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Chain Adjustment - When and Why

24847 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  davy.j
The principal reason why drive chains fail is from excess tension caused by being installed too tight. Since the swingarm pivot is not concentric with the front sprocket, the chain length needs to accommodate the constantly changing distance between the front and rear sprocket as the rear suspension moves up and down. So the dimension on the swingarm sticker is intended to prevent you from installing the chain too tight. Looser is O.K.

You’ll use the sticker tightness measurement when you need to reassemble after changing sprockets or changing a tire on a bike with double-sided swingarms. Bikes with single-sided swingarms have eccentric adjusters, so no adjustment is required when changing a tire.

Once the chain adjusters are locked down there’s no reason to periodically readjust the chain. Chains get longer, not shorter, as they wear.

As the internal pins and bushings in a chain wear, the chain length of the affected segment gets longer, and when it exceeds 2 mm for a 16-link segment, the chain needs to be replaced. Chains don’t wear evenly, but even if they did, the overall increase in length of a chain needing replacement is less than 11 mm. Consequently, you don’t need any periodic adjustments to compensate for this small amount of wear for the life of the chain. You do, of course, need to periodically check 16-link segments of the chain for excessive wear and replace the chain if necessary.

You’ll need do a chain adjustment when the chain has been loosened to change a tire or sprocket. Also, a 3,000 mile or so tire change interval seems like a reasonable time to check for chain stretch. If you bring your bike to a dealer for a tire change, ask them ahead of time to write down the chain stretch amount for at least three segments of chain. This will put them on notice that you expect them to do it. It’s not often a dealer will actually do the check and a snapped chain is the consequence.
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What I have been doing for a very long time now is: I adjust the chain as per manual, then find a friend close to my weight, have him sit on the bike, check, than call my wife have her sit on the pillion seat and check again. With that load I want to have a minimal slack in the middle.
No one implied that factory engineers are stupid, though there are a lot of them (stupid) just like in any other profession. They have to work through restrictions, limitations and compromises.

What I cannot understand is the stupidity of people to condemn others just for expressing their opinion (right or wrong).

Keep in mind that ''Observation is the mother of science and repetition the mother of knowledge''.

But above all keeping an ''OPEN MIND'' is the most important part in life.
But I don't think you can find an example where I said that YOU claim engineers are stupid or evidence that I condemned anyone, especially you, for simply expressing their opinion. In fact, I didn't even read your post until after you indicated that you were upset at my attempt to answer a question from someone seeking recommendations about chain tension.

I was responding to someone else and I simply pointed out a couple of ways people go about setting their chain tension and recommended to the OP, "Suit yourself". If you took that to be a personal attack, I fear you have misinterpreted my post and your vitriol is misdirected.

As far as I'm concerned, you can set your chain to any specification you wish using any method you like. As I said before, suit yourself.

Furthermore, if you want to convince anyone that your method is superior, feel free. After all, this forum is for the free exchange of ideas and opinions, right?

However, my advice to people who have NOT developed a method which they think is an improvement over the factory recommendation remains the same; follow the factory recommended procedure but be sure you know what that procedure is.
Would you mind telling me whom were you referring to?
You are still passing judgement and advice (sic), with a lot of arrogance, and then you try to be indifferent ( suit yourself) and at the end you still insist that my vitriol is misdirected.

You should read better what you are writing. A honest proposition to someone who is looking for a second opinion should be , this is how I do it, if it has any logic or agree with it you can do it your self. That's how at least I have been treated all the times I have asked for assistance in this forum. The rest of the comments could have been omitted.
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