StromTrooper banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting new chain and do not have a chain breaking tool. I'm curious to know if anyone has personal experience with failure of a master (or clip) link. For most of my earlier motorcycling years (even in the pre-O-or X-ring days) this was a common method of securing a chain, and in all that time I did not observe or even hear of the failure of a properly installed link, though a vague fear of such seems to lurk in motorcycling lore.

Testify, brothers! Has anyone seen a failure?
 

·
FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
Joined
·
38,103 Posts
It's very rare but I've seen a few reports. You can get an EK chain with a screw on master link from Blair at SVRacingparts.com. You would need a 118 link chain if you don't have the tools to cut a couple of links off the typical 120 link replacement chain.

A good clip type link would need a tool to press on the side plate. The type that assemble without tools can get metal fatigue on the side plate opposite the clip. Travellingstrom had that happen a couple of times on one trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I had a clip that came off 1700 miles from home on an older bike of mine. I was able to get a hand full of clips at a cycle gear for the ride back. I was replacing a clip every couple hundred miles. Needlessly stressful and annoying. Really distracted me from what should have been a great ride. I have used rivet links since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,257 Posts
I had a master link break on my old 2001 Bandit back in 2002 or 2003. When it failed, the chain was thrown and broke a chunk off the clutch pushrod (?).

A year or so ago the clip came off my dirt bike's master link while I was on a ride about 20 miles from home, and the link disengaged and the chain went shooting out the back. I had some spare clips but as shitty luck would have it I launched them off into the woods as I was trying to install them. I ended up just putting the master link on with no clip and riding home in second gear at 15 mph (to minimize any excessive chain jerk). Incredibly, I made it. As I arrived home and killed the engine, I heard a "clink" noise, and the side plate for the master link fell off.

In the case of the Bandit, I had a backyard mechanic do the work and I actually spec'd out a non O ring, extremely cheap chain, in an effort to save money. In the case of the dirt bike, I had bought it used and had really never gone over the chain and master link; if I had, I may have noticed that the clip was not correctly installed, or whatever.

Despite those anomalies I continue to run master link chains and trust them. I have reached a point in my motorcycling career where I do my own chains and so forth so now any screw ups rest on me... both my Stroms currently wear DID X ring chains with clip style links, and in a cumulative 90,000 miles neither has had an issue with that setup.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,975 Posts
I'm getting new chain and do not have a chain breaking tool. I'm curious to know if anyone has personal experience with failure of a master (or clip) link. For most of my earlier motorcycling years (even in the pre-O-or X-ring days) this was a common method of securing a chain, and in all that time I did not observe or even hear of the failure of a properly installed link, though a vague fear of such seems to lurk in motorcycling lore.

Testify, brothers! Has anyone seen a failure?
Seen a few first hand, and the consequences of many more. Rivet is the way to go. The tools aren't that expensive and it's a one time cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,664 Posts
I have never had a problem with a properly installed master link

I have of course seen the clips on backwards and so abused by the installer that they never / or can clip into the little grooves.

I would think that a manufacturer with the swing arm in his hand would want a continuous chain for the ease of installation so not that it may/or not be a use problem
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
Have app. 15,000 miles with the screw-on link from Blair, no problemo. Will probably swap out the sprockets (16/43) and throw on a new chain as a winter project. :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
OK, chain and screw link ordered. Unfortunately on Blair's website I could only find chain/sprocket combos, and I already had the sprocket part covered. Thanks to all.
 

·
Official Stromtrooper.com Sponsor
Joined
·
5,424 Posts
To add a little to the discussion-a properly installed clip type master link can be trouble free. BUT......that was in the old days when there was no such thing as an O-ring chain. I think the O-rings make it a LOT more likely to mess up the installation of a clip type master link and add to that the side pressure the O-rings put on the spring clip and there just has to be more chance of failure. The clip coming off is not the only thing that can happen. If you mess up the O-rings that link will likely rust and wear out over time and be weaker than the remaining chain.
I wouldn't be afraid to use one, but personally would change out to a rivet style when I could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
900 Posts
I have never had one fail. But I have seen the groove that the keeper seats in be defective. So I would look at that closely. Chain tools can fairly inexpensive, and you can penne the end of the link really easily without the tool.

By the way, make sure you get the right chain length. the '08 and later ones have a slightly longer swing arm, thus a longer chain. It's to accommodate the ABS wither you have it or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
86 Posts
Clip Master Link

I put on a new RK X-ring chain, it came with a rivet on master link. I had never used one & did not have the tool. I special ordered 2 of the correct clip style master links. As usual I had to press the side link on. I had road it for a while, several thousand miles, and was checking the adjustment when I noticed the clip had came off but I don't know how long ago that had happened. The side link had stayed tight so I installed another clip. I was checking the clip a short time later and found the clip had came off again, Yes the clips were installed correctly. Someone told me that they use safety wire for racing applications. I looked it up on the internet and seen how to do it. I finally used .032" stainless safety wire in place of the clip and I have not had a problem with it since, well over 15,000 miles.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,929 Posts
The Wee is the first bike I've owned without a master link (haven't ridden for years) and I've never had one come apart however I don't recommend it now. The thought of the chain coming off at 80mph is enough for me to invest in the tool or have someone else install it. Never heard of the screw on master link but it sounds like an acceptable alternative. I think I would use a lot of LocTite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
The Wee is the first bike I've owned without a master link (haven't ridden for years) and I've never had one come apart however I don't recommend it now. The thought of the chain coming off at 80mph is enough for me to invest in the tool or have someone else install it. Never heard of the screw on master link but it sounds like an acceptable alternative. I think I would use a lot of LocTite.
The nuts on the screw type are just for pressing the link on, after that they snap off the excess.

Harbor Freight sells a very inexpensive riveting tool too. So there's really no reason to place your trust in clip master links nowadays.

Heavy Duty Chain Breaker
Chain installation replacement rivet tool cheap harbor freight 530 motorcycle - YouTube
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,361 Posts
Years ago I bought a basket case that had a locked clutch (CB 350) cheap. Owner said clutch was locked. I noticed a new chain with clip master link. He said it threw chain and when he put new one on clutch would not work.

I disassembled to find a bent push rod and a hole in the case. Hole was pretty easily welded up. Pounded push rod straight with hammer. Back on road.

Do they fail often? No.
However, the price of failure could be high in safety, ruined ride of a lifetime, and/or busted engine case (or some combination of the three).

I will never install anything but a rivet type master link on a street bike. Clip master links are for lazy/cheap/hack mechanics and dirt bikes.

Chain, tires, and brakes....keep you alive. A blown up engine is just an inconvenience.

The shop I worked for refused to install a clip master on any street bike, no matter the horsepower.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Harbor Freight sells a very inexpensive riveting tool too.
Hey, I frequent Harbor Freight as often as the next guy, but for the most part "inexpensive" translates easily to "cheap" in both senses of the word. A few weeks ago I was hand tightening one of their 6" C-clamps and it broke in half. And while I am not feeble, I'm not exactly Ahnold Governator either.

In general I view their tools as mostly one-and-done, which is fine for some specialty items that will only see limited use. OTOH I have one of their trailers which has given me good use for a long time. I think for things which have to meet certain government specs (like trailers to get DOT certification and VIN) the Chinese try a little harder. Just a theory.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,975 Posts
...Do they fail often? No.
However, the price of failure could be high in safety, ruined ride of a lifetime, and/or busted engine case (or some combination of the three)....
Exactly. I get a little frustrated with the "It's never happened to me, therefore it can't happen to me." line of reasoning. I've seen enough failures in chains installed by competent, professional mechanics to know that it's a bit of a crap shoot. The odds may be fairly low, but the consequences can be disastrous. Doesn't make a lick of sense to me to use a clip
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I know you guys are right but I can't help chuckling at the result of your philosophy with just a little amending, something we have all heard all too often:

I get a little frustrated with the "It's never happened to me, therefore it can't happen to me." line of reasoning. I've seen enough motorcycle accidents to know that it's a bit of a crap shoot. The odds may be fairly low, but the consequences can be disastrous. Doesn't make a lick of sense to me to ride one.
It's all in your personal risk/reward calculation.:yesnod:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,975 Posts
I know you guys are right but I can't help chuckling at the result of your philosophy with just a little amending, something we have all heard all too often:



It's all in your personal risk/reward calculation.:yesnod:
Oh, absolutely. It's the denial of risk that gets me.
Along the same lines, I have no problem with someone who understands that riding without a helmet is more dangerous, but feels that the additional enjoyment they get out of riding without one is worth it. It's the guys who try to justify is by saying that helmet cause more injuries than they prevent or some other such crap that irritate me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,560 Posts
I know you guys are right but I can't help chuckling at the result of your philosophy with just a little amending, something we have all heard all too often:

I get a little frustrated with the "It's never happened to me, therefore it can't happen to me." line of reasoning. I've seen enough motorcycle accidents to know that it's a bit of a crap shoot. The odds may be fairly low, but the consequences can be disastrous. Doesn't make a lick of sense to me to ride one.

It's all in your personal risk/reward calculation.:yesnod:

I was thinking along the same lines.

PS: I rivet.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,395 Posts
Allot of risks are at play when we ride, I guess having a clip style master never was really one of my concerns. Yup they can for sure fail and we know that, but I would imagine if we were dealing with a game of percentages, the vast majority of "no fail" outweighs the latter.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top