Favorite chain and sprocket brands?

Discussion in 'Tech Forum' started by bmart, Sep 15, 2018.

  1. Otto Man

    Otto Man John Control Rider

    I have yet to see anything get past a serviceable O/X ring chain...so that being said, I've never seen the point in using anything other than WD40. We don't lube the chain, we're only cleaning the outside so the dirt and grit doesn't eat away at the o rings. Lots of videos on youtube and such that have tried soaking chains in WD40 or whatever for days on end, they disassemble the links, and nothing crept in past the o rings. You can also experiment for yourself if you feel like it.

    I'm with Vinny, I like replacing the chain every season, maybe every other year pending on how much (or little) riding I did that year. Cheap insurance.

    I switched to steel sprockets years ago, got tired of going through sprockets left and right. I'd love to shake the hand of anyone that can feel the difference between a steel and aluminum sprocket.
    Lenny ZX9R and MrFrzz like this.
  2. bmart

    bmart Control Rider

    Thanks for that!
  3. Menotomy

    Menotomy World's Okayest Rider

    So I did my bit of research while unwinding with a beer. One thing I didn't realize is that WD-40 is primarily a hydrocarbon similar to kerosene or mineral spirits. WD-40 denies kerosene is in it, and they keep the formula a secret. But if you look at ingredients lists that are on mandatory safety sheets you can see it's about half aliphatic hydrocarbons (non stable hydrocarbons that ARE FLAMMABLE, AWESOME!), a quarter of it is petroleum oil, and the rest of it is propellants and negligible BS. Wired did a study and found there were a lot of alkanes and mineral oil using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. Alkanes (single bond aliphatic hydrocarbons) like decane are found in kerosene. Based on the data sheet and that article it seems like WD-40 is pretty much a magical mix of kerosene (solvent) and mineral oil (household oil and laxative if food-grade).

    So WD-40 is half solvent, and quarter oil. To me that means it does a half-ass job cleaning and a quarter-ass job of lubricating. There are better solvents (straight up kerosene), degreasers made specifically for chains that may or may not be more environmentally friendly if that's important, and no-fling lubricants out there (Dupont Chain Saver!) that really aren't that expensive and can be picked up locally. WD-40 does a decent job of cleaning which is what it's probably most well known for when talking motorcycle chains, and I'm sure fixes a squeaky door hinge easily. But use a better lubricant on your chain, is my recommendation.

    Also I agree about aluminum sprockets being unnecessary, but the Vortex ones look so cool!


    A good summary video if reading isn't your thing:

    The beer I'm drinking right now:
  4. djhurayt

    djhurayt New Member

    BP Blaster actually makes a chain and cable specific lubricant. Although it is describe it as being for light duty and the can shows a bicycle chain.
  5. meowculpa

    meowculpa Member

    I had a lot of problems with the rear aluminum sprockets.
    Went with Superlite steel sprockets / EK MVXZ chain this season. No issues thus far.
  6. Otto Man

    Otto Man John Control Rider

    I had a longer post wrote up, but my poor internet lost it, so I'll just post a summary of my experience. I've never thought WD-40 to be the best at anything (cleaning or lubing), but for a one stop shop product, you can't beat it. Would I use it to clean a really nasty dirty chain? Nope, like others said there are far better products out there specifically for that. Would I use it to lube a chain that won't see any love for the next 3,000 miles? Probably not.

    Do I use it on a track bike that gets the chain wiped down on average 2-3 times a weekend? Absolutely. Does it still provide a serviceable chain life that is more than acceptable for me? As my experience has shown...yes.

    You don't "lube" anything on a chain anyways. I have yet to see a chain lube that can penetrate the o ring on a chain. For all intents and purposes, those chains are lubed for life. All we do is keep the outside clean so dirt doesn't destroy the o rings.

    Pressure washing can penetrate those o rings. It'll also blow em apart and your chain will fall apart in short order. :D
    HondaGalToo likes this.
  7. Menotomy

    Menotomy World's Okayest Rider

    I was going to make that comment that WD-40 is probably fine if you're using it very often.

    I can't edit my post, or I would, but one thing I thought about later is most spray products are going to be a mix of solvent and some sort of lubricant. I think the difference between WD-40 and a typical chain lube is the type of lubricant. WD-40 seems to be mineral oil, while something like Teflon Chain Saver is a wax, and in that specific case, some Teflon. For a street bike that has less frequent lubing, the wax will probably last longer. And no, the lubricant isn't keeping rollers in a low friction environment, but it is keeping the chain from rusting and the o-rings from drying. Wax might do a better job than mineral oil in terms of longevity. But you already made that point.
  8. bmart

    bmart Control Rider

    And so...just for fun, I took the official measurement of my everlasting chain. Spec for end of life is 10 links measuring 150.1mm. Mine measures 148.24mm-148.83mm, well within spec. Not bad for WD-40 and PB Blaster only after 15,6 miles, 13k of it track time.
    Otto Man likes this.
  9. bmart

    bmart Control Rider

    Thanks for the info, all. I ended up with a Driven kit. RK 520 Max X 120 link chain, steel Driven 15T/50T sprockets. I'm currently running 116 links,but I may try 118 to give me a little more room for the warmers. Taking bets on whether it will go the same 15k miles with PB Blaster only...
    Otto Man likes this.
  10. bmart

    bmart Control Rider

    And for folks who like facts, I discovers this:

    A 5XX chain has a 5/8″ pitch. Sorry to those fond of metric units. Similar to the way pipe is measured worldwide, chain is measured by the “king’s thumb”. 5/8″ is the center-to-center distance between pins. Most chain manufacturers limit chain wear to approximately .006″ per link. So if you take that number and multiply it by 100 links, the accumulated clearance that some refer to as “stretch”, is close to a full pitch or 5/8″. So if 99 spaces fit in the distance that 100 spaces were suppose to measure, your chain is shot. So here are two ways to inspect your chain for wear:

    Break the master link and stretch your chain out on a work bench in a straight line. Now count out 100 spaces and mark the first and last pins. Now take a tape measurer and measure the distance, center-to-center between pin 1 and pin 101 (It takes 101 pins to create 100 spaces. Just like it takes two pins to create one space). If the distance is greater than 63-1/8″, then it’s time to replace your chain. A brand new chain will be 62.5″. Don’t get confused by the “tape measure” in the diagram. I like to “shave an inch” on the starting end and measure starting at 1″, rather than trust the accuracy of the clip on the end of the tape.

    The second method is not as precise, but will save you time in breaking your master link. Suck a wrench between your chain and rear sprocket by rotating your rear wheel by hand, until the chain along the top of your swing arm is tight. Using the method above, count out 24 intervals, and measure the distance center-to-center between the first and last pin. A new chain will be 15″ dead nuts. If you measure more than 15-3/32″ it’s time to get a new chain.
  11. 2blueyam

    2blueyam New Member

    An even simpler method I have seen is try to pull the chain off the rear sprocket at the back center. If it pulls away, the chain has stretched, as the spacing on the sprocket doesn’t change. Try this at a couple of points because chains don’t always wear evenly.

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