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I just wanted to add to this thread, I went through 2 DID chains in on my Alaska trip, the OEM lasted 8k miles and the replacement 4500 miles. Both the same crap DID chain because the shop only had that chain in Prince George BC in stock. I replaced it with a cheap EK SRO o ring chain that’s still on the bike, same sprockets as they still look fine at 18k.

I have an EK xring with replacement sprockets waiting to replace it all when the time comes. Those stock chains are horrible.

What was odd is how hot they got, compared to my dad’s Honda NC700 which the chain was “warm” my chains were hot to the touch no matter how we adjusted them or slack setting within the spec range. I do think the oem rubber dampened sprocket when new causes a lot of friction which probably heats up the o rings and causes premature failure. Both or the DIDs first picked up a lot of slack, then when adjusted were out of spec again in a few hundred miles. They also sounded like grinding metal. No issues with he EK and it’s at @5k miles.
 

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So I need to replace my chain at 24000 Kms and as this is my first time I thought I would throw out a few questions to the more experienced folks.
1. O or X chain? most of my riding is around town with a little hwy so fairly non aggressive.
2. OEM or DID?
3. I didn't see any ware on my sprockets should I still change them?

Iron Bishop
on a budget, just sayin
X Ring is always better but slightly pricier. They last longer and have less frictional losses

Any brand name chain is fine. Avoid OEM as the aftermarket has a better selection and lower prices. Kawasaki brand chains are just rebranded anyway as they do not make their own chains.

At this mileage, the rear sprocket should probably be OK but you should check the front and replace it probably. The OEM sprocket has a rubber damper the aftermarket ones don't and is probably superior because of this.

Consider buying a chain tool like this. You'll have it for life and need it to remove the old chain and install the new one. Riveted chains are much safer than clips that can become unclipped at speed and fly off causing injury. A chain tool also allows you to purchase and shorten a standard length chain rather than order a custom-sized and pre-cut chain that may be more expensive.

Make sure you own a Grunge Brush or old toothbrushes for chain cleaning. A chain that is frequently lubed (every second fill-up) and cleaned often will last much, much longer. Also important is keeping slack at ~3cm (measured as the distance between the same side of the chain pulled up vs pulled down in the midsection).

Changing sprocket sizes to change the final drive gearing is not recommended unless you have some very specific riding conditions that differ from the combination of highway, backroad and city riding the stock gearing was selected for. The Versys engine is not like a car engine or cruiser bike engine, it runs best and smoothest above 5000 RPM.

See the many how-to videos on YouTube on-chain removal and installation. It is relatively easy.
 

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...A chain that is frequently lubed (every second fill-up) and cleaned often will last much, much longer....
When I lube my chain using WD40, I then 'spin' the rear wheel by using my boot on the tire for three separate 'spins'. I get as many as five complete rotations AFTER lubing, and that indicates how MUCH horsepower it takes to turn the chain BEFORE it gets lubed.

Give it a try to see, the difference, BEFORE lubing and then - AFTER.

:clap: - :clap:
 

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Rapid chain wear/replacement.

Hello everyone,

I’ve had a strange run with chains on my 17” Versys. I’m at @ 18,000 miles and on chain number 3 which is stretching quite often and it’s unknown how long it’ll last, probably not long like the previous two.

First one was replaced at @9000 miles on the way up to Alaska, it was completely toast. Sounded like a can full or rocks and squirrels tumbling down a hill by the time I got it replaced in Prince George B.C. Unfortunately they replaced it with all they had in stock, the same DID o ring chain that comes stock with the bike, can’t recall the model. Fast forward @5k miles and that one suffered the same fate even quicker and was replaced with a cheap EK SRO6 in Kalispell, Oregon on the way back. Which brings me to today having ridden back from Alaska to NY and then down to Alabama where I’m relocating. That chain has about 4k miles on it now and has stretched to about double the max spec (35mm) three times at around 50-70mm when checked. I adjusted it back down to 35mm each time.

You’ll be curious about my chain maintenance and adjustment I’m sure. First off this is my 4th chain drive bike having owned a KLR650, Tiger 1050 and a Vstrom 650 in the past and putting about 75k miles on chain drive. All adjusted and maintained isn’t he same manor as this one, lube every 500 miles or so and adjusted with the adjuster marks and a motion pro chain alignment tool. On this versys the adjusters are pretty close but i’ve used a 50/50 mix of adjusters and the motion pro tool to make sure I’m not screwing something up. I use a chain slack measurement tool from motion pro to measure the slack and set it at the slack end of the spec.

So am I just unlucky? I should note the bike has the original sprockets on it as they’re wearing pretty well. So what I’m going to do is replace all of it, and use a higher quality EK x ring chain and see how that one fairs. In the past I’ve gotten between 15-30k out of my chains so it’s pretty shocking having these wear out so fast.

I should note both the DID’s ran very hot, like hot to the touch after checking, in comparison my fathers NC700 was much cooler to the touch going the same highway-ish speeds pace. Both were a bit “purplish” as if from high heat. I ran into another Versys owner with a gen 3 in Whitehorse whose chain failed quickly like mine with the same discoloration. Is something strange with the stock components on these? The EK shows no such coloration, it’s just stretching more than I’d expect, it’s also a 45 dollar chain so that could be why.

These are 520 114 link chains.

Have any of you run into this?
 

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Maybe experiment by running the chain a bit looser on your next one. I feel like the tight end of spec of just over 1" is too tight, I put mine there for a few thousand miles on a new chain and fear it has greatly accelerated wear on it. Its much quieter and smoother at 1.5" of slack, and thats not so loose its going to jump off the sprockets. The stock chain is terrible so a higher quality one will help too

I have 16,000 miles on my 2016 and am 4000 miles into the 2nd chain and am hoping it lasts for another 10000 miles, but doubtful. Will be trying to clean/lube it more often like one of the super-mods here who easily gets like 30,000 miles from a chain with only WD-40, but uses mid-day stops to lube the chain on long rides. Not just end of the day or every 400 miles like me
 

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Just a guess on my part, but I think you will have much better results with a new quality chain and quality sprockets x 2. Keep us posted.
 

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Forget checking chain slack by the book. I’m positively certain the book is wrong. I’ve been wondering if the book has specs for another bike like er6n or ninja?

With the help of a friend, get the bike upright and loaded such that the front sprocket, swing arm pivot, and rear axle are all in a line. Then check the chain slack. A little slack is all you need at this point.

I bet that once you unload the bike and check slack by the book, you will have what appears to be significantly too much slack. Your chain will be very slack, similar to a dirt bike. But you know that you have just enough slack, so don’t worry about it!

At least this has been the case with my V650. Prove me wrong.
 

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I should note the bike has the original sprockets on it as they’re wearing pretty well.
Three chains stretched beyond acceptable wear and you are running the original sprockets? :surprise:
You will have the same problem again unless the sprockets are replaced.
 

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With the help of a friend, get the bike upright and loaded such that the front sprocket, swing arm pivot, and rear axle are all in a line. Then check the chain slack. A little slack is all you need at this point.
Dave is correct. As you compress the rear suspension the chain slack will tighten up to the point where center of the front and rear sprockets are in a strait line with the swing arm pivot point when viewed from the side of the bike. This is where the chain will be at it's tightest point. You should have some slack here. If the chain is tight at this point it will cause excessive chain wear and can lead to premature failure.
 

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Maybe experiment by running the chain a bit looser on your next one. I feel like the tight end of spec of just over 1" is too tight, I put mine there for a few thousand miles on a new chain and fear it has greatly accelerated wear on it. Its much quieter and smoother at 1.5" of slack, and thats not so loose its going to jump off the sprockets. The stock chain is terrible so a higher quality one will help too

I have 16,000 miles on my 2016 and am 4000 miles into the 2nd chain and am hoping it lasts for another 10000 miles, but doubtful. Will be trying to clean/lube it more often like one of the super-mods here who easily gets like 30,000 miles from a chain with only WD-40, but uses mid-day stops to lube the chain on long rides. Not just end of the day or every 400 miles like me

I think I’ll try running it at 45mm. I’m 275lbs so it’s possible it likes to run a bit loose AND I’m heavy and it needs a little more slack to account for that. At 55mm it starts to shift poorly and lurch a bit from the slack being taken up so that’s probably too far.

Just a guess on my part, but I think you will have much better results with a new quality chain and quality sprockets x 2. Keep us posted.

I’ll keep an update here after some miles, I didn’t know about the ZZZ but I’ll give that shot with some new sprockets.

Get an EK 520 ZZZ with EK’s proprietary Zero Stretch Technology (ZST) which virtually eliminates initial chain stretch, and an OEM rubber damped countershaft sprocket, along with new rear steel sprocket.

This makes my chains last very long: https://www.maximausa.com/product/syn-chain-guard/


Forget checking chain slack by the book. I’m positively certain the book is wrong. I’ve been wondering if the book has specs for another bike like er6n or ninja?

With the help of a friend, get the bike upright and loaded such that the front sprocket, swing arm pivot, and rear axle are all in a line. Then check the chain slack. A little slack is all you need at this point.

I bet that once you unload the bike and check slack by the book, you will have what appears to be significantly too much slack. Your chain will be very slack, similar to a dirt bike. But you know that you have just enough slack, so don’t worry about it!

At least this has been the case with my V650. Prove me wrong.
Good point, I should try a few settings and see which one fit’s this, I think it’s probably 45mm. Good chance the factory spec is too tight for how much I weigh, i’m Probably compressing the shock more than most unless they’re two up.

Three chains stretched beyond acceptable wear and you are running the original sprockets? :surprise:
You will have the same problem again unless the sprockets are replaced.
Crazy right? I generally replace the sprockets with a chain, sometimes not the rear sprocket but always the front. In this case I was on a road trip to Alaska when both chains were replaced at dealers who had no sprockets in stock. To be fair they do look pretty good! Definitely going to shorten the life on the EK chain, but it’s a 45 dollar chain.

Dave is correct. As you compress the rear suspension the chain slack will tighten up to the point where center of the front and rear sprockets are in a strait line with the swing arm pivot point when viewed from the side of the bike. This is where the chain will be at it's tightest point. You should have some slack here. If the chain is tight at this point it will cause excessive chain wear and can lead to premature failure.
I’m going to experiment and see what setting works for me. It’s probably a bit more slack than Kawasaki spec’d on the swing arm. I was already setting it at the loose end of that spec cause I’m built like Sasquatch and wanted to account for that.


Other than this chain shenanigans Versys is a pretty great bike. I am tempted by an NC750x or a Tracer 900 for the next set of wheels, or additional set. I’ll probably have 50k miles on this one in 2-2.5 years. How long do these things typically go for, 100k? I’m expecting a stator to burn @ 50k.
 

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...I ran into another Versys owner with a gen 3 in Whitehorse whose chain failed quickly like mine with the same discoloration. Is something strange with the stock components on these?...Have any of you run into this?....
It appears that the chains on the "made in Thailand" bikes are pretty junky. On my '08 (made in Japan) I got 56,xxx miles on the OEM chain, lubed ONLY w/ WD40, OFTEN!!!, and LOTS of dirt-road miles.

My Gen 3, a '15V650 had the chain replaced at 23,187 kms (14,408 miles), after being lubed the SAME way as the '08 chain.

...With the help of a friend, get the bike upright and loaded such that the front sprocket, swing arm pivot, and rear axle are all in a line. Then check the chain slack. A little slack is all you need at this point....
IF you do this, I'll BET that you'll have 1 - 1.4" of slack.

...How long do these things typically go for, 100k? I’m expecting a stator to burn @ 50k....
My '08 is already at 85,219 miles, w/ MANY more still in her - suggest you change your REGULATOR to a 'series' regulator, and you MIGHT NOT need to replace the stator EVER, which is a BONUS!

:grin2:
 

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IF you do this, I'll BET that you'll have 1 - 1.4" of slack.

Like I said: Prove me wrong. No wager required.

I can’t measure the slack in my chain by the manual. It touches the swing arm before all the slack is taken up. But once I’m on the bike there is much less slack.
 

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Your weight will make no difference in the chain slack adjustment. The rear wheel moves above and below the center line of the front sprocket, swing arm pivot and rear sprocket point. The chain is the tightest at that point. If you have too little slack when the sprockets are in alignment you are putting too much tension on the chain, and that is before you add the tension of driving the bike.

New chain with worn sprockets will result in a worn out chain much faster. With a worn sprocket the chain links are not sharing the load so they wear faster.
 

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Lee R, you sound like you understand chain drives just fine and have more experience than I do.

My guess is a big factor is the lousy OEM chain. Mine went about 8000 miles. I replaced it with a good EK chain and new sprockets. I could feel and hear the difference immediately.

I do wonder about your lubing. The rollers need lube to get inside underneath. Maybe your lube product isn't flowing in well enough?

Finally, maybe a 520 chain isn't hefty enough for your riding style?

For me, I replace the sprockets when replacing the chain. I can't really see a big difference between a worn sprocket and a new sprocket, so I think for me it is difficult to know when a sprocket is worn out. It is cheap enough to put new sprockets on when changing the chain.
 

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When I lube my chain using WD40, I then 'spin' the rear wheel by using my boot on the tire for three separate 'spins'. I get as many as five complete rotations AFTER lubing, and that indicates how MUCH horsepower it takes to turn the chain BEFORE it gets lubed.

Give it a try to see, the difference, BEFORE lubing and then - AFTER.

:clap: - :clap:
Wow Eddie U got a dyno in your boot?

I would love to have a pair of dyno boots.

Where do you get them at?:wink2:

Just kidding mate.
 

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The above video is how i check slack, with the motion pro tool which is pretty handy. I’ve been setting it to 35-40mm.


I’ll update this thread once i replace the sprockets and chain with some fresh quality parts and see what happens. I may even go nuts with the wd-40 like fast Eddie.

I used a honda lube on the way up to alaska and motul and then maxima chain way on the way back for those curious daily at about 450-500 mile intervals. I lube it once a week here commuting to work which is about 50 miles by the end of the week, but i typically hit a chain with lube at the end of the week.
 

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With an o-ring, x-ring chain you do not get any lube under the rollers. ie sealed chain. They are pre greased and sealed with the rings. Agressive cleaning or harsh chemicals will damage the seals and let the grease out then that link pin will wear. That is one way that you get uneven wear and pulsating noises from the chain. The lube we put on our chain now is more to keep the seals lubed not the rollers. It is also to clean dirt and debris away from the seals. That is why WD 40 works so well, it keeps the chain clean. Think of the seals as the rubber boots on an axle CV joint. The joint will last a long time until the boot rips and the lube is thrown out.
 
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