Miles a chain can last if properly maintained
So you just bought a new-to-you motorcycle and the guy you bought it from insists the bike is in great shape. “It’s got some wear and tear on it,” he claims. “But the tires and chain are good to go.” You glance at the chain and see some white greasy mystery gunk sprinkled across the links that looks like chain lube, so you assume it’s okay.
You ride for tens maybe hundreds of miles before you realize something isn’t right. The bike either lurches or bucks when you shift or the engine just seems to spin when you’re hard on the throttle. Plus there is this annoying slapping and crackling sound that rings through your helmet. That’s when you start to guess what’s wrong. Maybe the clutch is slipping or something is wrong with the engine? Meanwhile you’re none the wiser about the real culprit—your final drive.
You decide to pull the bike into the garage and bend down for a closer look. That’s when you notice the chain has a lot of slop with no more room for adjustment. As chains wear out, they become dry, kinked, rusted or lose O-rings and that’s when it’s time to change them. Sprocket teeth don’t last forever either so if they look more like shark’s teeth than metal fingers, then the sprockets need replacing as well. In fact, it’s a good idea to always replace your chain and sprockets as a set to prevent premature wear.
This month, we rolled a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-7R into the garage. Recently purchased off of Craigslist, the bike had seen better days. A quick glance at the chain and sprockets told us that this ride was in need of some immediate love. D.I.D and Supersrpox were called in for support.
1. We installed a D.I.D 525X120...
1. We installed a D.I.D 525X120 ZB Professional X-Ring chain that has X-Rings instead of O-Rings to improve sealing and reduce friction. A 16-tooth Supersprox front sprocket and 44-tooth rear sprocket with steel teeth and an aluminum core were also installed to blend weight savings with strength.
2. The first thing you want...
2. The first thing you want to do is loosen the countershaft sprocket nut. The countershaft nut usually has quite a bit of torque holding it onto the shaft, so you’ll need a big breaker bar, and maybe an air impact, a torch, a heat gun, a group of really big friends or possibly all of the above to get it off.
3. Remove the chain by separating...
3. Remove the chain by separating the master link, which will either have flared pins or a clip on the outside. You only need a set of pliers or a screwdriver to remove the clip, but you might need a grinder or chain breaker to remove a master link with flared pins.
4. Remove the cotter pin and...
4. Remove the cotter pin and axle nut, and then remove the rear wheel. There isn’t too much torque on the rear sprocket nuts, so it shouldn’t take too much grunting to take them off. When installing the new sprocket, be sure to torque the nuts into place.
5. Install the rear wheel...
5. Install the rear wheel and new chain. You may have excess links that need to be removed. You can use a chain breaker to remove the links, which might take a quick review of the instruction manual to use.
6. Be sure to tighten both...
6. Be sure to tighten both the countershaft sprocket nut and the rear axle nut to their specified torques with a torque wrench. A quick call to your local dealer is all it takes to find out the amount of torque required if you don’t have a service manual.
Supersprox Stealth Sprocket Kit
Countershaft sprocket: $24.95
Rear sprocket: $114.95
Motion Pro PBR Chain Breaker
Crash protection for a daily rider.