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-   -   Should I bother with spare chain/sprockets? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/equipping-bike-whats-best-gear/should-i-bother-spare-chain-23426)

ianbaker 2 Oct 2006 18:05

Should I bother with spare chain/sprockets?
 
I'm off to Cape Town down the east coast of Africa in a few weeks.

The bike has done a few thoudsand miles, so the chain is pretty much brand new.

Should I carry the extra weight of a spare chain and sprockets? Or will I be fine without it?

I'm guessing that if the chain is properly maintained I should be ok?

Dodger 2 Oct 2006 18:32

It depends .
What kind of bike ?
Heavy laden ?
What kind of chain ?
Condition of the sprockets when you set out on your trip ?

mollydog 3 Oct 2006 01:42

make sure its new or near new, especially if
you're running accessories.

Lone Rider 3 Oct 2006 04:01

Yeah. :)

Most factory bikes come with 'o' ring chains and they are pretty good. But the newer aftermarket designs are even better. I think DID lists a 'wear factor', for lack of a better term, on their website that offers a comparison between a few different chain designs.

Another Ahmen on a fresh top-notch battery, too.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mollydog
Like Dodger sez: Depends on type of bike and type of chain.

Singles eat up chains pretty fast. How many miles do you estimate to
Capetown? A chain in perfect condition should do 10,000 miles (even
on a single) if cared for.

On a twin even more miles if you take it easy. Many new, stock OE chains tend to be low spec items. I would upgrade to a DID X-ring VM chain (if possible) and new OE sprockets. Now you KNOW you can make it on ONE chain-sprocket set. Why gamble? You can always use up the old chain
and sprockets when you return, so they won't be wasted.

Same for the battery, make sure its new or near new, especially if
you're running accessories.

Good luck,

Patrick


hook 3 Oct 2006 08:21

Hi Ian. Just to let you know, I put some 30,000kms on a new DID chain and fresh sprockets through the Americas (BMW Dakar). I could have pushed them further but elected to have Javier (Dakar Motos) change them out in Buenos Aires as I went to Africa from there. The front sprocket was almost good as new (I carry it as a spare) while the rear sprocket was in pretty bad shape. I'm also carrying my old chain with me as a spare- you AIN'T gonna find a new chain in most places along the way. I take good care of my chain, never letting it get dried out, etc. I'm in Zambia now, heading north- just might see you someday. Great luck to you, Dave!

mickba 4 Oct 2006 10:25

only one way to be sure..............
 
............you don't need one is to take one - i'm only just starting at this type of jaunt but i'm thinking that within reason i'll take everything i can - i've bought a spares horse bike so apart from obvious things like levers, i can take a cdi, regulator, coils and anything else i can think of - just a matter of space and weight, but with 3 panniers and loose luggage i can afford to dedicate a hard pannier to spares, tools, fluids etc. - it's even crossing my mind whether to fit another battery in there and wire it caravan style, run auxillary stuff from there and then i've got back-up for starting if i switch the batteries over - what do you think, would that work? - i'll be on an XTZ750 solo so weight isn't a huge issue.
Mick

bm 4 Oct 2006 14:23

As the others have said. if you look after the chain it should last the entire trip and not ruin your sprockets. I went through Africa on a single chain & set of sprockets (XT600e) and only changed them in Khartoum. They were still in top condition when I changed them (I just wanted to get rid of additional weight for the north Sudan section). I bought Yamaha parts and although expensive at the time, I was happy to see the performance on the road. also d.i.d o-ring chain (take a few extra links with) oiled every 500kms or so (not in the sand) and it will go for many thousand miles
enjoy the trip

Shells 5 Oct 2006 09:04

Heavy Gear
 
A tricky one. Like the others have said, a quality chain will last longer and is worth having. But we are talking about Africa, which is hard work, for man and machine, so the stresses can be unpredictable. Personally, I would be tempted to fit it in, but would probably leave it until last and just see how practical taking it with will be. If you take it, you probably won't need it :)

If you are ablsolutely up to your safe weight limit, I would squeeze in a couple of extra chain links to keep you going if your chain does snap. Make sure you make friends with a supplier before you leave. Leave your credit card details with them or a good mate and, if you do find yourself stuck and in need of spares that you don't have, get yourself trucked to the nearest village where you can contact your mate to have spares sent out to you.

It increases your trip time, but you will get to immerse youself somewhere for a week or so, get some R&R and do some other maintenance on your bike.
You can't carry everything with you!

Good luck! And happy travels!

lecap 8 Oct 2006 00:40

spare chain?
 
I once had an O-Ring chain shear a sideplate without warning and way from worn on a newish DR650SE (The 2000 / 2001 came with shitty chains) in KwaZulu Natal.
Got two roller chains (industry standard) from the next "Bearing Man" franchise and fitted onto the stranded DR as well as another DR, which was also still on the original chain with similar mileage. Both bikes made it back to Cape Town (some 2500 km) without problems although the chains had to be adjusted daily.

Cost for the chains was ZAR 120 (12US$) each as opposed to ZAR 550 for a DID O-Ring and ZAR 800 for a DID X-Ring. (both DID only available in Durban 5 hrs drive away)

Lessons learned: Don't bother about taking sprockets unless you expect your chain to wear out during the trip. Take a cheap combined harvester type roller chain for emergencies. If you don't go too wild you can even skip the spare chain. As said every engineering supply shop (even in Africa) has roller chains. 525 are a bit more difficult but 520 and 530 are readily available.

Always use best quality sprockets & chain available (DID X-Ring or similar quality) to equip your bike for the trip.

Remember that a new chain wears a bit during the first few hours of operation. Then you have hardly any recognizable wear for a while until the chain is finished and goes very quickly. If your chain is a few thousand miles old already I would either start the trip with a new one or take a spare as you will most probably need it. (unless you ride a XL 185)

In my experience a DID 520 lasts about 25000km on average (on a KLR650) whilst a 525 usually exceeds 30000km (on a DR650SE) before it goes into the bin. This is for 70:30 gravel : tar and mostly one person plus 15kg luggage.

A very good idea is a bolt - together link for a top quality chain (like a DID X-Ring) as it is near impossible to fit a rivet link properly on the side of the road without a pressing & riveting tool (which is expensive and not worth carrying if you can help it)

I would not bother about spare links as most snapped chains I saw were mutilated from seizing somewhere between moving parts and you don't really want to carry on riding on a chain which has snapped once already. Combining worn and new links is also recipe for desastrous wear just as using a new chain on old sprockets or vice versa.

Use top quality lubrication like Castrol chain wax. I recommend every 500 km or daily after dirt or water (and hope my customers do it :-) Wax has the advantage that it does not pick up sand as long as you don't drench the chain in it but still keeps the chain's seals smooth.

nick_rhinocycles 29 Dec 2006 18:48

Automatic Oiler
 
Anyone traveling by chain-driven bikes for long period should install an automatic oiler, such as "loob-man" or "scott-oiler"!

This will easily triple the life of your chain and sprockets and is well worth the little extra cash.
"the loob-man" is all of $25 dollars USD!
--Nick

Lone Rider 30 Dec 2006 00:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by nick_rhinocycles
...........
This will easily triple the life of your chain and sprockets and is well worth the little extra cash.
"the loob-man" is all of $25 dollars USD!
--Nick

Then these gadgets should get me to around 100,000 kilometers before needing a new chain, easily....:)

mollydog 30 Dec 2006 00:16

Just because ONE GUY who rides 'round the world to break records, sell books and who is PAID to endorse Scott claims it "Triple's chain life", it does not make that claim gospel. I know better.

Lone Rider 30 Dec 2006 00:40

Quote:

Originally Posted by mollydog
Based on my experience and following the experiences of hundreds of riders the last 20 years, (the last ten online on boards like this) indicate a Scott Oiler may improve life of a typical chain but in No Way can Triple its life.
That is pure hyperbole.

Just because ONE GUY who rides 'round the world to break records, sell books and who is PAID to endorse Scott claims it "Triple's chain life", it does not make that claim gospel. I know better. I'd say to him: Go sell crazy some place else!:smartass:

In fact, I've known riders who've matched the mileage of Scott Oiler equipped bikes, riding the SAME bike, and they only ever used WD40. Of course type of riding, conditions and rider aggressiveness all figure in.

Overall, based on what I've seen, Scott Oilers Do Help extend life for the average rider, especially in constantly rainy environments like the UK, Scotland and Ireland. However, here in California a clean, lightly oiled and well maintained chain will match the miles of a Scott oiled chain every time.....and with much less mess.

That said, on very long, multi-day rides I use my home made Auto Oiler, especially in the rain. I copied the Loob Man concept and made my oiler for about $2 and about an hour's labor.
:thumbup1:

Patrick:scooter:

I hate copying an entire post, but I did anyway...:)

My bike is my horse. If it falls, I could be in for a world of hurt. Take mucho care of horsey...:)

I've looked at these auto oilers - many different types, several times - but finally started asking myself what problem I was trying to solve. Hmmm...

I'm already pretty anal about daily lube if I've done any real miles. Sure, more probably wouldn't hurt, but these modern alphabet chains are much different than what we used a generation ago. i remember, as a teenager, making my Mom mad because I'd use one of her cooking pots, pour some oil in (probably some kinda junk SAE 30, don't remember that) and bathe my bike chain in warm oil over a burner. Then the messy chain was placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer overnight. :) Nobody really knew what the best thing was back then.

Do I really want to add another thingy to my bike? I'm gonna stick with dedicated lube spraying...for now.

kinvig 19 Dec 2007 09:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lone Rider (Post 122259)
i remember, as a teenager, making my Mom mad because I'd use one of her cooking pots, pour some oil in (probably some kinda junk SAE 30, don't remember that) and bathe my bike chain in warm oil over a burner. Then the messy chain was placed in a plastic bag and put in the freezer overnight. :) Nobody really knew what the best thing was back then.

[derail]I'm zsure that was my "top secret" recipe for making conkers unbreakable in Conker Fights....how'd you steal it ;o)[/derail]

Caminando 19 Dec 2007 10:55

Some good advice above. A Scottoiler would make the extra sprockets unnecessary. Though singles DO eat chains/sprockets.


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