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Chain adjustment - tighter or looser ?

2283 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  jontow
I cleaned and lubed my chain today and also adjusted it. I'm at about the #4 mark on the adjuster. I found at that spot it seemed just a tad loose to me, but just one notch up from that it seemed a little too tight. Neither spot seemed "just right" and because of the notches on the adjuster, there's nothing in-between. So...My question is....if you're going to err one way or the other, is it better to have the chain a little too loose or maybe a little too tight?
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I recommend ratchet straps and a long imaginary line through the bike.

Use the ratchet straps to compress the rear suspension until your imaginary line looks straight from your back axle through the countershaft forward. You'll have to pick a reference point forward on the engine to use as your third point; and a yardstick or piece of pipe might help you "draw" your imaginary line. Stop ratcheting when all 3 points make a straight line.

This is when your chain is at its tightest point.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention: this is probably easier on a bike with a cyclerack. If not, you can still strap from the swingarm to the subframe under the seat, it'll just be more annoying.

I think it accomplishes lizrdbrth's anal method without the joys of removing the shock, though. I will feel free to stand by, corrected, if I'm wrong

For what its worth, I usually roll the bike back and forth and bounce on the suspension (or have someone else do it) after I adjust to confirm everything "feels" right with the chain tension.
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Next point of business: always do your chain slack tests with the bike strapped in the back of a pickup truck

(yeah.. probably not)
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