Here’s How To Adjust Your Motorcycle’s Saggy Chain

Spring is all over the corner and any motorcyclist who’s been compelled to put their delight and joy into hibernation all winter is likely starting off to get jittery. As horrible as it feels to be forced off two wheels, there is a silver lining to all this: You have the chance to get your bike as ready for the street as you are. Assume of this as preseason coaching, but for your bike. 

One particular of the best pieces of using a bicycle is the emotion of connectivity. You’re one particular with the equipment you straddle, and that sensation starts with the link amongst your wrist and the rear wheel. But once your chain sags under the manufacturer’s advisable array, so much too does the marriage concerning you and your bike.

Luckily, tightening your chain is not a large occupation if you know what you’re executing, and The Drive’s crack group of industry experts are in this article to stroll you by it action by stage.

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Modifying Your Chain Principles

Approximated Time Needed: 15 minutes

Talent Level: Beginner

Motor vehicle System: Chain

Chain Adjustment Basic safety

Working on your bicycle can be dangerous and messy, so here’s particularly what you’ll will need to make sure you don’t die, get maimed, or lose a finger and that you continue to keep your jeans, shirt, and skin spotless — hopefully.

Every thing You will Require To Modify Your Chain 

We’re not psychic, nor are we snooping via your toolbox or garage, so here’s precisely what you’ll have to have to get the work carried out.

Instrument List

Arranging your applications and equipment so every little thing is conveniently reachable will save precious minutes waiting for your handy-dandy baby or 4-legged helper to convey you the sandpaper or blowtorch. (You would not need a blowtorch for this occupation. Please really don’t have your child hand you a blowtorch—Ed.)

You will also will need a flat workspace, such as a garage flooring, driveway, or road parking. Examine your nearby laws to make guaranteed you’re not violating any codes when applying the avenue for the reason that we are not finding your ride out of the clink.

Here’s How To Change A Motorbike Chain

Let us do this! 

1. Get Established Up

Depending on your bicycle, you are going to possibly want to look at the chain slack with it on its aspect stand, centre stand/paddock stand, or with a person sitting down on it (verify your owner’s handbook to see what the producer endorses). Make sure your motorbike is in neutral and that the chain and sprockets are in very good problem right before starting off the adjustment.

2. Know Your Measurements

Refer to your owner’s manual to see what your chain slack should be. You could also discover this information and facts on the bike’s swingarm. Owning 1.2-1.6 inches (30-40 mm) of slack is usual for most avenue bikes, but experience and filth bikes may well require 1.4-2 inches (35-50 mm).

3. Examine the Slack

Uncover the midway stage in between the front sprocket and rear axle bolt, as this is exactly where you are going to measure the chain slack. Look for any restricted places in your chain by rotating the wheel and checking the chain slack at intervals. You need to measure your chain’s no cost engage in from its tightest spot. At this location, push the chain to its least expensive and optimum details and evaluate. 

You can evaluate with a ruler or a chain slack measurement resource. If you’re utilizing a ruler, drive the chain to its most affordable position and position the ruler at the hyperlink pin just before going the chain to its greatest issue and getting note.

4. Loosen the Axle Nut

Applying a torque wrench, loosen the bike’s axle nut more than enough for the axle to move freely, but really do not absolutely remove the nut. If you only have a quick wrench, then you may well need to have to give it a tiny bit of percussive persuasion (using your foot). 

5. Regulate Your Chain

Various bikes will have distinctive mechanisms to tighten the chain, but the principle continues to be the exact same. You will ordinarily need to have two wrenches and a torque wrench, but some will have to have an Allen wrench alternatively of open wrenches. Most bikes will have a lock nut and an adjustment nut. Initially, you will require to loosen the lock nuts on both of those sides, and then you can commence using the adjustment nuts to tighten your chain. 

When tightening your chain, only transfer the adjustment nut a quarter flip at a time, then do the exact same on the other side. Making certain that you make incremental, equivalent alterations will assist you continue to keep your axle aligned (assuming it was when you commenced). 

6. Recheck Your Slack

Every time you modify the adjustment nuts by a quarter switch on each and every aspect, look at the chain slack. Keep an eye on the indicators along the axle’s groove and assure that the axle situation matches on the two sides. Repeat this course of action until your chain slack fulfills the manufacturer’s tips. 

7. Make it Restricted

At the time you’ve effectively modified your chain, you can grab your rubber mallet and give the again of your tire a whack inwards (if you don’t have a mallet, test out some of our professional tips underneath). This makes sure the axle and adjusters have created good call. Now test your chain’s totally free enjoy yet again, and if it’s continue to right, tighten the axle working with your torque wrench and the lock nuts with your open up wrench. 

Tighten the axle nut to the recommended torque value (refer to owner’s manual) and make absolutely sure that you don’t alter the wheel’s alignment as you tighten it. Ultimately, verify your chain slack 1 final time to make sure it didn’t adjust when you secured all the things. 

8. Straight as an Arrow

Just before hitting the highway, you require to make absolutely sure your wheel is thoroughly aligned. In shape a chain alignment instrument to a chain link that’s sitting down on the top of your sprocket. Test the steel prong to make sure your chain is straight, but if it is not, you are going to need to change your axle accordingly utilizing the adjustment nuts.

Pro Ideas to Regulate Your Chain

Here are a couple of tips to assist guidebook you all through the process.

  • If you are making ready your bicycle for a excursion with a pillion, you will need to leave some additional enjoy in your chain, as the additional excess weight will induce your rear shock to compress additional than standard.
  • When pushing the chain upward, never do it with so substantially power that it lifts the portion of the chain that sits higher than the swingarm. As quickly as this part will become taught, prevent pushing upward.
  • If you’ve loosened your bike’s axle nut but however just can’t get it to budge in the path you need to have, it’s time to give your tire a couple of encouraging appreciate faucets with a rubber mallet.
  • If you really don’t have a mallet to shift your wheel inwards, you can location a screwdriver, Allen wrench, or a rag between your chain and sprocket and roll the wheel backward. This will lead to the chain to tighten and pull the wheel inwards. 
  • If you don’t have a chain alignment instrument, you can evaluate the length from the axle bolt to the swingarm pivot level on equally sides to see if your wheel is aligned adequately. 
  • Even if your owner’s guide recommends adjusting your bike’s chain with the again wheel off the ground, it’s always most effective to look at it all over again with the bicycle fully loaded. This involves any luggage you’ll carry and pillion travellers.


Check out the video underneath, in which Ari Henning adjusts the chain on a Kawazaki Z125. As you can see, adjusting any bike chain follows the exact same ideas, whether or not it’s a Z125 or an R1. He also displays you how to use the rag trick to tighten the axle against the adjustment nut.