I come from the world of dirt.... dirt and clip style master links. This is my first time ever in 40 years messing with these high tech street bike chains.
So the V-Strom has 18,000 miles on it and has never gotten treated to a new chain. The chain suddenly needed adjusted after 3500 miles with no adjustment, and a week later needed it again and a week later again.... so I pulled her out of service, recomissioned the KLR to active duty and ordered the OEM RK X-Ring for $103.
It came it at Tracey's yesterday so I went and grabbed it after my doctors appointment in Moon. By the way, no more finger splint!
I inspected the sprockets to determine if I should order one or two new ones and determined that I was still fine with the OEM installed cogs.
I actually looked over the sprockets a couple weeks ago when I adjusted the chain the second time. They have a very slight sign of wear, but nothing worth getting excited over. It takes a real good eye to even know that they have any wear on the pressure side compared to the untouched or deceleration side.
So anyways, time to remove the OEM rivet on chain. I know many of riders argue over the best way to go about this. Some say grind the heads off the rivets and use a punch to pound the rivets back out. Others claim buying and utilizing the rivet tool is the best way. Others yet say to grind, then use the proper tool. I think they all road the short bus to school. As any fool would know, you take about 3.5 seconds out of your busy beer drinking evening and use the plasma cutter to delicately remove the chain!
This honestly is the only way to cut your chain off. Even if it is a clip style, this so fun and easy, you would still rather do this!
The OEM chain was confirmed at the dealership after doing some research in the OEM parts books to be a RK brand (in a Suzuki box with Zuki part numbers) but what the Suzuki books could not provide us was if the chain was an O-Ring, X-Ring or what series/model of RK chain it is. Lucky me! It ends up being the bad ass RK "XW" series.
"XW"-ring Design & Features:
The "XW-ring" is made of an advanced Nitrile Butadiene composite and features three contact lips and two convex outer stabilizers. This means three lubrication pools to protect against high speed abrasion, extreme heat build up, torsional flex and loss of lubricant. Nitrile Butadiene composite is oil and contaminant resistant, and the "XW" seal design is compression and distortion resistant to provide the ultimate in efficiency and performance with absolutely no o-ring drag. The "XW-ring" provides the user with a 50% longer wear life than basic o-ring chains.
This would be the equal RK branded chain:
GB525GXW (& Non-Gold GXW) XW-Ring Rated up to 1100cc.
Application: Street and Dirt.
New lightweight high performance sportbike chain. Non-Gold GXW also available. GB525GXW has a maximum tensile strength rated at 9,300 foot lbs and is suitable for up to 1000cc streetbikes and 800cc dirt bikes. RK's ultimate new generation high-performance sportbike chain. Now also available in Red, Blue, Yellow, Green or Orange
This is a close up of my actual master link prior to installing.
Then, using my $29.99 (on sale) Cycle Gear rivet tool kit, I learned myself how to properly smash rivets.... with some really hard to understand instructions that appeared to be converted from china talk or some shit.
Overall, I was very happy with my choice in chains. Going OEM after seeing the OEM chain withstand 18,000 miles that included 5,000 miles of my jack-assery... I wanted to repeat that performance level! The additional WIN on this, is that the OEM chain with my very generous discount at Traceys made this chain much less $$$ then anything else I was considering.
I was also very pleased with my beginner level chain rivet ability. I think I did a splended job!
Picture after my first time in 40 years performing this task. I have compressed the lower rivet only at this point, and I think it looks good.
This is a great closeup (all pictures taken with my HTC Thunderbolt cell phone!) of the completed rivet installation. Again, I am very happy with my results!
So,the closing statement is that there is nothing to fear doing this job. It was much easier and painless than what I thought it would be. I read online about all of these horror stories, and honestly... it was a very quick job and provided no real challanges.
Let me know what you think of my finished rivets, you can bust my bubble if they are turds and I simply do not know it. I feel I did well, but if I honestly hosed up, I can order a new master link kit and do it again with some words of wisdon to help correct anything I may have done wrong.