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Discussion Starter #1
All of my modern bikes have had a shaft drive so pardon my ignorance. Does the chain normally ride on that plastic attached to the top of the swing arm? I have my chain adjusted the way the manual says and it seems like the chain sits on top of that plastic. I don't know how tight it would have to be to keep it off of it.
 

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Assuming your chain isn't loose: As soon as you sit on the seat the chain rises above the swingarm and off the plastic. Unless your spring is too stiff or has a ton of preload. Tension from drive power also lifts the chain. That plastic is a sacrificial part, taking the brunt of chain contact away from your swingarm during shock extension, or engine braking, in the course of riding. On longer travel bikes they are replaced more frequently.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. A couple of my older bikes have one, but the chain doesn't sit on it when it's adjusted properly.
 

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Thanks. A couple of my older bikes have one, but the chain doesn't sit on it when it's adjusted properly.
When the throttle is shut and the bike is engine braking all the chain slack is on the top run, and it will run on that block.

Bottom line, check it once in a while. It can wear through, and then the chain will eat into the swingarm.
 

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Don't be tempted to over tighten the chain as the slack is taken up as the suspension compresses. The book says 20-30mm of slack but many here believe that is too little and prefer 35-40 mm.
You do not want the chain to go tight under suspension compression as it will put tremendous strain on the chain, sprockets, and countershaft bearing. As everyone has said the chain buffer is a sacrificial part designed to avoid direct chain to swingarm contact when the top run of the chain is slack due to braking etc.
 
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