Author Topic: Chain type for heavy luggage riding  (Read 1371 times)

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soulforge

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on: May 07, 2021, 11:09:41 am
Dear All,

I am wondering if you could share your experience with me concerning the drive chains for Classic 500 EFI 2014.
I normally enjoy moto-camping thus when going have a lot of luggage.

My drive chain is getting old thus I need to replace it soon but am wondering if I should go with the original link type or rivet types such as DID chain.
Has anybody got some experience or ideas on this matter?

Kind regards,
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #1 on: May 07, 2021, 01:07:11 pm
Whatever the chain, my hunch is obsessive lubrication will be key to extending its life. After most every ride I slop a little plain old SAE 90 gear oil just on the easy-to-reach lower run of the chain with an old baking pan kicked underneath to catch drippage. That way the chain gets a full lubing every three or four rides on average. I've got over well 18,000 miles (about 30,000 km) on what must be the OEM chain, with more than half the slack adjuster "snail" still left to go. From the oily sheen on the rear sprocket teeth, I imagine they're also benefitting from reduced wear.

I don't use a cleaner, but then I don't go off-road or do much dusty trail or gravel riding. I imagine the gear oil must be rinsing and carrying away any grit, 'cause my links look sparkling clean.

I imagine that while touring one could get by with a tiny little plastic bottle of gear oil with a found chunk of cardboard or paper underneath to responsibly catch those drippings. My home setup is just a wide-mouthed plastic jar with a cheap "chip brush" kept inside, as shown. As for "technique", any dirt or grit from the brush tends to settle to the bottom of the jar, so a little "squeegeeing" of the bristles against the mouth of the jar and then dunking the brush into the topmost oil keeps those slatherings nice and clean.

I see you're a Belstaff distributor in Korea. I just adore my old Trialmaster jacket. Sorry to read of your electrical woes in another thread. I'm sure it's just some swapped leads or a dodgy connection somewhere.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 01:09:13 pm by Bilgemaster »
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Guaire

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Reply #2 on: May 07, 2021, 01:35:13 pm
"original link type"
  Yes, that's what I use, a steel pin/roller chain. Tsubaki is a quality Japanese made chain. Also, there is RK Takasago.
  I pay around $30.
  There was O ring chains, that turned into X ring chains. You will spend over $100. The pin is sealed in rubber rings that keeps the lubrication inside. They are also heavier than the steel roller. You clean them and wax them. Usually on the bikes that run them, there is no master link. They are set up as endless chains on bikes that use a ton more horsepower than any RE. +100 HP.
  Adding some luggage weight is not a factor for your chain of choice. If you want to invest in a better weight carrying bike, I would look to your suspension first.
   A steel roller chain with a master clip is easier to maintain and replace. Keep an old chain in the garage. You can attach this service chain to your running chain. Now you can pull your current chain off the bike. Off the machine, this is easier to clean and lubricate. Attach this chain to the service chain. Pull it back on. Re-attach your master clip and you have a clean lubricated chain.
  Don't mix brands of master links with another brand of chain.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 01:38:22 pm by Guaire »
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Richard230

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Reply #3 on: May 07, 2021, 02:16:45 pm
If you are not big on chain lubrication and maintenance and want it to last a long time, go with an expensive X-ring chain like a DID brand. A chain like that will likely last 3 or 4 times as long as a non-O ring HD chain, unless you maintain it like the Bilgemaster and Guaire recommend. Even if you do so it will still likely last about twice as long as a HD chain. But even with an O-ring chain you will need to lubricate it every 500km or so to keep rust at bay and to lubricate the drive sprockets so that they do not wear excessively. (Your chain lube will likely not get past the sealing rings, although it will help to keep them pliable.)

A non-O ring chain is typically recommended for a lot of off-road travel as it is easier to clean oily dirt buildup on the chain, as well as being lighter and cheaper to replace.  You have choices, depending upon how much you want to pay and how much maintenance you are willing to perform.

I almost forgot to mention that all O-ring chains that I am aware of need special tools to disassemble the old chain, cut the new chain to the correct length and to rivet the new chain together, as they do not come with a clip-type master link. Those tools will set you back about $100.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 02:53:25 pm by Richard230 »
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #4 on: May 07, 2021, 02:22:21 pm
Guaire makes an excellent point about the suspension, and it just so happens our man in Yorkshire, Stuart Fillingham, just hours ago dropped a fresh installation how-to video on that very topic here: https://youtu.be/7LLe4MmCWEY, with an earlier ride-along looksee at the Hagon brand shocks he's fitted to his Bullet 500 Classic here: https://youtu.be/D3nbXqt9rKE.

Check his videos' descriptions for purchasing and other info.

As for easy preload adjustments, particularly on the road, instead of hauling around a C-spanner, check out our own wallaby-dodging  "Wildbill's" (aka. "Ride with Warro") simple old-timer hack here: https://youtu.be/s1ZgodV7aas. Unless you're interested in the progress of his yard work and brush clearance in general, just skip to about 3 or 4 minutes in to see the magic.

And if you find such videos even mildly helpful or interesting, do take a moment to stomp that "like" thumb's up. If nothing else, it seems to make them feel better, and may actually benefit such content creators somehow.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 02:58:26 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India. Yet it squeaks by here in Virginia.

 


Guaire

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Reply #5 on: May 07, 2021, 03:16:11 pm
I used to call the endless chain tooling the "$89 tool". But, their price has gone up.
  When I did use a O or X ring chain on a 4 cylinder Yamaha Radian, I would install it with a master link. I would take it to my local shop to pull the master link, peen the pin over and finish making it an endless chain. I just didn't want to buy and use the tooling.

ANOTHER thread hijack?!!!!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 03:25:49 pm by Guaire »
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #6 on: May 07, 2021, 04:04:13 pm
I used to call the endless chain tooling the "$89 tool". But, their price has gone up.
  When I did use a O or X ring chain on a 4 cylinder Yamaha Radian, I would install it with a master link. I would take it to my local shop to pull the master link, peen the pin over and finish making it an endless chain. I just didn't want to buy and use the tooling.

ANOTHER thread hijack?!!!!

I dunno, Guaire. It seems like everything's still well on topic. No sign of Grete...I think we're OK for now...

So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India. Yet it squeaks by here in Virginia.

 


AzCal Retred

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Reply #7 on: May 07, 2021, 09:23:38 pm
I'm not a fan of O-ring or "sealed" chains. Water under pressure blasts past the seals and is trapped inside, initiating a corrosion process that you can't stop. You'll find many sport bikes have a red dust build up on the inside of the link plates from rusting, rather negating the entire point of the $100 chain. Open chains will fling out the water. All of these chains need to have lubricant on them anyway so there isn't metal-to-metal fretting/wear between the roller and the sprocket teeth. Guaire's trick of using two alternating chains is slick for a lot of reasons, for one it minimizes pricey sprocket wear better. Bilgemasters gear lube treatment is great for street, for a lot of dirt road use I'd look at the spray chain waxes. A quart of gear oil, two new good quality "open" chains and a couple spare master links is less than a nice sealed chain, and easier on your sprockets. Just my $0.02... - ACR -
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #8 on: May 08, 2021, 03:09:35 am
"AZCal Retred's" and "Guaire's" Dueling Chains  technique rather hearkens back to those days of yore when the truly conscientious (or obsessive...and most likely single) would buy chains in pairs, keeping one in a big tin of that venerable Putoline Chain Wax treatment to be heated up on the stovetop with much attendant petrochemical stench (hence the "single"), and the chains swapped out every month or three, so as to wear evenly and thereby minimize necessary adjustment. In my youth a stack of those big tins of Putoline brew were typically seen lurking somewhere in most every UK motorcycle shop. I imagine most sold ended up being used once...if even that, should a lady of the house be in the picture. For confirmed bachelors seeking the optimal care for their old school Plain Jane chains without all that O or X ring newfanglery, it is still sold.


For a looksee at the process while the wife was out shopping see: https://www.gt-rider.com/se-asia-motorcycling/threads/chain-grease-in-a-tin.9808/

As for me, happily married these past 23 years, and wishing to remain so, I expect I will simply persist in my single chain post ride gear oiling regimen, having had some moderate success with it.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2021, 03:30:39 am by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India. Yet it squeaks by here in Virginia.

 


wr6133

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Reply #9 on: May 08, 2021, 12:59:36 pm
O ring and X ring chains are wider due to the rings pushing the plates out, I've not tried measuring but it may warrant checking they clear the side casing before buying one for a UCE.

Tools to fit them don't need to cost alot, I've been using a £15 one from eBay for the last 10 years. It's done many chains and actually outlived it's far costlier replacement (that broke without completing a single chain). As for removing the old chain, that's easy.... angle grinder. They do last significantly longer than a standard chain. Until a few years ago I avoided car ownership and was riding fairly powerful bikes year round. I experimented with all sorts/brands of chains. On my GSXR a standard chain (properly maintained) wasn't even managing 5000 miles, an O or X ring was doing 3+ times that. That's on a bike making almost 180BHP though. On an RE I think a standard chain should be fine, my 535GT has 4000 miles on the stock chain and I reckon it'll see 10,000 before it's done. Worst chains I've encountered are the "elite" branded ones on my pair of Iron barrels, they may as well be made from elastic.

One to be aware as well DID and RK are counterfeited in China, they do make their way to the west so avoid anything that's too much of a bargain.


Haggis

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Reply #10 on: May 08, 2021, 01:29:27 pm
Wax on wax off.
Normal O ring are almost 25mm wide and touch the crankcase behind the sprocket area.

DID O ring chain.
Off route, recalculate?


Guaire

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Reply #11 on: May 08, 2021, 02:04:44 pm
I dunno, Guaire. It seems like everything's still well on topic. No sign of Grete...I think we're OK for now...


Thanks for the off topic waste.

The O X rings need a different maintenance procedure. Remember they are sealed.
  First you use a chain cleaner. Spray on, wipe off. Next, you spray on Chain Wax. This coats the plates, pins, rollers and seals the rings. If you do this, sloppy wet weather won't affect your lube seal.

The traditional roller chain is different. It's easier to maintain well, off the bike. Clean it in a can, pan, whatever, with kerosene or something there about. Brush it to clean off the outer parts.
  The old lube formula was a mix of paraffin and oil. Warm it and let the chain soak in it. This mix penetrates to the pins in the rollers. The chain is lubed and ready to install.
Or:
  Off the bike, spray it with chain cleaner. Wipe clean. Let it dry. Spray on Chain Lube (not Chain Wax). Now the chain is lubed.
  Differences: you don't want the same cleaning or you will strip the lube from the O X rings. Bad idea.
 The ringed chains just need the outside cleaned and a coating of 'wax' product to keep them sealed.
Size, weight, cost and type of maintenance are good considerations for comparisons.

Why I run a roller chain - Either one can work, but, Bullets are light weight bikes, why add weight? You will be riding with a good chain if you maintain it. When setting up a new roller chain, it will some stretching, fairly soon. Then the rate of stretch decreases, so you don't have to adjust chain slack so often.
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Richard230

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Reply #12 on: May 08, 2021, 02:15:56 pm
I have been happy with name-brand O- or X-ring chains as far a having a minimal need for care and long life. All of my motorcycles except my Bullet have O-ring type chains. I oil them every 250 miles and typically get around 35K miles out of a chain with no need to make any adjustments during their life. 

However, I have been pleasantly surprised at the relative durability of my original 10-year old non-O-ring chain on my Bullet, which I oil every 200 miles. So far it has gone over 8K miles with only two slight snail adjustments. Thanks for the tip regarding the fitment of wider O-ring chains, Guaire. Fortunately, I decided to go light and have a DID non-O-ring HD chain ready to go when the original chain starts to show end-of-life wear.  :)
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Haggis

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Reply #13 on: May 08, 2021, 02:28:55 pm
RK do a very nice narrow O ring especially for bikes that don't have much space.
Off route, recalculate?


gizzo

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Reply #14 on: May 08, 2021, 02:47:13 pm
On an RE I think a standard chain should be fine, my 535GT has 4000 miles on the stock chain and I reckon it'll see 10,000 before it's done.


The OEM chain on my GT lasted 10,000km. The o rings were failing and links wearing quickly. I replaced it with a DID x ring. It hasn't needed adjusting in 40,000km.

FWIW.
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Haggis

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Reply #15 on: May 08, 2021, 05:00:33 pm
Normal O ring, X ring  are too wide for uce. I fitted a DID O ring and it wasn't till I removed the case to change sprocket size that noticed the chain had been rubbing on the crankcase and was pushed hard against the inside face of the sprocket. I don't think it would ever wear right through the case but it was enough show wear on the inside of the sprocket. Chain run was fine and wheel alignment spot on.
Off route, recalculate?


axman88

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Reply #16 on: May 09, 2021, 08:57:21 am
Normal O ring, X ring  are too wide for uce.
Hitchcock's parts lists shows an O-Ring chain as factory for the C5  https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/35851   My 2012 C5 came with an O-ring chain.

There is some discussion on the forum that the G5, on the other hand, was fitted with a Non O-ring type.
https://forum.classicmotorworks.com/index.php?topic=8269.0

https://accessories.hitchcocksmotorcycles.com/16508


Haggis

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Reply #17 on: May 09, 2021, 09:34:22 am
Yes, they come with an Indian made O ring chain BUT it is a much narrower chain than a "normal" everyday  O ring that we can buy.
As I said a DID is almost 25mm wide, ie pin length.
Off route, recalculate?


gizzo

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Reply #18 on: May 09, 2021, 10:26:32 am
Yes, they come with an Indian made O ring chain BUT it is a much narrower chain than a "normal" everyday  O ring that we can buy.
As I said a DID is almost 25mm wide, ie pin length.

Huh. It's wider than oem for sure but the DID X ring fits in my GT fine.

I wouldn't have a problem going to a 520 chain but the sprockets I'd want aren't available last time I looked. Not interested in aluminium ones.
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #19 on: May 12, 2021, 10:54:56 am
Speaking of roller chains, guess whose 16th Century notebooks these ones were found sketched in...


That's nothing short of astounding considering nothing similar was patented until 1800 for use in canal or river locks with another 80 or so years beyond that before Renolds came up with the drive chains we all know and love. See: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_chain
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gizzo

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Reply #20 on: May 12, 2021, 11:08:07 am
Speaking of roller chains, guess whose 16th Century notebooks these ones were found sketched in...

Looks like davinci's work (kind of confirmed by the pic's URL but anyway...)
He thought of everything.
simon from south Australia
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #21 on: May 13, 2021, 01:11:34 am
"Follow the white rabbi...I mean, rabbit."--M.
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India. Yet it squeaks by here in Virginia.