Any motor vehicle can benefit from some very basic DIY checks and adjustments. When it comes to motorbikes, one of the most fundamental tasks is knowing how to adjust the chain correctly.
Here, we at We Want Your Motorbike go through the whole process step by step.
Step 1: Know When to Check and Have the Right Tools
Most manufacturers recommend a chain’s adjustment be checked every 500 to 700 miles so make sure you keep a note of your mileage and don’t miss this important anniversary. You also need to make sure you have the right tools for the job which, for a chain adjustment, are:
• Rear stand
• 22mm and 24mm sockets
• String (or a wheel alignment tool)
• Tape measure
• Torque wrench
• 8mm wrench
Step 2: Clean the Chain
Put your bike on its stand and apply a liberal coat of chain cleaner, letting it soak for a few minutes to loosen up any collected dirt and debris. You should then clean off dirt with a rag. Remember, although there are specialised cleaning products on the market, good old WD40 will be more than up to the job too.
Step 3: Measure the Slack
To measure the chain slack you need to find the midpoint between the countershaft and rear sprockets. Press down on the chain slightly to make sure it’s at its lowest point and align a tape measure between two rivets on a link. Hold the tape measure steady and push the chain up as far as it will go then read the measurement between the same two rivets. Check the readings against your owner’s manual.
Consulting your owner’s manual for the exact amount of chain slack you need is essential because the drive chain is responsible for getting the horsepower from the engine to the wheels. Making sure that it is set correctly is key to achieving optimal performance levels.
Step 4: Align and Adjust
If your bike’s chain adjusters have locknuts loosen them while holding them in position with a wrench. Then loosen the axle nut, making sure not to let the wheel slide around in the swingarm. If your wheel is out of alignment turn the adjuster no more than an eighth of a turn on the side of the axle that was too far forward.
Turn the adjusters in front of the axle counter clockwise and the adjusters behind the axle clockwise to tighten them.
When you are sure your chain has the proper slack as per the instructions in your manual, torque the axle nut to your bike’s factory spec while keeping the wheel pressed forward. Then recheck the wheel’s alignment, slightly turn both adjusters to put pressure on them and tighten the locknuts.