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So all the online how-to-videos show the chain tension adjusted with the rear wheel in the air, which makes sense, to help find the tight spot on the chain, easier to site the alignment once adjusted and clean while your at it. While the manuals state needs to be on the side stand.

So what should the slack be with the rear wheel up, how much do you add to the manuals .8 - 1.2 inches while on the side stand?
 

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Real easy--put the rear in the air for cleaning and lubing, check and adjust while on the side stand as per the manual and be done.
My bikes are set to 20-30mm.
 

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Real easy--put the rear in the air for cleaning and lubing, check and adjust while on the side stand as per the manual and be done.
This is how I do it. If you have tight spots you can either roll a few times and check tension at multiple places, or find the tightest spot on the center stand and then adjust at that spot on the side stand.

But to answer your question, you could try measuring a given spot on the side stand and then measure that same spot again on the center stand to get the offset for your bike. An average of multiple sample points would be best.

I think I recall reading some threads with general recommendations but I can't remember for sure what it was, seems like it was about 1/2" or less. Don't quote me on that cuz it could be completely wrong. Personally, I would measure the offset for myself, given what is at stake.

A little loose is better than a little tight. Mine is currently running at the loose end of the spec and I've been procrastinating the adjustment...
 

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So all the online how-to-videos show the chain tension adjusted with the rear wheel in the air, which makes sense, to help find the tight spot on the chain, easier to site the alignment once adjusted and clean while your at it. While the manuals state needs to be on the side stand.

So what should the slack be with the rear wheel up, how much do you add to the manuals .8 - 1.2 inches while on the side stand?
Some bikes are specified with the wheel off the ground. Suzuki doesn't supply the V-Strom with a center stand so they specified it on the side stand.

Measurement and specificstion needs to match the procedure.
 

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What I have found works well for me, when at home, is a swing-arm stand. Makes cleaning and lube easier knowing that the bike is safely supported. Once the slack is correctly set via the swing-arm stand, you now can determine the amount of slack required for the side and center stand adjustments more accurately. Note that you can even make use of mike crates / car trestles / suspend from rafters / etc, as a swing-arm stand but I can't say that it will be as secure as a proper swing-arm stand.
 

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And dont put your blind faith in factory swingarm marks either.
I follow an online video that recommends using calipers rather than the marks. I put the bike on the center stand, find the spot on the chain with the most play, set it to 1", use calipers to make sure the distance is the same on both sides, torque the nuts and finally recheck the spacing. I ignore the marks.
 

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I follow an online video that recommends using calipers rather than the marks. I put the bike on the center stand, find the spot on the chain with the most play, set it to 1", use calipers to make sure the distance is the same on both sides, torque the nuts and finally recheck the spacing. I ignore the marks.
What are you measuring relative to? From what I have seen, most people's use of calipers (whether vernier or otherwise) is pretty poor. I would think that the alignment marks are less out than what you would get from poor caliper use. But I haven't verified for myself as to how accurate the marks are. At least you shouldn't have the issue I had with my first ever chain adjustment on an old bike, where torquing up the wheel would pull the wheel out of alignment.
 

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Measuring with the caliper is difficult, at least for the V2, since there is no good way to measure the actual axle position, just the adjustment spacers, and they have play on the axle.

I did verify that the markings are accurate, when measured from the machined end of the swingarm. But that assumed that the machined ends are accurate and perpendicular to the chain. Don't know if they really are.
 

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There seems to be a consensus that the factory specs are too tight. I agree and have been running mine at 1 1/2-1 3/4.
One question though, has anyone followed the factory spec, then had premature wear or engine problems from it?
 

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And dont put your blind faith in factory swingarm marks either.

You think that there's some guy on the assembly line with a cold chisel putting those marks on?

Those marks are more than likely a lot more accurate than trying to use other reference points and measuring. Pretty hard to find the center of a hole consistently (for example).

Thing is though it's a chain. There is inherent slop that you can't take out. The chain flexes side to side. The chain is wider than the sprockets. Heck the rear sprocket is rubber mounted, how straight is it?

Use the swingarm marks and leave about 1 - 1.5" slack. Done.
 

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Spec, I use an Align-rite swingarm tool I bought from Sims & Rohm back in '94 for my GPz900r Ninja. The PO ground off the swingarm marks to fit Kerker mufflers.
This tool is a huge compass with sliding cone pointers. Set the tool to the distance between the swingarm pivot center and the rear axle center on one side of the bike, then transfer the tool to the other side. They should match up exactly, but in some cases they dont. This is my chain alignment tool of choice, and I also have a Motion-Pro tool that clamps onto the rear sprocket.
Ive had bikes that came to me that have fallen over, been wrecked, and in some cases due to manufacturing tolerances the factory marks just didnt match side to side.
Automotive body shops use different lengths of similar tools called "Datum Gauges" to verify distances between various body holes to ensure alignment.
This tool was also sold by Muzzy's(Sims and Rohm's former employer), and I dont know if they are available anymore.
This tool is simple and quick in use, and deadly accurate...and yes, Ive seen swingarm marks off.
The goal here is to ensure that the rear axle and swingarm pivot points are perfectly parallel. It works quite well. THAT"S what I think. Here is one similar to mine: https://www.southbayriders.com/forums/threads/111562/
 

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Spec, unless there is wear in the wheel bearings and/or spacers, I never see axial slop in the sprocket relative to the rim.
I do see a lot of bikes with extra rotational play due to worn dampers. The last one I dealt with was earlier in the year with a Bandit1200, the carrier spacer had worn and allowed the carrier to rock back and forth and produce chain noise. Anny acceleration would cause the rear sprocket to be pulled out of alignment.
As of late, I havent seen swingarm marks off, but unless I had a means of checking how would I know? And I always check.
One of my coworkers had a CBR600rr, and his young son climbed on it in the garage and knocked it over.
His was one of the 1st bikes I checked. His marks were off by 1 graduation. It appeared his swingarm hit something on the way to the garage floow and tweaked it slightly. He was shocked that it was off. Once I set it to equal dimensions, he told me that it steered better and with equal effort left to right and back. From that day on, that's all we ever used on his bike, and what Ive gone by on all the bikes Ive serviced since. If you know your marks are off and by how much, you can always make a mental note or remark the swingarm. One guy in my riding group bought one for himself. They were only $76 back then. i KNEW I should have bought 2 of them...
 

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Hey guys, almost scared to speak up in the midst of all these years of knowledge, Strom knowledge that is. I add my comments only for your amusement. I was taught how to zero in a chain from a North Florida old time legend, Walt Peterson, he was somewhat of a legend in our town for sending his hand built 2 strokes to Daytona each year and being very competitive. He taught me to trust only my eyes, I have for the past 50 years sighted down the chain to detect any bend in the path. Go ahead and laugh, but it's that simple. The first time I checked my Strom, I first used the marks and then my eyes and it was dead on the money. Even if you use another method, for me seeing is believing. Hesitantly hitting post and awaiting my thrashing.
 

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Pretty civilized group here so I doubt that anyone will thrash you. But there is nothing wrong with measuring alignment with a tangible measuring device. An acquaintance of mine has one of those swingarm tools. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one.
 

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Jeuf, never be afraid to speak up.

My eyes arent what they once were, but I do trust them--when using tool that facilitate a job and give more accurate results.
I can eyeball, but I prefer to measure. "Good enough" isnt good enough.
 

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What are you measuring relative to? From what I have seen, most people's use of calipers (whether vernier or otherwise) is pretty poor. I would think that the alignment marks are less out than what you would get from poor caliper use. But I haven't verified for myself as to how accurate the marks are. At least you shouldn't have the issue I had with my first ever chain adjustment on an old bike, where torquing up the wheel would pull the wheel out of alignment.
Measuring with the caliper is difficult, at least for the V2, since there is no good way to measure the actual axle position, just the adjustment spacers, and they have play on the axle.

I did verify that the markings are accurate, when measured from the machined end of the swingarm. But that assumed that the machined ends are accurate and perpendicular to the chain. Don't know if they really are.
Here is the video I mentioned. The caliper part starts at 10:30. I use that same kind of caliper.

 

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Sorry, not entirely accurate. I used to use a similar method on my old CB750K. Until I checked with my aligment tool.
The maker of that video is assuming that the machining is exactly the same on both legs of the swingarm. You can't count on that. Also, his method doesnt take into account any possible variance in the mounting area of the swingarm pivot either.
What is the important distance is the distance between the swingarm pivot on both sides of the frame and the rear axle on both sides of the swingarm. They should be exactly equal so that the axis of the swingarm pivot and the axis of the rear axle are exactly parallel. Think of an overhead view of a rectangle consisting of the left swingarm pivot center-->left rear axle center-->right rear axle center-->right swingarm pivot center with lines drawn extending the swingarm and rear axle widths and the corners of this rectangle to be to be at perfect 90-degree angles. Even though the widths of the swingarm pivot centers and rear axle centers may differ, the tool Ive shown is set to compensate with the rod being set parallel to the bike. Set the tool to the distance one one side, then place it between the centers on the other side to make sure the cones seat in the centers the exact same way. Make your adjustments so that both sides are the same. Then adjust both sides the exact same amount to arrive at the correct chain slack. Recheck with the tool and DONE. No measuring involved, and you quickly have your desired chain slack and perfect alignment done at the same time.
 
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