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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a chain that I've had for less than a year.. was wondering if anyone has ever seen come across something like this? When I'm riding, at about 5-6K I'm feeling a "surge".. in the video you can see the chain is loosening and tightening, I'm thinking this is the cause but I'm at a loss as to what is causing it. I've taken the time to slowly inspect the entire chain and I'm not seeing any links that aren't forming onto the sprocket or anything like that. Anyone have any ideas?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_D2gZlRMNRA
 

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your chain is probably shot. What kind of shape is it in? Do you maintain it properly. Meaning keeping it lubed. You most likely have a tight spot in the chain, which is a sign of wear from age/not being maintained, etc.

Also you recently posted it has been high sided... Did you inspect the bike fully or have someone who knows what they are looking at inspect it?
 

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Have you considered tightening it? The range they give you is just that, a range. My bike has a range of 1.77 inches to 2.17 inches. 45 to 55 mm. I keep it at 50mm. Check it every Sat during riding season. It seems to work well there. The next guy might get better results at 48mm. Or 52mm.
I wouldn't panic over it. I have ridden worse. Although remember when you are riding the physics will be different then when it is up on a stand. I would guess that the chain jumping is a symptom, not the problem. Wheel could be out of balance or out of alignment. A little micky mouse wheel balancer costs 19.95 or so. You check alignment by measuring from the center point (where it hits the ground) of the back tire on both sides to the same point on the center of the front tire. It's a little tricky since any movement will throw things off. What I found that works better is two 8 foot lengths of angle iron that is straight (by a level) then you can lay the angle iron along side the back tire on both sides and the front tire should be the same distance from the sides of the front tire. I took a laser pointer and fixed it to the links I took out of my new chain when I put on the 520 conversion kit. I set it on the rear sprocket and shoot it along the chain then measure it against the front gear.
You can also measure from the Axle centerpoint to the center of the swingarm piviot.That isn't as precise but it is so easy it's almost fool proof. I do that to keep track of my alignment after adjusting the chain.
You do have self tightening bolts on the rear sprocket, don't you?
Get a friend to follow you and see if the chain is jumping while going down the road.
Are you think the jumping chain is causing the surge? It could be both the surge and the jumping chain are symptoms of something else.
 

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Put it up on a stand, put it in neutral (bike off ), and slowly turn the rear wheel by hand.

Notice any tight spots where the chain suddenly gives you more resistance? Time for a new chain.
 

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What you are seeing is pretty much normal.
As previously mentioned...do a visual inspection on a swing arm stand looking for tight spots and wear.
Do this with the engine OFF to avoid possible injury.
The chain is "less than a year old" but what about the sprockets?
Chain and sprockets should be replaced as a set.
The bounce "surge" you see is quite normal actually but a visual inspection may still be in order.
If you were to perform the same test as in your video but dragged the rear brake a little, you would probably see less "surge"
 

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Measure your chain slack in several different positions. In other words, measure your chain slack, spin the rear wheel, measure again, and repeat several times. Then set the recommended chain slack on the tightest section of your chain. You may have the slack set to tight if you set it on a loose section of your chain.

While you're doing that, measure the 21 pin distance and see if that is still in spec according to your bike/chain manufacturer. Also check out your sprocket teeth. Badly worn sprockets mean a worn chain, regardless of whether the 21 pin distance is in spec or if you have tight spots.

Don't delay too long in getting a new chain if that's the culprit. Once they start going bad, they can go very quickly. Last year on my way back up from North Carolina, my bike started surging and got that 'crunchy' feeling to it. I was only a couple hundred miles from home and decided to just push it home, since it only just started going bad. About 30 miles or so from home (thankfully this close), my chain snapped on the highway. It snapped off while passing a tractor trailer on the inside lane of a curve going about 80mph. Thankfully it just popped off and my bike went into insta-neutral. If it had bound up and locked the rear wheel, I could've easily slid right under the truck. Moral of the story: don't put it off until it snaps. Take care of it early.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
your chain is probably shot. What kind of shape is it in? Do you maintain it properly. Meaning keeping it lubed. You most likely have a tight spot in the chain, which is a sign of wear from age/not being maintained, etc.
I put Chain wax on it every few hundred miles so it's been very well lubed. It's also less than a year old, never had a chain wear out in a year...

Also you recently posted it has been high sided... Did you inspect the bike fully or have someone who knows what they are looking at inspect it?
That was a post from years ago...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Put it up on a stand, put it in neutral (bike off ), and slowly turn the rear wheel by hand.

Notice any tight spots where the chain suddenly gives you more resistance? Time for a new chain.
I did this.. no tight spots that I could see....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What you are seeing is pretty much normal.
As previously mentioned...do a visual inspection on a swing arm stand looking for tight spots and wear.
Do this with the engine OFF to avoid possible injury.
The chain is "less than a year old" but what about the sprockets?
Chain and sprockets should be replaced as a set.
The bounce "surge" you see is quite normal actually but a visual inspection may still be in order.
If you were to perform the same test as in your video but dragged the rear brake a little, you would probably see less "surge"
I replaced the sprockets when I replaced the chain less than a year ago..
 

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I replaced the sprockets when I replaced the chain less than a year ago..
Again...the condition you describe is normal.
A chain will not ride the sprockets with zero deflection especially with no load factor upon it.
Aluminum rear sprockets can wear fast depending on brand, maintenance and riding habits.
Do a visual for tight spots, wear, dry spots and defects and proceed from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Measure your chain slack in several different positions. In other words, measure your chain slack, spin the rear wheel, measure again, and repeat several times. Then set the recommended chain slack on the tightest section of your chain. You may have the slack set to tight if you set it on a loose section of your chain.
Great I idea.. gonna try that.. I have been seeing differences of slap based on different areas of the chain..

While you're doing that, measure the 21 pin distance and see if that is still in spec according to your bike/chain manufacturer. Also check out your sprocket teeth. Badly worn sprockets mean a worn chain, regardless of whether the 21 pin distance is in spec or if you have tight spots.
What is "21 pin distance"?
 

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Great I idea.. gonna try that.. I have been seeing differences of slap based on different areas of the chain..



What is "21 pin distance"?
The 21 pin distance, also known as the 20 pitch length, is the measured distance from the center of one pin on the chain to the center of the other pin for a total of 21 pins. I'm not entirely sure if this is the same for all 500 series chains (520, 525, 530), but the service limit for my chain 20-pitch length is 12.57".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The 21 pin distance, also known as the 20 pitch length, is the measured distance from the center of one pin on the chain to the center of the other pin for a total of 21 pins. I'm not entirely sure if this is the same for all 500 series chains (520, 525, 530), but the service limit for my chain 20-pitch length is 12.57".
Awesome. Thanks for the drop of wisdom! I'll do both of these things!
 

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Again...the condition you describe is normal.
A chain will not ride the sprockets with zero deflection especially with no load factor upon it.
Aluminum rear sprockets can wear fast depending on brand, maintenance and riding habits.
Do a visual for tight spots, wear, dry spots and defects and proceed from there.
He's right - it's normal. What you're actually seeing are speed variations of the engine that your ear can't detect. Chains can't grow and shrink by large margins while running.
 

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I've seen chains lose rollers and caused tight spots so much you could hear it while riding. This was a high end big $ chain too.

Do a good visual inspection anyway even though it's normal for them to behave like yours without a load on it
 

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I've seen chains lose rollers and caused tight spots so much you could hear it while riding. This was a high end big $ chain too.

Do a good visual inspection anyway even though it's normal for them to behave like yours without a load on it
I had a low mileage o.e.m. EK chain on my 95/ZX6r pop a side plate.
That's about the strangest chain experience I've ever experienced.
Any of the "brand name" chains (Rk, Ek, Tsubaki, Did, ) really shouldn't give you a problem.
I have heard of the cheap-no name chains failing prematurely though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Measure your chain slack in several different positions. In other words, measure your chain slack, spin the rear wheel, measure again, and repeat several times. Then set the recommended chain slack on the tightest section of your chain. You may have the slack set to tight if you set it on a loose section of your chain.

While you're doing that, measure the 21 pin distance and see if that is still in spec according to your bike/chain manufacturer. Also check out your sprocket teeth. Badly worn sprockets mean a worn chain, regardless of whether the 21 pin distance is in spec or if you have tight spots.

Don't delay too long in getting a new chain if that's the culprit. Once they start going bad, they can go very quickly. Last year on my way back up from North Carolina, my bike started surging and got that 'crunchy' feeling to it. I was only a couple hundred miles from home and decided to just push it home, since it only just started going bad. About 30 miles or so from home (thankfully this close), my chain snapped on the highway. It snapped off while passing a tractor trailer on the inside lane of a curve going about 80mph. Thankfully it just popped off and my bike went into insta-neutral. If it had bound up and locked the rear wheel, I could've easily slid right under the truck. Moral of the story: don't put it off until it snaps. Take care of it early.

Ok.. finally got the bike up on a stand again on Saturday.. turns out there's clearly a "loose" section of the chain that I had set the tightness on. which in turn over-tightened the "not-loose" section. I set the slack on the "tight" section and rode to work today. The "surging" is greatly reduced but stil subtly there.

The chain is indeed a cheap-o that I'll need to replace ASAP so I'll do that, once I have the cash tho... Ugh..

Thanks for the help y'all!
 

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Ok.. finally got the bike up on a stand again on Saturday.. turns out there's clearly a "loose" section of the chain that I had set the tightness on. which in turn over-tightened the "not-loose" section. I set the slack on the "tight" section and rode to work today. The "surging" is greatly reduced but stil subtly there.

The chain is indeed a cheap-o that I'll need to replace ASAP so I'll do that, once I have the cash tho... Ugh..

Thanks for the help y'all!
Good to hear that you've got it sorted out. Don't let it go too long before replacing though.
 
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