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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a noob with my first bike. Recently a rattle started at lower mph from near the front wheel - so I decided to scrub and lube the chain. I don't know when the PO did this so it can't hurt anyway. I bought the bike just before this past winter.

Anyway while scrubbing I moved the chain and the manual says .8 to 1.2 inch movement in the chain - it looks kinda close but I posted this video to see what you guys think... does it look okay or is it loose which could be causing some of that rattle at low rpms?

I'm not sure how to embed video here, but here is the link to the quick video I took with my phone:

 

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Yes. Not even close, it's slapping. rotate the wheel to find the tightest point of slack (every 1/4 turn of the chain is tight or loose). Measure from under the mid-point of the swingarm to the top of the chain, then raise the chain with one finger and take note of how far the travel is. I'd say you have 2 1/2" of travel there. There are also videos on you tube you can watch how to measure it for the proper slack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Looks like its a bit more than .5 inches too loose. I'll have to tighten. So that must be where that rattle is coming from. Danke!

Sent from my Motorcycle iPad app
 

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You should measure the slack in at least 3 different places in the chain. If the measurements differ greatly, it may be time to get a new chain. A stretched chain will often be tight in spots and loose in others.

PS Standard new rider recommendation: Start your rider education library with David L Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.
 

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You should measure the slack in at least 3 different places in the chain. If the measurements differ greatly, it may be time to get a new chain...
^^^
Yes! And is an important and often neglected point.


Motorcycle drive chains get into a feedback wear pattern where the loose section (worn) gets hammered, and the tight section (less worn) gets an easy ride. Final result is one loose section and one tight section that become more and more pronounced at end of life.

If you have ever felt a bike with a heavily worn chain surge at low speed, it will make sense. The uneven power delivery gets in sync with the elongated section, causing accelerated wear in that one area.

New chains can be adjusted at any position, worn chains should be adjusted at the tight section.
 

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As mentioned, you want to check the chain in many areas and find the tightest point.

I personally mark the tightest point with a red wax pen, double check again to make sure that is the tightest point, and then make my adjustments based on that.

You should also do a simple check on the wear of the chain by pulling on the link that is on the farthest out of the rear sprocket, and see if you can pull the link away from the teeth. The you can move it a few mm, then the chain is probably stretched, and needs to be changed.
 

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At least it is too loose... Not too tight
 

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IMO, that is NOT too much slack. Better to run it with a little more slack than recommended than not enough.

You wanna see slack? Here's my bike. Been running it this way for years with zero issues. So long as the bottom only slaps the plastic guard and not the swingarm, I think it's fine.


I may not run quite that much on a street bike as running that much slack MAY increase wear on my sprockets a LITTLE bit... but I get a fair amount of use out of my chain & sprockets. 2+ seasons of track abuse.
 

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I would say it is just about right.

Almost every street bike I see is too tight. Most are like piano strings and are doing damage to wheel bearings and countershaft bearings as well.

I don't run as much slack as Oreo but pretty close. A tight chain doesn't let the suspension work. It just binds it up and limits travel. I usually like to be able to bring it up to the swingarm slider easily.

I personally don't hear any sounds from a properly adjusted chain. A too tight chain can be heard and felt.

John
 

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I go by what the service manual says... Which is .8 to 1.2". I haven't seen any compelling evidence to go looser or tighter than this.
 

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I would say it is just about right.

Almost every street bike I see is too tight. Most are like piano strings and are doing damage to wheel bearings and countershaft bearings as well.

I don't run as much slack as Oreo but pretty close. A tight chain doesn't let the suspension work. It just binds it up and limits travel. I usually like to be able to bring it up to the swingarm slider easily.

I personally don't hear any sounds from a properly adjusted chain. A too tight chain can be heard and felt.

John
This^^

Furthermore, try checking the slack while you are actually on the bike for more perspective. The shock needs the travel to operate properly with the swingarm. Better to be on the slack side.
 

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I'm with max, I don't see an advantage of going looser than spec.
 

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I always put the bike in gear and roll it back until the top section of chain is tight. Then I check the slack on the bottom section. I have it set within the .8 - 1.2" range as recommended, and it's stayed that way for 10,000 miles, no adjustment needed yet.

The OP's video shows slack on both the top and bottom lengths of chain, which seems to indicate that there is a significant amount of slack in the system.

Before I replaced my last chain, I could hear a significant amount of rattle and slapping from it. It began to stretch quickly, needing adjustment every tank of of gas. After a few adjustments within 500 miles or so, I noticed that some sections also were starting to bind a bit, so I immediately researched and purchase a replacement chain and sprockets.
 

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Just for the SVR knowledge base, how long did your chain last, Marlin?
 

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I always put the bike in gear and roll it back until the top section of chain is tight. Then I check the slack on the bottom section. I have it set within the .8 - 1.2" range as recommended, and it's stayed that way for 10,000 miles, no adjustment needed yet.

The OP's video shows slack on both the top and bottom lengths of chain, which seems to indicate that there is a significant amount of slack in the system.
You do realize that, with the bike in neutral, when you check the bottom it pulls the top tighter, right?
 

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Last chain was on the bike when I bought it. Assuming it was the original chain, it had 10K on it when I got it, and lasted about another 6K. Current DID X chain and 17/46 steel sprockets still look new, never adjusted, with 10K miles. But I put a Scottoiler on when I swapped chains, so I'd venture that that's had some effect.
 

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You do realize that, with the bike in neutral, when you check the bottom it pulls the top tighter, right?
You have a point there, but that doesn't allow for isolating sections to compare for loose-vs-tight sections on an older chain.. :hiding2:

But no one had specifically mentioned a specific method for checking tension, yet, and with the OP being a self-admitted newb, I was hoping my comment would help make sure an accurate measurement was being conducted.
 

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You have a point there, but that doesn't allow for isolating sections to compare for loose-vs-tight sections on an older chain.. :hiding2:

But no one had specifically mentioned a specific method for checking tension, yet, and with the OP being a self-admitted newb, I was hoping my comment would help make sure an accurate measurement was being conducted.
Actually, it does isolate half of the chain length each time. Putting the bike in gear and then rolling it causes no harm, but it is not necessary.
 
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