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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey gang, thinking I need a new chain. Just bought the bike back in March, I've only put around 2,000 miles on it (the winter wasn't actually done, it was a fake out!) and I had the chain adjusted maybe around 6-700 miles ago (misspoke in the vid)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyefiEUrKM8&feature=youtu.be

What do you all say? It looks like it hasn't had the easiest life, and it looks pretty far out of spec to me. For all the knowledge I do have, I also have a tendency to second guess myself on everything, so I figured I would ask those that have more experience than I. The real question is: Can I just do the chain and get away with it for a while. The sprocket doesn't look that worn to me, but I know wear doesn't have to be visible to have an effect. To be frank, I've done just this on my SV before, but I'm second guessing myself again.

All in all, I'll do what needs to be done. Just an issue of how long I'm willing to wait/eat ramen for every meal. Also I promise I'm gonna clean it... I'm an evil man and I accept my lashings. Thanks in advance! And I apologize, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to embed that video.
 

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I would clean the chain first, use a Grunge brush and kerosene for this, then lube it and adjust the slack for 3cm. While doing this check each link to see it is not sticking. Slack is measured at the mid point of the chain on the bottom run, stretching it first upward then downward and measuring the distance form top to top or bottom to bottom. To check the chain is OK slowly rotate the rear wheel and ensure no links are kinking on the rear sprocket. If not your chain is OK. I would guess your rear wheel adjustment nuts slipped and were not locked down. A chain is toast when a pivot between links sticks, usually because the rubber seals have deteriorated and there is not more sealed in lubrication.

When adjusting the chain it may take several attempts getting closer each time as a chain adjustment throws out the alignment and vice versa. Getting the alignment and slack simultaneously correct is more difficult than it appears.
 

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I think they are all pretty much stuffed, however if you don't do many miles you might be able to get away with doing what twowheels said
 

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It looks loose, but after 2K you shouldn't have a BAD chain or sprockets. When checking chain wear, you should really check for differences in the chain along it's length. Like if one section is loose, like in the video, and another is really tight, then you need a new one.

Adjust it, align it, and check for variations.

Good luck!
 

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Simple chain test

Grab the chain right at the rear most part of the rear sprocket and try to pull it away from the sprocket. If you can move it away then the chain is stuffed. Roll the chain around and try this in a few locations. To be sure, to be sure.

BruceC
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks gang, sorry I wasn't able to respond earlier. To clarify, the bike has about 18k on it, and it looks like the original sprocket and therefore I'm guessing original chain.

One way or another the chain is getting replaced, and chances are I'll do sprockets too. Have a big season planned and I am tired of worrying about it. I have gotten away with just a chain in the past on my SV, but I'm just going to take it to a mechanic I trust and go with their recommendation. I would love to save the money, but then I also realize that is silly and a few extra bucks is worth the piece of mind. Thanks again, hopefully I'll soon just be posting up about the epic trips we take instead of newbie questions that I should have known already!
 

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Don't know if you were doing anything as far as adjustment prior to filming your video but, at the 1-2 second mark, your lock nut on the adjuster bolt is backed way off from where it should be (locked all the way forward). Judging by the cotter pin still in your castle nut, you weren't adjusting at the time of filming.
To me, it looks like you have a simple case of a loose chain. Adjust it, lock your adjuster nuts properly, and properly torque your axle nut. Do another few hundred miles, and recheck. You might be surprised.
 

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lol i look at the chain and sprockets as a wear item that i try to get as much life out of as possible, if it's gotta be replaced anyways then use it to the max. I noticed bent front teeth at 20,000km and at 24785 km, my front sprocket had only two teeth left and it was a challenge getting home on my last trip because it ratcheted till the tooth caught at stop lights..lol I don't recommend using it to that extent, but it happened and I lubed well on a regular basis .....

I only run new chain on new sprockets because the chain seats into the wear of the sprocket teeth, if either the chain or the sprockets are wearing quickly, it will wear out the other to match. BTW a mis-aligned axle will accelerate wear of chain like crazy, don't always trust the marks to be completely accurate as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hmmm, it was adjusted last by a mechanic at a Kawasaki dealer. Might go have a chat with them and see if I can get a free adjustment. And Scooter, that makes me feel a heck of a lot better about mine! You are a braver person than I, that sounds mega stressful!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, new chain and sprocket are on the way. Went to my local shop and asked a mechanic to come take a look, they suggested I do it and cut me a deal, and I want the piece of mind. Pretty disappointed in the dealer I had do the adjustment. Normally I don't go there, but I was in that town when I noticed it so I didn't think it would be bad. Never even spoke to the mechanic, and I think it's surprising they didn't suggest I buy new parts. Especially given that the mechanic didn't even do the job properly, those lock nuts were just spinning free.

And while I know it's one of those things we motorcyclists never say, but I love my local dealer. Always done me right, and they frequently sell me parts at basically cost without my even asking. So thanks guys! Don't want to spam so I'll leave the name out, but if you are ever in Boulder don't shy away from the local (only) dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Got the new bits on yesterday and went out for about 60 miles after work. Oh man, I should have done this right from the start. It feels so much better, and one of the rattling noises that I thought was the famous gauge cluster rattle went away... which is kind of scary to think of how many miles I rode like that.

Even more disappointed in the dealership that improperly adjusted it and sent me packing.

Next up is some fresh rubber and then the bike and I are headed to Utah! Been years since I crossed state lines on two wheels, and I think the V will be a much more willing companion than the SV.
 

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Chain looked a little tired and definitely needed a tighten, but I wouldn't sweat it. Nothing looked like it was kinking up anywhere.

As to the sprockets, steel sprockets like those are tough and will last more than one chain life. Aluminum sprockets OTOH would have about half their teeth broken off of yours by now. Your sprocket looked to be in fine shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Should have seen the front! I pulled the cover off to clean out under there before taking it to the mechanic (I figure it's polite, like brushing your teeth before going to the dentist) and the front one was showing some real wear. Should have checked that in the first place, it left no doubt in my mind. All in all, I feel much better knowing it's all new anyway and piece of mind is worth the cost. Which was actually pretty reasonable. Between that and the 2 quart oil change I'm loving what this bike costs to run!
 

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Should have seen the front! I pulled the cover off to clean out under there before taking it to the mechanic (I figure it's polite, like brushing your teeth before going to the dentist) and the front one was showing some real wear. Should have checked that in the first place, it left no doubt in my mind. All in all, I feel much better knowing it's all new anyway and piece of mind is worth the cost. Which was actually pretty reasonable. Between that and the 2 quart oil change I'm loving what this bike costs to run!
At 18k miles, I would have changed it all out too, just out of a sense of preventative maintenance, but your question in the video was "is it necessary, I don't have the money." If I didn't have the money, I would have adjusted the chain and waited until next season if I were an ordinary few thousand mile per year rider.
 

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You should start doing your own chain adjustments if at all possible. It's not Rocket Science. All you need is a pit lift of some sort, a few wrenches and a gauge or even string to get things even side to side. Takes about 15 minutes. By doing this simple job you can take a look at other things and it makes it easier to clean the chain with a lift as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
At 18k miles, I would have changed it all out too, just out of a sense of preventative maintenance, but your question in the video was "is it necessary, I don't have the money." If I didn't have the money, I would have adjusted the chain and waited until next season if I were an ordinary few thousand mile per year rider.
Didn't mean to make it sound like I was ignoring you, I think that was solid advise I just decided it was worth it to play it safe in the long run. Thanks for the response! I likely could have gotten away without new parts, but I have plans to do several road trips this summer so I figured it would be one less thing to worry about. And while I thought about just doing the chain and the replacing the whole package next season, I decided I would rather just do it now and eat ramen for a couple weeks dinners.

And yeah, I do know how to adjust myself. At the time my rear stand was with a friend, and I didn't want to wait to get it back. Also, given that I wasn't sure if the chain was the original or not, I wanted a mechanic to look at it anyway. As much as I do know, I just don't have the wealth of experience that a lot of people do (my dad was never really the DIY type as much as the pay someone else type) so I wasn't confident in my ability to diagnose. With the new parts I know where I am starting, so I plan to do it myself moving forward. Well... mostly. I am known to get a little lazy and just go to the shop.
 
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