Maxima.
 

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Wow I have never seen a sprocket worn like that on my bikes. It's actually quite pretty (as art).

"A good habit would be to inspect and flip front sprocket every oil change"

You can flip the sprocket? Didn't know that. I can see where it would help distribute the wear.
 
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