Best way to check chain tightness...? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-18-2010, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Best way to check chain tightness...?

Hi folks newb here.

When checking chain tightness how much pressure should one put on the chain when lifting it up and then down to get the total stretch range?

A buddy showed me how he did it and at a recent HU rally I found out others had a different opinion and it appears that I've been running my '09 Wee chain waaaaay tooooo tight for the last 4ooo miles.

My buddy would pull up on the chain with all his strength and then pull down with all his strength to get the chain stretch range.

Other said that's way too tight (ie: chain was like a banjo string) and they just put a wee bit of pressure on the chain to pull it up and down.

I did it that way and my chain was waaaaay loooooser this time.

Your thoughts...?

Ps: the folks said its better to have a chain that is a bit too loose versus one that is too tight, correct....?
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-18-2010, 01:32 AM
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If you do a search there is extensive information on this subject. To summarize, follow the instructions in the manual to adjust your chain slack. Better to be too loose, too tight can really screw things up. I use moderate single finger pressure on the chain down and up to measure the slack. Tight like a banjo string is a bad bad thing.

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post #3 of 8 Old 08-18-2010, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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The manual tells you to have it on the side stand and have 20-30mm of slack but it says nothing about how much pressure to put on the chain when doing the measurement.

I;ll use the "gentle finger pressure" meathod, I hope I didn't do any damage with my ~4000 miles of banjo string chain tightness!!!

Thanks.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-18-2010, 07:41 AM
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I use the toe of my boot and moderate pressure, and adjust on the looser side.

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post #5 of 8 Old 08-19-2010, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scharfg View Post
Your thoughts...?
My thoughts are; every chain that I have had on my bike has had, what I call, "tight spots". What I mean by this is, if you have a centerstand mounted on your bike, roll the bike up on its centerstand, put the transmission in neutral, then slowly rotate the rear wheel, (The motor is NOT running!).

As you rotate the rear wheel, watch and check the tension of your chain as it travels around the sprockets. In doing this, my experience has been, there has always been a "tight spot" in the tension of the chain that is felt at some point during the rotation of the rear wheel. This has happened whether the chain is brand new, or one that has been in service for awhile.

When I first encountered this phenomenon, I thought I had a bent countersprocket shaft, or a bent rear axle. I didn't, and I don't.

So, when I adjust the chain to my motorcycle, I do not use the method described in the owner's manual. I use my method: With the bike turned off, I roll the bike up on its centerstand, put the transmission in neutral, rotate the rear wheel, and adjust the chain for proper tension at the "tightest" spot I find while rotating the rear wheel.

What's the proper tension? I don't have a "number" for you! But, there is a visual "drape" to the chain that looks right, (I have done it this way for several years, I don't pay attention to measurements).

As riders have already mentioned, a chain that is too tight, severely reduces the life of your drive system, (sprockets and chain.). If you don't check for a "tight" spot before adjusting your chain, you could be adjusting at a "loose" spot and the tight spot is then TOO tight.

Give it a try and see what you find.

B.

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post #6 of 8 Old 08-19-2010, 05:56 PM
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+1 on the toe method



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post #7 of 8 Old 08-19-2010, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Lab View Post
My thoughts are; every chain that I have had on my bike has had, what I call, "tight spots". What I mean by this is, if you have a centerstand mounted on your bike, roll the bike up on its centerstand, put the transmission in neutral, then slowly rotate the rear wheel, (The motor is NOT running!).

As you rotate the rear wheel, watch and check the tension of your chain as it travels around the sprockets. In doing this, my experience has been, there has always been a "tight spot" in the tension of the chain that is felt at some point during the rotation of the rear wheel. This has happened whether the chain is brand new, or one that has been in service for awhile.

When I first encountered this phenomenon, I thought I had a bent countersprocket shaft, or a bent rear axle. I didn't, and I don't.

So, when I adjust the chain to my motorcycle, I do not use the method described in the owner's manual. I use my method: With the bike turned off, I roll the bike up on its centerstand, put the transmission in neutral, rotate the rear wheel, and adjust the chain for proper tension at the "tightest" spot I find while rotating the rear wheel.

What's the proper tension? I don't have a "number" for you! But, there is a visual "drape" to the chain that looks right, (I have done it this way for several years, I don't pay attention to measurements).

As riders have already mentioned, a chain that is too tight, severely reduces the life of your drive system, (sprockets and chain.). If you don't check for a "tight" spot before adjusting your chain, you could be adjusting at a "loose" spot and the tight spot is then TOO tight.

Give it a try and see what you find.

B.
+1 on the above method. IMO.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-19-2010, 07:08 PM
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If it ain't smiling, it ain't happy. The chain should have a slight grin to it. Why? That way every time the suspension compresses, the chain is not stretched in a whiplash motion. The more offroad you do, the more smile it should have.
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