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2020 Gen3 650
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I'll start off by posting what I know

- You SHOULD replace your chain and sprockets as a set
-The factory chain on my 2020 w/~6000 miles on it has stiff and creaky links already
-The bike comes standard with the following chain/sprocket specs(according to DennisKirk)
: --520 chain w/114 links
--15t front sprocket
--46t rear sprocket

I'm gonna have to replace the chain with how stiff the links are as soon as I get home from North GA/Western NC, but with only 5k miles are the sprockets REALLY worth replacing?

I'm also due for tires, my rear is getting a flat spot in the middle from so much highway. (No chicken strips, though, I scrubbed them off in the mountains)
I ride only street on this bike and wouldn't mind any rec's on tires.

thanks in advance for any input


(nobody likes a thread without pics)
Wheel Tire Fuel tank Automotive fuel system Vehicle

zoom in far enough and I think you can actually see a sticky link :(
 

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2020 Gen3 650
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Agreed I am disappointed with the life of the chain. First chain driven bike so it may be user error. I was using Maxima Cleaner and Chain Wax, but I'm gonna try something more gentle to clean and something less sticky to lube on the next one.
 

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2020 Gen3 650
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I over-cleaned it and didn't reapply enough chain wax the first time I did a chain service and it rusted badly. Thought I could save it with liberal wax applications but it is cooked.

Made it home 435 miles today and all through the North Georgia/Western North Carolina mountains this week, but the ride home was the last ride for this chain (and probably the sprockets, too, since they're so inexpensive)

Time to shop for a chain, sprockets, and a new rear tire. Thanks for the input y'all
 

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2020 Gen3 650
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've got the rear tire changed and the front sprocket nut loose. Just waiting on my chain tool, new lube, and chain & sprocket set to arrive in the mail.

Went with a Michelin Road 5 on the rear and a stock size chain & sprocket set from Vortex. I'm gonna get the front replaced after I pay down my CC. Local Kawasaki dealer does free install with tire purchase
 

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2020 Gen3 650
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Got it all sorted. The old chain freed up quite a bit thanks to the WD-40, but ultimately it was loud, rusted, and the sprockets were visibly worn so a whole new kit was in order. I went with a Vortex "Warranty" kit with factory-sized front and rear sprockets (15/46) and a pre-sized 520 X-ring chain (114 links). Whole kit was about $156, which seemed like a good deal to me. Dennis Kirk had it in stock.

I personally am glad I put a new sprocket and chain, as I really like the look of the black chain and black rear sprocket, blends in much nicer with the rest of the black on the bike versus the natural steel-colored rear chain and sprocket that were on from the factory.

That front sprocket was a BEAR to get off, but I did get it off with just a breaker bar and a big vice grip, no impact required. Simply standing on the rear brake did NOT work, and I include a diagram below showing the setup I used to break it free. Take off the rear wheel, run the axle bolt thru the chain and the swingarm, then clamp the top length of chain to the bottom length of chain with a vice grip. It's much more rigid than when the rear wheel is on because there are rubber dampers in the rear wheel assembly that allow too much motion to break the front sprocket nut free.

New stuff installed nicely. I peened the old rear sprocket locknut locking tabs back in before installing, and managed to fold the front lock washer over the flat on the front sprocket nut just fine with a hammer and a drift after tightening the front axle nut.

I bought a Stockton brand chain tool from CycleGear, and it is a POS, total Chinesium. I will be returning it for a refund. The breaker pin broke immediately, and the body of the tool bent when I was trying to rivet the new master link. Do yourself a favor and buy a better tool that is made for 520 chains AND UP. I had to really work the tool to get any kind of flare on the rivet links, and had to use a punch and hammer to feel good about it.

Finally, I lubed the HECK out of the new chain with BelRay chain lube, and will be far more vigilant on chain maintenance this time around. That was a lot of work, and I don't want to have to do that again for a couple of years.

Plenty of pics below. Front sprocket nut removal diagram, Vortex chain kit part number, rivet master link detail x2, and a shot of the rear wheel with new sprocket, chain, and tire.

Glasses Head Handwriting Vision care Human body
Font Rectangle Electric blue Natural material Label
Bicycle Crankset Automotive tire Gear Bicycle chain
Tire Wheel Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel Automotive tire
Tire Wheel Crankset Automotive tire Bicycle tire
 

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2020 Gen3 650
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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I enjoy FortNine's content but IDK how this relates to my post really. I went with the stock sized sprockets and chains, no performance upgrade on that front other than lower chain friction due to the new chain. The V650 is plenty quick, and I have the Shoodaben ECU flash as well, which really improved low-end torque and driveability.
 
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