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Old 4th December 2008, 19:43   #1
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Default Exposed versus Covered Rear Wheel Chains in Bikes

Motorbike Rear (Drive) Wheel Chains and sprockets range from being fully enclosed like most 100-150 plus cc bikes in the Indian market to partly covered (top part) like the Enfield Bullet and its variants to the chain being fully exposed like the new Yamaha R 15 and FZ 16.
I would prefer closed chains as there is no fun in having open uncovered chains. The latter collect all the dust, grime and maybe even mud from splashes are unsafe in Indian conditions wherein the pillion may be wearing sarees, loose salwar suits,ghagra cholis or even pyjamas and dhotis, where the cloth may turn out to be risky for the riders.
My choice is a covered chain and not the new Yamaha like open and exposed ones.
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Old 4th December 2008, 20:23   #2
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Apart from that its also safer to cover it.
The R15 has a chain cover.

Last edited by Gordon : 4th December 2008 at 20:24.
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Old 4th December 2008, 20:46   #3
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I prefer the fully exposed chains due to safety and looks. The exposed chains are safer than fully enclosed ones because - in the fully enclosed ones there is a chance that the chain might get stuck inside the cover if it breaks resulting in sudden locking of rear wheels throwing the rider off. This has happened to many people. Also it is very dangerous to wear sarees or loose dresses while riding a bike because the dresses may not only get stuck in chain but also in the rear wheel spokes resulting injury or even death of pillion riders. This is my point of view and may differ from others.
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Old 4th December 2008, 21:48   #4
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It depends.
Both have their positives and negative.

I prefer the chain with cover .

I used to have issues in the monsoon season with rust and dirt.
I think the dirt messes up the spoket if not cleaned or greased.
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Old 4th December 2008, 21:50   #5
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In that case a half chain cover with take care of both the problems. But you need to have an 0-ring type chain which is more expensive.

In the old KB100s the top and bottom half was not split exactly in the middle and removing the bottom half made it a good looking half chain cover. Not many may know what I am talking about.

PS: TVS Supra also had a half cover like the Bullet.
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Old 4th December 2008, 21:55   #6
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A typical exposed chain and sprocket featuring the Yamaha R 15
Exposed versus Covered Rear Wheel Chains in Bikes-yamaha-chain.jpg
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Old 4th December 2008, 23:13   #7
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It has an open chain cover I guess.
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Old 4th December 2008, 23:23   #8
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We find complete chain covers typically on Indian bikes, primary reason is to prevent it from the dirt & grime.
Although, having said that, an exposed chain does not necessarily get more dirtier. The chains on average & high performance bikes spin furiously cause of high speeds which literally SPITS out it's lubricants outwards, more like what a washing machine does to dry clothes.....centrifugal force. That's one reason chains have to be cleaned & lubricated every fortnight.
Secondly, if a covered chain on a high performance comes loose at high speeds it will spell complete disaster since there would be more parts around it as opposed to open chains, which would probably just slip & fall off.
I used to notice a good amount of grime, dust & goo combination in the covered panels on my RX100 than the Honda which had a completely exposed chain.
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Old 5th December 2008, 00:12   #9
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I was once riding my Honda CB750 on a small road near my home and the chain snapped! The snapped chain fell on the road and the bike coasted to a stop. The culprit that caused the snapped chain was a weak main link. If a chain cover was present on that bike then it would've been disastrous.

I took off my Karizma's chain cover just to be safe, but i clean and oil the chain every Sunday, or atleast every 2nd Sunday. I adjust the chain by myself, i never trust the mechanics to align the wheel perfectly while adjusting chain. My Karizma doesn't have an Oring chain now, but the replacement would be an Oring chain.
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Old 5th December 2008, 00:17   #10
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If its O ring then you can keep it open without much tension.

if its normal then you need to keep a check.

PS: I have always ridden without a chain cover,they can get noisy if not properly lubricated.
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Old 5th December 2008, 10:00   #11
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if you are the type who mainly travels with your wife sitting pillion (side ways) carrying a whole load of shopping bags with one kid in between, and never bother to get your nails dirty with your bike, its perfectly allright that the chain cover is on. This is assuming you've passed that stage in life where you NEVER have any crazy moments on the road.

If you're the type who does nothing but think about cars and bikes, and spend most of your time mooching over your bike, then its a good idea to have your chain exposed as it gives you an idea of how much life the sprocket has left in it and how dry the chain has become.

On a personal note, I ve put back the chain gaurd on my bike as I got tired of trying to keep it clean (no time). But whenever I m off an a long ride, i prefer to take it off for all of the reason the others have mentioned above.
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Old 15th January 2009, 20:56   #12
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Well this is my 1st topic on this forum and I would like to mention some important technical points with regard to requirement of chain cover. Firstly whether there is a chain guard or not, it has nothing to do with dust penetration into the chain. When there is no chain cover (or say half chain cover) the chain is not an ordinary chain. Instead its links are covered and prevent any entry into the chain. The need of chain cover is more of the aeshetic requirement and has to do a lot with cost factor. Low cc bike has ordinary styling and cannot afford enclosed link chain which is costly. Anyhow there are countries where fitment of chain cover is mandatory requirement like Australia. In India regulation only says that left side of rear wheel should be covered so as to prevent Pillion clothes entanglement. This coverage can be provided vide chain cover/guard.
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