Some people that have recent history with the AG200 might be surprised to learn that the first model released way back in ’83 – ’84 was supplied with an o’ring chain for the final drive. What?! Why go to all the trouble of designing a fully enclosed final drive system and then add an o’ring chain? Yamaha must of asked themselves the same question because they stopped doing it not long after the original release. What about now? Is it worth the expense to prolong the life of a component that, if maintained correctly, will last for ages? My thoughts on the matter follow…
I have some dealer friends who swear by putting o’ring chains inside the chain enclosure of any AG200 that passes through their workshop. If you are a belt and suspenders type of person then I guess you would consider this a good idea. On farms that get chopped up by cattle (deep, sloppy mud) during the winter (Dude…get an ATV!), this is probably a good idea. The factory chain enclosure is great when set up right but it’s not perfect. The lower guard has a drain hole at the lower section and if this part fills with mud and the drain hole blocks then you have a factory chain and sprocket destruction device!
An o’ring chain will not enjoy being operated in a bath of corrosive, abrasive slime but it will last way longer than a conventional chain. So in this sort of environment where people tend to not give the bike even a fleeting glance between times when the bike stops running (known by a lot of farmers as the “service interval”), then I would suggest an o’ring chain a wise investment.
Now for the rest of us…I have never bothered with an o’ring chain on my AG200s because I know how much power conventional o’rings can suck out of a small engine. I don’t know about you, but if I have a bike with less (waaaaaaaay less!) than 20 HP out the back wheel then I don’t want to let any of that go! The AG doesn’t have much horsepower to start with so sucking a little bit out with an o’ring chain wont do it any favours. I also believe if you look after the chain guard properly then it will do nearly as much to protect the chain as any o’ring will.
Some of these new, low friction X ring chains might work better for the AG but once again, vigilance and preventive maintenance, in my opinion, will prevent the need. There is no horsepower to stretch the chain, so if you keep it adjusted, lubed and relatively clean, which the factory enclosure will do, then you are safe with a conventional chain. Spend the money you saved on chain lube and live happily ever after!