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Mine was replaced at 7100 miles but it was still in great shape. I wanted to swap to the 520 setup so that is why I swapped out chain and sprockets. About 20k is all I've ever seen one go before it begins to kink up and bind up with the tight spot.
 

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When should I be replacing it? Looks pretty good at 19k miles.
When you can't get the tension right as you have run out of adjustment marks on the tension block. There may be a more technical defnition such as the length of x number of links, but no idea what that would be.

As far as I know there is no specific age/mileage when it needs replacing as there are too many factors that affect it such as lubrication and throttle usage.
 

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Chain "stretch" is the most important criteria (in fact, it's the only criteria) I use in determining when a chain needs replacing.

A 520 (and 525 and 530) chain has a .625 pitch. That means that the link pins are .625 apart on a new chain. That means that a section of chain 25 links long will measure 15 inches from center-to-center on a new chain. As a chain wears, it will appear to "stretch" such that a 25-link length of chain will measure longer than 15 inches when worn (of course a chain doesn't actually stretch, but a worn chain appears to have stretched when measured with a tape measure).

The problem that occurs with continuing to use a worn chain is that the pitch (distance between links) on the chain no longer matches the pitch (distance between teeth) on the sprockets.

One thing about a sprocket is that the nominal pitch changes as you move outward in sprocket diameter from the valleys between the teeth toward the tips of the teeth, because the diameter increases as you move outward but the count of teeth doesn't change, so of course the distance between the teeth increases as you move outward. And that's exactly how the chain "adjusts" for the apparent "stretch" in its length as it wears - it starts riding higher in the sprocket towards the tips of the teeth until it finds a "pitch match" instead of riding down in the valleys between the teeth where it belongs. And that radically alters the wear pattern of the sprockets, causing the teeth to wear into a "cresting wave" shape. And that undesirable wear takes place rather quickly if you don't replace a worn chain before it stretches too much. So the price you pay for not replacing a worn chain is the cost of fresh sprockets too.

So the question becomes, "what is the acceptable limit of chain stretch"?

For myself, I use the rule of "1/8 inch of stretch in 15 inches" as my own gauge of when to replace the chain, i.e., if the chain wears to the point where I can measure 1/8 inch of stretch in any 15-inch length of chain, I replace the chain (a chain typically wears unevenly, so I measure it several places along its length). If I can measure 1/8 inch of stretch anywhere along the chain, I replace it.

If you're wondering where I came up with the "1/8 inch" rule, that's the general rule bicycle shops use when determining when a chain needs replacing. Bicycles have lots of sprockets in their drive line (not just two) so it can get really expensive to replace all the sprockets when the chain is allowed to stretch too much. Also, if you don't replace worn sprockets on a bicycle even a new chain will "skip" teeth.

For a data point, my road bicycle is 27 years old, has 89,000 miles on it and is only on its third chain (I keep my chains well lubed, which effectively prevents wear inside the links, which effectively prevents chain "stretch"). None of its sprockets have never needed replacing, because I've never ridden with a stretched chain.

As long as a chain hasn't stretched beyond some predetermined limit, there's no reason to replace it, regardless of its age.
 

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This! Mandatory! I would never do one without the other. Keep it clean, and it’ll last a long time. I’ve seen chains go 25000 miles. I’ve also seen them fail with less than 5000 miles (not mine). How it’s treated, power and bike weight are a huge factor. Sprocket wear is how I monitor chain condition.

i would always recomend replacing sprockets with a worn chain, or you will soon have two worn chains
 

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You've already gotten more life from your GSX-S chain than I ever did on my CBR929RR (about 12K on that and it was done.) Ways I knew my chain was done? Leaving stops I'd hear 'clicking' and 'clacking' as I let the clutch out to accelerate away. That was the 'worn' chain taking up the slack. Also, while 'not' racing a Porsche Boxster in a Colorado canyon, it felt like my wheels were 'out-of-round' in every corner! That was weird. But it was the chain going through tight spots and loose spots. Sure sign the chain was done. On my DL-650 I knew the chain was done when my miles per gallon went from 50mpg to 40mpg. Replaced the chain and it went back to 50mpg. Wild.


Want a chain to last 36,000 or longer? Get a SCOTTOILER! Those things rock. Put one on the CBR929 and had 36,000 miles on a chain and it was still going strong. The savings in chains and sprockets paid for that Scottoiler and then some. I've got one to put on the GSX-S1000 but have been 'lazy' about getting around to it. This thread is reminding me why I need to get un-lazy and get it done.
https://www.scottoiler.com/us/products/
I have the 'old' v-System type (uses engine vacuum.) Now they have some other systems (eSystem & xSystem) that run off electricity I'm guessing. Probably nice, too, but the vacuum system works fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Frog, thanks for the link and the recommendation. Impressive website. Chain maintenance is becoming more of a chore to me especially with no center stand. I like the v system over the others because it is cheaper and no battery drain. But is cutting into the MAP sensor vacuum hose an ok thing to do? I do not want reliability issues just cause I'm lazy with chain maintenance. When you get around to installing yours I hope you will let us know how it goes.
 

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I honestly am lazy, and just throw the strongest EK chain I can on it. I rock the ek mvxz2 or 3 or 4. I forget which one is the newest now. I had the older model on my other bike @ 15k only tightened it after initial break in. SUPER heavy duty chains.

Albeit pricy. I almost bought the EK 3d chain, but I didn't really like its appearance. Cut the stock chain off @ 1k and threw in trash on the gsxs.

I barely lubricate mine, like once every 2k miles. I use Dupont oil chain degreaser + Dupoint teflon wax. I coat it, then leave it for like an hour or two. dries into nothing but invisibility.


-edit

I do a CRAP ton of wheelies, so I wanted a stronger chain to handle the torque from clutch ups. I stretched my old OEM chain on gsxr pretty quick from all the wheelies. the EK chains endured like 10k miles and never stretched after the initial. I can't even go ride without doing a wheelie or two, (unless its stupid windy out) im not risking it.
 

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For a data point, my road bicycle is 27 years old, has 89,000 miles on it and is only on its third chain (I keep my chains well lubed, which effectively prevents wear inside the links, which effectively prevents chain "stretch"). None of its sprockets have never needed replacing, because I've never ridden with a stretched chain.
Great points, but... I ride my bikes A LOT, (27 years? maybe 200K +-) and I've never had a chain reach over 20K regardless of maintenance (maybe 12K, and I'm pretty sure it's not because of my incredible watts, because I'm a fairly lightweight and not a sprinter). My rule of thumb is a new cassette every two chains. It isn't just the chain that wears, the rear cogs wear too independent of the chain from shifting, chain engagement angle, even the slightest chain stretch, etc....

My point is just that chain care is important, but everything wears out, and oldjackbod is right in the fact that chains wear out faster than sprockets, and using a worn out chain will wear everything out faster.
 
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