CHAINS AND SPROCKETS
$100 Replace sprockets and chain
$20 Replace chain only
WHAT IT DOES AND THE PROBLEMS
Your chain and sprockets are the drive system for your bike. Having a chain that is too tight will cause your bike to have to work harder costing you valuable time and power. It can also limit your suspension travel. A chain that is to loose, besides being dangerous by jumping off your sprocket, will also cost you valuable power by using the energy to get through all that chain slack.
Worn out or damaged sprockets can also be dangerous. Heavily worn or broken teeth can cause your chain to jump off and also reduce your power to the ground.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
A lot of side to side play in your chain, axle slider locations and noise are the most common chain indicators. Broken off teeth, teeth that look like waves or any abnormal wear.
HOW TO FIX
We typically recommend the changing of your sprockets and chain at the same time, especially on street/road bikes. Off-road/dirt bikes, you can get away with replacing individual parts but once you are able to visually notice issues it is a good idea to replace everything as a set and start fresh. Using a new chain on worn sprockets will accelerate the wear of the individual parts. Changes to the gear ratios is very common on off-road/dirt bikes making changing all parts every time not necessary.
DID YOU KNOW?
A routine maintenance schedule on your drive system is critical to the longevity of the parts. Aluminum sprockets wear and break down faster than steel. Similarly, non-sealed or non o-ring style chains wear and break down faster than sealed o-ring chains. For guys that change parts often or are maintenance freaks this may not be an issue, but for the rest it can get expensive.
Only clean and lubricate chains with recommended lubricants like Maxima Chain Cleaner, Chain Guard and Chain Wax. These are specifically designed for sealed and non-sealed chains. Using the wrong lubricants can cause corrosion, breakdown in materials, like o-rings and specialized coatings, and eventually failure of parts.
Do not clean o-ring type chains with a brush!!! Bristles get between the ring and link allowing that dirt and moisture to get into the grease on the pins causing premature wear.
Chains come in various sizes, most common for motocross/off-road is a 520. They also come in sealed and non-sealed, both having advantages and disadvantages.
Non-sealed chains are light weight and cheaper than their counterpart but require more maintenance and adjustment as they wear faster.
Sealed chains have various types of o-rings, like UW, XW, O, RX, that seal in grease between the links. These chains, although more expensive, tend to last longer and can tolerate less frequent maintenance.
Chains should be adjusted and inspected after every ride. Check for proper tension and inspect for excessive wear and damage.
We use brands like RK and D.I.D as they are not only used by the top riders in the world but are also manufacturers of OEM parts for the major bike manufacturers.
Aluminum or steel (or both) sprockets? You have choices when it comes to materials but choosing the correct one is important.
Aluminum sprockets look cool, are light weight and come in various colors but also wear quickly if not cleaned and maintained. Typically, they wear 3X faster than steel and cost a bit more.
Steel sprockets are heavier, generally only come in black or silver but wear really well and have a better price point.
Other materials include a combination like the Supersprox Stealth, used by top riders. It combines an aluminum core with steel teeth ring, getting the best of both worlds. Also available is a zirconium sprocket by Dirt Tricks. It's light weight like aluminum and wears well but with a higher price point.
Choosing the right sprocket is about choosing what is best for your application, not what your buddy has or looks cool. The name on the sprocket doesn't make you faster or better, nor does the color.
Sprocket brands are like choosing between bike brands, everyone has an opinion or preference. Look for the best product that will meet your budget and requirements. We recommend brands like Supersprox and Talon as they are competitively priced, used by the worlds top riders and use top quality materials.
Gearing has to do with the size of your sprockets. If you need more bottom end you want to get a bigger rear sprocket or smaller front sprocket and the opposite for more top end. However, it's best to start with one or possibly two teeth adjustments on the rear before changing the front as a little goes a long way.