Introduction: Chain Tension Adjustment on Vintage Honda Motorcycles
The chain on my motorcycle was super loose, and should probably be replaced. I ordered a new one, but then found out that I should also replace the sprockets at the same time, so today I'm just adjusting the chain tension on my 1975 Honda CB200.
I almost didn't make this tutorial, since I basically just followed the excellent instructions from a video I found on Old Bike Garage's channel. But hey, I can offer you my experience of performing this routine maintenance for the first time, and a riding montage at the end of the video. And if nothing else, hopefully this'll stir up some Google juice for the excellent video that taught me.
Step 1: Loosen Up
I started with my bike in neutral on its center stand, with room to get to both sides of the rear axle. I didn't remove the chain guard because there was one screw in a hard-to-remove place.
Then I removed the axle nut's cotter pin and loosened the nut itself with a 22mm wrench.
Next up, I loosened the lock nuts on both sides' adjuster bolts.
Step 2: Make Adjustment
The adjustment happens when you tighten the adjuster bolts, which then press against the frame to move the axle backwards.
The single notch on the chain adjuster is its index mark, and both right and left index marks should align with consistent positions on the notched scale along the rear fork.
According to my manual, the chain's free play at the tightest point should about 20mm, or three quarters of an inch.
Step 3: Tighten Everything Up
Then what remains is the reverse order of before: tighten the lock nuts, tighten the axle bolt, and reinsert and bend the cotter pin.
This adjustment can throw off the play in the rear brake pedal, so it's important to check and adjust that after adjusting the chain tension. I also took this opportunity to lubricate my chain as well.
I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to adjust my chain tension, something I should have been doing way more often than I have been.
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