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Safe to ride CB 500 X with loose chain?

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  • Safe to ride CB 500 X with loose chain?

    Hi All - My son is home from school with his somewhat neglected 2014 CB 500 X with 11,000 miles.

    We are planning to have a mechanic give it a good once over. The chain has about 60 mm of play. Spec is 35 to 45 mm. Definitely needs tightening. May also need new chain and sprocket.

    I am wondering if it is safe to ride it about 10 miles to mechanic, keeping it under 50 mph on side streets. Of if I should rent a trailer.

    I could also tighten the chain up a bit. But i have never adjusted a chain and I do not have the right size socket. And tightening up the chain will be wasted effort if we need to replace chain and sprocket anyway. On the other hand, I would like to learn to do more of my own maintenance so it would be a good learning experience.

  • #2
    ride it.
    I just bought a new trials bike chain, those things are getting expensive. If you keep your chains good you won't wear out the sprockets very fast.

    and yes you should be doing serious amounts of self maintenance. ... make the kid do the dirty work.


    • #3
      I adjusted the chain myself.

      However, now there is a very slight wobble in the rear tire. You cannot see it just casually looking at the tire, but if you line the edge of the tire with a reference point you can see a very slight wobble. I do not know if it was there before.

      Is that a problem?

      If yes, can I fix it by putting it on the pit bull stand, loosening the axel, run the bike in gear at idle and adjust one side until the wobble goes away.

      There are some kinks in the chain. The rear sprocket looks good. I suspect the chain is still good other than the kinks which I am guessing are due to neglecting the chain maintenance. I have cleaned the chain with kerosene. And I am planning to clean it some more. I hit it with some oil for loosening purposes. Not the right kind of oil for lubrication. I will clean it off and then lube it with chain lube.

      Do I have a shot at getting rid of the kinks by repeatedly cleaning and lubing? Or do I need to replace the chain? It is an O-ring chain.

      I can feel a little resistance when the chain goes through the front sprocket. The resistance is less when the chain is a little looser. Does that mean anything?

      Any suggestions?



      • #4
        Sooner or later you will need a new chain, it actually sounds like you need it now so might as well buy one, if the wobble you refer to is in the tire, no worries unless it is serious out of align for a reason and that is unlikely, you're only noticing these things because you are working on your own bike Kinks in an o-ring sealed chain is a good reason to change it, that indicates that water has gotten in past the seals at some point in its life. Most would recommend you replace it with another sealed chain, don't let them upsell you too much and no it makes no difference if you use a cir-clip or rivet type master link, only in the tools you might need in the case of the rivet link. The chain should cost you a little better then 100$


        • #5
          Chains come in different sizes. Some are rather similar in size (525 & 530 for instance.) They ARE NOT COMPATIBLE with the wrong size sprockets. As Trials said, don't get a cheap, off brand chain and think you're saving money. Chains are like tires in this regard. Cheaper tires/chains/sprockets just do not last as long as name brand higher quality stock. DID, Tsubaki, RK make decent chains. O-ring, X-ring are going to be of higher quality. Lastly, you can not neglect your chain and expect it to last 20,000-30,000 miles. Take care of your chains/sprockets and you may see 50,000 miles out of the set.

          Lastly, you should alway replace your chains & sprockets as a unit.
          Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.


          • #6
            So I understand the recommendations to:

            1. Replace chain
            2. Replace sprocket at the same time
            3. Do not scrimp on quality

            And that if I am good about chain maintenance, chain and sprocket should last for tens of thousands of miles.

            From some Google searches for this particular bike, it seems that only getting 10K miles out of the OEM chain is not unusual. Does that mean that the OEM chain is a lower quality chain? Or that most riders neglect their chains.

            Visual inspection of rear sprocket looks good to me. Teeth have nice even square tops.

            I am tempted to just replace the chain since the bike has only 9,500 miles on it and the sprocket looks good to me. But I am sure you all will tell me that is a bad idea.

            Also thinking that since I think I can replace the chain myself, but I would probably need a mechanic to replace the sprocket.


            • #7
              Norty has a better operating budget then I do

              I replace chains frequently and sprockets rarely probably because I keep my chains good ymmv.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Trials View Post
                Norty has a better operating budget then I do
                So does that mean you would just replace the chain if the sprocket looks good?

                Or is that a reference to the chain quality comment?

                I am now thinking that maybe changing the sprocket might be something I could try. Adjusting chain tension was a lot easier than I feared. And looking at the rear of the bike, it seems that the rear tire might drop out relatively easily and go back on similarly easily.

                And, I could take the rear wheel in to have the tire replaced without having to take the bike in while I have the rear tire off.

                I believe the OEM chain on this bike is a 520. Is that marked on the chain or sprocket someplace so I can make sure?.


                • #9
                  So does that mean you would just replace the chain if the sprocket looks good?
                  That's how I do it but I also ride on a disproportionate number of regular roller chains that are cheaper to buy. I have 2 trials bikes 2008 and a 2014 and both are on original sprockets but the chains have been replaced numerous times. I have a new countershaft sprocket in my toolbox and never needed it yet. Nobody runs sealed chain in dirt competition, they are 520 chains and usually 100 to 110 links long.

                  My MV is due for a chain soon and I will not be replacing the sprockets, the original maintenance free chain will be relegated to the garage wall and I'm going to be riding a race chain with a cir-clip on it for a while. That's the one you have to clean and oil.

                  Three bikes, 3 chains at ~ 80$ canadian plus 13% tax probably closer to 90$ for the bigger MV chain.
                  If I was replacing the MV chain with a sealed chain it would probably cost >200$ for 1 chain.

                  The BMW is shaft drive she just needs clean gear oil once in a while.

                  Is clearly stamped on the links, I buy DID chain if they have it, have also bought Renold and others in quantity. They all wear out pretty good


                  • #10
                    I am leaning towards just replacing the chain for now. See how that goes. I am tempted to try the cheaper, non- O-ring chain and be a maniac about cleaning and lubing. I have seen non O ring for $20. But I am guessing that is sub par quality. What should I pay for decent quality non O ring?

                    This bike calls for a 112 link chain. Looks like standard quality O ring is about $120 US for 120 links. Could spend north of $200 for higher quality.

                    Plus I would need a tool.

                    Maybe spend less on the non O ring and see how I do replacing myself and doing a good job of maintenance. Then if it does not work well for me, I am not out much and I can go with Norty's advice and replace both chain and sprocket.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sorg67 View Post
                      I am leaning towards just replacing the chain for now. See how that goes. I am tempted to try the cheaper, non- O-ring chain and be a maniac about cleaning and lubing. I have seen non O ring for $20. But I am guessing that is sub par quality. What should I pay for decent quality non O ring?

                      lol and you would be correct for about 20$ you will get farm chain, the rollers will probably have seams in them.
                      What you want will probably be represented as race bike chain or have no other description other then heavy duty roller chain, is easy enough to shorten if it is too long, you just grind the rivet heads off on one link and drive the pins out with a punch. Remove and install the new chain as per the very small print on the box making sure to install the cir-clip in the correct orientation. I would think maybe 60 bucks US per chain would be about right. If it's over a hundred it is probably a sealed chain or over-priced.


                      • #12
                        Glad to hear you adjusted your chain by yourself. Youtube has “how to adjust motorcycle chain tension” videos that are helpful. When removing/replacing your rear wheel, pay special attention to how the axle spacers are oriented. Also upon reinstallation, check your brake rotor for proper location between the brake pads. Now is also the perfect time to evaluate thos pads for wear/taper.
                        Rule of thumb- if <30% pad material, change them out.

                        Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                        Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.


                        • #13
                          Regarding chain tension: A bit too loose is a lot better than a bit too tight.


                          • #14
                            Very true. Always adjust the chain when the countershaft/swingarm pivot, and the rear axle are all "in line." (This makes for the greatest distance between the rear axle and countershaft.)
                            This should reduce "surprise" stress on the chain as the suspension goes thru it's travel.
                            Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.


                            • #15
                              That is good to know. The target for this bike is 40 mm and the acceptable range is 35 to 45 mm. I adjusted it to 35 mm based on two factors; 1) I figured it will continue to stretch and loosen, although that may not be a valid assumption since it has 9,500 miles on it so it may have stretched as much as it is going to stretch. 2) It seems that having some kinks means that it effectively is a bit looser than it measures. Kinks would straighten a bit under load giving it a bit more room than it measures.

                              Reasonable? Maybe I should loosen a bit?

                              Also wondering if I can get by for a while longer with this chain even with the kinks since they seem to be loosening a bit with cleaning and lubing. They are still there between the sprockets but smooth out over the rear sprocket. When I first examined the bike, some of the kinks produced bumps on the rear sprocket but they no longer do. However, that may not be due to cleaning and lubing. That might be due to tightening the chain. Or I suppose probably a bit of both.

                              I suppose I should inspect the way the chain goes over the front sprocket.

                              What is the risk of waiting to replace the chain? Wear on sprocket? So if I am going to replace both, then no big deal to postpone for a while? Or are there other risks to continuing to ride with kinks in the chain?

                              We have only ridden it around the block up to about 25 mph since my son brought it home from school.

                              Hard questions to answer without inspecting the bike so I understand the limitations of any comments.