Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia
I'm sure the locknut is probably a better retention system and if I had it on my bike I would not change away from it. But I don't think the old retention plate system was bad - and it certainly makes doing sprockets when away from your home workshop a lot easier. As to the wear issue, I'm not certain it is a real problem: with the retaining plate system my bike at 175,000 miles is still running with out issues.
The bigger problem is Kawasaki stopped making the retaining plate in about 2016 and now, as far as I know, you can only get after market ones. The ones I sourced for the first year or so after Kawasaki's became unavailable, were all atrocious quality. They were made of very soft metal and I found I was using three or four before the sprocket wore out whereas the OEM ones used to last several sprockets.
For the last 30,000 miles (now on second chains and sprocket) I've thrown the plates a away and have been using a simple external circlip of the appropriate size in the slot. This has worked with nil problems and is an idea I picked up from Suzuki DR650 riders whose bikes also use the retaining plate system.
For what it's worth I think the biggest problem with the retaining plate is it is easy to destroy it quickly by mis-aligning your wheel so that the chain wants to make the sprocket walk outwards along the shaft. I learnt that one the hard way.
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