Rear wheel alignment tips, tricks?

Anyone have any suggestions on achieving perfect rear wheel alignment?

Kevin is right, but I have found that it works better to have a buddy hold another straight edge on the countershaft sproket also, while using Kevins method, if possible. When both straight edges line up on the same plane, you have got it. Just because one straight edge is looking at one sproket, doesn't mean the other sproket is looking back on the same plane. I hope I make myself clear.

Thanks guys these are are good tips. The 98 WR400 also has poor allignment markers. The difference it makes to handling is suprising. I guess the self centering gyro effect is working against you fulltime.

Until I got mine right the bike would dart off line unpredictably.

I use a metal ruler placed skinny side against the sprocket with the overhang pointing towards the countershaft sprocket. I then eyeball it to check for parallel against the chain. They should be parallel. Any type of pointer will work as long as it's STRAIGHT. Having someone holding the rod with you standing back to eyeball may be easier. The longer the straight edge, the easier and more accurate it is.

I found on my Honda, the swingarm hash marks were off by fully one increment between the two sides. What I did find was once the wheel was straight, the distance measured from the axle to the end of the swingarm was equal on both sides. After that, I would tighten the chain and then measure both sides equal to ensure a straight wheel.

Thanks guys! Awesome tips.

Now where did I put those straight edges when I cleaned up the garage...

And remember! When you get everything set and your ready to tighten the rear axle. Stuff a wadded up rag between the sprocket and chain (on the top side) and spin the wheel backwards. Then hold the wheel in this position. While tightening the nut. This will hold the axle tight against the adjusters. Voila, everthing is straight and your chain adjustment did not move.



86TT225, 98CR80, 99WR, WR timing, throttle stop trimmed, air box lid removed, White Bros head pipe, silencer and air filter. Odometer and headlight removed. Moose hand and mud guards. YZ stock tank and IMS seat/brick.

I just take a tape measure, measure from the center of the swing arm pivot (bolt) to the center of the axle and adjust accordingly till both sides are equal measurements. Making the assumption that the engine is square in the frame, this should net a pretty decent alignment.

I've got a tool (made for sportbikes) that measures from the center of the swingarm pivot to the center of the rear axle. I would try to describe it but I'd be typing forever. They have new ones that use a red laser pointer beam.

If anyone has the brand new '00 White Bros dirt bike catalog, the one I have is on the second page of the tool section, it's called the Rohm Chain Adjuster Tool.


'99 WR400

'92 GSXR 7/11

Visit my photo album AT YOUR OWN RISK!! My photo album

Anyone here a sportbike fan also? Then visit us here at

I count the number of threads exposed on the the chain adjuster bolts with a real thin steel ruler and make sure it's the same on both sides. It just makes it easier to count them. I also visually check to alignment of the chain. Seems to work well.


What the hell?? A laser pointer?? You should be on The Yankee Workshop w/ Norm and his laser guided tools to accurately reproduce antique furniture. Of course, if he had pride, he would remanufacture that furniture using the original tools used to build the stuff in the first place.

What page was that on again...???

I don't have the laser one, that one is new. I've got the one on the second page of the tool section of the new White Bros catalog.


'99 WR400

'92 GSXR 7/11

Visit my photo album AT YOUR OWN RISK!! My photo album

Anyone here a sportbike fan also? Then visit us here at

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