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Discussion Starter #1
It seems like nothing gets more bad press on this forum than clip type master links. I would like to start a thread to find out how many riders have experienced this FIRST HAND. I don't want to hear any stories about a friends buddy causing a twenty car pile up when the clip fell off. Any motorcycle, dirt, street, race. I'd also like to hear about chain failures on any other type master link chain, and your best guess why it failed. Reasons : 1) I've never had a clip type master fail on a motorcycle 2) I don't know any one else who has since my friends got enough money to actually replace a chain, age 16 or so. 3) I have done extensive failure analysis on industrial drive chains over a period of many years. The results, though I don't remember the actual percentages, was that an abused chain fails about as often on any link as it does on the master link. Although this was not the same setting, the abuse was extreme and chains were only replaced upon either chain failure or during a repair that required chain removal. Chains were sometimes enclosed, but never cleaned. I'd like to draw a conclusion that I really shouldn't use a clip type master. I would add that hat I have seen riveted masters fail, though I had no way of knowing it was properly done. I suspect it was not done properly and not the fault of the master.
 

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When I got my bike last year 1995 900ss/sp it had a Regina, likely the original chain, with a clip type master.
After a few test drives, no hard or high speed driving I noticed the clip and side of the master had come off. I believe the chain stretched enough to pull the clip off and the side of the link came off with it. I'm very lucky it didn't come apart. I am sure it was within feet of coming apart.
 

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Only had one time where the safety wire came off my master link, didn't notice till i got home from a long ride. Might have been the way i applied it, but it never came off after reapplying it. I always keep safety wire and a extra master link on my bike though

sorry not a failure story. I feel that if it truly was a problem, they wouldn't make them anymore or have them come with chains at all. They would just standardize the riveted masterlink.
 

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I know this guy who had a buddy that knew someone at a dealer that heard......

Seriously, I got 'em on both bikes and haven't had any issues, but I check for stretching religiously and ride with my chain tension to spec erring on looser rather than tighter..
 

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Clip master link

Had one fail on a motocross bike. Ugly! Never had one fail on a street bike because I'm not dumb enough to use one for that application ;)!
Be sure to add DukeDesmo's experience on his KTM to your survey.
 

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Average Weird Guy.
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I've been riding motorcycles for close to 30 years now and in that time I had only one chain failure. I threw the original rivet type master link chain that came stock on my 1980 Honda CB750F. I walked back and picked up the chain but never found the broken link to see why it failed. Chain had about 10K miles on it when it failed. Was a long walk pushing that heavy pig home.

Since then I've exclusively used clip type master link chains and have put much higher mileage on them than that rivet type chain without any problems at all.
As long as the master link is assembled correctly with the side plate securely pressed into place with a chain press tool,the clip is installed properly and facing in the proper direction,and the chain is kept clean,lubed,and adjusted you shouldn't have any issues.
That said I still carry a coupla spare master links in my tool kit,just in case. ;)
 

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I had them fail a few times on my old GSX-1100 (4-valve/TSCC Suzuki GS). Until I got the idea to put a blob of slicone rubber over the top of the spring clip. From what I remember, it was a problem associated with that particular pitch chain (630). Somehow, it would work the clip off, apparently quite a common problem. I also got into the habit of carrying a spare link. Just in case. But once I started using the sliicone, I never need the spare again.

Nowadays, I use a rivet link - they give a better chain life, due to the tighter connection of the side plate, particularly with o-ring type chains. And they don't fall off... ;)
 

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The only thing wrong with a clip master link is the idiot assembling it by using a screwdriver to lever it into place.:rolleyes:

I've installed over a hundred in the last 30 years, on my bikes and working at a shop. Never had a failure.

But I almost ran over a chain one night while riding with some friends. It fell off a guys bike because he had put a bigger rear sprocket on his Gixxer. He added a section of old used chain with a second link. I was kept from flogging him with his chain by our mutual friends...

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Retired Pipe Polisher C2H6O+
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Same here. After 20 years of motocross racing never gad a single failure. If things are installed correctly there is no force on the clip. The HP of the motor is irrelevant. Now putting a clip on an O-ring chain is a lot harder than a standard chain but I never had an issue on any of our hare scramble bikes.
 

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The only thing wrong with a clip master link is the idiot assembling it by using a screwdriver to lever it into place.:rolleyes:

I've installed over a hundred in the last 30 years, on my bikes and working at a shop. Never had a failure.

But I almost ran over a chain one night while riding with some friends. It fell off a guys bike because he had put a bigger rear sprocket on his Gixxer. He added a section of old used chain with a second link. I was kept from flogging him with his chain by our mutual friends...

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I've NEVER used a screwdriver to put the clips on. :p And I never had any problems with any of my dirt bike chains (trail, MX and Enduro). But those damn 630 pitch chains used to ping the bloody clip off. Even when brand new (happened once with <300kms on the chain). :mad: I've not had any problems with the Ducati chain - but I don't use clip type masters on it either. Press fit side plate, and rivet link, with a X-ring chain.

Thinking about it - my race bike (custom frame with a GSX-11 engine) was set up with a 520 (actually - maybe a 530...) pitch chain, and I had spring clip masters on it - and no problems with them either. Just the 630 chains. I did a dig around on the web, and found this bit... Motorcycle Final Drive Systems

These spring clips can fail and cause the entire chain to become one nasty rotating projectile and usually locking the rear wheel, but simply degreasing that master link and dabbing on some high temperature silicon sealant pretty much precludes this from happening. (It has happened twice to me, both times locking the rear wheel at freeway speeds and causing a long, harrowing skid to a stop. -Editor)
These guys seem to be having problems too (F650's) - Chain masterlink circlip keeps coming off [Archive] - F650 Community


From a Bandit forum... FastLarry's Suzuki Bandit FAQ

Master Link vs. Riveted
Most list members feel that master link chains are adequate but some riders swear by rivet-only chains. The choice is up to you. If you're worried about your master link failing, use a riveted chain. Just keep in mind that many bikes with 200+HP use master link chains with no problems. If you so use a master link chain, most list members recommend putting a dab of silicone or JB Weld epoxy on the link to prevent it from coming off. If you simply must use a riveted chain, temporarily put on a master link and ride to your nearest dealer to have the chain riveted. This is generally much cheaper than purchasing the proper tools unless you go through a lot of chains.
So it happens - on some bike/chain combinations.
 

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Had one fail on a motocross bike. Ugly! Never had one fail on a street bike because I'm not dumb enough to use one for that application ;)!
Be sure to add DukeDesmo's experience on his KTM to your survey.
From; http://www.ducati.ms/forums/57-supersport/354762-chain-sprocket-questions-2.html

"I had a clip-link break on a KTM500, new chain & sprockets, first ride out and the link broke.

I realised afterwards that I had set the chain a little too tight (need loads of slack on an mx bike) and although I don't recall what size chain (it was not as strong as what you would use on a Ducati due to it being a much lighter bike, with only 60/65hp) it shows that the clip-link is the weak spot.

I wouldn't use one on a bike 400cc + and definitely not on a big v-twin..."


Luckily this caused no damage as the chain just flew off the sprocket but I wouldn't risk it again and especially not on a more powerful bike - that said this was a 500cc single cylinder (2-stroke) with a 'healthy' power delivery, not unlike half a Ducati engine...
 

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I've personally thrown two clip link type chains of a GSX-1100 I had. Both installed correctly. Scared the crap out of me but no damage to the bike or me. Ran another clip link after that without problems, but always used rivets on my Duc's and always will.
 

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Just a theory on my part, but I bet chain alignment has something to do w/ instances of loosing the master link cover plate. I'm guessing it's pretty rare w/ a properly aligned (and tensioned) chain.
 

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Been riding since 1973. Had a lot of different bikes with clip type master links. Only chain failure I've had was the original riveted chain on a 1977 Suzuki GS750. Never personally known anyone else that's had any kind of chain failure. I'd be willing to bet that a lot of clip failures were either improperly installed or were cheap Chinese junk.
 

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I lost a clip master link during a track day at Road Atlanta back in 2002 . Lucky for me the chain spun off with no damage to me the bike or anyone else on the track. Ever since then I have always riveted my chains
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You guys are echoing my thoughts. I believe it's about proper installation, maintenance , and adjustment. I also wonder how many riders know how to properly rivet a master link. I think it's simpler to do a clip type master correctly. Every time I do a riveted type I wonder if it's ok. I mean, nothing is really holding it on ! PO had a quality o ring chain on mine with a clip master, and I've left it that way. What did the guy who fell off the Sears Tower say as he went past my window ? "So far, so good "
 

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Guy I bought the 620 MTS off of had a shop put a new chain on so he could ride it home. It had thrown the chain off the rear sprocket and wadded it up in the CS sprocket. Cracked the alternator cover.

The master link had the clip on backwards when I went to disassemble the bike.:rolleyes:

I remember a customer buying a new 500 MX KTM back in '86 or '87. He went home, adjusted the "loose" chain up (we had it perfect).

He went to a practice track the next day. The first jump he landed from ended his day. The chain wouldn't allow the swingarm to go past center on compression. The rear hub exploded. Never saw anything like that before.

To their credit, KTM covered it under warranty. But Rod had us bring the customer back in our service department and explain why the chain needed so much slack.

Nice kid..fast as heck. Dumb as a red brick.

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I have used nothing but clip type master links on all of my various chain drive motorcycles and have never had a problem. I've been riding since 1976, have an honest half million plus miles on motorcycles (granted, some with other than chain drive), riding everything from dirt bikes to big inch stroker Harleys. None of my similarly experienced riding buddies, who also use clip type master links, has ever had an issue with them either.

I think an awfull lot of the image of the clip type masterlink is like so many other things these days - driven by these internet forums where relatively inexperienced folks keep parroting the same advice in an effort to show that they "know" something.
 
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