Chain/sprocket strategies ? Aluminum/steel, O Ring/ Non OR ?

I ride in the woods 25 to 50 miles per session, 20 to 30 sessions a year.   No sand, some mud.

 

What is the least expensive chain and sprocket setup to use over the long run ?

 

Does it pay to run an O Ring chain ? 

 

When should one replace the sprockets and when should one replace the chain ?

 

Does one have to replace the sprockets when one replaces the chain ?

 

What is the purpose of running an Ironman sprocket if you have to replace it when the chain wears out anyway ?

 

Is there any logic to running a non O Ring chain and aluminum sprockets and replacing them more often ?

 

Thanks !

 

I ride in the woods 25 to 50 miles per session, 20 to 30 sessions a year.   No sand, some mud.

 

What is the least expensive chain and sprocket setup to use over the long run ?

 

Does it pay to run an O Ring chain ? 

 

When should one replace the sprockets and when should one replace the chain ?

 

Does one have to replace the sprockets when one replaces the chain ?

 

What is the purpose of running an Ironman sprocket if you have to replace it when the chain wears out anyway ?

 

Is there any logic to running a non O Ring chain and aluminum sprockets and replacing them more often ?

 

Thanks !

Primary drive steel kit with o ring chain $74.00 at RMATV! best bang for the buck. A non o ring or x ring chain & aluminum sprockets will not last nearly as long

Edited by scottiesbe

Best username ever BTW. LOL

IMO I would go steel sprockets and an inexpensive oring chain.

I run ironman sprockets and a middle of the road oring chain and they last for about two years. Of course that depends on how many hours you ride a year. I ride only about 60 or so hours a year of actual riding time (engine turning). At that time I replace all three as a set.

I am of the opinion if your chain is worn out and your regular steel sprockets are fine, then only replace the chain.

Of course only from my personal experience.

Edited by Mrbinkels

O-ring chains are worth the money.  The trick to the longest chain life is to watch the sprockets.  It's the sprockets that kill the chain.  With an o-ring chain and aluminum sprockets if you replace the sprockets before they hook you can almost double the life of the chain.  With steel sprockets, replace the front sprocket at the mid-life (the same time you would do both with aluminum sprockets) and you will double the life of the chain.  Remember the front sprocket makes 3.5-4 revolutions for every one of the rear so it wears FAST.

My strategy is mid priced oring chain.
And aluminum sprocket. Sunstar
Steel weighs as much as a boat anchor.
I ordered the almluminum renthal?? With the steel ring and it was a boat anchor I sent it back.

Everytime I wash the bike, I remove the chain first.
Coil it up and attack the side plates with a stiff plastic brush then the length of it.

The sprocket is hit with degreaser and brushed with a wire brush.

I was spraying dry Molly coating on it but I've stopped it makes a huge mess and I'm not sure it stays on anything but a new sprocket.

But now I use no lube.
Why?
Lube is like grinding compound.  EDIT "WHAT I MEANT TO SAY LUBE ATTRACTS GRIT AND THEN ACTS AS STICK GRINDING COMPOUND"
The oring chain has its own lube between the orings.

So lubeing your chain is more like lubeing your sprockets.

Once every 5 rides it so I put one drop of atf on each oring.
It makes a mess but I feel it keeps the orings from falling off and it keeps the chain from rusting.

But I'm sure there's 8000 other crazy "mines best procedures" to match my own.
But my stuff looks brand new :p

Edited by englertracing

Lube is like grinding compound.

The oring chain has its own lube between the orings.

So lubeing your chain is more like lubeing your sprockets.

 

 

 

Not really.

 

YES!

 

YES!

 

You are lubing your sprockets.  But you are also lubing the rollers those are not sealed with o-rings on the chain.  Now, the rollers can tolerate a lot of wear, the plates cannot.  If a plate wears the chain stretches if a roller wears the chain makes more noise.  If a plate wears too much the chain breaks if a roller wears too much well I have never seen that happen.  I agree with you out of laziness.  When I had my crotch rocket, which I rode hard and put away wet because I was lazy, I would get 20k miles on 520 chain on a 1000cc 150whp bike.  I maybe lubed chains 3 times during their life and I rode rain or shine (only had one vehicle at the time).  But it really does help to lube o-ring chains it does not make things worse.  Just don't use the messy stuff.  PJ1 Blue Label and Honda Chain Lube were the cleanest and most effective lubes for all of my riding, dirt or street.  My boss swears by PJ1 Black Label but that shit makes a mess of everything.  We use it for our winches at work, though.

Two things wear the sprockets: dirt and sand on the chain, and chains that are worn beyond tolerances. 

 

To mitigate the effect of grit on the exterior, you need to use a chain lube that dries to a very low tackiness so that it simply won't hold as much dirt to the outside of the chain.  It's also very helpful if the lube will easily wash away with soapy water.  Maxima Synthetic Chain Guard is what I use to satisfy both these needs.

 

Chains that are worth owning do not truly stretch in the actual sense of the plastic deformation of any metal parts.  There simply is not enough force generated to accomplish that.  What does happen is that the pins and inner bushings wear, and the cumulative effect of this adds length to the chain.  If each pin/bush were to wear only .001" on a bike using a 114 pin chain, that's .114", or almost 1/8" longer. 

 

Since this extra length is caused by pin wear, it increases the pitch of the chain.  As manufactured, the pitch is supposed to be 5/8" of an inch (on the common 520 chain size).  When the chain is new or in good wear condition, each chain roller falls exactly in the center between each sprocket tooth, and the tension of drive loads is distributed over all of the teeth that come in contact with the chain.  But as the pitch of the chain becomes longer, this becomes less true.  The first roller centers, but the next one reaches a bit farther that it should, as does the next and the next, and after just a few teeth, the chain isn't in contact with the thrust surface of any of the teeth except the first one or two.  The drive load becomes concentrated on the few teeth in contact and the wear greatly accelerates.

 

Most manuals give a chain measurement approach suitable for the specific bike that limits chain wear to a dimension 2% longer than new.  I change mine out when they become longer than 1.5%.

 

The key then, to longer sprocket life is a chain that resists wear, not tougher sprockets, necessarily.  It's been my experience that the Regina ORN6 O-ring chain (about $80-90) will outlast just about anything, and flat out can't be beat at the price.  I usually run them for as long as two full years of desert racing and recreational riding before replacing them.  Normally, they need one adjustment within the first hour to accommodate the pins pushing into the internal lube, and after that, maybe one more adjustment 12-15 months later. Really. 

 

I run mid-grade steel front sprockets and Tag Metals hard anodized aluminum rears, and these usually last as long as the chain does.  If fact, I've been able to reuse the rear sprockets from one chain to the next more than once.

 

You should lube the outside of the chain even if it's sealed.  The lube lubricates the outer rollers and the exposed surfaces of the seals, and acts to keep dirt away from getting under them.  You should never pressure wash a sealed chain, at least not with the nozzle closer than 18" to the chain, and not at an angle that can drive water and/or grit under the seals and into the interior of the chain.  That's a sure way to kill one.

Great discussion.

 

I agree that steel sprockets are boat anchors.     Aluminum sprockets are one of the cheapest ways to reduce weight on a bike.  You'll have to replace them more often, but they are cheaper than steel too.    I'm happy to read that others are doing this.

My experience is similar to Gray's but I switched to a dry film lube that I apply after washing, it is dry by the next ride so doesn't hold dirt.  I use Dupont Teflon Dry Film lube that is safe for O rings.  I do notice a reduction in friction as I apply the lube. I do pressure wash my bike but with a low pressure electric unit, and I'm careful about direct and close spray on the chain, to blow off most of the accumulated mud from a ride.

 

The long life of ring chains and the reduced wear on sprockets sure reduces maintenance and cost.

Not really.

 

YES!

 

YES!

 

You are lubing your sprockets.  But you are also lubing the rollers those are not sealed with o-rings on the chain.  Now, the rollers can tolerate a lot of wear, the plates cannot.  If a plate wears the chain stretches if a roller wears the chain makes more noise.  If a plate wears too much the chain breaks if a roller wears too much well I have never seen that happen.  I agree with you out of laziness.  When I had my crotch rocket, which I rode hard and put away wet because I was lazy, I would get 20k miles on 520 chain on a 1000cc 150whp bike.  I maybe lubed chains 3 times during their life and I rode rain or shine (only had one vehicle at the time).  But it really does help to lube o-ring chains it does not make things worse.  Just don't use the messy stuff.  PJ1 Blue Label and Honda Chain Lube were the cleanest and most effective lubes for all of my riding, dirt or street.  My boss swears by PJ1 Black Label but that shit makes a mess of everything.  We use it for our winches at work, though.

i edited my post.

i meant the lube attracts grit and then acts like grinding compound.

 

also, PJ1 black label is the devil, unless you dont give a sheet how your bike looks. and you want new black spatter graphics on your helmet and entire left side HAHAH!

 

and its the devil because of my grinding compound theory that stuff attracts dirt from the other side of the world.

 

If i could just get everything clean enough that molykote would stay put.

and pay my kid brother to put a half drop of silicone oring lubercant on each oring between every ride maybe i could use the same chain and sprocket on the next bike i buy hahaha.

Edited by englertracing

 

i meant the lube attracts grit and then acts like grinding compound.

 

 

It can, which is why I and at least one other here have recommended specific lubes that we have found that dry to a low or no tack state so they don't collect a lot of it in the first place. 

 

Another thing so often missed by lots of folks is that the chain lube needs time for the vehicle solvents to evaporate off.  This is necessary to allow the lube time to thicken to its intended state so that it won't simply fly back off as soon as you start riding.  When I see guys lubing their chains right before a ride, I just chuckle and shake my head.

Ironman rear sprocket, RMATV brand o-ring chain, and any front sprocket = drivetrain that lasts at least 8x longer than quality aluminum sprockets and non 0-ring chain

 

Also, those steel sprockets don't hook like aluminum allowing you to replace 2-3 chains per 1 set of sprockets. Just don't wait until the chain is trashed.

Ironman rear sprocket, RMATV brand o-ring chain, and any front sprocket = drivetrain that lasts at least 8x longer than quality aluminum sprockets and non 0-ring chain

Also, those steel sprockets don't hook like aluminum allowing you to replace 2-3 chains per 1 set of sprockets. Just don't wait until the chain is trashed.

100% agreed.

Ironman rear sprocket

Primary drive x ring

Primary drive front sprocket

Lasts way longer than other steel sprockets, and aluminum is a joke for nasty trail rides.

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