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Having searched previous threads (and been involved in some), I know that when it comes to chains, views differ.
I am doing a short trip (2,5 weeks) to Morocco and Mauritania, not planning to do much riding in the sand. Also, not riding all the way down from London, rather am vanning the bike to Malaga and riding from there and back.
I am not taking a spare chain with me, and am deciding on spares.
A chain splitter has been mentioned, but I'm not convinced
(doesn't a flat head screw driver and a pair of pliers do the job? Or is that only relevant for bicycles?)
Is it worth taking one?
And, controversially, is carrying a bag full of extra chain links worth while?
I was actually just planning to make sure the chain was tensioned properly and was well lubed... but now everyone's getting excited about spares and special tools and... you know how it goes
Had my motorcycle mechanics course last monday evening and was chatting to our instructor about my chain.
Advice from teachers: don't use WD40, only to clean the chain. Maintain the chain clean. Take a small tooth brush. Take a mixture of graphite (or any multi purpose) grease, mix with EP80 oil (Extreme pressure) until the mixture is runny but not too liquid. Apply to the chain with the toth brush. Remove excess mixture from the chain with a rag as the excess will spread to you back wheal etc once you start riding.
Apply often and maintain the chain. Apparently your chain will last well. Don't bother with special purpose spray chain pots. Expensive and no better.
Check the sprocket / chain contact where it is at the most tense(back of the bike). Try to pull the chain back. If you can, the chain is starting to go and will need replacement.
If you don't have EP80 oil just apply the grease.
I agree with what was said above, once yor chain start to go it will go very quickly and will eat up both sprockets! It happened to me last september on my way to Portugal. So don't make same mistake. Check your chain every time you plan a longish day ride. It takes 2 seconds and save you lots of hassle!
Thanks for your thoughts.
I was wondering about your mechanics course. I have looked into a few, but they all seem to extend over months (going once a week). Is yours a shorter one?
Ideally I would like to find one that runs over a fw weekends and just get it sorted.
My current course (advanced Motorcycle mechanics) lasts about 2 terms (around 20 weeks). The one I did last year was 3 terms (around 30 weeks) . BUT the college organises lots of 1-term (10 weeks) evening classes. Check their website (http://www.merton.ac.uk) for details.
I certainly recommend it. ALthough courses are much more expensive than they used to be, but I believe it is general as the govt has reduced contributions to Adult education so all adult courses a ££££ now!
Are you coming tomorrow at the pub meet in Marble arch? We can discuss there.
Even new chains and sprockets can get damaged by rocks and logs. Picked up and run between the sprocket and chain can do a fair amount of damage..
A chain breaker, some master links and a short section of chain will get you out of most problems. But if you’re confident you would pick up any thing then .. It does not happen often. You have to judge the weight/size against the probability / inconvenience..
And a motorcycle chain will break your screw driver and damage your pair of pliers if you try. Could be worth the sacrifice?
Based on my experience during a rtw ride last year, I have a different take on chain breakers than the opinions above, and certainly different than I had before that ride. In about 35 years of riding I had never previously experienced a broken chain and debated with myself about taking a chain breaker on the ride. Based on the length of the ride and the remoteness of some of the area I would be in, I decided to do so, and am enormously glad that I did. The chain breaker turned out to be one of the few tools I actually needed - the only other ones were tools to change or repair a tube, a couple of medium sized (12 - 13 mm) wrenches because of damage to a pannier mount in a crash, and pliers to install chain master link clips. I didn't take a spare chain, but rather several master links and a length (about 6 links) of spare chain.
During this trip my chain broke three times, despite being new when I set out (as were the sprockets). The first break was only about 1/3 of the way into the ride (which was 12,665 miles total). Each time the master link broke, two of the three times the side plates being sheared in half. The first time there was so much distortion of the remaining pieces that I couldn't simply push the master link pins out and had to use the chain breaker to do it. The second time, in addition to the same damage, the chain got run over by a truck before I could run back and retrieve it from the road, and I also had to use the chain breaker to remove the links damaged from this. With the third break I didn't need the breaker.
This experience changed my perspecive on chains and chain breakers and I now carry one when on a trip of any significant length. They don't have to be large and very heavy - I use a small one made by Motion Pro. These problems may all have been due to a defective chain which began kinking before it first broke. It was a Krause Sidewinder with an advertised, very high, 14,000 lb tensile strength, which is why I chose it. I won't use one of these again - once burned is enough for me. So FWIW, that's my experience and opinion.
LiketoRide I had to laugh at your description of trying to run back and rescue your chain in the road. I had something similar happen many years ago. My advice to people taking off on a trip is to run your same brand of chain for a while before you take off and see how it wears in. Where I work I have seen some really bad brand new chains that came with new bikes. When I run in mud and sloppy weather I lube the heck out of my chains. Maybe I am just a bit cheap but I got tired of ruining a chain in 10K km. I have run a chain as far as 50,000 miles and the last one I rode up the dempster and other fun roads is still working 3 years later(sold the bike) mainly because I had a drip oiler that was a bit messy but kept the chain alive. I would leave some other things home and take a complete spare chain for out of the way travel.
Leave the chainbraker at home, just bring a small hacksaw instead...and a master-link and some chain links (same brand!) of course. With patience this can be used and has other purposes too! If you are a lightweight, just the blade...
While travelling in SA my chain broke too, i started doing the just-blade-hacksaw-thing when i noticed a roadcrew doing maintenance.. Not long after the good old grinder came out and due to lack of masterlink the chain got welded into place, not sure what this did to the o-rings but aye I was driving again.....
I always use a spot of superglue or nail polish on the retaining clip to help keeping it in place, facing the correct direction also helps BTW.
Leave home with a new set of STEEL sprockets and quality chain (like DID) and you will have no worries!
High pressure water WILL damage your chain. Never, ever spray your chain at an Auto Wash place.
This is the best piece of info provided yet! NEVER wash your chain, or the rest of your bike with high preassure water. Water gets driven past the seals into the bearings, and they will fail prematurely. It only takes a minute amount to contaminate the lubricant, then its f**ked!
I will aslo stand up for WD-40. All the chains on my dirtbikes easily outlasted my buddies chains. They all used wax, oil, etc.... In the dirt, this is all useless! You grind out the o-rings with grit and water enters the rollers= premature failure. Keep it kleen, strait and properly tensioned and all will be okay. Personally, i've gone to shaftdrive. I'd rather tear down the BMW every 10k and lube it than scrub a chain every day
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