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Anyone have any experience with changing the stock chain and sprockets on an 2001 F4i to a 520 chain with 15/48 sprockets. Stock sprockets = 16/46.

It's time to replace my chain and I'm considering a Vortex chain and sprocket kit.
 

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I had the exact same kit on my 01 f4i...noticed quit a bit of a difference...I went with a gold chain and only dropped 1 tooth in the front...never had any trouble with it...
 

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That's not the best way to do it, because you need to torque it to spec. Use a torque wrench.
honda187 said:
if you have access to an impact wrench it will make things so much easier...
 

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The impact wrench is to get the nut off. Those suckers can be impossible. Last time mine actually had to be cut off, as even the air gun couldn't budge it.

If you go with an aluminum sprocket, maintain it religiously, or it will wear fast.
 

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Personally, I wouldn't even consider an aluminum sprocket. You will get better life out of a sprocket made of wood. I see a lot of them, and I don't think I've ever seen one that wasn't totally shot. Aluminum is way, way too soft for any such application.
 

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Stick with steel sprockets. Alluminum is for racers that change gearing often...
 

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I had that kit on my R6. The 520 chain required 4x as much maintenance, as it would loosen up alot faster than stock. The bike rode at higher RPMs at freeway speeds too, but it wasnt too bad. :shrug
 

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if you have a rear stand, torque wrench, and a socket that will fit the axle nut then you are good. It will lessen the rotating mass therefore making you get rpm faster and it is easier to flick around. Very good for track. Stunters i don't know. But when you take the nut off if you have a breaker bar that will be very good for taking it off and keep checking your back wheel so that you don't have to break the nut like the guy above said.
 

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Smokin_Joe said:
I had that kit on my R6. The 520 chain required 4x as much maintenance, as it would loosen up alot faster than stock. The bike rode at higher RPMs at freeway speeds too, but it wasnt too bad. :shrug

Hmmm . . . yeah. If you change your sprocket size you are going to change your final drive gear ratio. In english, this means you will go faster or slower at a given rpm than stock.

As for the 520 chain. Get a good race chain that has high tensile strength and you will be fine. It won't "stretch" that much. (in all reality, they don't stretch at all, but wear out) You will have to adjust after the 1st couple hundred miles as the o-rings break in, but then you shouldn't have to adjust it for another couple thousand after that.

If you properly maintain your chain, have it lined up correctly, and keep the proper tension on it, I would go with the aluminum sprockets. Mine looked brand-new even after 5000 miles. It's all about proper maintenance, and you'll be fine.

Recommendation: either go one tooth down in the front, or 3 teeth up in the back. Don't do both! This set up will give you better low rpm power . . . which is where the 600's lack it. Your top speed will suffer in the process, but unless you run flat out 140mph for hours upon end, I really don't think you will notice.
 

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i also ride an f4i and this is my gearing story:
at 33k miles, im on my 3rd set of chain and sprockets. this is what ive learned over the miles..

i have good luck with the DID erv2 520 chain. my first one lasted roughly 15k miles, as did the sprockets, i use AFAM steel front and aluminum rear. as long as you actually lube your chain fairly regularly, and keep it properly adjusted, you shouldnt have problems with the aluminum wearing quickly, however once the teeth get pointy looking its time to replace it cause they will disapear quickly after that.

i ran 15 46 (-1 ) for awhile but found myself wanting more. i currently run 15 49 (-1 +3) and let me assure you the bike claws at the sky like a rabid animal now. its amazing. the bike WILL lift the front wheel when you hammerdown the throttle on corner exits. :D
 

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Dude . . . that sprocket picture looks horrible!! :eek I don't know what happened there, but that definitely is NOT normal. The aluminum sprockets will wear, but there is no way you can blame broken teeth on the sprocket . . . something else is not right for that to happen.
 

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cknode said:
Dude . . . that sprocket picture looks horrible!! :eek I don't know what happened there, but that definitely is NOT normal. The aluminum sprockets will wear, but there is no way you can blame broken teeth on the sprocket . . . something else is not right for that to happen.

No that one was because the owner of the bike (GSXR600 or 750) is an idiot. :laughing No lubing, no adjusting. Just rode it until it was completely shredded.


Wish I still had pics of mine when it let go. Only tossed 10-12 teeth total. Dont know how many were lost when it first let go, but when I got home (had to slowly ride it 40 miles home with the chain making noise) 10-12 were missing. Unlike what one un-named person thinks, I do adjust the chain and oil it frequently. You dont get 24,000 miles on a set by ignoring them.
 

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Cknode,
Sorry, but the picture is indeed all too common. In other words it's very normal for an aluminum sprocket to look just like that. I've seen dozens of them with many looking even worse. The big problem here is that aluminum is way, way, too soft a material for such an application. To even consider aluminum is almost laughable and it shows that you can sell just about anything.

Lets take a look at what happens here. As the aluminum quickly wears away, the chain, in essence, begins to become too large for the sprocket. Initially the chain pulls approximately half way around the sprocket and on every tooth it contacts, but as each valley becomes larger, the chain begins to pull on fewer and fewer teeth until only the last few are dong all the work. At this point the stress becomes too great on the remaining teeth and breakage begins to occur. Chain lubrication has little to do with the situation. It's just plain terrible engineering.
 

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DaveL . . . where are you basing this "all too common" knowledge. I had an aluminum sprocket on the back of my 6R. I put it on with around 8K on the clock. I had over 18K when I traded it in on my 10R and it looked brand-new!

Now, I will agree with you that it is an "all too common" looking sprocket. BUT that's not because of sprocket. It's because no one knows how to adjust their chain! It's too tight, too loose, not straight, not lubed . . . it's hardly the sprockets fault! Aluminum is a soft material, granted. But if it was that soft, heck, I would be afraid that everytime I hit a pot hole going down the road at 60mph I would soon have a square rim!
 

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Cknode,
You say that aluminum is 'pretty' soft. I say it's 'extremely' soft, way too soft for use on any sprocket. Have you ever seen an aluminum sprocket on any other chain drive system, anywhere? Of course not, and you never will. Why don't they make cam chain sprockets out of aluminum or those huge chain sprockets on heavy equipment, elevators, cranes, and wreckers? It's because an engineer with 6 months schooling knows better. These things can be calculated. It isn't a matter of preference. A good 'steel' sprocket can easily last 50 to 100,000 miles with proper maintenance, as you say. The weak link today on a chain drive is the 'O' ring chain. No amount of lubing or proper maintenance can get any lubricant 'into' the chain. They just wear out when the internal lube is spent, which normally occurs at around 15,000 miles. The aluminum sprocket just shortens the chain's lifespan by making it work harder.
Whenever I see a Vortex chain I give it a closer look and most of the time I have bad news for the owner. I see many of them at my shop and in most instances they’re totally spent or well their way. The customer is somehow always surprised. I can think of several types of wood that would probably last longer than aluminum, but than you would have to consider warpage.
 

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DaveL, I will agree with you that once the o-rings wear out on an o-ring chain, you might as well throw in the towel. The o-rings are responsible for "lubing" the chain. If you keep the o-rings properly maintained, this chain will last just as long as any other (yes, eventually everything will wear out). The problem with that chain occurs when o-rings stop performing as they should, just as you mentioned. They usually become dry and cracked from improper lubrication and or neglect. I've also seen people using petroluem/mineral spirit based products to "clean" their chain. This will lead to the o-ring breaking down and ultimately being worthless. 15k for an o-ring chain is unfortunately the norm . . . but properly maintained it will last a lot longer. (my instructor has 30K on his SV and it's still good)

As for the aluminum sprocket, we can agree to disagree. Granted, common sense would tell you that you don't want to use a lightweight metal when dealing with a D9 weighing 50 tons. (it would kinda defeat it's purpose) The cam sprocket is not really going to give you any mechanical advantage if you lighten it. It's main purpose is to last . . . a long time. Besides, the weight saving potential isn't really significant, or non-existent depending on your application. Neither really is the rear sprocket, but then again, what's the old cliche . . . every 1lb = 7 horsepower. If I'm going to change out my chain, I'm usually going to simultaneously swap out my sprockets. IMO, that just makes sense. It's been my experience that by maintaining both I can get the max life out of them.

Aluminum is lighter and softer. It will wear more quickly. Yes, I don't need to be an engineer for 6 months to tell you that. I was assuming by the original question posted, that he was converting to a 520 chain to save final drive mass. To convert, he would need to buy all new sprockets. If I'm going to replace everything anyways, and my goal is to save weight (why else would I be converting to a smaller chain), why not go with the aluminum rear?? For me, the sprockets and chain go hand in hand. I've never had one wear out significantly more than the other.

Unfortunately you cannot have the best of both worlds. If so, then we wouldn't be having this discussion. Do you want reliability?? Or, do you want performance and that hole-shot?? Consider the pluses and minuses and decide what is best going to suit your particular application.
 
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