10. Inspect The Chain And Sprockets

Chain Wear Check

First, you should inspect the sprockets. A worn sprocket will take its crooked teeth and chow down on your shiny new chain. So, look closely at the sprockets. Are the sides of the teeth worn? If so, expect to find a matching wear pattern on the inside of the chain. Do the teeth of the sprockets look like cresting waves? Are teeth — gasp — missing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you definitely need new sprockets. At the very least, should change an aluminum rear sprocket with every new chain. The soft aluminum tends to wear more quickly than the OE steel sprockets. However, if your aluminum sprocket is hard anodized, it should withstand a couple of chain replacements.

How To Tell If Your Chain Needs Replacing

  • john phyyt

    Why oh Why does every chain NEED to go through the Swingarm. With true engineering excellence surely a way could be found to create one which allows the chain to be freed by removing the swingarm , thus allowing an endless chain to be installed without the compromise of a joining link.

    • Gruf Rude

      I carried sufficient tools to remove the swingarm pivot bolt on my KLR for my ride to Alaska and carried a spare endless chain & sprocket set in case the original chain was destroyed. The chain breaker/riveting tool was too heavy/bulky to carry. No problem removing the pivot bolt to remove the old chain and install the new. Of course, the KLR has a simple swingarm; the chain does not thread through it as it does on some single-sided swingarms.

  • Branson

    This is a tremendously useful and well-written article Evans, and concise. Thanks for doing it!