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Thread: What makes the o-rings in a chain split?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Paulplex's Avatar
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    What makes the o-rings in a chain split?

    I posted in the "what did you do today?" thread a photo of my bike chain, where after spending some time cleaning the bike, I noticed the rubber o-rings were splitting on a number of the chain links:



    A colleague at work said "ah, bad wheel alignment!" - which makes sense I suppose, if the chain has to contend with motion not only around the sprockets but at an angle as it goes around the back wheel.

    However, below...



    ...the back...



    ...and the idiot.



    All seems to be aligned okay (maybe not me perhaps), tension at 40mm on the side stand too - so what causes the chain to degrade like this do you think?
    Last edited by Paulplex; 27th August 2019 at 13:46.

  2. #2
    Senior Member melensdad's Avatar
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    Just curious, how many miles have you ridden with that chain?

    Is that the OEM sprocket?

    Is that the OEM chain?

    BTW, I have no answer to your question. Just more questions.

  3. #3
    Senior Member What makes the o-rings in a chain split?
    What makes the o-rings in a chain split?
    Red Rider's Avatar
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    All I can think of is maybe overly aggressive cleaning or brushing(?)


    Iím supposed to respect my elders, but itís getting harder and harder for me to find one now ..

  4. #4
    Senior Member Paulplex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by melensdad View Post
    Just curious, how many miles have you ridden with that chain?
    Less than 6,000 miles - I would have expected better...

    Quote Originally Posted by melensdad View Post
    Is that the OEM sprocket?

    Is that the OEM chain?
    Not OEM - bought the chain and sprockets together on eBay (link here) - DID chain and JT sprockets. Sprockets haven't really worn that much and the chain hasn't really stretched that much either - I don't think I've had need to adjust the chain at all, since these were fitted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    All I can think of is maybe overly aggressive cleaning or brushing(?)
    I don't think so - I use Rockoil chain lube and haven't really had much need to clean it since it was installed. I'll admit, the last clean was a very thorough one ...but it's before I'd started that I noted the state of the chain.

    Bad eBay purchase ...or bad luck perhaps?

  5. #5
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    If you were sandwiched in between two pieces of metal that constantly pivots at high speeds, you'd degrade and split after a while too. LOL

    There aren't too many factors that can go into this. 1.) the type of rubber the o rings are made out of. 2.) the design and tolerance of pressure on the o rings from the manufacturer. 3.) how well they've been lubed (from the outside), as lubing is sure to help protect the o rings longer. and 4.) the level of grime/debris the o rings have been exposed to.

    I'm no chain expert, these are just my opinions on factors that surround a chain's longevity.

    Keep it lubed often, take it off and soak it in kerosene every so often, then reinstall and lube if you really want to maximize chain life. To me, a chain is a consumable, if I get 10k miles out of a chain, I'm fine with that. I'm not going to kill myself overly maintaining a chain for 50% longer life, when that effort could just be spent on installing a new chain every 10k miles or so.

    I hate worrying over things, I've just come to terms with things are going to wear out and need replaced. Long as I do a half-arse job at maintaining, then my duty is done. No need in worrying about trivial things to the point of driving yourself crazy (which is what I used to do).

    If it were me, it would be on the list of things to replace, given the o rings are failing, but in the bigger picture, there's no telling how long it may last before actually failing to the point of needing replaced. Definitely not going to hurt it to keep on riding it for now until you get around to picking up a new chain. Just keep it lubed and ride on.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Paulplex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TacomaJD View Post
    If it were me, it would be on the list of things to replace, given the o rings are failing, but in the bigger picture, there's no telling how long it may last before actually failing to the point of needing replaced. Definitely not going to hurt it to keep on riding it for now until you get around to picking up a new chain. Just keep it lubed and ride on.
    Yup, that's my thought; keep an eye, make sure there aren't any tight spots developing and lube it more often than I might normally. Open to suggestions if anyone thinks there are better chains to go for ...but I thought DID were supposed to be alright?


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  7. #7
    Super Moderator What makes the o-rings in a chain split? 670cc's Avatar
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    I see a partial chain model in your photo and it looks like it may be a VX2. I use that chain on my NC and I’d guess I get around 15,000 miles average on a VX2. They usually fail on me with clanging and banging due to excessive tight links, but I have never seen the o-rings split out like that, except perhaps on a link or two at the end of life. My approach is that the less you mess with your chain, the less gunk you spray on it, and the less you clean it, the longer it will last

    At first I was going to say right away, “excessive aggressive cleaning”, but you say that’s not the case. That makes this an interesting, puzzling case. I wonder what the cause is? If it’s not from brush scrubbing, could it be chemically induced? I’m not familiar with that chain lube, so I have no experience with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulplex View Post
    Yup, that's my thought; keep an eye, make sure there aren't any tight spots developing and lube it more often than I might normally. Open to suggestions if anyone thinks there are better chains to go for ...but I thought DID were supposed to be alright?


    Sent from my Mi A2 using Tapatalk
    Without any detailed research and just from prior knowledge, if it were me I'd probably try an RK chain. DID and RK both are supposedly good manufacturers, but if one didn't work good, maybe the other will.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rippin209's Avatar
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    For the busted o-ring my first assumption would be not properly aligned (I've done that myself and had the chain stretched and tight within 6,000 miles) but it looks like your chain is aligned well, so I'm thinking road grime, it would have to be pretty fine, small grain sand or dusty dirt roads?

    There's at least one thread on chain oilers on the forum, I've got a Tutoro oiler and would definitely recommend getting one

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jt105's Avatar
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    You have pieces of the o-rings sticking out of the chain. Can you examine the material and see if it is flexible or stiff? Maybe take a piece, clean it and examine it for small cracks?
    If you have many o-rings like this, it could be age (old stock eBay chain) or it could be chemically induced by drying out the rubber material.

    Perhaps choose different chain cleaners and lubricants when you put on your next chain.

    JT

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