One of my favorite things in the TechShop is the Auto Bay. I love that members can bring their vehicles here to do mundane routine maintenance or complex customization. Today I need to adjust my motorcycle chain. Yes! You can work on motorcycles in the auto bay too.
In terms of tools I'm going to use a 13mm crescent wrench and a large adjustable crescent wrench. I'm also going to use a caliper later to ensure that my wheel is correctly aligned.
The axle of the motorcycle has a nut on one side. There are also adjusters built into each side of the swingarm. Currently the chain has too much slack so I will loosen the axle nut and adjust the tensioners to take the slack out.
First I'm going to loosen the big nut on the axle. Using the adjustable wrench I'm going to set the wrench to the correct size. It's important that the wrench fits tightly to the nut or you might strip it.
When I loosen the nut the wheel won't move because the tensioners are in place.
With the axle nut loose I can loosen the locking nut on the tensioner. It's the nut that touches the swingarm.
Next I will turn the adjusting nut on the tensioner to remove slack from the chain. Always adjust the chain side first!
If you do not have a caliper to measure the wheel's position in the swingarm you should adjust the chain side one quarter turn and then adjust the non-chain side one quarter turn. Keep going back and forth in this manner to ensure the wheel stays aligned.
The chain should have 30-35mm of movement. Make adjustments to the tensioners and then check the movement of the chain up and down. Keep adjusting until it is correct. It's important that you don't overtighten the chain.
When you finish you can tighten the lock nuts according to your manufacturers specifications. My bike says 10Nm. THen tighten the axle nut according to specs. For me this was 100Nm.
Now take the bike for a slow ride and see how it feels. If it seems right you can go faster. Then return to the shop and check the tension on the chain again. If it's still good you are done.