Long Story... Stupid Choices... Happy Ending - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Long Story... Stupid Choices... Happy Ending

So a week ago I go out on a Thursday to prep my V for a 1100 mile weekend to begin the following morning. I check the tire pressure... I check the coolant... I install my Zumo with my preplanned route... I install my AirHawk pad and on top of that I strap on my Alaskan Leather Butt Pad... I do everything a good rider should do to insure a trouble free weekend... except I don't adjust my chain.

The original chain had 18k on it and I knew I was nearing the point where I would have to replace it. It was stretching itself quicker than earlier in its life... It had two or three semi frozen links... It was at a state that I knew it needed to be replaced... but surely it had 1100 more miles in her.

It had stretched since my last cleaning and adjustment a couple of months ago... and even though it's sag wasn't bad at all... it would have been smart to tighten her up once more before departing... but it was cold in the garage that Thursday.

So... I set out on Friday morning and had a pleasant and uneventful ride down to my daughter's place in West Palm Beach... where I throw a cover on the bike and have a great Saturday/Sunday with the grand kids.

Early Monday morning I un bag the beast and the first thing I notice is my chain sagging with three or four inches of slack. Crap...

What the heck... I fire things up and figure she's got another five or six hundred miles in her if I'm gentle. Later in the morning, taking off from a gas pump, I feel the chain slip a cog as I let the clutch out... Must be careful taking off from a stop!

Well... even with earplugs in I could hear it slapping around down there. I passed a big Kawasaki/Honda dealer in Ocala and thought about stopping in and seeing if I could talk them into a quick chain adjust... but like a fool, I didn't.

So... I'm nursing things toward home and I get as far as Apalachicola, Florida and as I negotiate a slow 90 degree turn I blip the throttle mid-turn and things cough down there... and suddenly I have no drive.

I coasted into a Subway parking lot knowing I've screwed up. It's an hour from dark and two hours from home. What the hell have I done?!?

I dismount and there's my chain... off the rear sprocket and dragging the ground. Crap...

After those first moments of panic... "Who can I call?" "Where will I stay?" "What will this cost?" I took a deep breath... analyzed the situation and then calmly lifted the chain back up and onto the rear sprocket. Whew!!!

I nursed her home the last 85 miles... Sweating the entire way even though it was pretty chilly after the sun went down. Lucky Escape!

Below is what my ultimate slack looked like once home safe and sound.

New D.I.D. chain on order... due in this week.




GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
2011 Kawasaki Versys
Viet Nam: Dec67-Dec68 & Jul69-Dec72

Last edited by genehil; 01-27-2014 at 04:17 PM.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 04:21 PM
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 04:25 PM
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Everything you need to adjust the chain in the factory tool kit.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 04:48 PM
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Wow, you are so lucky it didn't break and destroy your engine and/or leg! Whew, glad you managed to get home relatively unscathed.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 07:16 PM
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Way to give your bike a little slack! LOL Sorry bad joke! Glad you made it home Good Lord!





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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 07:21 PM
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The worst part of reading that story is my fear of a rear wheel lockup if that chain gets into the wrong place...

Glad it worked for you! I bet the new chain is going to be Soooooooo quiet!

Gonna replace the sprockets also??
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 07:25 PM
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Its what makes a ride an adventure....Without the chain incident the story wouldn't be the same....

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Gonna replace the sprockets also??
Not this time around... They both look to be in pretty good condition...

GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
2011 Kawasaki Versys
Viet Nam: Dec67-Dec68 & Jul69-Dec72
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 10:43 PM
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Not this time around... They both look to be in pretty good condition...
I have heard IF you install a new chain, new sprockets are in order as well. I have always done this on my bikes. Just my .02


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-27-2014, 11:37 PM
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Glad you made it home ok you were very lucky not to come off or do major damage. Rear sprocket looks done to me, IMO you should always replace chain and sprockets together anything else is false economy.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by AlaskaJeff View Post
I have heard IF you install a new chain, new sprockets are in order as well. I have always done this on my bikes. Just my .02
your wasting your time anyone leaves a chain on looking like that and rides it will not replace the sprockets
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 05:42 AM
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Back sprocket still looks pretty good. My bet is the front sprocket is toast.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 07:42 AM
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Holy bad chain! Glad you're ok and the chain didn't get jammed mid-curve or with a car behind you! An adventure and learning experience.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 07:54 AM
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General rule of thumb: Always replace the chain and sprockets at the same time. Only exception I'd make is a bike with very low miles and you just want to change to a different size sprocket.
The chain and sprockets break in together. If you put a new chain on those old, worn sprockets, the new chain will wear quicker.

With that many miles, change both sprockets. The sprockets are the cheapest thing in the equation. A front is around 20 bucks, the rear around 60. For another less than $100, why take the chance?

Last edited by HondaGalToo; 01-28-2014 at 07:56 AM.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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New sprockets it is then...

GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
2011 Kawasaki Versys
Viet Nam: Dec67-Dec68 & Jul69-Dec72
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 09:18 AM
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Whew! Glad everything turned out okay for you.

My bike has just over 16K and is maybe showing slightly similar signs that you have. I've noticed it has at least one link that's harder to move and the tension already seems a bit looser than when I had it in for service 1500 miles ago.

I've heard horror stories of chains slipping off, tangling in the back wheel causing it to skid leading to loss of control. As a pilot, the #1 rule is "Maintain aircraft control!" so I'm pretty partial to that even on the bike. In a few weeks I'll be off the bike for 4 months. Might have that chain replaced as a feel-good preventative maintenance item when I get to Charleston in June.

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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 12:15 PM
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Well, my journey ended up much less happily when my chain derailed last December on an adv ride.



Chain guard, oil pipe and plastic chain cover were all hit pretty hard.

I had to go back home by cab and come back with a trailer to tow the bike.

I was quite pissed when I saw how much damage the chain could do to the engine when it derails. It makes me think of a gun pointed to very fragile parts of the engine and when it goes off, bang! kills the engine.

I managed to fix it with epoxy and small gage steal wire. You can imagine that I am pretty anxious to test it next spring!

Here's how it looks now:


I ran the engine for 20 minutes and no leak. Knock on wood!

I've got a few more pictures on my blog http://www.dsaventurequebec.com/2014...me-partie.html and http://www.dsaventurequebec.com/2014...me-partie.html
It is in french but the images speaks for themselves.

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Last edited by burnedstar; 01-28-2014 at 12:18 PM.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 01:05 PM
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Gene - what I'm not getting... WHY didn't you just adjust most of the slack out when you saw where it was going...?

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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-28-2014, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Gene - what I'm not getting... WHY didn't you just adjust most of the slack out when you saw where it was going...?
Simple... I just made a stupid decision to limp it home to a nice warm garage where I had sockets and breaker bars and things like that. Lesson learned.

GeneHil - Mount Dora, FL
2011 Kawasaki Versys
Viet Nam: Dec67-Dec68 & Jul69-Dec72
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