Chain and sprocket question..

PeteWolfgang

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So, the chain on my '14 NC700X is crap. I see two links that are starting to kink a bit. It's the original setup. I plan on doing some long distance rides in the Fall and next Spring. I definitely will need to replace the chain. The sprockets look fine to me. Is it better to replace the chain and sprockets, or can I get away with the chain only? This is the first motorcycle I've ever had that the chain was in such horrible condition with low miles. I bought it used in 2016, and it only has 16,000 miles on it. I'v e replaced all the fluids, filters, and did the valve check/adjustment two weekends ago. I've never seen a chain go bad like this. I've kept it adjusted, cleaned, and lubed (after every ride). I've heard other guys complain about the original stock chain. Looking for a good replacement chain and sprocket kit, any recommendations?
 
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It is completely acceptable to replace just the chain. If at all in in doubt, order new sockets, to have on hand for later down the road, and compare them to the originals for wear.

-Saturday
 

dduelin

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15,000 miles is not far off the mark for the 520 chain on the NC700X.

It is false economy to replace the chain only. At a minimum replace the countershaft sprocket and the chain. DID VX2 chain and JT 1373 countershaft sprocket. In the past Dennis Kirk had the best price on the JT 1373 but the last two I bought off Amazon Prime along with the DID VX2 chain 120 link.
 
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670cc

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The stock chains came from major suppliers but were a low grade chain. If the bike got 16,000 miles out of the original chain, that’s very good. As for sprockets, it’s my opinion, even though I havent seen them, that your sprockets are probably still good. Some people change sprockets often, and thats fine. At 43,000 miles, I still use the original rear sprocket. I may change it out between 50,000 and 60,000 miles. The front sprocket looked fine but I changed it anyway around 40,000 miles.

Sprocket change intervals are almost like oil changes, where some go 3,000 miles on oil and others wait until 10,000. Everyone’s different.

A popular replacement chain is the DID VX2. It might be called VX3 nowadays. JT sprockets are good but JT chains have a reputation for having short life.
 
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670cc

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It is completely acceptable to replace just the chain. If at all in in doubt, order new sockets, to have on hand for later down the road, and compare them to the originals for wear.

-Saturday
This is great advice. Having a new set of sprockets on hand gives you a reference to compare to. Otherwise, when deciding on replacement, wear on the teeth may not be obvious or measurable.
 

dduelin

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I should have said that chain and sprocket wear are heavily dependent on the type of service the bike is in and how it is maintained. In low speed operation the parts may last much longer. My experience with my NC700s the way I rode them shaped my suggestion. I bought just a chain once but not twice.
 

PeteWolfgang

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Thanks for the replies. I will probably buy an inexpensive replacement chain, and one good kit (Chain and Sprockets). This way I can compare the old and new sprockets. The original sprockets look good, so I'm thinking a chain might last me another 8000-12000 miles before replacing everything. I'll post some pics when I get all of it together.
 

kjang

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I had to replace my chain and sprockets after my alaska trip last season. I had close to 20,000 miles on them. Yes, I babied my chain.
I just installed a chain oiler (scott oiler) will see if i can squeeze more miles out of my new chain.
 

Electric_monk

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The OE chain on mine needed replaced at 14000km, I replaced it and the sprockets and got 35000km out of the next one. When they were replaced the sprockets were in a better condition than the originals were after the 14000k. I'd change both chain and sprockets.
 

greenboy

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If I recall I got about 25,000 miles out of my last chain, a Primary Drive (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC brand), and no rear sprocket change before or after that chain. If the sprocket shows minimal and even wear I don't bother.
 

Janus

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It's better to replace sprockets when replacing chains, but it's not necessary. I am of the Replace Everything mindset.

Chains and sprockets wear each other down. When one part is new and one is not, extra wear occurs on both as the interface is ground down. Here's an Analysis of Chain and Sprocket Wear by Sheldon Brown, the late and great bicycle mechanic. He discusses chains without o-rings but the principles are the same.

I would be interested to see a detailed comparison in the longevity of chains without replacing sprockets vs with replacement... but I'm too cheap to do the testing myself. A set of sprockets only adds about $30 from sprocket center to the chain. Worth the peace of mind to me.

And the time I don't have to put the bike on the centerstand to adjust the chain!
 

greenboy

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I think I have a decent eye to whether my rear sprocket is wearing unevenly or teeth are getting pulled over a bit. If I was getting way less miles out of a very-affordable chain I'd rethink that ; }

On my WR which spends a lot more time in harsh off-road conditions, I'd say the same applies, but I'm running aluminum on the back so more often than not it's the whole set.
 

Termite

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I just replaced my chain, drive sprocket and driven sprocket at 14,400 miles. The chain was, by far, the most expensive part of the project.

You'll need a chain breaker/press...since its a staked master link. I found that you could get them for any where from $15 to $150. I went with the lower price thinking that I'd only use it once. Unfortunately, I got what I paid for...the tool was a POS and barely worked for that one use. There are lots of good youtube videos for guidance if you need it...I did.

My suggestion is that you replace chain and sprockets at the same time. Worn sprockets can cause the new chain to wear faster as well.
 

Janus

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I usually get my cogs from Sprocket Center. They have chain & sprocket kits at what seems to be the low end of the spectrum of price.

I got a MotionPro chain tool with an extra discount when I added it with the kit. At the time I bought it, that made the tool the best price available. The tool is great, used it three times and it's pretty easy. Mostly
 

mrbios

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It's better to replace sprockets when replacing chains, but it's not necessary. I am of the Replace Everything mindset.
...

I would be interested to see a detailed comparison in the longevity of chains without replacing sprockets vs with replacement... but I'm too cheap to do the testing myself. A set of sprockets only adds about $30 from sprocket center to the chain. Worth the peace of mind to me.
Something has gone missing from "modern" chain adjustment / replacement theory:
1. Chain tension is NOT consistent - at the adjustment point in the middle part of the chain as you rotate the rear wheel you will notice the chain tension / deflection changes from loose to tight. The more the chain is worn the greater the variation.
2. ALL chain & sprockets exhibit this behavior. Older chinsaw manuals even state that you must find the tightest point and adjust there and then rotate to the loosest point and if that is NOT within spec the chain must be replaced.
3. Is this variation in chain tension the chain's fault OR the sprockets OR both? I changed the chain ONLY on a cheap chinese quad after the old chain snapped. Sprockets were in acceptable shape. To my surprise after installing a new chain on the OLD sprockets the chain exibited the same behavior Tight then loose after rotating the rear wheel.
4. Conclusion: the sprocket(s) front, rear OR BOTH are the thing that wear unevenly - NOT the chain.

Questions: I know lots of people that have sometimes changed the chain but NOT the sprockets or changed both every other time or only when they decide the teeth are too worn out.
1. Does this meaningfully shorten the life of the new chain if the OLD sprockets are not worn?
2. I know some people will say it does NOT have a meaningful impact on the new chain to reuse old sprockets and I could except that - but does it effect the rider experience? Meaning we have all experienced a chain that is noisy or has too much slack - noticed when letting the clutch out and then on acceleration and deceleration - in other words would you get a noticeably smoother ride by changing both - even if the life span was the same either way?

Thoughts? I ask because science should beable to offere definitve answers to these age old questions affecting all chain drive - not just motorcycles. Why are we still debating something that data and physics should be able to answer vs opinion.
 

TigerDude

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We don't debate it because Honda tells us what to do - look at the drawing in the owner's manual and if the sprocket isn't that bad then keep using it. Science or not, Honda is known for reliability and won't give us advice that hurts it.
 
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