Chain stretch - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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Question Chain stretch

Took a ride to Marion Va, wanted to try the "Back of the Dragon" and then hopped up into West Va. and Kentucky. My chain got very loose and I readjusted and lubed in the motel lot (PITA) and headed home. At home the chain was very loose again after 450 miles of interstate. Now, after adjusting again, the tightest section is adjusted to 1" and the rest of the chain has about 2" play. At 13k, is it time to replace? I cannot lift the chain away from the rear sprocket more than 1/8" To many years on a shafty so this is new territory for me
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 09:15 AM
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Yes, that chain is gone.

Usually when a chain has stretched past it's limit it stretches faster and requires adjustment more often. This in turn will wreck your sprockets. I replaced the chain on my Versys at 10K and again at 22.5K, I ride a lot in the rain. Is 13K too much? Dunno, it all depends on how you ride, weather, maintenance, etc. If it is stretching fast, change it.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 09:20 AM
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honestly don't see the need for obsessively tight chains. as long as its not so lose that it can derail the only real side effect to a lose chain is slop between on throttle and off throttle.

a lot of dirt riders say "a smiling chain is a happy chain"
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 09:25 AM
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Took a ride to Marion Va, wanted to try the "Back of the Dragon" and then hopped up into West Va. and Kentucky. My chain got very loose and I readjusted and lubed in the motel lot (PITA) and headed home. At home the chain was very loose again after 450 miles of interstate. Now, after adjusting again, the tightest section is adjusted to 1" and the rest of the chain has about 2" play. At 13k, is it time to replace? I cannot lift the chain away from the rear sprocket more than 1/8" To many years on a shafty so this is new territory for me
Typically when I start having excessive tight and loose spots, then I replace the chain. It's just me. I have had chains that wouldn't pull of the sprocket but were obviously worn and had tight links.

Chains aren't expensive and your looking at 20-30 minutes to swap it out.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-02-2015, 09:53 AM
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as long as your arnt missing O/X-rings and no links are binding, then id keep using it..
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 05:25 AM
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replace it

it will fail

and you

will be pissed
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 06:52 AM
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honestly unless the chain has tight links, missing orings, etc, I wouldn't worry about it.

there is a simple measurement to see if it has stretched too much. If memory serves, you measure 21 pins and the length should be less than 12.57 inches.


there is a handy go, no-go gauge for checking the chain stretch
http://dirtbiketest.com/product-test...in-wear-gauge/
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Last edited by kohburn; 09-03-2015 at 07:33 AM. Reason: looked up the measurement
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 08:35 AM
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Yes, that chain is gone.

Usually when a chain has stretched past it's limit it stretches faster and requires adjustment more often. .... it all depends on how you ride, ....If it is stretching fast, change it.
+1

That chain is toast.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 10:53 AM
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When my chain played out last year, I started getting weird 'surging' sensations: http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...eleration.html

Once I put the new chain on, the surging disappeared.

I say time for a replacement.

'09 Versys
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 03:14 PM
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The conventional wisdom is to replace the chain and sprockets as a set.
That ups the time quotient as well as the cost. It may also open another can o worms as in "tight front sprocket".
The '11 I just bought has some tight links, also at 13k on the original chain. My plan is to wait until the rear tire has reached its service life, then take it to my local independent shop to have all replaced at once. Meanwhile, the sticky links get lubed every ride.
On my '09 I've been replacing the C&S every 3rd tire change, about 15-17k miles. At least I'll have the parts ready. I know, some people get more out of their chains.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 04:19 PM
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I say it's time to replace. A difference of an inch of play between the tightest and loosest spot on the chain seems like a pretty extreme difference to me.

I'm still new to this bike, but to me it seems "happier" with the chain set to the loose end of spec.

'09 Versys
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kohburn View Post
honestly unless the chain has tight links, missing orings, etc, I wouldn't worry about it....
The difference of 1" between 'loose' and 'tight' indicates that there ARE tight links.

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Originally Posted by pkovo View Post
I say it's time to replace. A difference of an inch of play between the tightest and loosest spot on the chain seems like a pretty extreme difference to me....
Agreed.

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 11:13 PM
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I got 18K miles out of my first set of sprockets and chain and I am a pansy on the throttle compared to many. Not all of us can get chain life like fasteddiecopeman - although if we all used WD-40 exclusively, we could all try...

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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-03-2015, 11:19 PM
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 08:48 AM
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Chains and sprockets DO NOT HAVE to be replaced as a set, that's an urban legend and motorcycle shops love to keep it going around.

If you look at the bikebandit article, all of the pictures of the rear sprocket are aluminum sprockets, not steel! Steel rear sprockes will outlast two or three front sprockets (fronts are always steel), and if you replace your chain before it stretches past it's service limit, you'll be able to use the same front sprocket for at least a couple of chains, the rear will last a longer time. There are exceptions though, some people do maintain their chains perfectly and manage to get them to outlast the sprockets, but commuting and touring in the rain I've never managed such feat.

Anecdotal evidence: If you go by the old saying that they have to be replaced as a set, my 2nd chain on the Versys would have worn faster than the OEM chain. Well, nope, I got only 10000 miles out of the OEM chain and 12500 from the 2nd RK chain.

The service manual for the Versys and every other bike I've had always calls for inspection of the sprockets, that's the only way to know when they must be replaced. None of those service manuals even hint to replacing them as a set, that is BS.

I still have a set of sprockets for a XT660R, which I no longer have. When I sold it with 42,000kms both sprockets were just fine and had very little wear.

Last edited by Süsser Tod; 09-04-2015 at 02:11 PM.
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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Süsser Tod View Post

Anecdotal evidence: If you go by the old saying that they have to be replaced as a set, my 2nd chain on the Versys would have worn faster than the OEM chain. Well, nope, I got only 10000 miles out of the OEM chain and 125000 from the 2nd RK chain.
Holy Cow you got 125,000 miles out of an RK chain? Any chain? I thought Fast Eddie was walking on water when he gets 50,000 or so out of a chain!
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 09:14 AM
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Pretty sure that 125k was a typo, likely 12.5.
I've wondered about needing to do the sprockets every time..
Keeps the scrap guy happy though!
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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 10:06 AM
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I say it's time to replace. A difference of an inch of play between the tightest and loosest spot on the chain seems like a pretty extreme difference to me.

I'm still new to this bike, but to me it seems "happier" with the chain set to the loose end of spec.
not sure I'm really envisioning what you are describing. are you spinning the wheel a bit then rechecking chain slack? and it is 1" different?
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 02:11 PM
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Holy Cow you got 125,000 miles out of an RK chain? Any chain? I thought Fast Eddie was walking on water when he gets 50,000 or so out of a chain!
Sorry, typo. It was only 12,500
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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 09-04-2015, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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not sure I'm really envisioning what you are describing. are you spinning the wheel a bit then rechecking chain slack? and it is 1" different?
At the last adjustment the tightest section of chain was adjusted to 1" play. Then I spinned (spun?) the wheel to the loosest secton and measured 2" I did another 300 miles today and rechecked the chain and no change is evident. All O-rings are in place and if there are tight links I can't see/feel them. I think all the banging up and down on the gearbox, sometimes brutally, in the hairpins caused the chain stretch, but I'm gonna ride the bugger for a while.
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