Chain Wear - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Chain Wear

What kind of mileage can one expect to get out of these chains?

I have no prior experience with ring-sealed chains (my other bikes have been non-sealed chains or shaft-drive) and the wear – or rather, the lack thereof – that I’m seeing, is surprising the hell out of me!

I just ordered a replacement chain and sprockets because I know they won’t last forever (and they’ll be out of stock when I finally do need them) but...

At 30,000 miles I’ve applied a total adjustment of 2.5mm (at the axle) and the chain is still within factory spec — not just “Service Limit” spec — at 318.3 mm (12.53 in.) it’s still within a rounding error of the “New/Standard” spec of 317.5 ∼ 318.2 mm (12.50 ∼ 12.53 in.) !?!

Also, it’s been a while since I even looked at the front sprocket but the rear sprocket is showing NO sign of wear, and the chain/sprocket fit is still very snug !?!

And I do NOT baby it:

I don’t do wheelies or hole shots and I don’t do extreme engine braking... but I do ride and accelerate with great enthusiasm.

I lube it at 300 mile intervals with “DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry Wax Lube”.

I only ride paved roads but I’m still a little embarrassed to admit how rarely clean it – like every several thousand miles or so, I spray it with Tri-Flow, let it sit overnight... and then (using no brushes) just wipe it down with a rag.

So, while I’ve seen where some have had obviously premature wear/stretching, either from lack of maintenance or apparently defective units... what is considered the norm for a properly maintained OEM (EK) chain on the V?

Thanks

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 04:36 PM
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I started a similar thread last week since I have begun to think about the life of the chain on my Versys. Given the responses there, I went ahead and bought a chain and sprocket set from sprocket center (including a 43 tooth rear).

Now I have taken some more time to think about the situation and your post got me to finally figure out a way to dangle 20 pounds or so off of my chain to perform the appropriate measurements. I found a situation very similar to what you describe, namely that all of the measurements were only a smidge greater than 12.5 inches and none were anywhere near 12.6 inches, much less at the "service limit" of 12.7 inches from the manual. This surprised me since I have over 17000 miles on the chain and sprockets. My rear sprocket looks fine and I have never seen my front sprocket.

The box for the DID chain that I bought says that you should replace your o-ring chain at 10000 miles and your x-ring chain (whatever the difference is) at 20000 miles. I am not sure what that advice is worth, however.

I think that I am going to wait for my rear Shinko 009 to wear out in a thousand or so miles and then replace my chain and sprockets. I do not think I will push it to 30000 miles.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 05:02 PM
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IDK, but I've got 18,000+ on mine and it's got plenty of life left in it. I am thinking at least 25,000, maybe more. I consider anything past 20K to be a "I got my money's worth" situation.

Like you, I went down to my shop at about 15K and got a chain and sprockets just to have on hand when I need it (and I want to get that 43t rear on there!). Looks like they will be sitting on the shelf for a little while. From new I used Maxima Chain Wax and when that can was done, I switched over to their synthetic clear stuff, which seems like a decent lube--I've used the Chain Wax for years on my dirt bikes--but the damn can sprays like a fire hose! I lube it every 300-500 miles, but have gone as long as 1,000 a couple of (few?) times. I've only needed to adjust it 3-4 times since new, although I have let it get pretty slack in between adjustments a couple of times (I'm from the "it's better to have it a little too loose than a little too tight" camp). The only other maintenance it gets is every time I wash the bike, I coat it real good with WD-40 and then wipe it down with a rag, focusing mainly on the under/contact side. I haven't checked the countershaft sprocket, but the rear shows no signs of wear whatsoever. My bike has never seen dirt, but I will admit to being a little bit of a "whiskey throttler" and mix in a wheelie here and there....


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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 05:25 PM
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I'd say that you need to start doing hole shots.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 09:36 PM
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Jello shots are way better!

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rumbo75 View Post
I'd say that you need to start doing hole shots.
You know you are a geek when you end up on wikipedia, trying to find out what a hole shot is.

I am pretty sure that I will not be doing and hole shots any time soon. I suppose for me "the race is not always to the swift." Why else would anyone try a 43 tooth rear sprocket?
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Mursili View Post
You know you are a geek when you end up on wikipedia, trying to find out what a hole shot is.


Your good as long as you didn't have to go there to look up what " Money Shot " meant.

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-13-2011, 05:03 AM
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My DID is coming to 30K with no issues or sounds.
Will change them soon as a set with the chain and front/rear sprockets.
Maybe it's because of the scottoiler.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 08:52 PM
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I got 15K on a DR-Z chain that had seen its share of mud and dirt. Regularly maintained, and since the V isn't pulling a ton of HP, 15 - 20 K should be reasonable. If you ride hard all the time (track, dirt) YMMV. Just remember to give her a good soaking with a quality chain lube every 500 or so. I spray my chain down until it starts dripping out of the CS sprocket cover. It gets messy, but this will help clear the grime while you lube.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-14-2011, 09:47 PM
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I got 22K out of mine. I replaced the chain and both sprockets at the same time.

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-15-2011, 12:01 AM
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My '08 has over 25,000 miles on the original chain - REGULARLY sprayed with WD40 only. Still in good condition.

(I got 54,000 kms - 33,500 miles - out of the OEM chain on my KLR on a steady diet of WD40.)

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 08:01 AM
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I just replaced mine at just under 14K. It's not that they were out-of-spec, but the chain wore unevenly, and gave a harmonic whir-whir-whir noise that was becoming more pronounced as mileage increased. I could even feel it when under light acceleration. Lube, yes, every 200-300 miles, with either chain wax or Dupont. Sprockets showed little to no wear, chain even LOOKED good...but it wasn't. Replaced with SunStar sprockets, 16T counter and stock rear, with an X-ring chain. This set-up has no "16T noise" issues at all, and the bike overall is quieter.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardware View Post
Also, it’s been a while since I even looked at the front sprocket but the rear sprocket is showing NO sign of wear, and the chain/sprocket fit is still very snug !?!
I just changed my chain and sprockets at 18800 miles. I found no measurable wear on the chain, but when I pulled the chain off I found one link that was pretty clunky. My rear sprocket looked like new - except for the large amount of grime on it from my non-hygienic practices. My front sprocket showed significant wear. About half of the teeth showed a pronounced "pointing in the direction of travel" kind of wear. The other half looked relatively symmetric.

I undertook this change since I was experiencing a vibration issue. I had a vibration that lasted about a second and that came back every three seconds or so. It really seemed like a beat frequency and it got better the more lubed my chain was. The overall trend was that the vibration was getting worse as the miles added up. I figure that the vibration came at highway speeds as the poor part of the chain lined up with the worn part of the front sprocket (or at least something like that). I assume that will take at least a couple of revolutions of the chain to happen, although I have not thought this all the way through.

Now that I have made the change, it runs quite smoothly. I hope that it is not because of the nice new PR2 I put on the rear at the same time.

I like the 43-tooth rear sprocket, but will make no pronouncement about it until I get used to it some more.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-27-2011, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardware View Post
What kind of mileage can one expect to get out of these chains?

I have no prior experience with ring-sealed chains (my other bikes have been non-sealed chains or shaft-drive) and the wear – or rather, the lack thereof – that I’m seeing, is surprising the hell out of me!

I just ordered a replacement chain and sprockets because I know they won’t last forever (and they’ll be out of stock when I finally do need them) but...

At 30,000 miles I’ve applied a total adjustment of 2.5mm (at the axle) and the chain is still within factory spec — not just “Service Limit” spec — at 318.3 mm (12.53 in.) it’s still within a rounding error of the “New/Standard” spec of 317.5 ∼ 318.2 mm (12.50 ∼ 12.53 in.) !?!

Also, it’s been a while since I even looked at the front sprocket but the rear sprocket is showing NO sign of wear, and the chain/sprocket fit is still very snug !?!

And I do NOT baby it:

I don’t do wheelies or hole shots and I don’t do extreme engine braking... but I do ride and accelerate with great enthusiasm.

I lube it at 300 mile intervals with “DuPont Teflon Multi-Use Dry Wax Lube”.

I only ride paved roads but I’m still a little embarrassed to admit how rarely clean it – like every several thousand miles or so, I spray it with Tri-Flow, let it sit overnight... and then (using no brushes) just wipe it down with a rag.

So, while I’ve seen where some have had obviously premature wear/stretching, either from lack of maintenance or apparently defective units... what is considered the norm for a properly maintained OEM (EK) chain on the V?

Thanks
I switched to the DuPont dry lube myself. It has been reported to extend the life of the chain dramatically. It's cheap and you can even buy it in small four ounce bottles that you can carry on the bike. It's worth checking out guys.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 11:27 AM
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Original chain with 21500K KM and still good. Always kept in oiled conditions and kept it cleaned after each ride.

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-28-2011, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mursili View Post
I just changed my chain and sprockets ... I found no measurable wear on the chain ... My rear sprocket looked like new... My front sprocket showed significant wear. About half of the teeth showed a pronounced "pointing in the direction of travel" kind of wear.

You make a very good point that I hadn’t even thought of until this moment!

It’s been quite a few miles since I bothered to look at my front sprocket because the rear one (and chain) looked so good... but because of its smaller diameter, the front sprocket sees about 3x the `service/miles’ of the rear.

I think I better go check mine!

Thanks for posting that!
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-12-2011, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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So I finally replaced my chain (actually some months ago).

The chain I took off was still within factory new spec and the rear sprocket showed virtually no signs of wear (I did change it though) however the front sprocket... Well, let’s just say that this is how you make a ninja throwing star...

Take 1 Versys, put on 33,323 miles and...
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-13-2011, 06:22 AM
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The front sprocket is definitely where the most wear occurs, in my experience. As others have said, things begin to get noisy and vibey when the teeth and chain aren't meshing properly. The back sprocket can look good as new.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-13-2011, 12:11 PM
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Changed the front sprocket on my '08 the other day (29,900 miles, more-or-less). It was worn ('hooked') but not nearly to the extent of Hardware's. His teeth were definitely 'thinner'. My lube-of-choice is WD40.

Ed
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-14-2011, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
Changed the front sprocket on my '08 the other day (29,900 miles, more-or-less). It was worn ('hooked') but not nearly to the extent of Hardware's. His teeth were definitely 'thinner'. My lube-of-choice is WD40.
I think the difference may be more about our different riding styles than the lube...

Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
[Re. Brake Pads]
Just went out and looked at mine, that have just about 30,000 miles on them. ... I have LOTS left. The rear pads also have lots.

I'm retired, so when I go for a ride it's generally a LONG one, which may explain why I've used up so little of my pads.
Whereas I do all back roads fairly aggressively with constant up/down shifting and acceleration & engine braking.

Although, then again, it may also be because I (almost) never clean mine
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Last edited by Hardware; 12-14-2011 at 10:57 AM.
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