Chains and Sprockets

Hey Guys,

So I wanted to start a discussion on used chains and sprockets vs brand new chains and sprockets.

Does the engine really lose some power that can otherwise be given to the wheels when the chain/sprockets are worn?

What about chains with tight spots? How much of an effect does this have on ultimate engine performance?

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I’m curious what others think on performance loss due to chains. Perhaps an engine builder would have a thought?

On a tight loose chain condition, again unless in a dyno cell or closely following data could be hard to quantify. Still though, if you are running a chain that is limiting free rotation of the engine it axle, that can’t be good…

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Eric i was more referring to when the chain tension is uneven. Have you guys ever experienced this? So you rotate the wheel and the chain is tighter in one spot than other areas

or when the sprocket’s teeth start to form a hook shape.

@chris1388 ohhhhh yes, many times. In a way it’s an inevitability if you run the same chain for a long time.

This Is much more common on 4 stroke applications where a split sprocket is used, as any irregularity in the sprocket half alignment can stretch the chain. Setting aside that situation, other things that can stretch the chain asymmetrically could be poor sprocket alignment, throwing the chain, debris getting into the chain, and (we suspect although no real proof) hard lockup under braking in higher horsepower classes.

All of this to say, asymmetric stretching of chains is not necessarily an inevitability, but it certainly isn’t abnormal to see. And, as we talked about before, the degree to which it affects performance is debatable, but anything that hurts rolling resistance can’t be a positive thing.

I will say I’ve been able to undo some of the tight- loose issue on chains by running the chain tighter for a session to stretch the tight section back out. It definitely isn’t an exact science and isn’t something I’d recommend, but it can kinda work…

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I’ve heard numbers of less than a horsepower between an o-ring and standard DID chain on the dyno.


O-ring being lower hp?

Eric what is a long time? How long do you guys use chains and sprockets say in a tag application?

I’ve always noticed that chains always have a high spot and a low spot, even when well tentioned.

To me that’s normal. Chain’s aren’t perfectly round, and have loads going through them, as basically the transmission for the kart.

As long as you keep good tension on the chain, and well lubricated, that’s the important part to me. Personally, I think it’s better to get a high quality chain like an O-Ring, so that you’re not replacing them as often, rather than paying super often for cheap chains.

@chris1388 I’d say a long time for a chain in a TaG application would be 10 track days, but it really depends on the engine and drive train as if well maintained even a cheap chain can be mostly true and in good shape after that time period.

O ring chains are fantastic for longevity, but are harder in sprockets and drive sprockets. Sprocket wear depends on application and materials used, but most rear sprockets will be noticeably worn after the first 5-6 days of use, but don’t need replacement until the teeth are looking more pointed and sharp than well rounded.