Replacing a motorcycle chain and sprockets is an essential maintenance task that every motorcycle rider should know how to do. Over time, the chain and sprockets on a motorcycle wear out due to normal use and exposure to the elements. A worn-out chain and sprockets can lead to poor performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and even dangerous situations on the road.
Fortunately, replacing a motorcycle chain and sprockets is a relatively simple task that can be done with a few basic tools and some patience. The process involves removing the old chain and sprockets, installing the new ones, and adjusting the chain tension to ensure proper alignment. While it may seem daunting at first, with the right guidance and some practice, anyone can replace their motorcycle chain and sprockets.
In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to replace a motorcycle chain and sprockets. We will cover everything from the tools you will need to the proper technique for adjusting the chain tension. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, this guide will help you save money and keep your motorcycle running smoothly.
Table of Contents
Inspecting Your Chain and Sprockets
Before replacing your motorcycle’s chain and sprockets, it’s essential to inspect them to determine if they need replacing. The following sub-sections will guide you through the process. If you ears strange noise coming from your chain you can read my other post: Why Is My Motorcycle Chain Making Noise? Common Causes and Solutions
Checking Chain Tension
The first step in inspecting your motorcycle’s chain is to check its tension. To do this, put your motorcycle on a stand and measure the slack in the chain. The ideal slack range is usually specified in the owner’s manual or on the swingarm. If the chain is too loose, it may need tightening. If it’s too tight, it may need loosening.
Evaluating Chain Wear
Next, you’ll want to evaluate the wear on your motorcycle’s chain. A worn chain can cause poor performance, and if left unchecked, it can eventually break. One way to check for a worn chain is to try to pull the chain away from the rear of the sprocket on the rear wheel. If the chain is worn, you’ll reveal about half a tooth of the sprocket. A new chain will wrap around the sprocket snugly and won’t pull away.
Another way to check for wear is to measure the chain’s pitch and check it against the manufacturer’s specifications. If the pitch is off, it’s time to replace the chain. You can also check for tight spots, kinks, or rust on the chain, which are signs that it’s time to replace it.
Examining Sprocket Teeth
Finally, you’ll want to examine the teeth on your motorcycle’s sprockets. Worn sprocket teeth can cause poor performance and accelerate chain wear. To check for wear, look for signs of hooking or rounding on the teeth. If you see either of these signs, it’s time to replace the sprockets. You should also check the sprocket’s teeth for wear on the sides, which can indicate that the sprocket is misaligned.
By following these steps, you can determine whether it’s time to replace your motorcycle’s chain and sprockets. Regularly inspecting your chain and sprockets can help you avoid costly repairs and keep your motorcycle running smoothly.
Preparing for Replacement
Before replacing the motorcycle chain and sprockets, it is important to gather the necessary tools and parts, remove the rear wheel, and remove the old chain.
Gathering Necessary Tools and Parts
To replace the motorcycle chain and sprockets, the following tools and parts are necessary:
|Chain breaker tool
|Sprocket retaining bolts
It is important to ensure that the new chain and sprockets are compatible with the motorcycle make and model. Refer to the motorcycle owner’s manual or consult a mechanic if unsure.
If you want to have my suggestion on the greatest tools check here: Motorcycle Chain Tools: Essential Equipment for Every Rider
Removing the Rear Wheel
To remove the rear wheel, follow these steps:
- Place the motorcycle on a center stand or paddock stand to elevate the rear wheel off the ground.
- Remove the axle nut and loosen the chain adjusters on both sides of the swingarm.
- Slide the rear wheel forward to slacken the chain and remove the chain from the rear sprocket.
- Remove the cotter pin and loosen the sprocket retaining bolts.
- Remove the sprocket and set it aside.
- Pull the rear wheel out of the swingarm and set it aside.
Removing the Chain
To remove the old chain, follow these steps:
- Use a chain breaker tool to break the chain at the master link or any link.
- Remove the old chain from the motorcycle.
By following these steps, the motorcycle is now ready for the installation of the new chain and sprockets.
Replacing the Sprockets
When replacing a motorcycle chain, it’s often necessary to replace the sprockets as well. Here’s how to replace the sprockets on a motorcycle.
Removing the Old Sprockets
First, remove the chain from the motorcycle. This can usually be done by loosening the rear axle nut and sliding the rear wheel forward to create slack in the chain.
Remove the bolts that hold the sprocket to the wheel hub. Depending on the motorcycle, there may be two or more bolts holding the sprocket in place.
- Once the bolts are removed, the sprocket can be lifted off the wheel hub. If the sprocket is stuck, a rubber mallet can be used to gently tap it loose.
Installing the New Sprockets
lean the wheel hub thoroughly before installing the new sprocket. Any debris left on the hub can cause the sprocket to sit unevenly, which can cause premature wear on the chain and sprockets.
Place the new sprocket onto the wheel hub and align the bolt holes. Insert the bolts and tighten them finger-tight.
Torque the sprocket bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications. Over-tightening the bolts can cause the sprocket to warp or crack, while under-tightening the bolts can cause the sprocket to loosen and damage the chain.
Reinstall the chain onto the motorcycle. Make sure the chain is properly tensioned before tightening the rear axle nut.
By following these steps, replacing the sprockets on a motorcycle can be done quickly and easily.
Installing the New Chain
Measuring and Cutting the New Chain
Before installing the new chain, it is important to measure and cut it to the correct length. To do this, measure the old chain and add two links to the length. This ensures that the new chain is not too tight and not too loose.
Once the length is determined, use a chain breaker tool to break the new chain to the appropriate length. Be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves when using the chain breaker tool.
Installing the New Chain
After the new chain has been cut to the correct length, it is time to install it. Begin by placing the new chain onto the rear sprocket. Then, thread the chain through the front sprocket and align the two ends of the chain.
Next, use a chain rivet tool to rivet the chain together. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific tool being used.
Once the chain is riveted together, adjust the chain tension to the correct specifications. This can be done by adjusting the rear axle or using a chain tensioner tool.
Finally, check the chain tension again after a short test ride. This will ensure that the chain is properly adjusted and functioning correctly.
Remember, it is important to properly maintain the chain and sprockets to ensure a safe and smooth ride.
Reassembling Your Motorcycle
After successfully removing the old chain and sprockets, it’s time to reassemble your motorcycle. This section will provide step-by-step instructions on how to reinstall the rear wheel, adjust chain tension, and test the new chain and sprockets.
Reinstalling the Rear Wheel
Before reinstalling the rear wheel, make sure to clean the brake caliper and pads with brake cleaner. Then, follow these steps:
- Place the wheel back onto the bike’s swingarm and align it with the chain and sprockets.
- Insert the axle through the wheel and swingarm, then hand-tighten the nut on the left side of the bike.
- Tighten the axle nut on the right side of the bike to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification.
- Reinstall the brake caliper and torque the bolts to the manufacturer’s recommended specification.
Adjusting Chain Tension
Proper chain tension is critical for the longevity of your new chain and sprockets. Follow these steps to adjust chain tension:
- Measure the chain slack by pulling the chain down from the bottom of the swingarm. The manufacturer’s recommended chain slack can be found in your bike’s owner manual.
- Loosen the rear axle nut and adjust the chain tension by turning the chain adjusters on each side of the swingarm.
- Once the chain tension is correct, tighten the axle nut to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification.
Testing the New Chain and Sprockets
After reinstalling the rear wheel and adjusting the chain tension, it’s important to test the new chain and sprockets. Follow these steps:
- Start the bike and let it idle in neutral.
- Gradually increase the RPMs and shift through all gears.
- Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations.
- Take the bike for a test ride and pay attention to how the bike accelerates and shifts.
If everything feels and sounds normal, then congratulations! You have successfully replaced your motorcycle’s chain and sprockets.
Frequently Asked Questions
What tools are needed to replace a motorcycle chain and sprockets?
To replace a motorcycle chain and sprockets, you will need a few basic tools, including a socket set, a torque wrench, a chain breaker tool, a chain rivet tool, a rear stand, and a measuring tape.
Can you change a motorcycle chain without changing the sprockets?
While it is possible to change a motorcycle chain without changing the sprockets, it is generally recommended to replace both at the same time. This is because if one component is worn out, it is likely that the other is also worn out and will need to be replaced soon.
How do you tighten a motorcycle chain after replacing the sprockets?
To tighten a motorcycle chain after replacing the sprockets, you will need to adjust the chain tension. This can be done by loosening the rear axle nut, adjusting the chain tension using the chain adjusters, and then tightening the rear axle nut to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification.
How much does it cost to replace a motorcycle chain and sprockets?
The cost of replacing a motorcycle chain and sprockets can vary depending on the type of motorcycle, the quality of the parts, and the labor costs. On average, you can expect to pay between $200 and $500 for parts and labor.
How often should you replace the chain and sprockets on a motorcycle?
The frequency of replacing the chain and sprockets on a motorcycle depends on several factors, including the type of motorcycle, the riding conditions, and the maintenance schedule. In general, it is recommended to replace the chain and sprockets every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.
What is included in a motorcycle chain and sprocket kit?
A motorcycle chain and sprocket kit typically includes a new chain, front and rear sprockets, and any necessary hardware or tools for installation. It is important to choose a kit that is compatible with your specific motorcycle make and model.
Meet Simon, the 46-year-old aficionado behind YourMotoBro. With a lifelong passion ignited by motocross dreams and a Canadian Tire bicycle, Simon’s journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. From coaching underwater hockey to mastering muddy terrains, he’s an authority in thrill and adventure. Certified as an Off-Road Vehicle Excursion Guide and trained in Wilderness First Aid, Simon’s love for bikes is as diverse as his collection—from a robust BMW GSA R1200 to the memories of a Harley Davidson Night Train. By day a respected telephony consultant, by night a motorcycle maestro, Simon’s tales are a blend of expertise, resilience, and undying passion. ?️✨