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Tight Chain ?

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I recently put a new PU chain on my 02 XR650l. While doing this I miscalculated and removed to many links from the chain. It is incredibly tight while I'm sitting on the bike and I want to avoid damaging my c/s and sprockets or spending another $80. I'm as loose as I can go on the snail adjusters (last notch). My question is do those notches actually help hold the axle in place or is it only for axle alignment?  If I moved past the last notch onto the smooth part and precisely measured the distance on each side will it hold?  I was also thinking of making a few new notches with a dremel. Any suggestions? 

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Rather than tampering with the snail adjusters, how about sticking a 14-tooth front sprocket on there in place of the stock 15-tooth?  You can get one of those from JT for a bit over $20.00.

Those snail adjusters hold the axle in place.  Without them, the first time you get on the gas hard in first gear the axle will slide forward on the left side.  I had a Ducati ST2 once where hard acceleration broke the part that held the axle adjusting bolt in place, causing the axle to slide forward and break or damage a number of parts, including the chain.  The replacement part was significantly stronger, so apparently the factory eventually determined that the part wasn't strong enough and redesigned it.

For the benefit of anybody else installing a chain, don't bother counting links to figure the chain length.  Put the chain in place, set the axle at the middle of the adjustment range, and determine from there how many links the chain should have.  I have replaced a bunch of chains on a bunch of bikes and never count links.  My method always results in the correct chain length.

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The chain has about an inch of travel while on the kick stand but none at all while I'm on it. If I go to a smaller front sprocket do you think that'll give me enough travel in the chain ?

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Chain stinks? PU! :smirk:. Glad your not running it tight. You have the wider Fritzco countershaft sprocket to slow wear of the shaft splines? Now might be a good time to invest in one like Scott said. Do you ride mostly dirt or road? You might like a 13t for the dirt. Whats  your rear sprocket size/count?

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What happens if you run axle as far forward as possible? Is chain too loose? And is alignment good? IF you can run it that way for chain break-in, it might give you the right amount of slack for using the snail adjusters again.

I dont know how much extra slack is given with smaller CS sprocket, never measured, maybe someone else has.

Edited by bork

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It's the stock 15/45 sprockets. I'm probly about 70 street 30 dirt. I'm just wondering if going down one tooth on the front sprocket is gonna be enough. The chain is really right with me on it. I've rode about 50 miles since putting it on and it hasn't loosened at all. Hopefully I didn't damage anything. 

*really tight with me on it 

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When the bike is on the sidestand with no weight on it, if you can push the chain down in the middle with two fingers and get it to touch the very back of the black plastic swingarm protector/slider thingy, it is loose enough.  If you can't get it to touch, it is too tight.

Your "good" choices are:

  1. Smaller front sprocket
  2. Second master link with another link from the leftover chain to get the length you need
  3. Replace the chain with one of the proper length.

By the way, a one-tooth smaller front sprocket will give you more chain slack than whatever you could possibly get turning the snail adjusters past the front-most position.

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Riding the bike with a chain that is too tight will eventually damage the countershaft bearing, which is a huge amount of work to replace.

Don't pile on more dumb mistakes on the one you made with the chain.  Pick one of the correct fixes and go with it.

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Is your old chain too bad to put back on until you can get it right? I agree with Scott, dont run tight!

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Thanks a lot guys. I think I'm gonna go with a 14 tooth front sprocket and I'll pick up another master link in case that isn't enough. By going smaller in the front will this give me more lower or top end?  I prefer all the lower end I can get. I hardly ever ride on the highway and rarely go above 65 mph

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1 tooth down in the front will make the engine spin a bit faster for a given gear and speed.

 

I don't think dremeling your own snail notches is a crazy idea, you'll have the shortest wheelbase XRL!

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Probly just gonna go the route of adding a few links and another master link. I like to have a lot of fun with the bike......aka I'm pretty hard on it. Is adding this second master link a safety issue?  Has anyone experienced them failing?

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A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

 

I'm guessing that you used a clip-type master link rather than the rivet-type...  A rivet master link is usually considered stronger, or at least less likely to fail - but it's harder to install one correctly.  By "correctly", I mean getting the width exactly right so that the O-rings work correctly.  A clip master link is easier to install correctly as far as width, but you can goof that up and have a clip fall off.

ultimately, if you properly install both master links you really shouldn't have to worry about the chain coming apart.

 

To answer your other question, going from a 15 to a 14 in front drops your final gearing 7% (simple math -> 15/14 = 1.07).  Theoretical top speed then drops by that much, but low end is improved.  Easier to pull away from a stop in second gear and stuff like that.

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I've heard the handling is different based on how close or how far away from the motor side. I don't remember all the details, but it definitely changes the handling, I try to keep mine somewhere in the middle

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Just put on the 14 tooth. Surprisingly that gave me a lot of slack. Tightened a few notches and I'm good to go. Thanks guys  

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3 hours ago, dlee said:

I've heard the handling is different based on how close or how far away from the motor side. I don't remember all the details, but it definitely changes the handling, I try to keep mine somewhere in the middle

Shorter wheelbase gives you quicker steering and easier to do wheelies.  Longer wheelbase gives you more stability.  Most riders will have a hard time telling the difference, and I'm in that group.

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