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Old 20 Oct 2003
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Chain life on the XRL?

Wondering what typical chain life is on the XR650L. Had one replaced about 600-700 miles ago and it´s already extremely slack. I´m thinking at this rate I may get 1500-2000 miles...maybe.

I´m carrying approx. 350lbs of weight including me. Mix of on/off road riding thus far into the Latin American journey.

Many thanks,
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Old 20 Oct 2003
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What you're seeing is totally normal. All new chains 'stretch' when they're new, and it'll eventually stop (if it hasn't already). The process happens quickly in offroad conditions where you start and stop frequently, but takes longer on more mellow road conditions.

Here are a couple good ways to tell if your chain is worn: Side-to-side movement is generally a good indicator of chain wear. When a chain if this size is new, you can bend it side to side, but if you can get your hands on an old one, you'll see the difference between new and worn-out.

You can also grab the chain at the rear most point on the sprocket and pull the chain away from the sprocket. I can't quite remember how far out it goes before it needs to be replaced - but a quick Google search turned up a site that says 1/4 inch or so:

Chain life is dependent on what conditions you ride in and how well you take care of the chain. Any desert rider can tell you that sand destroys chains very quickly, whereas you might get 15,000 miles or so just taking it easy on the road if you keep it oiled.

Also, be sure to keep your rear wheel aligned. If it's not, you can destroy a chain and sprockets in no time flat. If your chain adjusters are set to the same number, you should be fine on this bike.

Best of luck,
Wright Bagwell
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Old 27 Oct 2003
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chain life on XRL is like this reply .... short!
I got 15,000km in africa with 50% tar and 50% dirt/mud/sand/bull-dust.
no one has O-ring chains here so take a spare of get it shipped out.
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Old 4 Nov 2003
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Thanks for the advice guys. I think part of the problem is TOPES...my favorite part of Mexican riding thus far. The way the chain is wearing, my guess is that I can ride it for 5000 miles or so. Give or take.

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Old 3 Dec 2003
MJC MJC is offline
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i am on the road with similar weight, all i can say is throw the standard chain away and get yourself a DID x ring chain, mine hasn't stretched at all yet, 4000kms, but had one on my XR600R back home, used the bike evry day commuting pulling wheelies all the time and also off road and it was still great after 16,000 kms... got a couple of spare split links and bought a chain with 118 links so i would have some spare bits just incase... i think standard is 108, 520 pitch... , its expensive but imho worth every penny...

safe travels
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Old 16 Dec 2003
tam tam is offline
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I've just done 7500 miles from LA to Panama and am now getting a new chain. It was fine untill about 1500 miles ago when it started to get slack very quickly after being tightened. I got to the end of my spacers and could "grab the chain at the rear most point on the sprocket and pull the chain away from the sprocket" as wbagwell put it. Spending money on the best chain you can get is probably your best bet.
good luck,
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