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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, this is getting a tad old, but I can't seem to keep a chain on the bike for more than a couple 1000 miles before it fails. Yes, I clean and lube it.

So basically the last chain and sprockets have been on the bike for about 2500 miles and when cleaning it the last time I found 2 x-rings missing. Good-bye chain. I can't really say I clean it every 'x' number of miles because one day of riding might be 800 miles and the chain is clean and only needs lubed. If I use it to commute and ride through that construction zone it starts to look dirty by 300 miles so it gets cleaned.

I check slack in the chain with every cleaning and it's within factory specs. I even check every link to make sure it flexes properly.

I check alignment with the little motion pro rod chain alignment tool and eyeball it and it's good. (I've verified the alignment on the last two chains with a laser and the dot walks the chain hitting it in the same place on every link.)

I'm using Motul Chain Clean and a Grunge brush to clean it and Motul Factory Line lube ... to lube it.

After the last chain failed I decided I was going full OCD on this one because I didn't want to replace it again. I put in a EK 3D chain and Driven sprockets. Alas, <2500 miles later two x-rings are missing.

I'd love to blame the chains as being crap but it's unlikely every chain I buy is the bad one. With that luck I should have won the $1.6B in the lottery a couple months back.

Anyway, any ideas? I'm at a loss. My friends aren't having these issues. (Of course, I haven't cleaned and checked their chains.)
 

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Wow, serious "WTF" on this. Only 3 major things effect chain/ sprocket life, alignment, slack, lube, and you seem to have these covered. You seem to be doing things correctly with out the expected result. I personally run the "Hi Zoot" DID brand chain and use Maxima chain wax and lube when I get home from my rides, sometimes when I roll into the parking lot and park at work and lube before I walk into work. I have found having a little more slack than less works for me. Chains fail from heat caused wear caused from not enough lube or excessive grit buildup or alignment. I'd say less cleaning more lubing as soon as you can while the chain is warm from the ride and and a bit more free play. I'm just to your north in Kansas so our riding climates/ enviroments are very simular. I'm just "spitballing" here so I don't know if I'm being helpful. But I get 20000 plus miles out of my chain/ sprocket sets easily. Please Keep me/ us informed as to what/ how it works out. I use a magnetic dot laser chain alignment tool and check the slack by feel with the bike on the side stand.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow, serious "WTF" on this. Only 3 major things effect chain/ sprocket life, alignment, slack, lube, and you seem to have these covered. You seem to be doing things correctly with out the expected result. I personally run the "Hi Zoot" DID brand chain and use Maxima chain wax and lube when I get home from my rides, sometimes when I roll into the parking lot and park at work and lube before I walk into work. I have found having a little more slack than less works for me. Chains fail from heat caused wear caused from not enough lube or excessive grit buildup or alignment. I'd say less cleaning more lubing as soon as you can while the chain is warm from the ride and and a bit more free play. I'm just to your north in Kansas so our riding climates/ enviroments are very simular. I'm just "spitballing" here so I don't know if I'm being helpful. But I get 20000 plus miles out of my chain/ sprocket sets easily. Please Keep me/ us informed as to what/ how it works out. I use a magnetic dot laser chain alignment tool and check the slack by feel with the bike on the side stand.
This time I was very careful about lubing. I made sure it always looked wet with lube. Even on the long rides I did it looked fine after and I lubed it anyway. I'm at a loss as to what's happening. I gotta be honest, it's pissing me off a tad to blow x-rings after so few miles.
 

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I'm certainly not accusing you of improper chain maintenance, but I'm just putting out ideas to try to help you break the chain (sorry; had to) of failures.

What kind of brush are you using? Motul recommends a sort bristle brush, like an old toothbrush. No metal bristles. Also, their recommendation for lubing the chain seems much lighter than your "keep it wet" approach. Perhaps you're setting it up to attract more contaminants/grit, since it's wet and potentially sticky?

Like I said, I'm just trying to help. There's no way that many chains are defective. Sounds like you've covered the bases as far as alignment and tension goes.

https://www.motul.com/us/en-US/news/how-to-guides/powersport/diy-with-motul-2-part-chain-maintenance
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I'm certainly not accusing you of improper chain maintenance, but I'm just putting out ideas to try to help you break the chain (sorry; had to) of failures.

What kind of brush are you using? Motul recommends a sort bristle brush, like an old toothbrush. No metal bristles. Also, their recommendation for lubing the chain seems much lighter than your "keep it wet" approach. Perhaps you're setting it up to attract more contaminants/grit, since it's wet and potentially sticky?

Like I said, I'm just trying to help. There's no way that many chains are defective. Sounds like you've covered the bases as far as alignment and tension goes.

https://www.motul.com/us/en-US/news/how-to-guides/powersport/diy-with-motul-2-part-chain-maintenance
Lol, I'm claiming I suck at chain maintenance.

I use a Grunge brush on the chain.

As far as what I mean by "wet" is not like dripping or anything like that. I lube it and after a long ride, say 6-800 miles I'll lube it again when I get home and the chain is warm. It's never in a state where you'd say, "Dude, you need to lube that chain." You'd look at it think, "Yup, the chain's lubed."

If I'm riding around town in more dusty and dirty areas I'll probably lube it around the 3-400 mile area. If I see it starting to look dirty I'll clean it.

Here's a pic of how my chain typically looks. Maybe this better explains "wet".

Chain1.jpg
 

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Hmmm...

So, the last line of you first post said that your friends aren't having these issues. Do you have a really good friend that you ride with a lot? May be awkward to ask, but maybe ask them to be in charge of your chain maintenance for a couple thousand miles to see if the results are different. Something's got to be going on that needs to be isolated. You're using quality parts, and it sounds like you've done all the right stuff as far as installation, adjustment, and alignment. Unless you have a supercharger and nitrous injection, I doubt that the bike is too powerful for the chain to survive.

If that doesn't change the situation, maybe you should buy that lottery ticket.
 

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I have owned a lot of bikes with 'O' ring chains. I never use a brush or chain cleaner on them - just wipe them down with a rag dipped in Mineral Turpentine (not resin based Turpentine - but a petroleum distillate alternatively known as White Spirits), let them dry, lube and then adjust. My chains generally last many thousands of K's, and I'm pretty hard on chains with my riding style. If on the rare occasion an X or O ring has been lost on a link on a relatively low mileage chain, I simply remove the offending link and replace it with an X/O ring joiner link. I recently sold my Ninja 650 with 12T Ks on the clock, original chain, lots of adjustment left and no tight spots (I do regularly lube every 100 kilometres, every two weeks or when the chain looks dry).

Edit: Different people on other forums say MT will damage O/X rings, MT won't damage X/O rings. A lot of people recommend Kerosene. My understanding is that MT and Kero are very close in chemical make-up, with MT being less harsh as a solvent - so each should be interchangeable, with both having no ill-effect on the X/O rings.

I don't pour MT all over the chain, I simply use the wet rag to wipe the chain down and have probably only ever lost an X/O ring from a chain 3 times in the last 20 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hmmm...

So, the last line of you first post said that your friends aren't having these issues. Do you have a really good friend that you ride with a lot? May be awkward to ask, but maybe ask them to be in charge of your chain maintenance for a couple thousand miles to see if the results are different. Something's got to be going on that needs to be isolated. You're using quality parts, and it sounds like you've done all the right stuff as far as installation, adjustment, and alignment. Unless you have a supercharger and nitrous injection, I doubt that the bike is too powerful for the chain to survive.

If that doesn't change the situation, maybe you should buy that lottery ticket.
LMAO! I have a riding buddy who lives right around the corner from me. I can just see the glee on his face if I were to ask him to be in charge of my chain maintenance for a couple thousand miles. OMG, I don't think he'd ever let me live that one down (until I had some good dirt on him). But, I also said I haven't looked at friend's chains to see if they are having the same issues. Maybe I should have him bring his bike by and put it on the stand and see what his chain looks like.

I also posted this question on a different forum and I believe the answer is in how "enthusiastic" I was with using the Grunge Brush to scrub the chain. I probably over did the scrubbing part of the job. In all honesty, money not being an issue, you can probably fully clean a chain using Motul's Chain Clean to rinse all the crap off your chain. That means a few light swipes with the Grunge Brush would be plenty sufficient to loosen dirt on the chain which can then be wiped off using a shop rag. I'm probably just scrubbing it too hard and causing the problem. I'll know more shortly because I'm going to replace the chain soon.
 

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I also posted this question on a different forum and I believe the answer is in how "enthusiastic" I was with using the Grunge Brush to scrub the chain.
That would be my guess. Long ago when I first used the grunge brush after reading an article somewhere there was a caution about not pressing hard enough to get the bristles down to the O-rings. Physical damage is probably what's going on in your case.

Now I use Dupont Teflon Chain Saver and hardly ever clean the chain. It has a dry surface and dust/grime doesn't stick. 24k miles on the OEM Ninja 1000 chain, 29k miles on the DID XZVM replacement.

My cleaning regimen is Kerosene, brushed on with a soft paintbrush, let sit for 5 minutes, then hit it with simple green and wash it with the rest of the bike. Only if there are some stubborn deposits left do I get out the grunge brush. Gives it the nice shiny gold surface like in your pic. I usually fire up the bike, on the rear stand, and let the chain spin itself dry. Then give it a shot of Chain Saver and I'm done.
 

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Your owners manual tells you the standard methods of chain maintenance. Kerosene is a standard cleaning medium or a spray of WD40 on a shop rag and a light touch to remove excess surface lube or dirt. Remember if its on the outside run it is there because centrifigual force has moved it there. The problem I have noticed is riders tend to have to little slack, this can be the problem.
 

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All things being equal, your chain is too tight. From everything you've posted that is the only possible explanation unless you happened to buy all defective chains every single time. Maybe revisit how you're setting and checking how much slack you have.
 

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I have the opposite problem. I probably neglect my chains. I wipe them down with WD-40 about every 1-2 months during riding season. I always do it again after I ride through the rain or give it a wash. My chains last for years and I only buy the original OEM chains and sprockets.
 

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I have the opposite problem. I probably neglect my chains. I wipe them down with WD-40 about every 1-2 months during riding season. I always do it again after I ride through the rain or give it a wash. My chains last for years and I only buy the original OEM chains and sprockets.
I think you just described the ballpark of probably 50% or more of the riders here. I personally don't pay much attention to mine, and I've gotten good mileage out of them. The only time I had an issue was with a certain company local to me. Ordered a chain for my 650 and one for a customer's 250 within a month of each other. BOTH of them failed in short order and toasted the sprockets too in less than 3k miles. Went with EK or DID (can't recall ATM) and got quality. Sometimes "cheaper" really is "cheap" and not "less expensive".
 

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In a more serious response than I made above, the OP said in his first post that he makes sure that slack is within manual specs and he checks alignment. Elijah, please don't regard this as talking down, but perhaps verify that you are performing these steps correctly. It may be that as others have said, the chain lacks slack and that is why the O-rings are going missing. Perhaps this will be helpful: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=how+to+set+chain+tension+on+a+motorcycle&docid=608013724193850374&mid=797AC83C0D50E30D6821797AC83C0D50E30D6821&view=detail&FORM=VIREHT

Let us know whether changing the enthusiasm of how you wield your brush, as you mentioned on 12-02-18, helps.

Unless you're omitting from your post that you are a professional stunter, the OEM chain and sprockets should easily last 20K or more miles.
 
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