Two Himalayans BS4 and one brand new Kawasaki KLR headed out on a lovely sunny day for a roadside snack some 100 miles away in the countryside outside Buenos Aires. At a coffee stop the KLR owner, who also owns a BS4, swapped so his mate could try out the KLR. About 50kms from our destination (Chivilcoy), the Himalayan pulled over, I stopped in front of him and asked what was the problem.
It just stopped, was the reply. I took a quick look and saw the chain separated and hanging down underneath. Oops!
By a stroke of luck we were literally at the entrance to a Dapsa service station, the nearest one for miles, so we got the bike to the safety of the rest area and began to investigate.
The master link had literally snapped at the flat part opposite the slidey bit and we were about to learn some tough lessons. I had only brought some rudimentary tools, the same as my two mates.
The Himalayan owner just happened to still be in touch with his ex-brother in law who lived a few miles from where we were and he kindly jumped in his car and brought some tools. After removing the sprocket cover we saw that the remains of the chain had wrapped around the sprocket, some metal had been ground off the aluminium casing, but other than that, no serious damage appeared to have been done.
It was decided that we should try and find a master link to fix the problem because a recovery would be both expensive and complicated for numerous reasons.
The time was 1215 midday and since all the motorcycle shops were closed for lunch until 4 pm, brother in law took the broken link with him for reference (525), saying that he would be back if he had any luck at around 5 pm. I might add that a very important football game was due to start at 5 pm (Boca vs Fulminense in Brazil) which could complicate the matter.
It's amazing how you can kill five hours with mates, chatting over a snack lunch and meeting other bikers who all offered to help. Anyway, our hero returned with a master link, telling us that it was size 'five two something or other' but without an O ring. Well, it fitted okay, but was certainly a temporary repair and we all managed to get home safely in about three hours.
Naturally we all scolded ourselves and agreed that we had learned a valuable lesson - take the effing tools with us! On every trip!
I had all the tools necessary at home which I carefully put together some time ago, including a chain braker, a master link for a 525 chain and all the right size sockets for the Himalayan. Duh!
We were lucky it was the master link ( I don't know if brother in law found a full 525 chain) since we didn't have a chain breaker and also breaking down where we did. The planets must have been in alignment.
Also, it was a reminder that both I and the other Himalayan owner (the broken chain) need to change our chains and sprockets because we are at around 21,000 kms each. I would then keep my old chain as an emergency spare as I have always done with other bikes.
Lesson learned and the empanadas at the Dapsa service station are some of the best I have ever tasted!