Counterfeit drive chains - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #1 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 4:02 PM Thread Starter
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Counterfeit drive chains

I have considered the possibility of fake chains for about a year now. Specifically RK chains because those are the only ones I have used on my EX.

I haven't come forward before as I didn't think I had enough evidence. But now with what evidence I have and what has come up in another thread, it's time to bring this to light.

I also didn't want to discredit a known quality chain maker. If in fact there are fake chains out there, it wouldn't be RK's fault. And I would imagine it wouldn't be confined to just RK chains, but any or all quality chain brands.

I'll be posting more evidence later. Just getting a feel for what other members may think about this so far.
May just be me on one of my off the wall conspiracy theories.

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post #2 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 4:48 PM
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I recently had a very bad experience with a DID o-ring, and I was told by someone who knows a lot more than I do that the chain may have been a fake. He said he's come across several such fakes and they look very much like the real thing--but are far from it. Anyway, I bought the chain from what was supposed to be a good source, so I am surprised if they sold me a fake or were fooled by the fake. That said, I was also surprised that a brand with such a good reputation woudl sell such a crummy chain.

In any case, the experience was pretty scary, and I am in the middle of a plain chain (unsealed chain) experiment because of it. And that has been scary in different ways too. Maybe it's all because of a fake chain....
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post #3 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 6:00 PM
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It would be pretty hard to tell unless you had a known genuine RK to directly compare with the suspected counterfeit. A small number of defective units can slip through quality control with any mass produced item so that's an alternate explanation for a defective brand name item. If its a common problem, whoever is handling the warranty may recognize the fake because they've seen the counterfeits before. I'll be interested to hear about your evidence you've gathered.

Its a potential problem with any expensive part. I've heard its become a serious issue with aircraft parts and that's even more scary than counterfeit motorcycle chain.
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post #4 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 7:38 PM
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I would love to read @bpe findings but it would not surprise me at all if it is true. while it is also true no QC system is fool proof and rouge items do get through the vast majority of items that are of value someone somewhere will be making fakes, so why not drive chains.

this is a global problem on any product. not helped by manufactures and suppliers out sourcing the items to where they can be made cheaper. the irony is if you buy a budget brand your less likely to be sold a fake.
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post #5 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 9:02 PM
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fakes not limited to chain....this one quite alarming https://www.thecounterfeitreport.com...ark-Plugs.html

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post #6 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-13-2019, 9:31 PM Thread Starter
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I think I have good evidence that would at least support a good possibility of fake chains. I need time to get my ducks in a row . Pictures, links to Amazon and Ebay, and time it's self.

May also be sitting on definitive proof. Known real RK chains (used) and suspected fake(still unused). If I could surgically dissect the unseen part inside the rollers. May be easier said than done. Being how small they are. They would need to be cut length wise, and even the smallest Dremel tool would end up removing a big percentage of the material. Plus I don't have a vise to hold it in.

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post #7 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 1:26 AM
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drill out ends of pins to pull plate off? That would preserve rollers and bushings.
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post #8 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 4:43 AM
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Phillips has been a particular target, with fake HID automotive bulbs flooding the market. As time goes on, this will be less of a problem, as HID is now old-tech and LEDs are taking over. But then...


As to chains, could it have been a mis-marked or mis-packaged chain from RK? I would email them and maybe include some macro photos of the side plates and perhaps the rollers, to include the seams. It is surprising how responsive many companies are - especially where their good name is involved.

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post #9 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 5:30 AM Thread Starter
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drill out ends of pins to pull plate off? That would preserve rollers and bushings.
I think your on to something here. But I will change it to grinding the rivets down and using a chain breaker to push both the pins out on a link.

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As to chains, could it have been a mis-marked or mis-packaged chain from RK?
At the very least this is exactly what I have. But still considering the possibility that the chain it's self is fake. Because I also have a used chain that came (at least seemingly in proper packaging) that I suspect is fake.

I actually did look into returning the other suspect chain. The problem was the chain came from an Amazon warehouse, as opposed to Amazon providing a link between the seller and buyer. It could only be returned to Amazon. There was way too many hoops for me to jump through to make the return. I could have returned it to an Amazon office, except didn't have time to get there during business hours, probably would have had to pay for parking also. Other option was to print out some ignorant return sticker (no working printer at the time), go to the post office (again during business hours {no time}). There's a 30 day window of opportunity to do this, the wrong 30 days for me.

FYI this chain was 140 links for $45. One of the reasons I suspect it to be fake.

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post #10 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 10:08 AM
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As to chains, could it have been a mis-marked or mis-packaged chain from RK? I would email them and maybe include some macro photos of the side plates and perhaps the rollers, to include the seams. It is surprising how responsive many companies are - especially where their good name is involved.
I'd agree to contact and provide RK with a short length of the chain so THEY can evaluate. I'd include the packaging (box) as well. If found to be a fake, I'd guess RK would quite interested in the source.

Providing *the manufacturer* with the ability to track down (shut down, or even prosecute) the fake source will at least help to dissuade this practice in the future.

They (in this case RK) have the ability to easily discern whether the product a fake....and the corporate, legal abilities to further deal with it if so.

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post #11 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 11:44 AM
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I think your on to something here. But I will change it to grinding the rivets down and using a chain breaker to push both the pins out on a link.

At the very least this is exactly what I have. But still considering the possibility that the chain it's self is fake. Because I also have a used chain that came (at least seemingly in proper packaging) that I suspect is fake.

I actually did look into returning the other suspect chain. The problem was the chain came from an Amazon warehouse, as opposed to Amazon providing a link between the seller and buyer. It could only be returned to Amazon. There was way too many hoops for me to jump through to make the return. I could have returned it to an Amazon office, except didn't have time to get there during business hours, probably would have had to pay for parking also. Other option was to print out some ignorant return sticker (no working printer at the time), go to the post office (again during business hours {no time}). There's a 30 day window of opportunity to do this, the wrong 30 days for me.

FYI this chain was 140 links for $45. One of the reasons I suspect it to be fake.
I will tell you that Amazon Warehouse has some killer deals. Most are open-box returns or even damaged packaging. Niece's hubby works for them and explained that they blow stuff out the door rather than incur the whole return-to-seller and re-stocking thing at their end. It's about cash flow and simplifying their logistics. Their product descriptions usually sound worse than they are (used - very good, used - like new). I have found that they are normally new in opened packages. A few have some handling marks, which will be noted by non-experts. Few years back, I snagged a set of McGard wheel locks for my Civic for $6 delivered. Package was unopned - just a return. still, you have to use some caution.
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post #12 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:22 PM
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There was a heated topic over on the Ducati forums a few months ago. A guy was bashing DID and essentially hinting at exceptionally poor quality. The DID fan boys were going nuts! Given the rash of potentially fake chains, it's not a big stretch to wonder if he was a victim on a non-genuine DID product?

I bought an RK chain for my VFR on Amazon recently. I'm now hoping it's a genuine RK chain....

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post #13 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 12:26 PM
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I'd like to add my $.02 if I may. This only my experience, but it is nearly 3 decades of it. I use RK chains as a matter of choice and have for all of those years. I've never encountered a counterfeit one.



It doesn't matter which RK I've used. 530, 525 or 520. O-ring, X-ring, XW-ring or non-oring they all conform to a very high quality standard. Metallurgy or precision fit, it just didn't matter. I've had nitrided (gold chain) chains look like new after 6 or 7 years of use.



All that said, I went to Singapore back in 2005. We wound up stranded there for a week due to weather (typhoon) and couldn't take off. While there, we (all the motorcyclists from the deployment) went to a district in Singapore where all the motorcycle shops are. Not all were open but the few that were, found us entertaining.



As such, they told us about some the stuff they had, stuff we didn't get in the US. That's primarily what started conversations, us talking about gear they had that we didn't get. One shop, they were really up front and honest about it. They told us, alot of stuff was counterfeit. Brought over from Hong Kong. They told us to watch out for prices that seemed way too low.


Prices for real, brand name gear was just as expensive there, as here. So, it made sense that if something was cheap, it was likely counterfeit. They even showed us a couple of helmets. Same name brand...Suomy I think.....one was being sold for slightly less than what we'd pay here (not DOT though) and one was about 1/3rd the price. Same name brand. Same model of helmet. Slightly different graphics.



As we pondered the helmet thing, the guy helping us told us that wasn't all that was coming out of Hong Kong. Counterfeit everything he said. Hardware, wheels, shocks..all manner of stuff.



Most were obviously fake, like Öhlins shocks that were too cheap to be real. You could tell he said. A real Öhlins went for real money. $800-$1000 in Singapore dollars at the time. Counterfeits were around $180 SD. That's only bit over $100 USD.



That story told, I'd not be surprised if RK were also being counterfeited. They're a well trusted name in business. RK Takasago also makes sprockets, Excel rims and hubs, and a number of other motorcycle industry brand name standards. They also make TCC (Takasago Chain Company) branded bicycle chains and have since the 1950s.



To put an even greater emphasis on RK products, their chains and sprockets have been used for years by HRC in Grand Prix and MotoGP road racing.



I would not find your hypothesis that there are counterfeit RK chains out there to be a conspiracy theory. The weight of evidence, even at an anecdotal level supports the possibility. I'd say, go ahead and get your ducks in a row and contact RK US and see what they have to say. .....sean

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post #14 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 6:34 PM Thread Starter
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Just to say, if there are fake RK chains out there (right now it's still a big if), it wouldn't be a reflection on RK. I would also suspect it is a recent occurrence. Before the 2 I'm having issues with, I had bought at least a dozen without issue.


As far as sending the chains in question to RK. Where's the fun in that . Of coarse if it turns out to start looking funky , I would be the first one to start looking up Japanese zip codes.

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post #15 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 8:03 PM
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I believe there's fake chains out there, especially with all the Chinese manufacturers. I will never buy a chain from the internet UNLESS it's directly from the major companies (like Bike Master). I get my chains straight from my dealership. It may cost me a few extra dollars but I ride confidently that what they sell me is the real thing.

I just don't trust the Amazon's and definitely nothing on eBay!
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post #16 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 8:19 PM
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I've had better luck with eBay due to their seller-ratings and PayPal buyer guarantees. In only one transaction in past 10-yrs, I've had to file intervention with PayPal for re-imbursement. In that case, it was an extremely rare item where they were only vendor offering it.

On Amazon, I'll read both the seller-ratings and product-reviews most carefully, especially recent ones. If most recent 20-reviews (or year) are all positive, I'll go for it. They don't often have best pricing, but free shipping clinches deal! My wife returns stuff she doesn't like constantly. Amazon lockers at nearby grocery stores are so convenient!

In auto-tuning biz, there's been lots of counterfeiting of popular and profitable items. Fake Bosch and Walbro fuel-pumps in larger sizes as they command higher-pricing and bigger profits. One of tell-tale signs of fakes are packaging. Printing on boxes not as nice and instructions are messy skewed photocopies instead original printing.

Yes, most obvious sign is significant discount pricing. With much more liquid and dynamic market, pricing often doesn't vary more than +/- 10-15% max. If it's less than that, I'll avoid it. Of course, if it's major seasonal or blow-out sales by major retailers, like Mobil-1 oil from Wal-mart, I'll stock up at 50% off!!!

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post #17 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 8:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Davenay67 View Post
, it's not a big stretch to wonder if he was a victim on a non-genuine DID product?
I'm certainly considering the possibility.


Quote:
Originally posted by cyoder4400
Quote:
FYI this was a RK o ring chain that was DOA.
I went ahead and pulled this statement off the other thread that prompted me to bring this subject to light now.
This is now evidence. Circumstantial, but evidence none the less.


Also consider this:
If there are not any fake RK chains, then it would appear that there are defective real ones. Which of coarse would be a reflection on RK. So I'm giving RK the benefit of the doubt by considering the possibility of fake ones. I would think if it were one or the other, RK would rather be dealing with fake chains on the market, than an all of a sudden drop in quality with the ones they're producing.

Side note:
After getting 2 suspect RK chains, the last one I got and have on my bike now is an RK. Mileage on it is still low at about 1200 miles, but I still have good confidence that is a legit good one.

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post #18 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-14-2019, 8:32 PM Thread Starter
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I believe there's fake chains out there
Can I ask is this because of a specific experience, or more of that's just the ways of the world?
Paying extra to a reputable establishment to ensure quality is a sound decision.

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post #19 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 12:28 AM
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When I buy a chain or any parts on Amazon, I look to see who the vendor is. Many times it is a reputable shop. One of the last parts I bought was from Dennis Kirk. I've been doing business with them since before the internets so I trust that what I'm getting from them is the genuine article.



Some other things I've ordered come from a motorcycle shop ( a real brick and mortar place) in Texas or Florida. I don't generally order anything crucial or expensive from some place I've never heard of.



I've used Amazon for years, for a great many things. I've never had an instance where I had an issue and needed to return something. I probably started shopping on Amazon back around 2008 or 2009.



It pays to do your due diligence and research the part you're ordering from Amazon. Doing so ensures you don't end up with a dud or counterfeit part.......sean


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post #20 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 7:09 AM Thread Starter
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It pays to do your due diligence and research the part you're ordering from Amazon. Doing so ensures you don't end up with a dud or counterfeit part.......sean
Just to clarify, as this applies to my case. If I order an RK RX-ring 520XSO chain, the only chain I have ever used on my bike other than the original. One that I'm very familiar with. Ordering it from Amazon, in this case Amazon themselves being the vendor. Even in the picture they show the proper packaging.

When it arrives it at the very least is not in proper packaging, validity of the chain still to be determined.

Did I do something wrong?
Did I not do enough research?
Did I use the wrong vendor (Amazon)?

I could see how using Amazon as the vendor could be wrong, as they're not in the MC business and I wouldn't expect them to know dittly squat about it. But I would think anyone including Amazon could at least see the difference in the packaging.

Since we're already off subject here anyway, just to add to my Amazon bash. Along with they're most inconvenient return procedure, when they ask me to send an email describing what the problem is, I do so and get zero response back. So I find that pretty sad also. They want me to communicate with them, but they're not willing to communicate with me.

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post #21 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 8:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bpe View Post
Can I ask is this because of a specific experience, or more of that's just the ways of the world?
Paying extra to a reputable establishment to ensure quality is a sound decision.

I've had friends buy chains off of Amazon. One buddy, who's very mechanically inclined, bought one from Amazon. He posted up that the chain broke about 10 miles from home just as he was getting on the interstate. He knows his stuff so I believe him when he chalked this up to him being dumb and buying something like that from Amazon.

As for eBay...I don't trust almost anything motorcycle part-wise on there unless it's packaged in an OEM plastic. And even then I'd still be leery. Why? Because what used to be an honest website (like CL) has become a bunch of scammers. Not saying that nothing is legit but definitely, "Buyer Beware"!
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post #22 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 9:15 PM
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well I have read this thread with interest and while it would appear that some fake chains are probably being sold, I assume these must be the top end ranges from top chain makers. I only use budget standard link chains, although they require more maintenance and possibly don't last as long. [I change the chain and sprockets every couple of years anyway] I am surprised at the issues some are having with much more expensive kit.

why use standard chains. well it goes back almost 40 years while in manufacturing I did a line maintenance course with the top engineers at the plant. part of the course was chain systems. I learned that basically the only chain approved for the plant was standard link. single. duplex. triplex, most of these chains lasted literally decades with regular maintenance. despite most being used in high moisture or dusty environments. so I have used that type ever since and never had a bad one in 40 years.

perhaps there is a lesson there for these modern times. simple and time tested may be better. a modern complex drive chain could be the bees knees, but with expense come the possibility that someone would cash in on the premium price.

after all they would only fake something that's worth faking, if you buy a Rolex watch cheap it's probably fake. if not definitely fake. but who would fake a Casio or Timex nobody cos it's not worth it. buying one of these almost guarantees it's genuine yet it will still tell you the time.

drive chains for me are just that it does what it's supposed to, drive the back wheel clean it oil it and use it. I doubt my next JP sprockets and Amazon chain will be a fake no matter who I buy it from. just saying.
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post #23 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 1:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bpe View Post

Did I do something wrong?
Did I not do enough research?
Did I use the wrong vendor (Amazon)?
I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I am saying do your due diligence. It can't hurt.



When I buy on Amazon, and I'm buying something high dollar and important to the function of my motorcycle, I pay attention to who the vendor is.


Even if it is offered and delivered by Amazon, you can see who the part is coming from.



I've ordered chains from Amazon now for at least 10 years. Not that I've ordered a great many but I've ordered from them for that long. Each time, I've found the chain or chain and sprocket kit to be coming from a legitimate brick and mortar motorcycle shop or vendor.



Sometimes, as I wrote previously, it's been Dennis Kirk. It's also been the manufacturer of the part. IE, I recently ordered filters for both my Ducatis. Both were sold by Hiflo Filtro and fulfilled by Amazon.



Other vendors selling on Amazon I've used are Moto Sport, Long Horn Moto and AMS Ducati out of Texas and Sea Coast Sport Cycle out of New Hampshire.



All of them are fairly well known in the motorcycle industry and doing my due diligence before ordering just gave me the peace of mind that I'd be getting what I ordered and not scammed or sold a counterfeit......buying from Amazon is not an issue.



Buying blind from Amazon might be. I'm not saying it will be, but it might be. Due diligence just helps ensure it isn't an issue.



I had to go back and see who supplied the last chain I ordered, and it was direct from RK America.....sean


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post #24 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 1:43 AM
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well I have read this thread with interest and while it would appear that some fake chains are probably being sold, I assume these must be the top end ranges from top chain makers. I only use budget standard link chains, although they require more maintenance and possibly don't last as long. [I change the chain and sprockets every couple of years anyway] I am surprised at the issues some are having with much more expensive kit.
I've used RK XSO-ring chains for as long as they've been available. At least 20 of the last 30 years. Never once had an issue.



I believe your assumption is correct. No one would bother counterfeiting something cheap. There's no money in that.



I went to my local Cycle Gear a while back, looking for a new 525 RK chain. The price? $170 for a 120 link, XSO-ring gold nitrided chain.



Online, I can find that same chain from any number of vendors for at least $70 less. On Amazon, same sort of difference. I don't need 120 links, 114 will do nicely. $100 on Amazon. Sold direct from RK America through Amazon.


Same chain, $114 at Dennis Kirk direct, not through Amazon.....due diligence....sean


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post #25 of 102 (permalink) Old 10-16-2019, 7:23 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I am saying do your due diligence. It can't hurt.

Fair enough. All I'm saying is I did just that. If you disagree feel free to elaborate, please be specific.

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Originally Posted by Apriliarider View Post
I've used RK XSO-ring chains for as long as they've been available. At least 20 of the last 30 years.
This is about the possibility of fake chains recently entering the current market, and ultimately the future market.
I also had no issue with the first dozen RK chains used on my bike. That in it's self would also suggest the fake ones are out there. i.e. all of a sudden issues appear.

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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Last edited by bpe; 10-16-2019 at 7:26 AM.
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