How to Adjust a Motorcycle Chain: Doing It Right


Knowing how to adjust a motorcycle chain will be a handy knowledge, along with the knowledge about tire maintenance and oil change. Not many people know the importance of solid chain, which is responsible for delivering power to the back wheel from the engine. Without the right maintenance, it can hurt the bike or even hurt you.


The Rule of Thumb about Bike Chain Maintenance

There are some general facts about how to adjust a motorcycle chain. For instance, you should check the chain every 500 miles to 700 miles of usage – or around twice a month, depending on how long you ride it or how aggressive you ride it. You should regularly inspect, clean, and adjust the chain.


The first thing about inspecting the chain is to use a tape measure, hold on the chain and move it around. Move one inch on every direction. If the bike is on the center stand, try to lift the wheels and the swingarm should drop. Don’t forget to roll the chain and inspect each part of the section. Chains can stay rigid in one spot and get stiff in others.

When you move the chain and it moves for more than an inch, you will have to tighten it. But if it gets too loose, you will have to tighten it. Make sure to do everything properly so the strength will be moderate instead of getting too tight or too loose.


Further Check

Don’t forget to check the sprockets. You can tell the condition of the sprockets from the teeth. If they mesh well and go along well with the chain, your chain is fine. If the teeth show a wave-shape, it is most likely that you will need a new sprocket. If the side teeth are worn, big chances that they aren’t going well with the chain.


Besides the knowledge about how to adjust a motorcycle chain, you should also know the proper way to clean it. It is better not to run the engine. Instead, put your bike on a center stand and spin it manually. Most chains are coming with the o-ring types with rubber components. You can’t just use any kind of cleaner or solvents. When you choose a cleaning product or agent, choose the one with o-ring approved type. If you want to have another alternative method to apply the cleaner, you can also use a soft brush.


Making a Tension Adjustment

Modern bikes had different methods for chain adjustments. When you want to set the tension, the back side axle and wheel will move backward or forward. The bike generally has a cam which will set the rear axle’s position. If you have a more traditional design, you will see inner nuts with hexagonal head to lock and unlock the axle and the outer one.


Keep in mind that chain tension doesn’t always need adjusting, depending on your preference and how you like the feature of the bike. Even when you want to ask for a professional service, the knowledge of how to adjust a motorcycle chain can be super handy.

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