How to Adjust a Motorcycle Chain

Learn how to adjust a motorcycle chain in this Howcast motorcycle video with expert Kenyon Kluge.


My name is Kenyon Kluge. I'm from Santa Cruz, California. I'm a team owner and rider for K Squared Racing. I'm also the team manager and rider for Zero Motorcycle Racing. If you want to find out more information about me you can look at my website, or for more information on Zero Motorcycles go to And now I'm going to talk to you about motorcycles. Adjusting your motorcycle chain is a very simple operation, but can lead many people to be confused.First I want to check and make sure how tight or loose it is to begin with, above an inch of play from bottom to top of the movement is what you would like to get on the chain. So you need to adjust it. What you should do. From time to time, it is gonna stretch and get loose. You are gonna losen yor main axle bolt here.But not completely remove it.Just loosen it enough that your axle can move freely back and forth.Go ahead and.. I will take a wrench. Go ahead and loosen the nut. Once that is loose and you have free movement,then you gonna need two wrenches, It might change from bike to bike, In my case, I need a 10 mm wrench and a 12 mm wrench. And you go ahead an loose the lock bolt, which is the one up against the frame and once that is loose, you have the free movement of the ten and that is also you gonna need to have the lock to pull it down together.From there, I gonna go ahead and check both sides to make sure that they are evenly aligned.So I do that by checking the number of notches behind the plate here and count on both sides to make sure that they are equal appear in between two marks that they are equally between the two marks from tis side to the other side.The key to that the wheel is aligned straight with the bike. Once they are aligned,you have them completely equal on both sides, I will go ahead and stick a screw driver in the spark head and roll the chain back and what that does is it sucks the wheel up against the adjusters, so that you have a firm adjustment on both sides. And then at about a half to a quarter turnaround of time, I will dial this out and this is assuming your chain is a little bit loose. It is very unlikely that chain is tight, but if it is, we would go the opposite direction. And you do a quarter turn on this side and a quarter turn on that side.And then release it. Check it again.Go back in continue adjustments until I get that one inch of free play top to bottom.Once that is done, I am gonna put the screw driver in one more time, make sure it is tight and then you are going to have tighten the bolt down and it is very important once you have done that you have tighten the bolt down check it one more time because sometimes with the play and the swing on that took tolerances in the motorcycles, you could get a little bit more tightening and or loosening, when you are tightening the axle down because of the movement of the wheels. So it is important you do that final check and make sure that the adjustment you made is still the adjustment it has.

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