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Chain Conundrum


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I'll try and keep this short. Is there any difference in a European chain to a Japanese chain?

Back in 2010 me and my mate did a Euro tour, and in Belgium he had to have a new chain put on his 1997/8 firestorm. Just the chain, sprockets were not changed. All has been well until this winter when he stripped his bike down to clean it up etc.

He ground the end link of his Belgian chain and cleaned it. Then he bought a standard/generic 530 rivit link off the internet to put it back together again.

He takes the bike down to my local honda dealer and they said the rivit link will not fit, and they could not find one to fit either, and then proceeded to try and sell him a £162 chain and sprocket kit.

Ive never heard of this before, I always assumed all chains were kind of generic i.e a 530 chain off one bike would fit another bike that used a 530 chain, whatever make of bike.

I should maybe add, we noticed the sprockets on his bike do now have some very serious wear on them (hooked). I also had a look at the rivit link he bought and to my eyes at least, it looks to be the same as the chain in all dimentions. Also Ive been using my honda dealer for years and they are pretty sound guys, not the type to try and rip you off.


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All 530 chains are the same size, whether they are purchased in England, Belgium or Timbucktoo.

£162 sounds like a good price for a chain and sprocket kit fitted, depending on what kit they are fitting. The chain is two years old and has been running on worn sprockets, so it's a reasonable bet that the chain is worn as well. IMO your dealer is not trying to rip you off, it makes sense to do the whole job in one go.

Here is a link to a chain size guide, so you can measure the existing chain and order sprockets to suit.


Then you can go to B&C and get the sprockets and do the job yourself, but in all honesty it's not much of a saving over your dealers price.


I think the most likely cause is your mate has the wrong size rivet link. I think there is another size between 530 and 630, I can't remember if it was 532 or 535? In any case it is not as common as 530.

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All 530 chains are not the same....

I had a bike a few years ago - I had to replace the rivet link for a spot of bodgery, and the *only* place I could find one was online at Hein Gericke (after searching through the box of links at the local dealer)

Pin length, sideplate thickness etc vary - otherwise every manufacturer would just sell one series of 530 (or whatever size) chain

DID sell loads of different quality chains, and a 530 ZVM link won't fit a 530 VX.

And yeah, there is a 532..

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I would have said that the chain sizes would be the same no matter if it were jap or european, 530 is a universal size ( i think) and should have the same 1.25 inch pitch no matter which country it comes from. I do agree about the plate thickness and tho and that will account for the different link sizes.

course all of this is just my onion, im sure someone on here will have a definitive answer.

this is quite interesting... http://chain-guide.com/applications/1-5-2-motorcycle-chain.html

edited to add link.

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Blow_away, you farkin hero, I've got to source a chain for the Bultaco that I'm working on and was gonna ask about this soon.

Timing,son :icon_salut:

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Spoke to him last night in person, all the original details I got were kind of second hand.

He has already ordered a new chain and sprocket set.

The chain he had on the bike didnt have any markings on it, so the my local dealer were unable to determine exactly what make of chain it was, therefor they refused to do it on the grounds that they couldnt match a link with the chain. Thats fair doo's then, I suppose they have to cover their own arses.

Had another look at his old chain/new rivit link though, and it is definately the same size and pitch etc.

Cheers for the info guys.

FWIW I always replace mine as a set. Being stuck in Belgium mean the cheapest option had to be taken. I told him to replace the chain and sprockets before we set off but he didnt :facepalm: . Going over Spain and into France it was starting to get bad. By the time we got to Belgium his back wheel was constantly covered in metal filings. And the noise the chain was making :icon_pale: ...It was desperate :lol:

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