Carry a spare chain.....or not!

Discussion in 'Tools, Accessories & Spares' started by Brad D, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Brad D

    Brad D New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Hi All!,

    I'd like some advice on a question I have. How many of you carry a spare drivechain with you on trips? I?ve never had a drivechain just let go on me. From what I hear they slowly wear out ? nothing catastrophic. So if the chain is in spec for chain stretch, and is kept clean and lubricated on a trip, is there any reason to carry a spare? My chain is continuous, but if I had a master link, I could see carrying a spare one of those with me. Most of my trips are under 500 miles and I'd like to avoid carrying the weight and spending the $$ until I really needed to.
     
  2. Bagwell

    Bagwell New Member

    Messages:
    24
    No need to for only 500 miles, assuming your chain is in decent shape. Just carry a section of chain with two master links on either end and a chain breaker. If your chain snaps, you can pop off the broken ends of the link and fit in the spare section of chain with the two master links.
     
  3. Jim R

    Jim R New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Excellent advice.

    Last fall I was on a dualsport ride in Arkansas on a new KTM 640 LC4. I had a chain link break on this ride with less than 1k miles on the bike. It was either a defective link or I hit a rock just right. A master link without a chain break is not much use.
     
  4. SarahB

    SarahB New Member

    Messages:
    21
    I've heard tales of drivechains breaking while at speed and wreaking major havoc inside the gear box, lashing about, etc. Not sure if these were urban legend quality horror stories, or actual happenings. Never seen one. But, I just replace the chain when the motorcycle reaches the end of its "adjustment" range.

    For trips under 500 miles, I'd say check it at the beginning and end of your trips. If your trips are 5000 miles, I'd say carry a replacement.
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P New Member

    Messages:
    3
    For chain repair I carry.
    a 5 link piece of chain.
    a motionpro chain press tool.
    2 master links.

    That way I don't carry a whole chain and repair a chain if necessary.

    OTOH, I've only had one chain failure in the past 10 years and 200000 miles.
     
  6. carmic7

    carmic7 New Member

    Messages:
    18
    About half way from New Jersey to Key west I noticed that the locking plate on the master link was missing, ever since then I carry a few master links and a chain breaker, that way i can repair a broken chain three times if I have to.
     
  7. Russell F

    Russell F New Member

    Messages:
    10
    It seems hard to imagine an otherwise healthy chain breaking open. At around 10k, my OEM chain developed a couple of very stiff links which trashed the bushings in the adjacent links. At around 13k, I was inspecting my chain one link at a time and I realized the I had about four links that were just flopping around. I think the sideplates were the only thing holding it together at that point. Scared the crap out of me, and now I inspect each and every link with a pair of gloves every few weeks.
     
  8. Brad D

    Brad D New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks all for the replies. I can see that most of you agree that having a spare chain (or spare master links) is prudent.

    Now for the next question. Is there a significantly greater risk of chain breakage on chains with master links? I understand that while on the road you have no choice but use a master link/chain, but if doing preventative maintenance, would you be better off putting on a continuous chain? The downside of course is the swingarm must come off, but if you only do it every 15-20,000 miles it might not be so bad if longevity is increased and risk is decreased.

    I have 10,000 miles on my factory chain and still in spec with no tight spots.
     
  9. Bagwell

    Bagwell New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Personally, I've been riding and racing off road for twenty years and it's not very common for well-maintained chains to break. I've had it happen twice in my life, and the second time was definitely my fault since I had a two year old chain with 12,000 dirt miles on it and wasn't keeping it well oiled. What kind of bike is this for? If it's a road bike I wouldn't worry about it. For dirt, I personally think that not using a masterlink is just a little inconvenient and I would say that's being a little too paranoid. All the guys I ride/race with carry a breaker and a small section of chain and almost never have to use it anyways. Keep it well-oiled and properly tensioned and you should be fine.

    The DID X-Ring chain is reportedly the best chain out there, MANY people recommend it.
     
  10. Brad D

    Brad D New Member

    Messages:
    7
    This is for a KLR which sees mostly road miles and the occasional dirt road.
     
  11. Ram

    Ram New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Nobody ever agrees on this. Personally, I've heard too many my-clip-is-missing stories to be comfy with a clip-style master link. I went with the rivet style.

    Besides, I've never seen endless chains for sale. Maybe the OEM part from a parts counter?
     
  12. Brad D

    Brad D New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Don't most mail order sources rivet the chain for you as an option? I am thinking Chaparral does this.
     
  13. Rdr

    Rdr New Member

    Messages:
    4
    You can have an endless chain provided you have the special press required to flatten the heads of the link pins after reinstalling the separate link plate that comes with new chains. You can also use a punch to flatten the link pins. Motion Pro makes such a press. Using such a press is definitely easier that the hammer/punch route.

    Most high performance road bikes use endless chains. Most manufacturers recommend that you replace with a similar endless chain. They advise against using a master link on the chain of any high performance road bike.
     
  14. nxdirt

    nxdirt New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Two cents worth

    It is possible to buy both endless and rivet type chains. You have to remove the swingarm to replace the endless type. The rivet type basically achieve the same end.

    Don't use a hammer and punch to install a rivet type chain. You want to do it right with the press and rivet tool. Otherwise the rivet is almost certainly going to be incorrect and will literally be the weak link in the chain. The press and rivet tools are not that expensive if you don't insist on the best. Even with an endless chain it is never a bad idea to carry a spare master link or two on a trip. That way if you have a link bind you can remove it and replace it with the master link. Not the most elegant repair but it can allow you to finish the trip. Even better is the the short length with a couple of master links. I've had a chain link bind a thousand miles from home and found that not all dealers/shops you find along the way are interested in going out of their way to help you out.
     
  15. KenM

    KenM New Member

    Messages:
    18
    I've been riding for over 35 years now... from way back when the British manuals told us to soak the chain in hot grease every month/1,000 miles. I've never had a broken master link, in fact the only problems I've ever had was losing parts during maintenance in the back yard (Mom wouldn't let me do it in the basement). A spare master link was always in my tool kit for that reason. Go ahead & carry a spare chain if you get any distance off road, do regular service on it, but don't fret over whether it has a master link, or not.

    A quote from MODERN MOTORCYCLE MECHANICS by JB Nicholson (1953 edition) ... "Where operating off paved roads under dusty conditions it is recommended that the chain be removed at 1000-2000 mile intervals, washed thoroughly in kerosene or varsol, allowed to drain, soaked in heated heavy oil or grease; surplus lubricant should be wiped off before refitting and adjusting. It is considered inadvisable to apply any external lubrication to the chain in between this servicing when operating off paved roads and under dusty situations."

    Any of you out there interested in doing that level of maintenance? This book used to be THE BIBLE of the 1940's - 1950's...now it's just good nostalgia.
     
  16. Rob

    Rob New Member

    Messages:
    12
    I've personally used the 08-0058 tool to rivet a masterlink and it does work. That doesn't mean that I liked the tool. It isn't very convenient and the pins are easy to break.

    The 08-0070 chain press is also quite difficult to use. I was able to a better job pressing on a side plate by going back and forth with a vise grip.
     
  17. carmic7

    carmic7 New Member

    Messages:
    18
    My old masterlink chain held up really well, I finally noticed that a bunch of rollers were gone so I replaced the chain. The rollers on the master link were still there and The only time I have seen a chain fail it was a master link chain but not the master link that failed.

    I have seen motocross guys safety wire the keeper plate in place.
     
  18. Fedor

    Fedor New Member

    Messages:
    7
    A continuous chain is the best choice to serious bikers.

    But if its break, you can get the broke link off (with a chain breaker) and fix with master links and a small section of chain (2 or 3 new links). It's easy to do (with the correct tools). And in the next city, change this fixed chain by a new chain...

    So, you don't need carry a heavy new chain, what is hard to change on the road...

    I've problems with chains with master links on my Ténéré, the master links simple get off with 1.000 miles...
     
  19. Brad D

    Brad D New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Thanks all for the replys. I can see that most of you agree that having a spare chain (or spare master links) is prudent.

    Now for the next question. Is there a significantly greater risk of chain breakage on chains with master links? I understand that while on the road you have no choice but use a master link/chain, but if doing preventative maintenance, would you be better off putting on a continuous chain? The downside of course is the swingarm must come off, but if you only do it every 15-20,000 miles it might not be so bad if longevity is increased and risk is decreased.

    I have 10,000 miles on my factory chain and still in spec with no tight spots.
     
  20. jayjacinto

    jayjacinto Member

    Messages:
    67
    A masterlink is okay, I never had any problems with it. As long as you make sure the lock fits tightly in place its as good as continuous.
     

Share This Page