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Can a chain be *bad* at only 2,550 miles?

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Hey men (and women if there are any on here)
I'm having a ball on this new-to-me 2020 NC750X DCT. Got it all painted the way I like it. Newly powder coated rims, new Shinko 705 series tires, Garmin Zumo XT installed, and ignition controlled, SAE power/battery connection, 12V power port in the frump, digital Voltmeter installed and last night, I wired up a garage remote with a tiny button which is present near the right-hand grip. Although I'm not one to neglect your basic maintenance, I thought now I'd do a thorough chain inspection and tension check. I'd checked it briefly before and it was basically fine.

But, I got to doing it the correct way by putting it on the side stand and checking it. Well, I did check, it was somewhat loose. I move the bike a few inches and it was TIGHT. I moved it again and loose, moved, tight, moved loose etc. etc. etc. Sooo, I put it up on the center stand and rolled the back wheel. You could blatantly see the chain go limp, tight, limp, tight, limp, tight etc. Now, this loose-tight sequence is not pertaining to one complete cycle of the chain. It's doing its loose-tight every few inches as I roll the tire. Hmmmm.

Well, I got down and up close and personal with the bottom of the chain. I could see *tweaked* links every so often. That is, there were quite a few links that would not straighten out completely as would other links. There wasn't/isn't much bend in those links. Just enough that they're causing an impossible accurate adjustment. The best I can do is basically an average of too loose and almost tight at this point. Now to me, this seems a bit odd since the bike has a mere 2,550 miles on it. The chain is not rusty or corroded in any way. It is an O-ring stock 520 chain. It's tough for me to think this bike is in need of a chain at such incredibly low miles. The rear sprocket appears to look pretty much new or, at least close to it. Is it anywhere near normal for a stock o-ring chain to display tight links? I can straighten them out by hand with a little force. I don't need two hands, just my fingers on one hand so, those stuck links are not overly stuck, just somewhat. What you experts think?
Scott
 
In this situation, before you start evaluating the chain, do a few basic things:
Clean the chain with the recommended cleaner. Then wash off the cleaner residue with a mixture of water and neutral detergent. Blow off excess of water and let it dry well under the Arizona sun. Then lube the chain with one of the recommended lubricants and go for a 20 minute ride. Then check your chain again. This way you will know that the cause is not insufficiently lubricated chain.
 
In this situation, before you start evaluating the chain, do a few basic things:
Clean the chain with the recommended cleaner. Then wash off the cleaner residue with a mixture of water and neutral detergent. Blow off excess of water and let it dry well under the Arizona sun. Then lube the chain with one of the recommended lubricants and go for a 20 minute ride. Then check your chain again. This way you will know that the cause is not insufficiently lubricated chain.
Hey lootzan,
I most certainly appreciate the advise here. Although I kind-a neglected to say as much, I did pretty much do all of what you suggested. It was cleaned thoroughly, wiped several times and lubed. I have had a zillion motorcycles in my life and have tried a zillion different chain lubes. I myself am not sure that any particular one is any better than the other. I have resorted to just plain old oil. I very meticulously apply a sufficient amount of oil to each link joint and roller joint and watch it seep in, at least where it can. It then gets wiped down again to rid the excess so the chain is not applying a new sealant on all of our roads around here, even though many need it.
And speaking of rides. I did an 85 miler this morning with some speeds in the 75 mph range. After the cleaning and lubing this evening, I did about a 20 miler at an average speed of around 50 mph. I returned home and wiped off any throw-off from my newly powder coated rims which, wasn't all that much. I still have sticky spots. This bike is as close to new as one can get so, just amazed at the chain doing this.
Scott
 
I'm not sure at this point why you're asking these questions? You yourself know better that the chain needs to be replaced. You did everything that was required to be done.
 
Well,
I look at it this way. Even though I've been riding and maintaining m/c's for decades, it's always kind-a good to get seasoned vet opinions. And, in the event that maybe this same scenario has happened to a few other NC owners, I might find that they let their chains ride and maybe they (the chains) for the most part relaxed when more miles were accumulated and all was well for several thousand more miles. Or, maybe some rider has come up with some wazoo lube that penetrates past o-rings and has done well in freeing up sticky links. Yeah, I could simply spend $150-$200 on a new chain and be done with it. And maybe I will. But, it don't hurt to ask.
Scott
 
Short answer: I wouldn’t be concerned about it.

You didn’t mention the actual chain slack measurements observed. To what amount of slack are you setting the chain? Since the main (or only) chain condition concern seems to be variation in tightness while it rotates, how tight is it at the looser vs tighter locations? Since the tight links you describe are not stuck tight, if it were mine I would probably set it at the loose end of spec at the loosest location, and ride on for many more miles. In the end, other than maybe some noise, what harm does a chain with semi-tight links do? It could sap a very small amount of energy from the power transfer, but it’s not going to break or roll off the sprockets.

Honda uses a mediocre quality OEM chain, but I would still expect 10,000+ miles from it. And as a side note, I feel the less one messes with the chain, the longer it will last. In my view, other than a light wipedown, deep cleaning a chain is bad, as it can damage o-rings or flush out lube. As to your comment about replacing a chain at $150-$200, the DID VX3 is a popular choice for the NC. It costs around $85.

Edit to add: My NC’s current chain has a few tight links at 12,000 miles, but the chain is not requiring frequent adjustments and is nowhere near the wear limit. I lube it lightly with a little 80W-90 gear lube and keep on riding.
 
I’m by no means a chain expert; perhaps the prior owner used a solvent cleaner that damaged the o-rings resulting in corrosion? Just a thought.
 
When it gets tight, can you pull down on the chain and loosen it?
My new O ring chain felt a little stiff for a while.
 
Hey Men,
I most certainly appreciate your help here. Pertaining to the actual measurements of the varied tightness, before I changed anything, I'd have less than 1/2" of flex at the tighter measurement. When the chain slacks, I'd get as much as 1 3/4" of play. Now to me, that's quite a wide range of variation. THIS is why I asked. I just sold my '18 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT and put right at 7,800 miles on it from brand new. I had absolutely zero issues with variation of chain tightening while rotating the rear tire on the center stand. That chain was perfect in measurement of slack, for 360 degrees of rotation.

As for any corrosion, nope, no appearance or evidence at all. The chain is quite protected due to whatever film of age/oil/lube etc. All I've done to it so far is use a very soft wire brush to knock off the heavier grime and then wipe it down with a dry clean rag. There was no need to go hog wild and do a wazoo bang up clean up job on it as it was not aged or crusted with mud etc. It was about as clean as one can get with out pressure washing it and I'll never do that, especially with o-rings.

Now, can I (gain) slack during the tighter tension areas, slightly. But with a stiff, o-ring chain that's what I consider still somewhat new, pretty tough to straighten the "kinks" out just by pulling down on the spance of the chain. You could most likely straighten all the kinked links in that scenario by using a lever of some sort and applying a lot more leverage. But who does that? Not me.

As for my intent here, I will just let it ride, especially with only a mere 2,500 miles on it. When I stated $150-$200 for a chain, if you go to almost any Honda parts website, I've found the factory chain to be as high as $206.00 and as low as around $165.00 or so. So that's where my numbers came from. I looked briefly at Amazon and a few other places and in my brief search, the infamous "X" ring chains were not listed for my year 2020 NC750X. Those hovered around $85 or so but still, they weren't listed for my bike.
Scott
 
I think amazon has the DID VX3, 520 with 114 links (spec'd for the 2020 NC750X) for about $92. The DID 535VO is $85.
 
—————

As for my intent here, I will just let it ride, especially with only a mere 2,500 miles on it. When I stated $150-$200 for a chain, if you go to almost any Honda parts website, I've found the factory chain to be as high as $206.00 and as low as around $165.00 or so. So that's where my numbers came from. I looked briefly at Amazon and a few other places and in my brief search, the infamous "X" ring chains were not listed for my year 2020 NC750X. Those hovered around $85 or so but still, they weren't listed for my bike.
Scott
I don’t think you want the Honda chain. The VX3 520 (of appropriate # of links) chain mentioned earlier should be better, for less money. Check your owner’s manual for link count, or just count what you have. (If you find a new chain for a better price that’s too long, say a VX3 520 120 link, you could probably buy it and remove the extra links, if you have a chain tool).
 
For reference I got 23,000 miles out of the stock chain on my 2021 NC, with minimal adjustments ( mostly with new tire at tire change time) and minimal supplemental lubrication.. mainly after getting caught in rain, or if it looked dry, but no more than every couple thousand miles. No kinks, just finally stretched into the red zone.

Replaced with the DID VX3 mentioned above. I even used a clip style master link. I have 5000 miles on it. Has yet to need adjustment. I think I've lubed it 3 times.
 
I don’t think you want the Honda chain. The VX3 520 (of appropriate # of links) chain mentioned earlier should be better, for less money. Check your owner’s manual for link count, or just count what you have. (If you find a new chain for a better price that’s too long, say a VX3 520 120 link, you could probably buy it and remove the extra links, if you have a chain tool).
It's not that I want a Honda chain, I was just referencing it in terms of where I got my cost figure(s). Oh I could use an aftermarket one quite easily. As far as the amount of links, well, in the Partzilla parts Fishe, Honda lists TWO chains for my model. Both of those part numbers have 112 and 114 link versions. As stated earlier, I'll most likely let this factory one ride for the time being. I'll check those stuck links every now and then to see if they're either loosening up, or getting more stuck.
Scott
 
It's not that I want a Honda chain, I was just referencing it in terms of where I got my cost figure(s). Oh I could use an aftermarket one quite easily. As far as the amount of links, well, in the Partzilla parts Fishe, Honda lists TWO chains for my model. Both of those part numbers have 112 and 114 link versions. As stated earlier, I'll most likely let this factory one ride for the time being. I'll check those stuck links every now and then to see if they're either loosening up, or getting more stuck.
Scott
Sounds like a good plan.

Honda is probably listing separate part numbers for the two final drive chain suppliers they have chosen, such as RK and DID. For the 2012-2020 NCX, the 114 link is for manual transmission and 112 link is for DCT.

E67FE121-4784-4F98-922B-288D885623AD.jpeg
 
I don’t think you want the Honda chain. The VX3 520 (of appropriate # of links) chain mentioned earlier should be better, for less money. Check your owner’s manual for link count, or just count what you have. (If you find a new chain for a better price that’s too long, say a VX3 520 120 link, you could probably buy it and remove the extra links, if you have a chain tool).
I just replaced my oem garbage chain at 2500 miles. Good riddance. I’ve replaced it with the VX3. I bought the 120 links at a cheaper price and removed 6 links. It saved a decent amount of money. Your advice is well given!
 
Well folks, OP here.
We're presently on a vacation/trip and have brought along both the newly acquired 2020 NC750X DCT and our '18 Honda Goldwing DCT Tour Airbag bike. The NC has around (haven't checked the odometer lately) 2,400 - 2,600 or so miles, plus or minus. I'm not a chain or sprocket expert by any means but, while my OEM chain does have a few tighter links, it seems to be in great shape. The last time I checked this chain with any real close inspection was around a hundred miles or so ago and other than the few tight links, I found this chain to be just fine. I questioned it's tighter spots on here and for the most part, I was advised to RUN IT, it's fine. Soooo, that's the game plan as of now.
Scott
 
Nevertheless the OEM chains do not last as long as we would like. When it's time you will get longer life with the DID VX3.
 
Well,
First off, if I keep this 750 long enough to run through a chain, like many items/components of mechanical wear and tear on motorcycles, vehicles and all that, sometimes aftermarket replacement items are better, and sometimes they aren't. In the case of a motorcycle chain, I have no expertise in the matter so, I'll be guided by the more experienced people and see what's best when the time comes. I thank all for any advise on this up to this point. Very much appreciated.
Scott
 
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