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2007 CBR1000RR
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a year ago I installed a DID 520 ERV7 chain on my 07 blade with new driven steel sprockets. I have 13,000 miles on it now and it finally needs to be replaced. It was a good chain in terms of wear; it hasn’t required adjustment literally at all since new. I clean and lube it every 600 miles, and when I say clean I mean spotless, not a spec of dirt remains. Cleaner than a catholic school girl. I take my time with a soft bristle tooth brush and maxima cleaner and then spray the emulsified crud off with hot water in a spray bottle. This is followed by a thorough drying and maxima water displacing MPPL followed by pro Honda lube with moly. At 13k it’s developed a stiff link that feels kind of crunchy when hot and I think I know why. Early on (2k-3k miles) this chain started shredding up X rings. Not completely ripped in half, but if you can imagine one arm of an X tearing off, that’s what started happening. By now there are probably 30+ compromised X-rings. So I’m guessing the link in question lost all its grease and/or got contaminated. Mind you, these 13k miles are a culmination of several trackdays, hard canyon, and high speed crash test goat style freeway runs, so 13k isn’t bad. However if the X rings stayed in tact I bet I could have gone 15-20k on it. I ordered a new chain and sprocket kit, still 520 but going back to stock gearing, and I went with an RK GXW chain. I wanted to go with the EK ThreeD but sprocket center was out of stock. I figured the more robust XW rings on the RK chain might keep it sealed longer than the DID. I’ll update in a few thousand miles and let y’all know how I like it.
 

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X-ring or O-ring damage should not have started to happen at only 2-3k miles. I've gone through many chains with nearly 20k miles, and have never seen that type of damage.

I would ease up on the chain cleaning, and not worry about getting every speck of dirt off, because that means you are brushing the rubber seals and maybe contributing to the shredding that you describe.

Unlike a normal O-ring, an X-ring has two thinner contact surfaces with a groove between that's supposed to hold a bit of grease. I wonder if the bristles of your toothbrush could've gotten past the outer X-ring seal and introduced water/debris that contributed to the wear you are noticing.

30+ X-rings is a lot of damage. Have you noticed this before with other chains?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
X-ring or O-ring damage should not have started to happen at only 2-3k miles. I've gone through many chains with nearly 20k miles, and have never seen that type of damage.

I would ease up on the chain cleaning, and not worry about getting every speck of dirt off, because that means you are brushing the rubber seals and maybe contributing to the shredding that you describe.

Unlike a normal O-ring, an X-ring has two thinner contact surfaces with a groove between that's supposed to hold a bit of grease. I wonder if the bristles of your toothbrush could've gotten past the outer X-ring seal and introduced water/debris that contributed to the wear you are noticing.

30+ X-rings is a lot of damage. Have you noticed this before with other chains?
See I thought that was a possibility, but I have been following the exact same cleaning procedure I followed on the EK ThreeD chain I had previously, and the RK chain I had on my F4i stunt bike. I agree that amount of wear is abnormal, I contacted DID and they said that’s normal with extreme use, but I just have never experienced that before. Hopefully I get more life from this RK GXW
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If the tooth brush is getting too deep because of its finer bristles, try out a Grunge Brush.
I actually stopped using a grunge brush as recommended by DID customer service. They told me the bristles on the grunge brush are very stiff and to use a soft bristle toothbrush lol.
Regardless I broke my old chain at the link that was stiff and crunchy and sure enough there is crazy gouge and scratch marks on the stressed section of the pin and not a drop of factory grease left. Those X rings were definitely the failure point of this chain. After fast freeway runs I would see black factory grease streaks on the links with the compromised seals. The RK GXW seals look much more robust so hopefully I get a good 20k out of this set. The old sprockets had almost no wear at 13k but I got the whole kit for $20 more than just the chain so why not lol.
 

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My stock chain has 22,000 miles on it and looks to have plenty of miles left. No track days though. I got 30,000 miles on my factory Ninja 1000 chain. I clean them at 1,500-2,000 miles. My anal years are behind me. I do what works.
 

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I actually stopped using a grunge brush as recommended by DID customer service. They told me the bristles on the grunge brush are very stiff and to use a soft bristle toothbrush lol.
Regardless I broke my old chain at the link that was stiff and crunchy and sure enough there is crazy gouge and scratch marks on the stressed section of the pin and not a drop of factory grease left. Those X rings were definitely the failure point of this chain. After fast freeway runs I would see black factory grease streaks on the links with the compromised seals. The RK GXW seals look much more robust so hopefully I get a good 20k out of this set. The old sprockets had almost no wear at 13k but I got the whole kit for $20 more than just the chain so why not lol.
That’s interesting. It’s opposite of what I’ve heard and experienced but… if DID recommended to not use a grunge brush, then there must be some truth behind it since they know their chains. I’ll give the ol’ toothbrush a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If anybody is curious here is the pin of the offending link. The stressed section of this link pin is absolutely trashed. I thought it might have been all in my head because the link didn’t feel too stiff with the chain loose off the sprockets, but seeing this definitely validated my concerns.
Household hardware Nickel Auto part Metal Tool
 

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X-rings aren't as durable as O-rings.

Changing types of liquids that contact surface can degrade them. Such as switching
between polar and non-polar compounds. Leave out the water rinse and dry. Use non-polar agent to rinse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK, I'll stick my neck out....what are polar and non polar compounds?
Water is an example of a polar solvent. Polar compounds have unshared electrons or atoms with a different electronegativity. Non polar molecules have no unshared electrons and hence, have negligible difference in electronegativity. Water is polar covalent molecule because oxygen has a higher electronegativity since it contains more protons than hydrogen which results in a more electronegative side of the molecule and a more electropositive side of the molecule. That’s a gross oversimplification, but this might not be the right place to rehash high school chemistry lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK, thanks for the science lesson, but I'm just a regular guy riding a Fireblade. What does that mean for the common products we use to clean our chain?
Not trying to cast aspersions, but I think danno is way off the mark in that regard. The nitrile butadiene seals, whether X or O ring, are compatible with both the non polar solvents in chain cleaner and polar water. In fact, many emulsion style chain cleaners contain kerosene which is non polar and tall oil which is slightly polar. Even though kerosene doesn’t damage nitrile butadiene seals it does penetrate them even when compressed. It stands to reason it’s better to rinse the kero off with water which doesn’t penetrate the seals. Since maxima chain clean is contains emulsifiers, water will clean all of the chemicals off the chain. People have some weird aversion to getting water anywhere near their chain, but so long as you dry it off right away I see no issue with it. Maxima even makes an o ring safe water displace, MPPL, to ensure all water is displaced from under the rollers. I’ve been doing it this way for almost a decade and the ERV7 was the only chain I’ve ever had that tore up seals like that.
 

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But have you done this procedure to X-ring chain before?

I've been riding for over 37-yrs and have owned over 30 bikes during that time. I've found aggressive chain-clean regimen trying to keep it spotlessly clean all the time tends to shorten chain's life.
 

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Nitrile O-rings should tolerate water fine, because after all, that's one of the main things the O-ring is supposed to keep out.

What you must avoid are chemicals that cause nitrile O-rings to swell, such as brake cleaner, carburetor cleaner, mineral spirits, etc.

Take a nitrile glove and test whatever chemical you are using on the O-rings. If it makes the glove wrinkle you should not be using it on the chain.
 

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tooth bushes can have soft bristles so need to use soft ones for the O ring area.
For top/bottom and side plates I have enev used brass brush to clear rust.
Personally I would not use water dispersant as it is supposed to penetrate and remove water (WD-40 style) unless it it restriced to the roller area.
I have found that the important part (& most difficult) is to clean the inside of the rollers this is where the lube + road grime tend to accumulate. To this end, after cleaning, I manually check each roller.
I have done >22k on my OEM RK chain and no problem once I started putting more effort to get the inside of the rollers cleaned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
But have you done this procedure to X-ring chain before?

I've been riding for over 37-yrs and have owned over 30 bikes during that time. I've found aggressive chain-clean regimen trying to keep it spotlessly clean all the time tends to shorten chain's life.
Like I said, I’ve been doing it this way for 10 years and never had a chain go this quickly. One thing I noticed is the seals on the ERV7 were super small and thin. I had a DID ZVMX a while back on my 636 track bike and I remember the seals being much more robust. Maybe the ERV7 is like that to reduce frictional losses. I just went on my first ride with the RK 520 GXW and I have to say, even though the consensus is DID is the best chain brand, my drivetrain felt tighter and my shifting felt more solid than it ever did with the ERV7; even with the same chain tension.
 

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i've noticed seals on X-ring chains tend to be more delicate. Have to be less rigorous with cleaning. That's part of the trade-off for less drivetrain drag.

The XW rings are somewhere in between X-ring and O-ring as far as drag goes. If you want tightest "feel" from chain, use O-ring. For loosest, least drag chain, use one without seals at all. That's what I have on my race-bike, frees up about 1.5-2.0 bhp. You can spin back tyre by hand and it just spins and spins and spins...
 
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