Ep 7: Changing a chain and sprockets

Trent and Pete are back from Mountain Madness 2008, and Pete’s KTM 950 Adventure is in need of a new chain and sprockets. It has actually spat out a couple of rollers – not something I have seen before, but an obvious sign of serious wear and tear.

You can really blow some money in this department by not keeping tabs on things. A chain that is lubricated and correctly adjusted will run smoothly with minimum wear. A dry chain that is too loose or too tight will not only wear prematurely itself, but move around on the sprockets and chew out the teeth.

The sprockets will respond by putting further stress on the chain, since the teeth and the links no longer mesh properly, and you are into a vicious cycle that ends with you shelling out cash much sooner than you should have – or, worse, stranded by the side of the track. Carrying a spare set, are we?

We have split chain and sprockets into two episodes – it’s a substantial job and there’s a lot of room for discussion of myths and facts. Trent is as knowledgeable as ever, and we didn’t want to cut short on the info just to fit everything into a single show.

In this one, Trent shows how to tell whether a chain is worn, and identify wear patterns on a sprocket. He removes the old chain and discusses O-rings, X-rings, lubrication and cleaning.

Dousing the old chain with kerosene is one common method of cleaning, and obviously preferable to petrol because it is less likely to degrade the O-rings and infiltrate the rollers, where it would wash away the precious factory-packed grease from around the pins. But kerosene is still a pretty aggressive solvent, so Trent has some words on his preferred method of cleaning and lubing.

For more discussion on chain cleaning and lubrication, check out this extensive thread over at ADV Rider. From my perspective, the best thing to wash off dirty, spent lubricating oil is … wait for it … more oil! Which is why I think constant lubrication systems like the Scotoiler are a good bet – though opinion is divided on these sorts of gadgets.

Watch out for the next episode, where we install the new chain and sprockets on Pete’s bike.

– Waz

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5 thoughts on “Ep 7: Changing a chain and sprockets

  1. Another great video from you guys. You are doing a great job of making repairs less “foggy” for the new riders. I was wondering if you would do an episode on common road-side repairs (punctures, etc.). Thanks and keep it up!

  2. Hi there,

    Really enjoying the shows. Keep up the work, it’s really useful. Why not add a Paypal donation button so us readers can donate a few bob, at least pay for some beers for all the effort you guys are putting into this.

  3. Great idea, great shows!
    Big thanks from us, amateur mechanics.

    Do you take requests? As you travel with bikes overseas – could you once show how your bikes are prepared for transportation?

    One lighting suggestions – sometimes the camera films details underneath the bike and the ambient light is not enough. A small on-camera light would greatly help in those situations.

    Once again, congrats on this excellent idea!

  4. Pingback: Chain Caution

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