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Discussion Starter #1
I havew had BMW shaft drive motorcycles since leaving college and also a HArley with the belt drive. Both are quiet, clean and generally trouble free. I am hoping to sell the Harley and probably the BMW and get something a bit smaller and handier. Everything I might want seems to be chain drive. I wonder if any of you with modern chain drive can comment on its durability, messyness, need for cleaning and lubrication, frequency of adjustment etc. Not sure I want to go back to chain but my experience with them is from the 1960s and 70s.

I am thinking of something in the 800 cc size or so, perhaps one of the BMW 800. IF anyone has experience with them I'd also be interested in comments.
 

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Its going to be different for everyone, but I have read that quote a few will clean it with a brush I'd necessary, then just lube it with wd-40. It's odd, sale back, wd-40 was a big no-no, but from what I have read recently it fine as long as it doesn't go past your o-ring or x-ring seals. I'd have to search on the topic again to get more specific, sorry..

As for intervals, depends what the manual says, both of mine say every 400 miles to live the chain.. Usually don't quite end up that frequent, but haven't had any issues.

Adjustment intervals are the same, it depends how hard and often you ride.

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
 

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The new chains when properly maintained can last quite a few miles. I use a semi-auto chain luber to ensure that. Last bike that I actually wore out the chain, went 27k miles on that chain (3rd chain in 50k miles) and it saw a lot of dirty fire road and light trail use.

As for the 800 BMW, which model? I had an F800GS as my daily commuter for a while. All around a nice bike. Very nimble and fun to toss around. A lot depends on what you are looking for in a bike. My daily "driver" now is the S1000XR which is somewhat adventure touring styled and a nice big room cockpit and a very potent motor.
 

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A lot depends on what you are looking for in a bike.
Agreed. So many choices and incredibly difficult to nail down.

Howie,

I found the F800GS to be uninspiring when shopping and ended up going for an R1200 GS. The Tiger 800 XCX was more interesting IMO and smoooooooth. You just had to really spin it up to get moving. Might be worth checking out? I do ride trails and after having to pick the 1200 up a few times solo, I want something lighter. As long as it's upright though, it's wonderful, on and off road :p Shaft drive was a deciding factor for me because I'm lazy.

Everyone I've known with a chain drive has no qualms about them or the maintenance, as the intervals for R&R are substantial with proper care. The road/touring biased 800 comes with a belt drive IIR, not sure if that helps with anything.
 

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I havew had BMW shaft drive motorcycles since leaving college and also a HArley with the belt drive. Both are quiet, clean and generally trouble free. I am hoping to sell the Harley and probably the BMW and get something a bit smaller and handier. Everything I might want seems to be chain drive. I wonder if any of you with modern chain drive can comment on its durability, messyness, need for cleaning and lubrication, frequency of adjustment etc. Not sure I want to go back to chain but my experience with them is from the 1960s and 70s.

I am thinking of something in the 800 cc size or so, perhaps one of the BMW 800. IF anyone has experience with them I'd also be interested in comments.
Night and day difference in the chains from the 60's / 70's and today.
Follow the spec for maintaining them and you'll be a happy camper.

I've had a few (kawi ninja's / Honda trx's / etc) with modern o'ring chains, all without issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
SOme more info for those that asked for it. The BMW I have is a R1100GS and I really like it. It has sat outside a lot and looks like a beater even though it only has about 15,000 miles on it and it is 20 years old. IT needs a complete going through in terms of lubrication, adjustments etc and I have too many projects already. I really like that bike. IT is quiet, nice riding and plenty powerful enough. Since I got the dog I don't ride the bikes as much so mostly it is 50-150 miles at a time and regular 15 mile round trips to the local village for various errands, Vast majority of driving on paved county and state highways. No freeways, occasional gravel/dirt roads.

I was thinking of the BMW 800 GS, or maybe even the Yamaha Tenere. Wouldn't surprise me if I ended up with a new or near new R1200GS. But hard to justify for a couple thousand mile a year. Then again there is the Polaris Slingshot and the dog could come with..............

If I could find a decent non dealer shop that knew BMWs the right thing would be to drop my R1100GS off for the winter for a good spruce up and stick with that. IF anyone knows of such a place in the Twin Cities or Milwaukee or MAdison areas let me know.

ANyhow, definitely don't need two bikes now. Always wanted to try a Harley and like it a lot but time for it to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Agreed. So many choices and incredibly difficult to nail down.

Howie,

I found the F800GS to be uninspiring when shopping and ended up going for an R1200 GS. The Tiger 800 XCX was more interesting IMO and smoooooooth. You just had to really spin it up to get moving. Might be worth checking out? I do ride trails and after having to pick the 1200 up a few times solo, I want something lighter. As long as it's upright though, it's wonderful, on and off road :p Shaft drive was a deciding factor for me because I'm lazy.

Everyone I've known with a chain drive has no qualms about them or the maintenance, as the intervals for R&R are substantial with proper care. The road/touring biased 800 comes with a belt drive IIR, not sure if that helps with anything.
yes, picking up the R1100 GS is a problem too, especially if the tank is near full. I have dug holes under the wheels several times when it was down to get it to rotate on the cylinder head/crash bar enough to get to an angle where I could be pick it up. I carried a small block and tackle with 1/8" line and used that a few times when I could find something opportune to help right it. I never did master soft sand very well.

Never thought of the Triumph, I guess the days of all seams on british bike leaking oil and Lucas, the prince of darkness, electronics are over. I remember riding with a friend of mine in mIssissippi in the early 1970s and I had a Honda 450 and he had a lovely Norton Commando and every other trip he came home with me and we went back to pick up his bike. Mostly electrical gremlins/failures but was always oily. Very nice when it ran though.
 

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Keep the "O" ring chains free of rust with light external lubrication. They do last. Actually better to run them a bit looser than you think is right to minimize "snatch" at extreme suspension movement ends.

Do not force or blow cleaners into the links and degrade the "O" ring positions or construction. Mess with that and you are back to the issues with standard chains. From 1937 to my newest BMW, drive shafts but drive shafts have been trouble, especially the drive cups that shear off. Older Harleys with "O" ring chains, like my shovelhead, no trouble but middle powered. Belts on my Harley the past near 30 years, no trouble.

Had an F650 with chain for a while. Took care of it. Still a dirty PIA. If you ride on dusty, gritty dirt roads expect short life and long maintenance.
 
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