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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Owner's manual: "Drive chain slack should be adjusted to allow the following vertical movement by hand: 35 - 45 mm.

This movement must be checked with bike on sidestand?
 

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Owner's manual: "Drive chain slack should be adjusted to allow the following vertical movement by hand: 35 - 45 mm.

This movement must be checked with bike on sidestand?
Yes but if I were you I would use the 45mil as a minimum and remember the measurement is centre to centre

Don't think you will find much if any difference when checked on the centre stand
 

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I did a test and with the post 2001 Transalp, the chain slack is the same on side stand or main. So just get it right on either. This does not work on all bikes.
By the way, it might work for pre 2001 , I just haven't tested it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes but if I were you I would use the 45mil as a minimum and remember the measurement is centre to centre

I do tend to keep the chain slack more than 45mm but found that downshifting is not so smooth. Sounds clunky. Thought that having chain slack spot on 45mm would quiten down the gearchange.
 

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Yes but if I were you I would use the 45mil as a minimum and remember the measurement is centre to centre

I do tend to keep the chain slack more than 45mm but found that downshifting is not so smooth. Sounds clunky. Thought that having chain slack spot on 45mm would quiten down the gearchange.
Yes got to agree with that, too much slack makes for poor changes, spend a bit of time and get it spot on at 45mil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cheers mates. Will try to set slack on 45mm and see if there's improvement in downshifting. Upshifting is smooth so am hoping that reducing chain slack will smoothen downshift.
 

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the rear axel nut should be tightened to 95 nm with a torque wrench if you have one but no Haynes manual . :thumbright: I won a Haynes manual cheap on ebay :D . I have wrote in the front of the manual 1 1/4 " vertical movement for the chain between the sprockets from another thread on hear ? 45 mm is 1 3/4 " for smooth up changes on my 1990 transalp 600 I read on hear to give it 4500 revs and then its smoother I prefer to ride in a more relaxed manner some times so I also find 3000 revs is ok if I take my time let off the throttle pull the clutch wait a nano second then slip it into gear . for stoping at a t junction or stop sign I just pull the clutch a keep droping gears till im at the bottom that's first then im in the right gear to take off agin . then away we go agin like a hen out of a hen house :toothy8: a bat out of hell sounds a bit wrong that's more fzr 1000 or fireblade kinda progress . :thumbright:
 

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Set your chain tension with you sat on the bike, this is especially critical for trailbikes with long traVel suspension. When you compress the rear shock the rear wheel moves in an arc from the swingarm pivot, not from the front sprocket, so the distance between the sprockets increases when suspension is compressed. If your chain is too tight it will overload the mainshaft bearing in the gearbox, a very expensive repair.
25-35mm with you sat on the bike is more than enough to account for rough surfaces or uneven roads compressing the suspension.
 

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Set your chain tension with you sat on the bike, this is especially critical for trailbikes with long traVel suspension. When you compress the rear shock the rear wheel moves in an arc from the swingarm pivot, not from the front sprocket, so the distance between the sprockets increases when suspension is compressed. If your chain is too tight it will overload the mainshaft bearing in the gearbox, a very expensive repair.
25-35mm with you sat on the bike is more than enough to account for rough surfaces or uneven roads compressing the suspension.
That's bad advice, the chain slack recommended will always be with the bike on side stand, and adjustment will always be recommended on side sand to allow some tension across the sing arm adjusting bolts.

The way you suggest will give a non neutral reading, and cause issues if you add a pillion or luggage.

In fact, I find the post I'll advised.
 

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Originally Posted by Chris in Oz

Set your chain tension with you sat on the bike, this is especially critical for trailbikes with long traVel suspension. When you compress the rear shock the rear wheel moves in an arc from the swingarm pivot, not from the front sprocket, so the distance between the sprockets increases when suspension is compressed. If your chain is too tight it will overload the mainshaft bearing in the gearbox, a very expensive repair.
25-35mm with you sat on the bike is more than enough to account for rough surfaces or uneven roads compressing the suspension.



Its past time this discussion was put to bed FOR GOOD! Iv'e had no reason to have my alp in bits so far, but the first time that I have the rear suspension off I will have the chain tension set to the minimum (650 minimum chain play 35mm) and check if it still has any play or not tight when the rear axle the gearbox sprocket and the swing arm pivot centres all line up. I carn't really believe honda would make such a cock up as to give a chain play that would not cater for that situation, that is taking for granted that the alignment will actually occur.

So if anybody has actually done this please post it!

I once tried it out on a twin shock Armstrong and as the centres lined up the chain play was practically non existent but it was not over tight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks T ALP! That MIGHT settle up the issue for good :thumbup: As for me, me too find it hard to believe that Honda did not do their hw well...and on such a simple thing
 

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Originally Posted by Chris in Oz

Set your chain tension with you sat on the bike, this is especially critical for trailbikes with long traVel suspension. When you compress the rear shock the rear wheel moves in an arc from the swingarm pivot, not from the front sprocket, so the distance between the sprockets increases when suspension is compressed. If your chain is too tight it will overload the mainshaft bearing in the gearbox, a very expensive repair.
25-35mm with you sat on the bike is more than enough to account for rough surfaces or uneven roads compressing the suspension.



Its past time this discussion was put to bed FOR GOOD! Iv'e had no reason to have my alp in bits so far, but the first time that I have the rear suspension off I will have the chain tension set to the minimum (650 minimum chain play 35mm) and check if it still has any play or not tight when the rear axle the gearbox sprocket and the swing arm pivot centres all line up. I carn't really believe honda would make such a cock up as to give a chain play that would not cater for that situation, that is taking for granted that the alignment will actually occur.

So if anybody has actually done this please post it!

I once tried it out on a twin shock Armstrong and as the centres lined up the chain play was practically non existent but it was not over tight.

This is a classic example of "ask a single mundane question on a forum and get a million different answers"

But before you potentially write off your engine by overtightening your chain try this trick which the mechanic at a local Honda dealership taught me:

  1. Get out your tape measure, take off your bike's front sprocket cover, and with the bike on its sidestand measure the distance between the centres of the 2 sprockets, and measure the tension of the chain. Note them on a piece of paper.
  2. Take the bike off the sidestand and get an assistant who weighs the same as you to sit on your bike. THey must have the sidesatnd up and both feet on teh pegs, so maybe do this beside a wall so they can steady themselves
  3. Measure the distance between the 2 sprockets and the tension of the chain. Note that too.
  4. Get another assistant, the heavier the better, to sit pillion, and measure distances and chain slack again, and note again. If the distance between the wheels (and also chain tension) don't increase from "no rider & bike on sidestand" to "sidestand up and rider in the saddle with feet on the pegs" I'll pay off the rest of your mortgage, regardless of whether you live in a council house or a mansion house.
  5. THink about why the chain tension changes with the load on the suspension,

  • As your suspension compresses, the rear wheel moves in an arc form the swingarm pivot, which is not in the same place as the front sprocket, so the distance between the sprockets changes depending on the load on the suspension. From the "at rest and on sidestand" position, this distance increases.
  • with your sidestand down, the sidestand itself is taking some of the load from your suspension. Have you noticed that when the load is taken off the sidestand the seat drops slightly? its just a few mm, but it happens
6. Next, think back to your high school phsyics days. Where does the force applied to the chain by the distance between teh wheels increasing go to? It applies some force to the rear sprocket, effectively pulling that sprocket forward. It wants to pull that side of the wheel forward and pull the wheel off true, but the rear axle bolt has been tightened so much the wheel cannot move. So instead this force is trying to pull the front sprocket backwards. Now the cush drive shall take some of that, but they dont have much give, 1 - 2 mm at best, so the force is applied to the front sprocket. The front sprocket is bolted to the gearbox mainshaft, therefore an overtight chain tries to pull the gearbox mainshaft backwards from the front sprocket end. If you're lucky the great big (and expensive) roller bearing in the crankcase behind the front sprocket will collapse, I say lucky because you can afford to fix that. If you're unlucky the strain on the mainshft will be so great that the bearing applies so much force to the crankcase that it tries to burst out of the crankcase, causing it to crack. To all intents and purposes that is unfixable. (I know it could be alloy welded and remachined, but how much would that cost compared to a 2nd hand engine from a breaker).

So why did my Honda dealer mechanic tell me this? Because he had a Dominator or XR or similar bike in for a repair with cracks in the crankcase around the back of the front sprocket.

In short, an overtight chain causes irreparable damage to the gearbox if it is too tight.

And ever since Long Way Round he's seen more and more of these, as road bike riders switch to dual sport bikes with long travel suspension, they are unaware of the effect on chain tension, so they set it as per a road bike, then do some spirited riding off road, go up and down a few bumps, really working the suspension, and with disasterous results

Hence my advice, set the chain tension with the suspension under its normal working load, which is with you on the bike with the feet on the pegs, you should a pillion and luggage if that's how you ride. Rather than get my hands grubby from chainlube I have a metal tentpeg which I test the chain tension with. I reckon between 1" and 1.5" with suspension under load is about right, but I'm open to opinions on that,

This is a "real life" method works for everyone, whether you weigh 9 stone or 19 stone.

Alternatively, you can use the "artificial" method of setting the tension with the sidestand taking some load off the suspension.

As I said earlier, you ask a question on a forum and you get a lot of answers. Take whichever advice you choose, its your bike, but whatever you do, remember your suspension travel, and don't overtighten your chain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
:thumb:That's a detailed explanation! However, the question many TA owners put is: Should I stick with the dimensions given by Honda (35mm-45mm) or are these not enough to stay away from the expensive output shaft/crankcase damage? Should I go for a >45mm chain slack on sidestand?
 

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T Its past time this discussion was put to bed FOR GOOD! Iv'e had no reason to have my alp in bits so far said:
:thumb:That's a detailed explanation! However, the question many TA owners put is: Should I stick with the dimensions given by Honda (35mm-45mm) or are these not enough to stay away from the expensive output shaft/crankcase damage? Should I go for a >45mm chain slack on sidestand?


35mm is not enough slack.

Alway's measure with the suspension fully extended - there are too many variabled otherwise......

In the early day's of 650 owbership, I disconnected the linkage to get a definitive answer on this by;
lining up & lining the centre of the of front sprocket shaft with swingarm pivot with wheel axle bolt - this gives the longest chain run possible (the tightest the chain will get....)

Adjusting the chain so ot has just a touch of slack (in this position), connecting the linkage up & leaving the bike with suspension fully extended gave an up/down freeplay of 45mm (as I recall) - 35mm will be too tight.

A method that I find easiest is to measure from a gently lifted chain & measure between the top of the chain link & the under swingarm chainslider at it's mounting point; 10-12mm is correct & the same as 45mm 'up & down play, just easier to measure/guess ;)
 

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Setting chain tension with the bike on the sidestand takes no account of your weight and its effect on the suspension travel, the answer given to somebody weighing 9 stone is a different answer to soemone weighing 19 stone, who rides mostly 2 up, with luggage. A forum can't give you the right answer, it depends on your weight.

I reckon the more accuarrate question is "what should the slack be when the suspension is under the load it takes during normal riding conditions?"

My answer is 25 - 32mm, or 1 to 1.25 inches in old money. But I'm sure there'll be many who argue with that.

Its easy enough to sit on your bike and get an assistant to test the slack for you. Or alternatively, find an assistant who's weight matches yours and use them as a proxy of you. Get them to sit on the bike, leaning against a wall as described above, and test the chain slack yourself. It sounds harder than it is, you'll soon get the hang of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
35mm is not enough slack.

Alway's measure with the suspension fully extended - there are too many variabled otherwise......

In the early day's of 650 owbership, I disconnected the linkage to get a definitive answer on this by;
lining up & lining the centre of the of front sprocket shaft with swingarm pivot with wheel axle bolt - this gives the longest chain run possible (the tightest the chain will get....)

Adjusting the chain so ot has just a touch of slack (in this position), connecting the linkage up & leaving the bike with suspension fully extended gave an up/down freeplay of 45mm (as I recall) - 35mm will be too tight.

A method that I find easiest is to measure from a gently lifted chain & measure between the top of the chain link & the under swingarm chainslider at it's mounting point; 10-12mm is correct & the same as 45mm 'up & down play, just easier to measure/guess ;)
That's it then! Thanks piguglyshandydrinker!

As for weight of driver (or ANY weight, for that matter), this need not be put in the equation, Chris, since chain slack must be set at its tightest as described by piguglyshandydrinker. If at this tightest point chain has at least a little slack there will never be a point in which chain pulls on the output shaft.
 

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Setting chain tension with the bike on the sidestand takes no account of your weight and its effect on the suspension travel, the answer given to somebody weighing 9 stone is a different answer to soemone weighing 19 stone, who rides mostly 2 up, with luggage. A forum can't give you the right answer, it depends on your weight.

I reckon the more accuarrate question is "what should the slack be when the suspension is under the load it takes during normal riding conditions?"

My answer is 25 - 32mm, or 1 to 1.25 inches in old money. But I'm sure there'll be many who argue with that.

Its easy enough to sit on your bike and get an assistant to test the slack for you. Or alternatively, find an assistant who's weight matches yours and use them as a proxy of you. Get them to sit on the bike, leaning against a wall as described above, and test the chain slack yourself. It sounds harder than it is, you'll soon get the hang of it.
Bollox.

The correct chain slack is exactly the same irrespective of load or riding conditions.....
 

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Bollox.

The correct chain slack is exactly the same irrespective of load or riding conditions.....
What the man said.

The weight of the rider, whether they ride with luggage or not, is completely irrelevant. As Phil has already explained, he lined up the swingarm with the front sprocket, swingarm pivot and rear wheel spindle in-line (the tightest the chain can EVER GET) and he found 35 mm slack just a tad too neat, so settled on 45 mm chain slack.

Why is this still a bone of contention? It amazes me, it really does.



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Chris, since chain slack must be set at its tightest as described by piguglyshandydrinker. If at this tightest point chain has at least a little slack there will never be a point in which chain pulls on the output shaft.[/QUOTE]

I agree with that, I'm just suggesting a way of getting the chain to its longest extension and testing the tension at that point.
 

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35mm is not enough slack.

Alway's measure with the suspension fully extended - there are too many variabled otherwise......

In the early day's of 650 owbership, I disconnected the linkage to get a definitive answer on this by;
lining up & lining the centre of the of front sprocket shaft with swingarm pivot with wheel axle bolt - this gives the longest chain run possible (the tightest the chain will get....)

Adjusting the chain so ot has just a touch of slack (in this position), connecting the linkage up & leaving the bike with suspension fully extended gave an up/down freeplay of 45mm (as I recall) - 35mm will be too tight.

;)
This is what we needed to read! thanks you've saved me the job. What I really carn't credit is that honda would quote a minimum chain play that would not cater for the three centres lining up!!!

Chris in Oz
You need to catch on to the fact that when the swing arm pivot and sprocket centres align, that is the longest the chain run can be.

In my earlier post saying I did this same thing on the Armstrong it was definitely measured accurately with the minimum recommended chain play, centres aligned, there was the slightest chain slack in the centre of the run but it should be no detriment as long as there was no tightness.
 
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