One of our customers finally got his Yamaha YZF-R1 in our workshop to fit a new chain and sprockets, about four months later than he should have done.
The last 7800 kilometers have been done on a set of Renthal sprockets and a Tsubaki chain, and that's pretty good when you consider that they're not recommended for road use, and the Yamaha R1 has slightly misleading adjuster markers.
The chain's actually done about 9000 kilometers now, as owner previously changed the sprockets to tide him over until he could afford a complete kit of chain and sprockets.
So why the seemingly high wear? Well, it's a 520 conversion, running on Renthal's lightweight alloy rear sprocket. Rental don't advise this set-up for motorcycles that do lots of kilometers, or big boys pulling wheelies everywhere. The kilometers they've suffered is impressive, and a good advert for how well Renthal put a sprocket together, and how tough Tsubaki chains are.
The Yamaha R1 appears to have two issues that have contributed to the wear too. First, the swingarm chain adjuster marks aren't accurate. When you stand back and really concentrate hard, it's clear that the rear wheel is a little off-line in the swingarm, even though the marks tally perfectly. With the wheel running slightly off-line, the sprocket and chain can't run perfectly aligned and the chain has been eating the sprocket away with every misaligned rotation of the rear wheel.
The Yamaha R1 has an intriguing 2mm of lateral drift in the swingarm too, which won't be helping much, We have only seen this with this Yamaha YZF-R1, likely the result of sloppy work by a previous mechanic, we have to talk to Yamaha about that to find out how to fix that.
Without the degradation caused by the chain/sprocket misalignment, there would actually be surprisingly little wear, with no hooked teeth, and none missing. As it was, they looked pretty tired.
Obviously, they had to be changed as soon as possible, and we have done the sensible thing, which is to return to a 530 chain and sprocket kit. We're sure that the owner of the Yamaha R1 won't be disappointed, but having only just fitted a Regina Chain and Sprocket kit, which in include a 530ZRP chain and a 14 front- and 45-rear sprocket, we can't useful comment yet on how they stand up to daily abuse. We have tried to ignore the swingarm marks, and the line the rear wheel up by sight, and with the use of some dead-straight bits of wood.