Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Tension yer chain, dudes

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' at netrider.net.au started by Bonk, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Hallo NR's young 'n' old,

    A good friend of mine has a CBR600 F4i, and for a couple of weeks the chain's had some slack in it.
    How much?
    Enough to hear some noises and to see it hanging a little low.

    I commented today, "Your chain sounds and looks a little loose, mate."

    My friend replied, "Yeah, bike's due for service. I'll let them take care of it."

    I suggested, "Why don't we just adjust the tension now, anyway?"

    And this is what we found...

    Chain links had a 'clean & worn section' on the inside of the links

    Apparently the noise is worse under deceleration, which would make sense as that slackens the top of the chain

    Bad things have happened to the swingarm :(

    So how's your chain?!
    Would be a shame if it was putting nasty scratches in a pretty critical component of your bike, just like my mate's F4i.
    I think we've caught it in time. They aren't the most popular stunt bike for no reason: they got tough bits.
    But still, it sucks to damage your baby through nothing but negligence.

    1) Loosen rear axle.
    2) 'Unscrew' axle/chain tension bolts on each side by the same number of turns until the slack is what is recommended in your manual (on the F4i it's 30mm).
    3) Retighten axle.

    You've saved your bike from damage via negligence.
  2. I've adjusted my chain myself before, and I followed the manual on its slack (ruler etc). However, on each occasion when an experienced bike rider has looked at my chain they've said it's too tight. But I thought I set it to the specs from the manual. I've been too embarrassed to tell them I did it and blamed it on a dodgy mechanic I came across (I know, pride is a bad thing :roll:)
    For my bike the free play is between 20-30mm, do I set it to the 30 or 20? I read somewhere (I'll track the article down) that it's better to set it to the upper limit. Is this true?
    Is there any tip you can give that helps me measure it properly? At the moment I measure from the bottom of the chain while in neutral about half way along.
  3. Roughly an inch of play, judged by eye, is what I work to. I'm loving my new high quality chain - I keep checking it and it keeps not needing adjustment.
  4. When I got my 8 year old bike it still had the factory chain on it.

    Tried adjusting it couldn't get the wheel nut off - was threatening to twist the bike off it's stand I was puttting so much effort in.

    I wonder if they weren't on to something with belt / shaft drives?
  5. Not just me then! I check mine all the time, its been a year since the last set of tyres went on and still hasn't needed adjustment.
  6. This thread should be called "How not to treat a chain 101".

    Chain maintenance is AN OWNER IMPERATIVE. It's NOT to be left to a bike mechanic.

    Your friend is risking more than scratches on the swing arm.

    Don't only adjust your chain slack, clean it as well and give it some lube. I go for MONTHS without needing to adjust the chain for slack... but then again, I do like a clean and lubed chain.
  7. I have seen shewed out sprocket carriers and swingarms because previous owners did not check their chain tension, allowing the chain to jump off. I would imagine it would have been a hairy experience for them as the rear wheel locks up for "no apparent reason".
  8. That would be Nirvana....... how many kms you done though? I check mine every 1000kms and more often than not it needs a slight adjustment.

    I would have thought on a 1000 that it would need more adjustment than once a year?
  9. [quote name='Dude Above']I would have thought on a 1000 that it would need more adjustment than once a year?[/quote]
    You'd definitely think so. I'd be asking questions more along the line of how frequently do you pay it attention, and how so? Also, are you a sedate rider or a fast one? That last one especially will dictate your chain life, especially if you are fond of giving the bike a real hooting through the lower gears; and lets face it, who's not?

    Cheers - boingk (yet to adjust chain on anything but a dirtbike :oops: )
  10. Having a car also I've only done about 8000k's, however I'm still amazed I haven't needed to adjust it.

    EDIT: Lube the chain frequently. Have cleaned it once ages ago but am now of the opinion that kero on chains does more harm than good...

    Am generally a medium paced rider but do give it a flogging from time to time when I manage to get out on the backroads.

    Must be a good chain I suppose.
  11. Nearly 8000 km on the DR and I've tweaked the chain twice. Once after the 1000 km service to take up the initial bedding in, and again at the 6000 km service 'cos I was finding the ride too snatchy with the chain at the upper end of its free play spec and decided to go round a notch on the rather coarse snail cam adjusters to bring it just inside the lower end of spec.

    Thanks to Mr Scottoiler I haven't had to worry about cleaning or lubing, although it took a while to dial in the flow rate and stop the little plastic delivery tubes from dropping off.

    I prefer shafties, but I can live with this level of maintenance for now.

    That chain in the pics looks seriously neglected in every way. I wouldn't pay in washers for a used bike displaying that level of "care". I don't give a stuff about dirt (I don't clean bikes myself, so why would I?) but chains coated in rust (do you know how abrasive rust particles are?) and so slack as to be gouging bits out of the bike really piss me off.
  12. +1

    looking at that chain freaks me out. its just too dry and dirty.
  13. Yeah bit it saves him time by not having to clean the back wheel :LOL:
  14. Other thing no-one has mentioned is to re-check the chain once the back wheel is on the ground. Tension on the stand, re-tighten the axel, take bike off stand and re-check tension. If happy, then tighten the locking nuts, if not repeat.

    I check my chain every week and give it a quick clean. Good thorough clean every month or so. I ride 40km each way to work 5 days a week.

    Also a good idea to clean and re-lube chain after riding in the wet or on wet roads to get rid of all the extra sticky road crap.
  15. And for all those that are not in the know;

    Check the tension of your chain with you sitting on the bike.

    If you do it without you on the bike, then the chain will appear slacker that it really is - Ergo - you will end up over-tightening it when adjusting it up to the 25 mm of slack.

    I always split the difference when there is a range provided. Thus I go for 25 mm.
  16. Interestingly, the factory manual for the DR specifies the slack with the bike on the sidestand.

    Sensible, bearing in mind the fact that it's got no centrestand and the inconvenience of farting around trying to do the tension with the rider on board, but not something I've seen before.
  17. I didn't say you needed to do the tensioning while on the bike!!!
    Just the checking for the appropriate level of slack!

    Curiously, I have just checked my manual and it also states to check the tension with the side stand down.

    For clarification, I just called The honda dealer where I get my bike serviced.

    They said that the manual is "always" correct but none the less, they ALWAYS check the tension of a chain by sitting on it and loading the suspension and that they provide this advice at all times when anyone, like me, rings ands asks for the HOW-TO on chain tension checking.

    Their (service dept) belief is that the unloaded tension checking can see the chain too tight after the fact - especially if you're a heavier rider or often take a pillion / carry luggage.
  18. :shock:
    He could always attach some vice jaws on the swingarm. He'd then have a mobile grinder. :p
    Pretty piss-poor. Ok, we may not all be mechanically proficient, but a little care and maintenance should be expected.
    Well Done for looking after your mate !
  19. I know, but it can still involve hopping on and off the bike a few times before you get it right. OK for you young striplings perhaps, but less attractive for an old fart :grin: .
  20. A loose chain is bad, a too-tight chain is worse as it not only damages the chain and sprockets but also the wheel, swingarm and gearbox bearings.
    It can be a PITA but the tension needs to be checked with the bike normally loaded. Once you've done it that way, I find you can estimate the bit of extra slack you need when adjusting it on the side stand. Never adjust it on the centrestand.