How tight should a chain be?????

This is a stupid question but I cannot figure out the best way to tighten my chain. so here it goes, how tight do you guys run your chains and how/where do the check the free play. I have heard the 3 finger rule at the back of the chain slider, but is that with the rear wheel off the ground, on its side stand, or with rider on it??? your help is appreciated.



I put the bike on a stand and adjust it to approx 1 1/2 inches of play, or three fingers measured at the back of the slider on the screw.

Dougie Wins....1.5 inches at the rear of the swingarm guard is correct.....

Bonzai :)

The manual says 1.6" to 2" at the rear bolt holding the chain slider to the swingarm. I keep mine at 2" at the most loose point on the chain. I have 750 miles on the bike. I have had to adjust the chain only twice when the bike was new.

Between 40 and 50 mm at the rear bolt of the chain slider, wheel off the ground. Always better too loose than too tight.

What scares me the most about a chain that MIGHT be to tight, is a hub that might grenade :)

Also wad up a rag and stick it between the chain and top side of the rear sprocket. Then roll the tire backwards and it'll snug the axle up against the adjusters. Then tighten the axle and it WON'T move.


Thanks, Bill...You brought up a point thats very important. So far this season I have seen 3 hubs self destruct due to poor maintenance. It is extremely important to check the torque on the hub bolts about every third ride. To do it correctly you must remove the wheel which is why most folks don't do it. Also keep a good eye on the sproket teeth, if they start pointing toward the front of the bike this means 1 of 2 things. First your chain is too tight, or second the sproket is at the end of it's service life. The wear tends to show up first on the countersproket, so, if you still have that cheap plastic mud collector around your CS remove it. Remember to leave the aluminum bracket in place as it will save your case from destruction should a chain let go at speed. (You will have to go to your local home depot or the like and get shorter screws to retain the bracket). Additionally when you check your Hub Bolts also check the Spokes as well.

As long as your doing good maintenance your bike will last a long time.

Bonzai :)

OK lets put it this way....anything greater that 1.5 inches for riding in MX or Cross Country racing can cause some nasty chain slap and premature wear of the chain guide....(3 years on my Guide and guard...Just replaced and they were not even completely worn out).....1.5 inches does not put excessive pull on the front chainwheel and will not cause the seal to leak or blow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with 2 inches of slack in the chain. For my taste it makes it harder to ensure proper alignment and chain wear, but that's just me....

Bonzai :)

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