Check your chain after you get a new tire

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Check your chain after you get a new tire

#1 Unread post by flynrider »

On a recent 3700 mile road trip, I stopped at a shop to replace a rear tire that was running out of life. The shop was nice enough to squeeze me in on a busy summer day, and I was grateful that they were willing to help me out so I could continue my vacation.

About 2,500 miles down the road, on my last day, the chain started making a horrible racket whenever I took off from a dead stop, or accelerated at low speed. I limped on home and figured the chain (with 23K miles on it) had just finally worn out.

Upon closer inspection, I verified that the links were binding as they rolled off the sprockets, resulting in a lot of noise and vibration. I'd never seen a chain go from smooth operation to suddenly worn out. It's usually a more gradual process. Checking even closer, I eventually noticed that my chain was not aligned properly. The bike shop had apparently goofed up the alignment bigtime. Sighting down the rear sprocket, the chain was obviously trying to make a right turn as it came off the sprocket.

This weekend I finally got around to replacing the chain and sprockets (an easy 30 min. job on the Nighthawk). I was surprised to find that the old sprocket teeth looked as good as the new sprockets I'd bought. The only anomoly was the bright shiny metal that had been worn off the backside of both sprockets by the misalligned chain. When I inspected the chain, there was damage to most of the O-rings on the right side, where they were getting pinched as the chain flexed laterally.

Overall, I can't say I'm too pissed about this. The chain was nearing the end of its life anyway. I'm just glad it held on until I made it home.

The moral of this story : Check your rear wheel alignment whenever the rear tire is replaced. I had just assumed that the mechanic mounting the tire would verify alignment and didn't bother checking it. A quick glance down the chain while the bike was on the centerstand would have saved me a lot of trouble.
Bikin' John
'93 Honda CB750 Nighthawk

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#2 Unread post by Misguided Missle »

Maybe they thought you would come back for a chain too

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#3 Unread post by coffee_brake »

Also, I've noticed on my Nighthawk that the notches on the chain adjustor aren't to be trusted, it is better (as always) to sight-check the chain alignment. Maybe the mechanic just lined up the notches and went on to more profitable jobs.
I know the mechanics in the shop I hang around at only get a small amount to change a tire.

Glad you were able to find some nice enough folks squeeze you in and save your vacation!
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#4 Unread post by ArtiomR »

A friend of mine had a similar problem with his SV650S - we changed the chain and sprockets, and aligned the rear wheel. Then after some riding we noticed, that bright polished spots on chain rollers were not in the center, so we adjusted the wheel. Happy end :lol:

It seems, that on chain driven bikes, chain requires almost as much attention, as the fuel gauge :D
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Chain Alignment

#5 Unread post by CanuckSV »

Very good tip hidden in there.
Lots of ways to align a chain. The easiest and potentially the worst way is to use the notches on the swingarm. Some are perfect but some aren't.
The great tip is: If suspicious at all (or just for a periodic check) look for shiney spots on the rollers or sprockets that aren't quite where they should be (dead centre).
Life is an Incredible Journey with a Questionable Destination. Enjoy the Journey Cuz the Destination Might Suck!

"Left us peacefully in his sleep"...PHOOEY!
I'm goin in sliding on my butt with my front wheel tucked under, screaming for one more chance to do it again!

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#6 Unread post by Triumphgirl »

Good tips. My bike is chain driven and I have to say that I am ana about my chain. I hate it if the slack isnt just right and if it is too dirty. I even clean it with a toothbrush :oops:

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