I have seen a few threads lately with chains breaking due to clip links and improper maintenance. Now that riding season is in full swing I'm hoping to educate some of the new riders as well as the seasoned riders that may not know their way around a tool box.
Hopefully this will open some eyes if you have doubts or questions.
First clip style links...
Every new chain that I've bought has had a disclaimer in the instructions about the links. Someone step in and correct me if I'm wrong, but every chain manufacturer out there recommends the use of a rivet style master link.
Bottom line... Use the rivet master link that came with the chain. These engines have too much horse power to trust anything else.
That being said, most riders that don't have the know how or the tools to install a rivet link and settle with a clip on because its easier.
Look up vids on YouTube for rivet installation procedures. When in doubt, post a thread and ask. We all have to start somewhere and there are plenty of riders on this site that know what they are talking about.
Here are some recent examples of damage threads
Here are some damage photos from members of the site (including me)
I'm not trying to preach here but take it from me and learn from my dumb ass mistake. The clip on master link is not recommended. My total rebuild cost was right around $2,000 (new engine, tools, chain and sprockets). I don't care about the money but if you're like me, the 2 months that I couldn't ride were worse than forking out that much cash.
Now on to chain maintenance. There are many different brands of chains and chain lubes out there. Lets not start another debate on what brand is better. I would rather discuss how to maintain whatever kind of chain you plan on buying.
This is straight from the manual. The tolerances and limits may differ for different model years and engine sizes but this will give you a general idea of what to look for. Chains stretch over time. No matter how clean it looks it could be time to replace it.
Take this for what it's worth and keep that chain clean. Remember just spraying lube on your chain from time to time is not proper cleaning. If you enjoy the use of your fingers, never clean the chain with the bike running!!! Last thing any of us want to see is a rebuild thread and the frustrations that come with it.
Ive seen some info online that say that clip links are only 70% as strong as the rest of the links. Just like the saying... The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Ride safe gents and keep the shiny side up!