Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chain Lube & Drive Line

I've been pretty blessed with respect to drive train maintenance. Only once have I had to replace a set of sprockets and a chain. And, I really did that because I was taking a long trip (Trans-Am Trail - Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado) and didn't want to have to worry about the chain failing. The original equipment chain probably would have made it but I figured "better safe than sorry."

One the things the previous owner did, to ensure the chain wouldn't turn to junk, was to liberally apply (red) grease to the chain. He did a nice enough job because the chain is still in pristine condition but the grease attracted an awful lot of dirt and debris along the way. Over the winter I made a feeble attempt at cleaning it using rags and brake cleaner. That was good enough for the time being but last weekend, while I was changing tires, I decided to get it good and clean once and for all. This time I used about a pint of turpentine, in a shallow oil drain pan, and let the chain soak in it while I swapped tires. Using a little elbow grease and an old toothbrush did the trick. The chain now looks like it did when it left the factory. I opted to try some Liquid Wrench Chain Lube.So far it's been great. It goes on as a liquid and dries within sixty minutes. It does not sling off but you do need to be vigilant while applying the lube to the chain, as it will drip. The next time I apply it, I may remove the chain from the NX and suspend it so extra liquid lube can drip off into a catch pan. After its dry, putting the chain back on the bike should be easy and keep everything much cleaner.

I am kicking around the idea of changing the sprockets so I can get a little more top end speed. Stock gearing for the 1988 NX125 is 15/56 (3.73:1 final drive). The 1989-90 models came with 15/50 (3.33:1 final drive) gearing. I am thinking of switching to 14/48 (3.42:1 final drive) and an o-ring chain. I will stick with the 428 chain as I see no reason for an upgrade.
EDIT: a reader left a comment (thanks Ed) to let me know that the stock gearing, on his 1989 NX125, is 15/48. So, if I wanted to increase the top speed potential, I could always go with the factory gearing for the 1989-90 NX125.


  1. Hi Dave, my factory manual for 89-90 NX125's shows sprockets as 15/48. I bought mine a few weeks ago and that's what it had on it (I'm the 3rd owner). I went to 16/48 and it's a little better at keeping up with urban traffic. I might eventually try 16/46, but don't think I'd go any higher. My NX is an 89, apparently you and I have the only two in the U.S. :-) Oh, there's a guy parting one out on ebay, he has a factory rack listed there. Ed

    1. Just stumbled across this site as I was looking for replacement sprockets for my 89 NX125. Now you know of 3 in existence (or maybe 4, including the eBay part out)! This was my first street bike in 1990 and now it will be my girlfriend's very first bike ever. It has 1300 miles on it.

    2. Turns out there's quite a few of these neat little bikes keeping a low profile. Here's a URL to a thread I started, regarding the NX125, on a forum site called Adventure Rider. A great place to trade info with other NX owners.

      If I recall correctly, the rear sprocket on the NX is kind of unique with the pins that are attached to the sprocket and extend into cushions in the hub. The front may be pretty easy to get. If you're changing sprockets, you might as well change the chain, too. It's a 428 non o-ring unit and should be pretty cheap (get a good one, D.I.D., though). Honda may still be a source. Check with an on-line company called Service Honda out of Hammond, IN. They have great prices and great service. Ride On!

  2. Hi Ed. Thanks for the comment, you're the first. It's interesting that all of the on-line parts fiches show the rear gear, for 1989-90 NX125s, having 50 teeth. I feel a little more comfortable with a 48 tooth rear gear now. I won't need to change the c/s sprocket (to 14t). Your commute must take you on higher speed roads than I ride on my commute. I'm OK with the gearing I have now. 16/46 (2.87:1) is pretty low and should result in a pretty high top speed. Let us know what rpm you're seeing at, say, 60 or 65 mph. I hope the 16 tooth c/s sprocket will fit. You may have to modify the guard. I have never seen another NX125 in Chicago. I've heard of a guy that has several NX250s and he wanted to buy this bike but I got there first. I saw the eBay rack and was hoping not to have to bid against anyone. =) Since you have an '89, your NX already has a rack, right? Thanks again for the comment and keep me posted on your gear selections - Dave.