Signs Your Drive Chain is Kaput

We fully understand the function of the drive chain. It is what transmits the engine’s power to the rear wheel. No chain, no go.

The chain is a consumable and wears out in time. This wear translates to loss of power, increase fuel consumption; not to mention that irritating noise. If left alone, the chain may snap and that will result in damages to the bike or even injuries to the rider – think of a metal whip. Ouch.

But how do we know when we need to replace it? Here are several signs to look out for.

1.    You can pull the chain away from the rear sprocket


Start by adjusting the chain to its proper tension. Then try pulling the chain away from the rear sprocket at its tightest point. If you see daylight between the chain and sprocket, it is time for the chain to go. Also, rotate the wheel to do the same at other places around the chain. You may find that you can pull certain spots compared to others but in any case, the chain really needs to go once you can pull it away.

2.     Kinked chain


Again, look at the chain on the rear sprocket. If you notice a kink that does not smooth out during its travel around the sprocket, it means there are certain rollers and links that are already damaged. Time to go.

3.    Sliver of rubber sticking out

Sealed chains such as O-ring, X-ring, XW-ring types use rubber gaskets to seal in the grease inside the side plate. So, if you see a piece or pieces of rubber sticking out from the side plates, the seal has broken. Contaminants such as water and dirt will soon enter that space, causing the chain to rot from inside. Time for a new chain.

4.    Chain tension


If your chain cannot be tightened anymore, as in the rear axle is already at its maximum, it means it is time for a replacement. Do not shorten the chain and continue to use it.

Tips when replacing the chain

Replace the sprockets, too


1.    Replace the countershaft (front) and rear sprockets along with the chain. The old chain would have made impressions in the sprockets and they conform to the character of the said chain, thus fitting a new chain on old sprockets will wear out the chain quickly.

Check the alignment
2.    Make sure that the chain is straight from front to back. A misaligned chain will eat the sprocket teeth away, while putting more pressure on the side plates.

3.    Do not overtighten
An overtightened chain will wear down the front sprocket quickly. Apart from that, the engine will have extra stress to cope with. Best way to tighten a chain is by having someone sitting on the bike while you do it, as the rear suspension’s sag will tighten the chain a little more. Adjust to the manufacturer’s recommended specs.

4.    Clean and lube the chain regularly


Do clean and lubricate the chain at every 400 to 500 km. Best way to remember this is by doing so after going through two tankfuls of fuel. You may lubricate the chain at any time during that 500 km. However, clean the chain if it is dirty, for example, after riding off-road.