For Japanese Brand
and Sprocket Tips
Chain care is one of the most important
maintenance tasks you can perform for your bike.
If you do not care for your chain and sprockets , YOU WILL NOT MOVE.
You did not buy the bike to sit still, so let's talk chain care.
Inspect your chain for problems EVERY time you get ready to ride.
If your chain breaks while you are moving it can not only be embarrassing, it can cause catastrophic
damage to the bike or YOU! Any of the following can cause failure;
Broken rollers (these are the round parts that ride
against the teeth of the sprockets). Look for
rollers that look broken or are a different size than the others.
B- Out-of-place link pins (these are the rivets holding the links together) If any of the pins look like
they have shifted into or out of the plates, they are out-of-place. If one of these pins moves too far
the chain will fail.
C- Rusty links Rust can be caused by many things; lack of lubrication, battery acid, heat, and age.
Rusty links can hide cracks and should be treated as a problem.
D- kinks (this is where the chain goes in a zigzag instead of a nice strait line from the motor to the rear sprocket)
E- Broken or bent sprocket teeth the teeth on the sprockets need to be perfectly strait. If they are bent
the chain may not track true and could fail.
F- Loose chain the chain should have no more, or less, than approximately 1 inch of movement up or down
if you grab it half way between the two sprockets. (Don't forget to adjust BOTH sides of the axel adjusters
so they are EVEN. The rear wheel MUST track strait)
Also, if you move the bike backwards and
the chain "pops" , you definitely have excessive chain and
This is true because a bike travels forward all the time so the sprockets tend to wear in a directional pattern.
This will cause the chain to bunch when turned in the opposite direction. You have probably heard the term "chain stretch".
This is the term used for the amount of wear of the holes that the link pins run through. The wear makes the hole "egg shaped" ,
and this causes the chain to seem stretched. Look at it this way, if every pin on your chain has 1/64th of an inch wear a 110
link chain is 1.72 inches longer than it was new. Most rear sprockets average about 40 teeth and approximately half , of the
teeth, have the chain riding in them. Using the 1/64th wear ratio that's .31 inches (just over 1/4th of an inch. This wear does
not allow the chain to sit between the teeth of the sprocket causing the chain to ride up each following tooth slightly more than
the previous. This problem also makes the chain shift on the sprocket anytime you down shift and then accelerate.
All of this also causes excessive sprocket wear and noise.
To properly lubricate your chain you must
first clean the old oil and grit off. Be careful to use a proper
solution to clean it.
Some chains can be damaged by petroleum cleaners (like o-ring chains). If you do not clean the chain the dirt and sludge will allow
the new lube to fly off and the grit to cause wear. They do make some good kits for doing this. We sell a great solution for cleaning
the chain called "Sludge Away" that will not harm o-ring chains found in the Liquids section of the catalog. A small brush, chain cleaner,
and a couple of shop rags will work too. If you have a non o-ring chain you must not do too much cleaning or you will dry out the internal
part of the chain. You have to dip the chain in hot liquid grease (not a fun job) to fix this. That's the idea of an o-ring chain. It keeps
the grease inside the chain where you can not easily get to.
If you do need to replace the chain make sure you think about the following;
O-ring or standard chain? (O-ring does not require as
much maintenance, but is more costly than the standard type
2- Tensile Strength of chain in comparison to the size and power of bike? (This is the average maximum pounds the chain can handle all at once)
3- Replace sprockets too? (to get maximum smoothness and mileage replace the sprockets.
4- Peen-on link or clip-on link (If you do not have the very costly peen on link tool, you need to ask if your new chain comes with a clip
on link. If it does not then you will want to buy one.)
Also, one of the main reasons chains
break at the master link is lack of lube on the pins of the link
when it is installed. So GREASE IT!
There are probably other issues on chains and sprockets we did not cover. If you would like to see anything else listed, let us know.