Monday, January 11, 2010

The Great Split Link Debate. Safe?

Opinions are strong where split links are used in chains.
No problem on small bikes but a rivet link is mandatory on large, powerful, machines. Or is it?

The split link was the staple diet of classic British bikes; never a problem and, in fact, you would sometimes need to add a half link when altering sprocket sizes. But they were relatively low-powered and didn't require a permanent, riveted link. But modern bikes can be pushing out an extra 120 BHP, so you generally expect to see a fixed link in place on its 530 O-ring chain.

So when I bought my GSXR 1000 K6 from a dealer, and spotted the new back tyre and shiny, gold chain, I was happy in the knowledge I wasn't going to have to do anything to it. When I got it home I had a closer look and, to my initial horror, this was fitted! It's a 530 O-ring chain made by SFR, a company I've never heard of, but seems to be doing pretty well.

This was nine months ago. I bought a new DID X-ring chain soon after but still haven't fitted it. I just clean/grease the chain every three/four weeks and adjust it when necessary.
So far so good. It's almost become a contest to see how long it will last - actually I don't want to know - and I will change it, and the sprockets, when I see signs of excessive wear.
I'm not saying it's ok to use a split link on an out and out sports bike - but they may not be as bad you think.