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  #1  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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Chains and sand

We are taking two bikes on the western route to Dakar next month. It is going to be 3000-4000 km through fairly sandy conditions. For this purpose I have recently acquired second hand bikes: a KTM 640 Adv and a DR650SE which I believe are both pretty much in stock setup.

The chains look all-right on both but I have no clue what particular make they are, O or X or ... I believe the KTM has a steel sprocket and the DR an Alu one. I have read suggestions to change to steel sprockets and a custom X-ring chain otherwise they would wear out quickly in the sand. Is that a must do or nice to have?

How would you care for the chains in the desert? I would have thought that the more oil/lube you apply the more sand gets stuck to it? Is there a daily routine to wash/clean the chain? What does your experience say?

many thanks for your help!
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Old 31 Aug 2009
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Not sure what you mean by the western route- Do you mean the Atlantic Route? if so it's virtually tarmac all the way unless you are taking the beach route to NCK.

But if you are going to be in permanent sand, then I would consider this a must-change.
I would recommend DID X-ring 520 ( I use one on my F650 Dakar- sorry no idea for the KTM) or the 'Z' if you want the top/best/toughest
You care for chains in sand by NOT lubricating them at all - Keep the chain dry-
Steel sprockets is the way to go IMHO
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  #3  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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Been worrying about this myself. Would a good squirt of WD40 each NIGHT be a good idea - clean the chain, keep the seals wet and being a very light oil it'll fling off soon as you start moving and not attract more sand?
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Old 31 Aug 2009
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I'd suggest a chain oiler. The difference to a normal lubricant is that the oiler uses - as the name suggests - oil, which get's thrown off the chain, taking most of the dirt with it.

The other way might be a teflon based spray. I think it's used for motocross bikes as well and keeps the chain completely dry.
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  #5  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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Chain Reading

Here's a link that may add to your chain lube pondering...

Chain Lube
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  #6  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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Scott chain oilers

In Australia on my DR 650 fitted with a scott oiler and a good clean every 1000kms , gave me 20 000kms of trouble free outback riding....

Convert the 525 chain on the DR to 520 as you have a better choice of gearing, a good balance is 15/45 and use DID x ring chain...

I agree that chain oilers keep the chain 'clean' and in the sand i turn the flow up to aid cleaning.

I regularly get 30 000 kms out of a chain and sprocket....
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  #7  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Thanks to all for quick responses and the link - will be looking into steel sprockets and new chains. Probably cheaper to worry about now than in the middle of nowhere.
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  #8  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave ett View Post
Been worrying about this myself. Would a good squirt of WD40 each NIGHT be a good idea - clean the chain, keep the seals wet and being a very light oil it'll fling off soon as you start moving and not attract more sand?

Dave I would have to say that it is not a good idea. The chain needs be dry so nothing sticks to it all all.

WD40 contains about half it's volume of Stoddart solvent aka white spirit!
The roller in the chain is surrounded by a lubricant which is sealed in by the 'X' ring - a 4 point of contact seal.

If you spray on WD40 (which stands for Water Dispersant batch 40!) the solvent will dry out this seal and damage it, possibly after repeated use perishing it and that will lead to the inner lube leaking out damaging the chain & sprockets even more.

Chain lube of anykind will not 'fling everything off' in sand even if you increase the flow (even if it sprays your wheel) but offer a material that will combine with fine, almost dust like sand particles as well as large ones and form a grinding paste.
This damages the chain, front and rear sprockets increasing wear on all 3.

When you are finished with sand riding, then give your chain a good clean and turn on the Scot-oiler or the like for road running.

My 2 pence.
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  #9  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Get yourself a chain brush. The usual mail order places in south Wales do them, like a three sided bracket with bristles inside. A couple of strokes on each run of the chain each day/sandy leg and you physically remove the bulk of what's stuck to it.

Andy
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  #10  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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bertrand knows

definitely steel sprockets, definitely no lube.
cheers,
andy.
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  #11  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Wonder if the brush jobbie could be permanently affixed...

And I'm still amazed that fully enclosed isn't seen more often.
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  #12  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave ett View Post
Wonder if the brush jobbie could be permanently affixed...

And I'm still amazed that fully enclosed isn't seen more often.
It could, but it's a glorified industrial size toothbrush, so I'd bet it wouldn't last very long.

Ah, the economics of drive chains. I believe my MZ cost me something like 0.2p a mile in chains/lube etc. The Bonneville works out at 1p a mile. I can't think why DID or Regina didn't suggest Triumph fit an enclosed chain!

Andy
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  #13  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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So what keeps manufacturers from offering a belt driven dirt bike/enduro?
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  #14  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Belts snap when stones get trapped in them.
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  #15  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Enclosed chains have too many minus points:

Look sh*te (not really that important, but they gotta attract buyers)
Bulky - add weight (not a lot but there you go)
If sh*te does get in, it stays in!
Not practical for an off-road bike with long travel suspension - chain flaps about too much.

Get a Beemer
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