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I'm aware of how important they are, but have been coming up empty in my searches to determine if they're worn to the point of needing replacement. The service manual just says to inspect and replace as necessary (as a set). I don't see anything I can measure to determine if there is any wear? Obviously there's a point somewhere in between waiting for it to fail and replacing it every time I ride... :-)

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What's the make & model of your motorcycle? Also, what's the make & model of chain? How many km/mi has the chain done so far? –  SparKot ॐ Mar 9 at 14:12
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Worn out sprockets and Worn Sprockets –  SparKot ॐ Mar 9 at 14:22
    
1994 Suzuki GSX600FR Katana. Unknown make/model chain. Unknown mileage on the chain. –  Brian Knoblauch Mar 9 at 20:52

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I got this advice from this website:

Go to your rear sprocket and pull straight back on the chain. If your chain pulls away from the sprockets by much, it is probably stretched out. If the chain does not pull away and stays right on the sprocket, then the chain is not stretched out yet. Also, if your sprockets no longer look like points but a bunch of little hooks you need to replace it all. Another wear indication is tight links or kinks in the chain. This is caused by a lack of lube that has caused links stick.

The most common way to know if your chain needs to be replaced comes from measuring your slack. As a chain wears, grooves are cut into the pins which gives the illusion of chain-stretch. No chain wears perfectly even so every chain will develop a variance in the chain slack measurement. If the variance between the tight spots and loose spots of the chain become too great, you'll want to replace the chain. If the chain is not replaced at this point, the variances in slack will put a lot of stress on the sprockets. Replace the chain early and most times you can run two chains to one set of sprockets.

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The rule-of-thumb I was taught is to pull the chain away from the back of the sprocket. If the chain pulls away by more than half a roller it's time to replace it.

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