Chain, how tight should it be ?

I've heard that you shouldn't tighten the chain to the manuals spec because some guys had their hubs ripped appart, or something like that, something I definitely don’t want to experience :)

What’s the slack you guys are running and measured from where?


A wise question.

It really depends on how you have your bike set up and how tightly you pull up on the chain when making the measurement.

For my bike, I run 1.7 to 1.8 inches (43 to 45mm) from bottom of the chain to the top of the screw cap (as shown in the manual). This is taken with a moderate amount of pressure when lifting the chain.

If you want to fully investigate what is proper for your bike and expectations of chain handling, you may want to level the swing arm so to review the outcome of your measurement.


I've been basically following the manual. For the '01 it says 1.6-2" so I've been keeping it between about 1.75 and 2" and so far no trouble due to being overly tight or loose.

Your absolutely right, if you get the chain to tight, the rear hub will grenade.

I use three fingers, side by side at the axle end of the chain slider, while the bike is on a stand. Three years and no problems, still using the stock chain (in great shape) and don't have to adjust it.


[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: h bomb ]

Thanx guys, according to your specs my chain is a bit on the loos side (about 51mm) I'll tighten it up tonight because I seem to get some chain slap when I accelerate from low revs.

a few guys on this forum last year actually determined that the low side of the specs in the manual are actually a little too tight. If you really want to be comfortable with your measurement, here's a good method to check it. Further to what DaveJ mentions above, remove your lower shock bolt so the swingarm moves up and down freely on a stand. With the rear axle and swingarm pivot bolt parallel, there should still be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch slack in the chain. Hope this helps.

[ January 29, 2002: Message edited by: dirtdad ]

Hey dirdad,

That's problably the best advice. I just changed my chain last night and I was wondering if I got the chain too tight. I didn't think stroke out the swingarm like that.....simple idea to avoid a serious dent in the wallet.

dirtdad hit it on the head. That's the only true way to ensure that your chain isn't too tight. Get it to the point where it will be the tightest and leave a little play. If you don't want to unbolt your shock...just have a heavy fella sit on the bike to get it parallel.

Thanx guysbiggthumpup.gifmy chain tension is now about 44mm, loosened the bottom shock bolt and got my swingarm and rear axle level, there is still sufficient slack(thanx dirtdad).

I also fitted a new Pirelli MT480(rear), can't wait till this weekend to see how it hooks up 1blue1.gif

If you're getting chain slap you might want to check the slider. Mine started doing it real bad and I hadn't noticed that the slider was worn right through to the swing arm. It's kinda hard to tell unless you pick up the slider to get it off the swingarm a little and shine a light on it. Just a thought.

Rusty - already checked that a wile ago, mine was making a rut in my swingarm :) so I cut a piece of plastic the same shape as the slider and glued a piece of carpet onto the plastic, I then stuck the plastic to my swingarm with double sided tape and fastened my chain slider over the plastic/carpet. Hopefully the swing arm won’t wear any more bigok.gif

Good deal Psycho. I used someone else's idea (from these pages) of cutting an old flat rubber bungie. I'd hate to see someone munch a swingarm.

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