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I have a aging (y2k) motorcycle with not too many Ks on the clock. I have been told by a mechanic that I need to replace my sprockets and chain. This seems reasonable since the chain has been poorly maintained.

Normally, if the sprockets were worn, you'd replace them to prevent damage to the chain. Given both are worn, I am thinking there is no great hurry to replace them. On a previous bike, I've had chain slippage over the sprockets but this bike is nowhere near that bad.

Is there some risk I should be aware of?

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Changing your own chain and sprockets (for the first time) is also a great experience. You will learn to adjust the chain tension. You'll feel very manly (or perhaps smart if you're a woman) when you finally get the stubborn forward sprocket bolt loose and you will feel a deep sense of satisfaction every time you look at a recently cleaned and oiled motorcycle chain. :) –  grenade May 19 at 18:36

3 Answers 3

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Chain maintenance is critically important for motorcycle safety.

If this old chain has not been properly maintained throughout its life, you may be at higher risk of seized links or chain breakage.

Best case scenario with a broken chain is that it comes off the bike cleanly and you coast safely to a stop, avoiding any encounters with surrounding traffic.

Worst case scenario with a broken chain is that it whips around and gashes your leg before getting jammed between the rear sprocket and the swingarm, locking your rear wheel and sending you into a skid.

Unless your chain looks pristine, if you've got the money, buy yourself the peace of mind of a new chain and sprockets.

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A worn chain doesn't have to break to be a hazard. As the chain and sprockets wear the chain gets longer and the sprockets get smaller. This makes tensioning the chain difficult if not impossible as the jacking/tug bolts will not be long enough. If the teeth are worn bad enough the chain may not roll off the sprocket as it turns. This could cause the wheel to lock up and result in a uncontrolable skid. The lack of chain tension could also cause the chain to fall off and jam in the drive train. You might ruin the wheel or damage the engine and transmission.

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If the chain sprocket is damaged, it creates a irritating noice and the mileage also drops by 6-8 kms... So itz better to change the chain sprocket as soon as possible...

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