Ideal chain slack after adjustement - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Ideal chain slack after adjustement

According to the Versys manual, chain slack should be between 25 and 35mm. I usually adjust it when it reaches 35mm or goes slightly past, but I wonder; even though it's hard to get it spot on, is it best to set the slack smack in the middle of the ideal range or at the very minimum?

I figure that setting it to the minimum could save me from having to adjust it more often, but would that increase tension and therefore wear over time? Or does it really matter that much anyways?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 12:22 AM
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Hi Jonny2001,

To obtain the chain slack, it is generally necessary to load the back wheel (for example placing a person on the motorcycle) until the centers of the engine sprocket, the swingarm pivot and the rear wheel axle have been positioned on the same axis. The swinging arm will be parallel to the ground.

Excessive chain tension
Excessive chain tensioning creates dangerous loading, which increases the working loads between the pins and the bushings, overheating the chain thus consuming the lubricant. This cause the chain to wear faster.
Moreover, if the motorcycle is ridden on rough roads or trails, the chain is subjected to extremely hard shocks by the up and down lever action of the swinging arm. This can lead to premature failure of the chain and damage to other parts of the motorcycle

Excessive chain slack
A chain that is excessively loose is subjected to hard whiplash like shocks during acceleration.
This adds to the force applied to the chain, causing the chain to jump over the sprocket teeth possibly causing damage to the vehicle or riders.

Regular check like you are doing are the way it should be done. Nothing last forever, they say. IMHO, it all depends how aggresive on eis.
or I saw a fellow V fix an auto chain tensioner from an off road bike.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 02:40 AM
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the saticker on the side indicates the chain tension should be between 25 & 35mm, with the bike on its side stand. Ive been told you should measure that sloack at the weld point ont he swinging arm on the tightest part of the chain. if da manual says the chain slack should be in that range then I'd adjust it to 25mm once it gets out or or near the upper limit. adjusting the chain slack is something I hate about periodic maintenance. I used to hate it when i was younger and the interval was every 150..200 miles.

I use a Scottoiler to try too reduce the neccessity and frequency of chain retensioning.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 04:36 AM
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Hi

What should the chain tension be when the bike is on the paddock unloaded ?

CPHB

Last edited by CPHB; 06-29-2009 at 08:57 AM.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 09:23 AM
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Looser is better than tighter.


I don't adjust mine till it has at least 1.5 inches of slack in it. (38mm)
Every other bike I have owned listed slack in the 1.5-1.75 range.

I have measured slack with the bike unloaded on its sidestand, and then again mounted on a rear stand and the slack was the same amount. The bikes own sag was the same either way.

You can confirm this by measuring the distance from your rear axle bolt to a fixed point on the bikes subframe/tail-section. If the distance (or bikes unladen sag) is the same then you can adjust the chain to the same specs either way.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 04:54 PM
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I'm not sure why so many people are trying to make it more difficult than it should be.

The adjustment instructions are for the bike on the side stand as healdem mentions. If you get it in that range it should be OK. Looser is better than tighter, but don't let it get past the upper end of the range. FWIW, I adjusted my chain once in 10K miles, and that was at about 1000 miles when it was breaking-in. No significant changes in tension since with casual lubrication. Only now it's getting close to the upper end of the range and going to require it's second adjustment. Maybe I'll post a how too with pictures...

Gustavo


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 05:53 PM
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If you want to get the best result pull the rear of the bike down with rachet tie downs till the swing arm is horizontal and set the chain at about 13mm of slack.
Return the bike to its unloaded side stand position and measure the slack again. Record this measurement for future use.
I did this with my KLR Tengai and it confirmed that the manufacturers recommended maximum setting was right and the minimum setting was too tight.
As others have said, too tight is far worse than too slack.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healdem View Post
I use a Scottoiler to try too reduce the neccessity and frequency of chain retensioning.
+1. Easy, continous lubing and functional. Using cheap SAE 80-90 oil.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mudarra View Post
I have measured slack with the bike unloaded on its sidestand, and then again mounted on a rear stand and the slack was the same amount. The bikes own sag was the same either way.
Yes that´s right. I found it out myself yesterday, when I (for the first time) adjusted the slack. I use a paddock (rear stand)

It´s must be rather tricky to do adjustments when the bike is on the side stand :

To find the tightest part of the chain you must rotate the wheel. This is difficult to do when the wheel is on the ground

From the service manual:

Raise the rear wheel off the ground with the stand.
•Remove the cotter pin , and loosen the axle nut.
•Loosen the both chain adjuster locknuts .
If the chain is too loose, turn out the right and left chain
adjusters evenly.
If the chain is too tight, turn in the right and left chain
adjusters evenly, and kick the wheel forward.
•Turn both chain adjusters evenly until the drive chain has
the correct amount of slack.
To keep the chain and wheelproperly aligned, the notch on the left wheel alignment
indicator should align with the same swingarm mark or
position that the right indicator notch aligns with.

Last edited by CPHB; 06-30-2009 at 01:20 AM.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CPHB View Post
....
To keep the chain and wheelproperly aligned, the notch on the left wheel alignment
indicator should align with the same swingarm mark or
position that the right indicator notch aligns with.
+1 one that, except DO NOT TRUST the marks on the swinging arm as bikes have been made where those alignement marks are not the same on both sides. They should be, but I've seen one, and heard of two others where those amrks did not align up. all 3 were not Versys, nor even kawasaki... but its scary enough to make me believe you cannot rely on thiose marks, at least cannot relay without checking.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeph View Post
If you want to get the best result pull the rear of the bike down with rachet tie downs till the swing arm is horizontal and set the chain at about 13mm of slack.
Return the bike to its unloaded side stand position and measure the slack again. Record this measurement for future use.
I did this with my KLR Tengai and it confirmed that the manufacturers recommended maximum setting was right and the minimum setting was too tight.
As others have said, too tight is far worse than too slack.
13mm slack.... your having a larf, at least I hope you are....
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healdem View Post
+1 one that, except DO NOT TRUST the marks on the swinging arm as bikes have been made where those alignement marks are not the same on both sides. They should be, but I've seen one, and heard of two others where those amrks did not align up. all 3 were not Versys, nor even kawasaki... but its scary enough to make me believe you cannot rely on thiose marks, at least cannot relay without checking.
How do I check?
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 10:10 AM
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Yea, what would be the best way to verify the marks are on or off?

I used a measuring tape in the axle slots back to the axle.. because i did not trust the marks..
I am anal like that. I trust nothing, till i get my hands on it..
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kmahorney View Post
Yea, what would be the best way to verify the marks are on or off?

I used a measuring tape in the axle slots back to the axle.. because i did not trust the marks..
I am anal like that. I trust nothing, till i get my hands on it..
smart move...

its almost certain that your swinging arm marks are in line, they certainly should be given modern manufacturing techniques but y'never know

I went down the route of measuring with a caliper the gap face to face, because I happened to have a caliper to hand, but a ruler/tape should be just as good.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kmahorney View Post
Yea, what would be the best way to verify the marks are on or off?

I used a measuring tape in the axle slots back to the axle.. because i did not trust the marks..
I am anal like that. I trust nothing, till i get my hands on it..
+1


Check it once. Make sure it is the same on both sides, then from that point on, when you adjust the chain just make sure you turn both adjusters the same amounts.



FWIW - I've owned 4 chain driven bikes, and none of the swingarm marks were off.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 03:46 PM
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Yes, 13mm slack, rembering that it's a measurement taken at a position where tha chain can't get any tighter. That's what manufacturers have to allow for when they provide guide line adjustment measurements for when the bike is unloaded on it's side or centre stand.
This setup advice was given to be by a mechanic who prepared motorcross bikes that have huge swing arm travel movements. The principle though applies to all bikes.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 04:13 PM
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Id rather take the advice of the manufacturer of the specific bike over the advice of an unnamed mechanic. especially as overtightening the chain can lead to premature gearbox failures.
especially as "position where tha chain can't get any tighter" is undefined.

the recommended point to measure the slack on the Versys (or so Im told) is adjacent to the welding on the swinging arm at the tightest point on the chain.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 05:34 PM
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Healdem, my second reply to this thread describes how I used this recommended method and confirmed that Kawasaki's advice for my KLR wasn't the best. I checked by setting the chain at their smaller "tighter" setting and then cranked the suspension down and the chain was too tight. You can't always blindly follow the manufacturers advice.
I am only passing on what I have experienced. If you have more actual experiece in this field, let's have it.
The experienced racing mechanics advice proved correct.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 02:57 AM
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fair enough..

you do it your way, I'll do it the K way. if my gearbox goes kaboom that will leave precious little wriggle room for K to misuse.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 09:25 AM
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Why do you guys continue to beat this dead horse? It isn't going anywhere. Everyone has their own opinions on this. Do it your own way. Who cares how anyone does it?

WTH, I'll go ahead and add my two pence.

I've been riding for 40 years. I adjust my chains the way the manufacture says to. I have always used the adjuster marks while on the side stand. I've never had an issue. Even if the marks are off a centimetre or two won't hurt anything. The tire or chain may wear a little faster, but it will be by an unmeasurable amount.

Calipers and tape measures??
Sheesh!
Just ride the thing.

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