You take your motorcycle out for a ride, and everything seems fine. Then, a moment into it, the chain starts making a noise and the wheel begins to slip. This seemingly simple complaint is actually a very common one, and it can be a bit of a pain to fix.
Over time, the answer for most riders is the same: loose chains can ruin their ride. Loose chains can lead to expensive damage to the engine and transmission, and even the possibility of an accident. It’s not uncommon for a rider to become frustrated over a loose motorcycle chain, and to search for a solution.
Why does my motorcycle chain keep getting loose? A loose chain on a motorcycle could be a result of multiple reasons. If the chain is loose because of an improperly fitted sprocket or too tight of tension, you may need to adjust the chain tension. If the chain is loose because of an improperly fitted rear axle, you may have to adjust the rear axle adjustment bolt. If the chain is loose because of worn out sprocket teeth, you will need to replace them.
Is It Safe to Ride a Motorcycle With a Loose Chain?
A loose motorcycle chain can effect acceleration, braking and turning. The chain might not have enough tension, or the tensioning bolts could be loose. It is also possible that the chain is worn and needs to be replaced.
It is important to make sure both the chain and sprockets are secured to the bike properly. When riding with loose or too tight a chain, a motorcycle can break apart or the rider can become severely injured. Also, on dirt or paved roads, loose or too tight a chain can cause the tires to slip.
Will a loose chain cause loss of power?
A chain needs to be loose enough that it doesn’t drag, but tight enough that it won’t fall off.
Loose chains can occur on any bike, but will cause the most problems on motorcycles. If your chain suddenly jumps its sprockets as it shifts gears, it will cause both a loss of power and a jam to your bike wheel. This usually happens because the chain is too loose.
The constant vibration of the motorcycle can cause the bolts to loosen over time, which will give slack to your chain. This will result in a lower amount of torque being transmitted from the motor to the wheels. There is a tensioning bolt on the motorcycle that holds the chain and tensioner. This bolt can loosen over time and result to slack in the chain. Tightening this bolt will prevent this problem from happening.
Looseness of the motorcycle chain can lead to skip shifts. The chain on the motorcycle can become loose over time and may need to be tightened. However, if a mechanic makes the chain too loose, the bike may run out of power.
How Do You Fix a Loose Motorcycle Chain?
The rear wheels on a motorcycle are adjusted by pulling the rear wheel backwards and loosening the rear axle nuts. Once the rear wheel is backed off and then tightened again, the chain adjusters are adjusted until they reach the desired amount of chain slack.
All of this can be done with a wrench and special tool. Watch the video tutorial below by Motorcyclist Magazine:
How Often Should You Tighten Motorcycle Chain?
The chain in your motorcycle or bike needs to be inspected periodically. If it’s loose or rusty, it will need to be lubricated and changed.
If you own a motorcycle, you should be sure to have the proper maintenance done on it, including checking the chain and adjusting it every 500 miles (805 km) on average.
A dirt bike’s chain should be inspected and adjusted every 200 miles (320 km). You should also have your motorcycle checked for kinks and rust every few months, and lube your chain during your regular inspection.
Checking the o-rings while you’re at it…
Checking the O-rings in your bike chains every now and then is important. If the chain becomes slack, it can cause the chain to break. If the chain breaks, it can cause you to lose control, which can result in an accident.