My 2008 Triumph Bonneville just turned 26,000 miles. One of the factory recommended items for maintenance is the drive chain inspection and potential replacement.

I had been increasingly experiencing the following symptoms for the last 2,000 miles, especially in stop-and-go-traffic situations.

  • A jerky feeling when decelerating
  • A snatchy feeling when accelerating
  • Frequent adjustments to chain tension. Chain seemed to be getting longer (it was!)
  • Reddish color dust around front sprocket

A little online research reveals that these are all common symptoms of a drive chain that is nearing the end of its life cycle.

Original Chain and Rear Sprocket

Original Chain and Rear Sprocket

So, I went to my Triumph dealer (Motoworks Chicago) and talked to Derek in Parts & Accessories, about my options. He recommended a heavy duty D.I.D O-Ring chain with a rivet link. This chain equals or exceeds to stock OEM chain from Triumph.

First, I had to shorten this chain to the same number of links as the original. To do this I needed a chain breaker tool, which I purchased from Harbor Freight Tools.

Heavy Duty Chain Breaker Tool

Heavy Duty Chain Breaker Tool

I do not recommend this tool. I ended up breaking two of them in the process of replacing this chain.

Once shortened to the right length, I was able to get the new chain on the bike and the rivet link compressed enough to ride the bike to my dealer the next day. Jonathan in the Motoworks service department kindly used a rivet tool to compress the ends of the rivet links all the way to its safest spread. He commented that all of their chain breaker tools (Triumph and another brand) were also broken! It seems that no one makes a high enough quality tool that lasts a long time.

I noticed this one online by Motion-Pro and wonder of anyone has had good experience with it. Any other tools you have had good, long-lasting experience with?

Motion Pro Chain Breaker and Rivet Tool

Motion Pro Chain Breaker and Rivet Tool

I also replaced the rear sprocket as the original was showing some sigms of wear. I decided on a black anodized aluminum one from New Bonneville.

New Bonneville - Anodized Aluminum Rear Sprocket

New Bonneville – 43 tooth Black Anodized Aluminum Rear Sprocket

New Rear Sprocket on Wheel Hub

New Rear Sprocket on Wheel Hub being Balanced

The final outcome of this maintenance and upgrade is a BIG IMPROVEMENT! My 2008 Bonneville is now very smooth on acceleration and deceleration! The power is transferred much more efficiently. Its amazing how you grow accustomed to poorer performance because it declines so slowly over time (4 years). I now know what to be looking for regarding this maintenance item. I also intend to take better care of my chain (clean and lubricate) at the recommended 500 mile intervals!