Motorcycle and quad drive chains - split link or rivet link?

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Motorcycle and quad drive chains - split link or rivet link?

Choosing your quad or motorcycle drive chain can be a complicated process, do you know your chain size? length? is it standard to the machine you run or has the previous owner changed the whole chain and sprocket size to a larger or smaller pitch size? do you want standard? Heady duty? O Ring? X Ring? and what type of joining link is best for you?
typical motorcycle or quad chain split link
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typical motorcycle or quad chain split link

Split Links

These normally come as standard fitment on smaller chain sizes like 420 (50cc type machines) 428 (most 125cc machines) and many 520 (250 - 500 machines but also big quads eg yamaha 700 Raptors) 
Modern split links are reliable if fitted correctly (closed end must follow the directional travel of the chain) They offer easy and fast fitting and chain removal with no specialist tools (good pair of flat ended pliers will do the trick) some racers of big cc sports bikes use split links to good effect but they are professional technicians with close monitoring who tend to use lighter chains for less power loss. Some claim a properly fitted spring link is in theory stronger than a rivet link because a rivet link needs the pins to be soft enough to prise over, whereas the spring link can have hardened pins, but chains manufactures disagree.
DID heavy duty rivet chain link
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DID heavy duty rivet chain link

Rivet Links

Rivet links are normally supplied on 520 and above (525 - 530) They require a special rivet tool to fasten them correctly.

Which one for 520 Application?

Its no exact science and comes down to personal choice. If you need to get quick access to chance chain and sprockets like racing dirt bikes or quads then split links are the most used option, where as on larger street machines where no rapid change is needed and higher speeds are reached generally its a Rivet link that's the best option.  

Chain Failure :(

Misaligned sprockets will increase side loads, debris built up on the chain, foreign objects, improperly installed clip links and reusing a used clip will all contribute to premature failure. Yes these are extreme situations, but master links generally fail before any other links fail. Most chains fail from lack of lubrication, improper tensioning (causes the slack side to slap and rub which will chew through the side plates and master link clip) or wear. Check your machines operators manual for details on how to measure the wear and play on your chain. Don't forget it always makes sense to change both your chains and sprockets at the same time to prevent uneven wear.
DID connecting link strength guide
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DID connecting link strength guide

DID Options

DID the well known Japanese manufacturer has a FJ clip link which is machined to need quite a pressure when fitting the link, so should the clip fail the link is unlikely to undo immediately. However as per chart to the left its clear the Rivet link is much stronger in testing that the loose fit clip or the press in fit and clip.  
chainsandsprockets dot com
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chainsandsprockets dot com

Other option

Some companies like JT chains can offer dual link 520 pitch chains supplied with both rivet and split links at the time of supply. This gives you ultimate flexibility on what you want to fit and when, plus there is no harm in having a spare split or rivet link on your machine or in your tool box!   try chains and sprockets  for a massive application list and wide drive chain choice. 
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