Counterfeit drive chains - Page 3 - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #51 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 9:09 AM
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^ i don't know, having 2 master links looks awfully suspicious to me.

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post #52 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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In an effort to find information directly from the horses mouth. I ran across this that I think has relevance.
http://global.rk-japan.co.jp/product...laser-marking/
A couple of things I find interesting here is:
I will need to check out some older chains, and even the one now on my bike. But I don't recall even ever seeing the new way to mark the chains. And they're saying on this page that they have been doing it for 7 years, plus I'm not sure how old the page it's self is.

And on another note, which has no relevance what so ever on this thread is: This seems like extreme over kill any way as far as quality. I mean the last thing I would worry about is a plate failure due to the stamp method.
Along with the above link I have found this one.
https://www.motorcyclegear.com/info_...ical_info.html
The problem with this one is, it is not from RK corp. I'm trying to find something like this, but an official one from RK. For the time being I will assume this to be accurate. Unless someone tells me it is not, or that it may not be accurate. I have seen some diagrams similar to these in the past, but looking a little different. Can't say as to what the validity in them would be, or who even drew them up. Possibly they are both accurate anyway, only difference being where the cross cut view was made.
As to the ones above, they're leading me on a train of thought that I hadn't even considered until now. So they may be key.

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post #53 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 6:56 PM
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good spot @bpe true the chain in question isn't RK but the technology is probably the same. one thing is obvious from the text however the integrity of the lubrication of the inner core is dependant on the seals holding that lubrication in place for the life of the chain.

I would assume therefore that should it fail early it would be nigh on impossible to replace the lubricant in the core by merely oiling the chain. because if it's designed to keep the lube from running out it wont let any back in. interesting I think. thanks for that.
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post #54 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 2:04 AM
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I want to share an image of a pair of cut offs from 2 different chains I used. Both are RK. Both are gold nitrided. However, look closely at the rollers.



You'll note that there is no seam in them. If you are seeing a seam on the rollers, I'm not certain you have a genuine RK chain:



Like I wrote initially, these are cut offs. The lengths of chain left over after I cut a chain to length.



They've been lying around my garage for a little while so they're not all clean and pretty but I wanted to illustrate the point about the rollers and how they're constructed.



If you see a seam in the middle of a roller, and it isn't completely sealed over no amount of o-rings are gonna matter as all the grease will work its way out past the seam.....once that happens, wear on the pins is accelerated and the chain "stretches" accordingly.



That means more frequent than normal adjustments and early failure (no adjustment left to maintain tension)


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post #55 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 6:32 AM Thread Starter
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You'll note that there is no seam in them. If you are seeing a seam on the rollers, I'm not certain you have a genuine RK chain
This is good info. Just going off memory I don't recall seeing rollers with seams. I will be checking those out. If one is found I would consider it smoking gun evidence.


On another note:
The above link is showing a diagram of a genuine RK link (at least supposedly). It's just not from RK corp. Like I would like to have. Here is what has kind of thrown me for a loop. Before I had ever known anything about MC chains, I just assumed they were no different than a bicycle chain, only bigger. Once I was aware of the O-rings, I just figured that was the only difference. Then some years back I saw a diagram of the same type as above (think it may have been in a video) showing something much more complex being added to the mix. I have now come to the conclusion that I just must have misinterpreted it. So as it is now, MC chains are basically the same as bicycle chains. The only relevance to this being, I don't think it is going to be as easy as I was thinking to prove anything by cutting inside the roller. Although I should still do it just to be sure.

I'm leaning towards improper O-rings being key at this point. Problem with that being, if I find that it could be argued a genuine chain, just miss packaged.

@yorkie I believe when using a quality chain lube on X-ring or Z-ring (and now I see they have developed U-rings) chains, the lube will penetrate fine past the rings and then thicken up to stay where it is supposed to. At least for the proper lube interval time. Using regular oil for lubing is more for regular O-rings (or non O-rings), although chain lube would still be better for those applications also.

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post #56 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 11:28 AM
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Along with the above link I have found this one.
https://www.motorcyclegear.com/info_...ical_info.html
The problem with this one is, it is not from RK corp. I'm trying to find something like this, but an official one from RK. For the time being I will assume this to be accurate. Unless someone tells me it is not, or that it may not be accurate. I have seen some diagrams similar to these in the past, but looking a little different. Can't say as to what the validity in them would be, or who even drew them up. Possibly they are both accurate anyway, only difference being where the cross cut view was made.
As to the ones above, they're leading me on a train of thought that I hadn't even considered until now. So they may be key.
I followed the link above, and read the info on how RK now laser etches their brand name on the side plates. As late as it was, I couldn't help myself, and went down to the garage to inspect my 'new in the box' RK chain I got from a Amazon a few weeks back. It does appear to have the newer markings (can't tell if they are laser etched), and not the engraving/stamping method. Now, no guarantee it's not a copy and the RK branding is actually some ink....

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post #57 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 11:54 AM
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Previous posts all valid, well and fine....but remain devoid of undeniable proof of fake RK chain being in a EX members possession.

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post #58 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 5:45 PM Thread Starter
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Now, no guarantee it's not a copy and the RK branding is actually some ink....
I know all I can remember seeing is the old stamp method, but that doesn't mean I don't have the etched ones. I have to get out the ole kerosene and start in on probably 2 hours of cleaning before I can even see my old chains.

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remain devoid of undeniable proof of fake RK chain being in a EX members possession.
No one is claiming undeniable proof yet. Key word there is yet . May not never be able to find a smoking gun. . Enough circumstantial evidence may raise some eyebrows though.

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post #59 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 5:20 PM Thread Starter
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Is anyone up for a gamble .

https://www.ebay.com/itm/RK-520XSO11...YAAOSwJJFdg5wZ

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post #60 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 8:41 PM
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$30?!?! Hell naw!!!
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post #61 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-22-2019, 10:17 PM
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Other than checking with the manufacturer, there is only one way to find out.

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post #62 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 1:25 AM
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Here's one possibility we haven't examined, the chain with stiff link was previously purchased, damaged and returned! It's possible someone tried to cut chain with pin-pusher tool and failed. That's because of expanded peened ends of pins. However, back-side of tool has fingers that wrap on either side of pin. Using this tool would compress back-side plates towards centre of chain since squeezing-force wasn't going to push expanded pin inwards.

There's A LOT of dishonest returns being done nowadays with online-shopping compared to brick & mortar stores. People processing returns probably just looks things over and if not grossly and obviously damaged, would throw it back on shelf as regular inventory ready for sale.

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post #63 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 7:31 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the problem I'm having with the chain in the above link (post #59). I dismiss it as an RK chain altogether. Based on the fact that there are not enough outer plates stamped with something. RK stamps many more plates with one thing or another that is not showing up in that chain. While that in it's self doesn't prove anything for my purpose here, there is one plate on the bottom left that could. It's too difficult to see, but appears that the stamp might say "RK". And if you have a non-RK chain that has an RK stamp, then that chain would be a counterfeit.

On a side note: I agree that this chain has been returned by at least 1 person at some point. Other wise the sealed plastic bag would not have been opened.

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post #64 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 4:52 PM Thread Starter
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The prosecution: opening statements

Looks like I have some time to move forward on this now.

I will be presenting my case in 2 or 3 parts. Part 1 will address the circumstantial evidence I have that led me to consider the possibility of fake chains to begin with. Part 2 will address any further evidence obtained. Part 2 may or may not be divided into 2 parts, part 2A being outside chain evidence, part 2B being inside chain roller evidence. Whether part 2 gets divided into 2 parts will be determined after I see what evidence I can gather.

But ladies and gentlemen of the jury, make no mistake about it. The prosecution (me) has enough evidence in part 1 to raise the level of doubt for the non existence of fake chains.

Just to recap on what was already discussed earlier in the thread: The thread is about fake chains in general, I will have to stay focused on RK because that is the only brand I have sufficient data on. We would need another prosecutor for other brands.

Within my arguments the subject of poor and improper chain maintenance will arise. But it is best to stay focused on the subject at hand. I will be willing to stipulate that proper chain maintenance may be considered even more important than a fake chain. But it is just not the subject here, and may just add to confusion trying to discuss both at the same time.

Now I'm going to stop at this point to give the opportunity for any defense counsel that may or may not be out there to make any opening statements that they wish. You have 36 hours to do so, or to ask for a continuance for more time. By my clock that is Friday 4:00 am EDS time. After which I present my case.

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post #65 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 8:26 PM
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hi all. just my two pennies worth. I can see the outcome of this being either short lived or drawn out for few more pages. however.

I cannot confirm or deny the possibility of fake chains being out there as I never use expensive chains. so it would be unlikely a cheap one would be worth faking. I have used the cheaper RK [standard link] in the past with no issues.
one needs an expert witness namely the alleged manufacturer of the said chain ie RK. only they can really say if the chain was made by them. or someone else. circumstance dictates this as definitive proof they were not the manufacturer and also whether the said chain is indeed theirs but a rouge that's slipped pass their QC infrastructure.

the assumption that all manufactured goods are of similar quality doesn't hold water. for instance I once had a Volvo [yeah I know but] my father had one two of my uncles had one my brother had one some of them ran for decades without issue. so I bought one. mine however was a lemon. two engines. 3 gearboxes. more prop shafts than Ford. countless electronic gizmos. and was so unreliable the recovery company stopped coming out to it. this didn't make my Volvo a fake. just a pile of Poo.

a metallurgy report on the steel made to make it would help sway the jury when it's origin was established.

ether way I wish you luck in the pursuit of the truth. meanwhile my two present cheap chains are working well up to date. with 4k now between them.
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post #66 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 10:05 PM
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Wouldn't that be a hoot if Kawi sold the EX tooling to the Chinese and they made 'counterfeit' EX500s?

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post #67 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-23-2019, 10:29 PM
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Kinds like VW with Mexican Bugs!
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post #68 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 7:27 AM
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^^ what's that got to do with drive chains. I was only trying to illustrate in my post that even the most reliable of goods can be lemons and that does not constitute work by some fakers.
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post #69 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 9:06 AM Thread Starter
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one needs an expert witness namely the alleged manufacturer of the said chain ie RK. only they can really say if the chain was made by them. or someone else.
I think an expert would be needed if the fake was a "good" fake. But an obvious fake would not require an expert.
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the assumption that all manufactured goods are of similar quality doesn't hold water.
I agree with this to a certain level. It's mostly dependent on what product we're discussing. Example, lemons are going to run ramped in the automotive industry, probably in the MC's also. Having to do with a big assembly line, giving it a large margin for human error. Things constantly changing from year to year. On the other end of the spectrum, if you were to buy a Craftsman box end wrench, you would be really hard pressed to find a lemon. Drive chains would fall somewhere in the middle, but I think a lot closer to the lower end of the spectrum.

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Wouldn't that be a hoot if Kawi sold the EX tooling to the Chinese and they made 'counterfeit' EX500s?
One thing is for sure. Kawasaki is outsourcing some of the manufacturing of OEM parts to the Chinese.

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Kinds like VW with Mexican Bugs!
I may not be understanding what your implying. But I will give it a shot. The Germans are not going to outsource anything to Mexico, that's more of an American thing. But I think they (Germans) are outsourcing to Eastern European countries. Pardon me if this wasn't germane to the discussion.

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post #70 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 4:21 PM Thread Starter
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A little update:


I managed to get inside the roller with minimal damage. Had to grind off one side of the bushings flush with the plate and then whack it apart with a hammer and screwdriver. This link is off an unused portion from an older chain. At the time I had no way of knowing what chain it may have been off of. My main goal being just to figure out how to dissect this. I just determined that this is off my used suspect chain. Based on the fact that I knew it had to be off a chain with 126 links. Then I go through Amazon history to see how many links the used suspect chain had, and sure enough, 126. I know I have only bought 1 chain with 126 links. As a bonus finding, this one also came from an Amazon warehouse at a low price of $52. Hmmm.

Back to the picture. Looking at it I cant imagine what I could possibly find noticeably different in any of the other chain's rollers. So it looks like I wont be able to get any further evidence from that area.

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post #71 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-24-2019, 5:34 PM
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I may not be understanding what your implying. But I will give it a shot. The Germans are not going to outsource anything to Mexico, that's more of an American thing. But I think they (Germans) are outsourcing to Eastern European countries. Pardon me if this wasn't germane to the discussion.
VW is similar to U.S. G.M. with really below-average quality, doesn't even compare to BMW or Porsche. They moved original Beetle production rights and plants to Distribuidora Volkswagen Central, S.A decades ago. While Germany VW focused on New Beetle.
https://www.npr.org/2019/07/09/73986...exico-tomorrow

Relates to this discussion as lots of retailers may buy OEM products from OEM suppliers, perhaps not original brand-name manufacturer of same name. I.E. Aisin supplies water-pumps to Toyota and removes their name from castings. But you can also buy exact same water-pump from 3rd-parties with Aisin logo. Same with Koyo wheel-bearings. I wonder if RK is using subcontractors who may be selling their chains on the side.

With global economy, markets and trade-wars, it's extremely difficult to pin down origins and manufacturers of products. When I worked at World Trade Centre in Port Hueneme, BMW pulled variation of "Made in U.S.A." logo. Rather than establishing US-plants like Toyota, Honda or VW, they took advantage of NAFTA-created "free trade zone" between L.A. and Port Hueneme. They would bring in BMW autos with incomplete assembly via boat and unload at docks. U.S. workers then installed side-view mirrors and put "Made in U.S.A." stickers on them and ship them to dealers across country with no import-duties paid. I'm wondering if RK has similar US-production methods, or even subcontracts production to U.S. factories. In which case, quality would be similar to comparing Chevy Cobalt to Lexus.

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post #72 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 7:19 AM Thread Starter
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^ OK, I'll touch base on a few of those points.
There may be some GM guys that will have a bone to pick with you . But since I'm not a GM guy, I'll stay out of that one .

Quote:
I wonder if RK is using subcontractors who may be selling their chains on the side.
I would say doubtful, but can't say for sure.

Quote:
I'm wondering if RK has similar US-production methods, or even subcontracts production to U.S. factories.
I doubt the US can do it as cost effective as Japan, quality or otherwise. At least without violating federal laws . I'm not going to elaborate on this point.

But you do raise some interesting points.

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post #73 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 9:17 AM Thread Starter
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OK, here's my case ( I know, and not a minute too soon)
Make of it what you will, decide for yourselves.


These are the only used chains I have to work with. Thought I had more laying around, but I guess not.
I have 2 "suspect" chains. 1 used chain, the top one in the picture. And 1 still new in the box chain.

My chain history, factoring out the suspect chains and the original non-RK chain.
I early on have decided replacing my drive chain is best done at every 10,000 miles. Reasons being:
Convenience in maintenance.
Any indications for the need to do so had never appeared until close to this point.
I consider a good chain a major safety issue.

The used suspect chain:
This chain is suspect based on the fact that it starting getting kinks in it very early on. This started happening at around 2,000 - 3,000 miles. And even more kinks that I had ever seen before, maybe 7 or 8 links.

All my "good" chains have always gone the distance. At least my distance of 10,000 miles. As far as the good one's, more than half have went with out any issues what so ever. The ones that did show issues included 1 or 2 kinked links, a few O-rings (X-rings) missing, and 1 chain that showed indications that the inside of one of the rollers was getting rust. Now while I attribute all these issues due to improper chain maintenance on my part, the suspect chain didn't get any less care than the good ones.

The unused suspect chain:
I can't get past this "wrong box".


Box it came in on the top. The box it should have come in on the bottom. Even when ordering, one like the box on the bottom was the one I was shown in their picture. One interesting note I found on the RK website, they in no uncertain terms, claim you should never clean your chain with kerosene.


On the back of the X-ring box (probably need to enlarge the picture to read) they don't mention kerosene at all. But do say to clean with a quality chain cleaner.



On the back of the O-ring box, they say kerosene is fine and dandy. So whether or not this box is fake or not (I have no other similar boxes for reference), there is clearly a contradiction by someone.

The chain it's self would at least appear to be legit. Now the master link is a different story. In the picture the suspect master link is on top, the proper master link is on the bottom.

Here's a shot of the suspect master link on top, and 2 legit links on the bottom. one still in the package and one taken out for closer inspection. It's not unusual for a manufacture to change how something is packaged, but normally it would be done as an upgrade of some sort, or for better marketing purposes. Here I don't see anything like that. Parts in the suspect link package just flying around loose, and an important note completely dry, no shipping grease. If we look at the legit links, shipping grease used. Even going to the effort to tie the X-rings together with a wire. Looking at the back side of the legit package, even vacuum sealing (or maybe heat shrinking) the package. This is also the only instance where I have not seen the master link placed and sealed within the chain packaging it's self. For the sake of argument lets say that all three components are legit. The chain, the master link, and the box it's self, although the box would still be the wrong one for the X-ring. For what ever (and highly unlikely IMO) reason that it is simply mispackaged, it would seem a lot more plausible to me that someone ordering an O-ring chain would end up receiving this "X-ring" chain in an O-ring box, than it would for someone ordering an X-ring chain and receiving it in an O-ring box.

All of the above is part 1 of my case.
I did find one small tidbit of a discrepancy for part 2.

On the plate stamps there are 4 stamps as follows:
RK
Japan
520xso1
And a random 4 digit number that is different from chain to chain, but remains consistent on any one given chain. (some sort of lot number)


This is one of the good chains. To simplify I'm counting outer plates here, and not links in the usual way. This picture shows 2 stamped plates with 6 unstamped plates between them. This pattern stays consistent on all the chains I looked at. Side note: If your checking your RK chains for this pattern, when the master link is between the stamped links, you have to disregard that segment because the chain can be cut at any random point.



This is my suspect chain. It shows only 5 unstamped plates between the stamped ones. The only chain I found to break pattern.



So there you have it.
The prosecution rests.

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post #74 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 10:41 AM
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Interesting stuff, and well thought out. At the end of the day, however, RK will want to see your suspect chain and do their own analysis. What I don't know, is what will happen if they find you are the victim of an unauthorized chain? I would not be surprised tif they have received other such cases.

On a personal level, the 530XSOZ1 chain I purchased from Amazon (supplied by Amazon, and not a third-party affiliate) also came in an 'O' ring box box, exactly the same as your top picture. The box had a barcode sticker with the correct chain spec. The chain inside is 'marked' with the correct spec.

Is the box just an oversight, or normal RK business practice? Don't know.

Did I get a bogus chain? Don't know.

Am I at least a bit concerned? Yes.

Should I let Amazon know of my concern? Yes.

Should I raise a concern with RK? Probably.

Am I going to send the chain to RK? Not likely.

2007 Kawasaki EX-500 Ninja
2003 Honda Goldwing
2001 Honda VFR 800
2000 Kawasaki KDX 200
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post #75 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-25-2019, 11:13 AM
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With the obvious need for scrutiny including the missing, actual *internal composition* of suspect chains (compared to confirmed genuine samples) , packaging materials, production codes, factory markings...... I'd urge consultation of an expert witness.....

https://rkexcelamerica.com/contact/

They can interpret all evidence presented so far by @bpe

Until such a time, I'd call for dismissal based on insufficient evidence, Your Honor.
************************************************** **************************************

How many production facilities do they employ? Do packaging materials differ between them? Do they utilize alternative (leftover) packaging if needed to keep the flow of product going? Are the production codes valid? Does packaging differ between facilities? Is quality control carefully monitored? But most important....expert scrutiny of internal component composition.

We can't truly answer these questions, but RK can.
If the pictured chains are "leftovers", I'd urge @bpe to cut a few links off each, contact RK (a phone # in the contact link I posted) send them samples, old shipping cartons, etc etc. Whatever THEY require, if you are truly moved to get to the bottom of this issue communicate and play ball with them if they are conducive, curious and willing to delve into the issue.

“Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba....” quote Hunter S Thompson

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