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I was looking at some non OEM chains online, and was warned by a friend that the aftermarket ones are usually crap. I don't really need one, but from sitting mine is awful looking. Im sure I could just soak it in oil and clean it up and it will be fine, but has anyone had experience with chains other than OEM?
 

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Just like car makers, bike makers don't usually put top of the line components on bikes. Kawasaki and the Versys are not exceptions. The chain that comes on the Versys is pretty good but you can get better. My Versys came with a mid-level D.I.D. chain. I will replace it with a top of the line D.I.D. X-ring chain when it is shot.

Interestingly, I have found the best prices for D.I.D. chains on Amazon.
 

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Who made the oem chain to begin with????
I doubt that any bike manufacturer makes their own chain in house.
There have been a number of threads about early chain failures with "factory" chains.
Buy a good grade chain & it will last a looooong time (providing you maintain a decent clean & lube schedule).
 

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I was looking at some non OEM chains online, and was warned by a friend that the aftermarket ones are usually crap. I don't really need one, but from sitting mine is awful looking. Im sure I could just soak it in oil and clean it up and it will be fine, but has anyone had experience with chains other than OEM?
I have never bought an OEM. Always replaced with DID or RK. They are not cheap or inexpensive. Hell, I'm sure they probably make them for the bike manufacturers who then stamp their brand on it and mark up the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
food for thought for sure. I was wondering who would buy a $40 chain when if it all goes wrong (with a $40 chain it will) you would be screwed. It's definitely something I don't want to cheap out on, and also do not need right away.
 

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I've never installed an OEM chain, I've always used RK chains and now I have an EK chain on my Versys...

Well, twice I did get e-bay chains...

Once it was by mistake, the chain was branded "Factory Spec" and in a long lasting brain fart I thought I was buying an OEM chain. It didn't help that they were one of the few sellers that offered international shipping, so I got it. That chain was for my CBR 600RR, another BIG mistake, as I got that bike from a shady seller and found out that even though it had never been salvaged, it had been wrecked, and for some reason it had a non-oring chain. Never check a bike at night, and even then, they did a very good job, you could never tell unless you removed the fairings. Either way, I never got comfortable with that bike and sold it shortly after putting the new chain on it.

But I made that mistake again. It was the third chain for my XT660R on the OEM sprockets, which were still good. I thought "I'll get a cheap chain just to wear out those sprockets", so I got another one of these "factory spec" chains. I intended on replacing it before leaving for a coast to coast run (Mexico is not that wide, the round trip would have been just 1,000 miles) but the new chain and sprockets arrived the day I left. Guess what? With 10,000 miles on it, the stupid chain broke! Fortunately the XT660 has a case protector, so it didn't damage the engine, but it did destroy the sprocket carrier, chain guard and swing arm!

I'm not making that mistake again, now I always make sure I'm getting a chain from a reputable brand, and I always make sure to get one with enough tensile strength for the application. For example, a friend of a friend got a used BMW F650GS and they asked me to check the bike before buying it. I saw that it had a non-oring DID chain and told them that if they bought the bike, the'd have to change that chain ASAP as it was underrated for the application. They didn't... The chain didn't break, but it bent sideways and jumped off the rear sprocket, the guy got lucky as he was only stranded and the chain didnt' damage anything else.
 

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im a DID person all the way......running a DID gold 510 on the bobber (5000+miles on it and still going, had a red DID 510 on my cafe 8000+ miles when i sold it, and a did 520 on my ATK 605 that i abused the hell out of and almost never cleaned or oiled and never have had a problem
 

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Who made the oem chain to begin with????
Here's a pic of mine ('08 V).

...There have been a number of threads about early chain failures with "factory" chains....
My '08 had its ORIGINAL chain (see the pic...) changed out at 56,xxx miles.

...Buy a good grade chain & it will last a looooong time (providing you maintain a decent clean & lube schedule).
And ALL I ever used on that chain was WD40, bought 'bulk' in one gallon tins.

:goodidea:
 

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Here's a pic of mine ('08 V).



My '08 had its ORIGINAL chain (see the pic...) changed out at 56,xxx miles.



And ALL I ever used on that chain was WD40, bought 'bulk' in one gallon tins.

:goodidea:
A better idea would be to never ride behind you or else you would have wd40 on your face shield :D
 

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I have the EK X-ring on both my KLR and Versys and found they do a good job and last well. I'm coming up on 25,000 mile on the KLR The Versys is a short timer at about 3,000 miles after the factory one died last lear, I long ride in a driving rain may have helped it die though.

Not to say I'm old or anything BUT I remember soaking the chain in gear oil over night before a race as there were no sealed chains back them. Bicycle rider have for years "boiled" their chains in Paraffin Wax as they are not sealed, too much power loss.

What is important is to keep it clean, lubed, properly adjusted and aligned. I see lots of nicely adjusted chains that are way misaligned and THAT will kill a chain posthaste.
 

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.

Having put 34,000 on a KLR in three years, I found that the aftermarket chains were about the same or better than stock. My second one (after stock) might have seemed to not last as long, but when I think back on it, my bike got exposed to more knarly conditions as I got used to the bike, so I think there may be another factor here, a change or increase in riding exposure + conditions.

Rocky Mountain MC always had good deals on front/rear sprockets + a chain for like $80 bucks. They worked great, three of us ran the same system on KLR's and never had issues. It has as much to do with how you take care of it, if you run it too tight, etc.

You could abuse and drive the shi*t out of a Cadillac and have it die in a year, and go around saying "Cadillac's are junk", where another guy get's 300,000 miles from his Ford Escort cause it was well maintained (no offense intended to Cadillac's or the Escorts)... :grinangel:
 
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