How To Tighten Motorcycle Chain? [A Step-By-Step Guide]

How To Tighten Motorcycle Chain

Tightening the motorcycle chain is an essential maintenance task that ensures optimal performance and extends the chain’s lifespan. By maintaining the correct tension, you can prevent potential damage and enhance safety during rides. 

First, locate the chain adjusters on the swingarm to tighten a motorcycle chain. Loosen the axle nut and turn the adjusters evenly on both sides, ensuring the chain remains aligned. Keep checking the chain tension until it has a slight play. Finally, re-tighten the axle nut, providing proper torque. 

This guide will explore the step-by-step process to tighten your motorcycle chain effectively. Let’s tighten your motorcycle chain for a smoother and safer riding experience.

9 Steps To Follow To Tighten Motorcycle Chain:

Tightening the chain is necessary for easy riding a motorcycle. If you find it difficult, I am here to help. Here is a detailed explanation of the steps to tighten a motorcycle chain:

Step 1: Check The Owner’s Manual

Start by referring to your motorcycle’s owner’s manual. It contains valuable information on chain tension specifications and any specific instructions from the manufacturer. Understanding these guidelines is essential for proper chain adjustment.

Step 2: Elevate The Rear Wheel

To easily access the chain, lift the rear wheel off the ground using a paddock stand or a method that ensures stability and safety. This step allows the wheel to spin freely during the adjustment process.

Step 3: Measure The chain Slack

Using a ruler or a chain slack tool, measure the amount of slack in the chain. The manual will specify the recommended slack range. Typically, you measure the vertical movement of the chain midway between the front and rear sprockets.

Step 4: Loosen The Axle Nut

Loosen the rear axle, not on both sides of the swingarm. It is important to loosen the nut but avoid removing it entirely at this stage. This step allows for more effortless adjustment of the chain tension.

Step 5: Adjust The Chain Tensioners

Locate the chain tensioners on both sides of the swingarm. These are usually threaded bolts or eccentric adjusters. Turn them evenly in small increments to increase or decrease the chain tension. Aim for an even adjustment on both sides.

Step 6: Realign The Wheel

As you adjust the chain tension, pay attention to the wheel alignment. Ensure that the rear wheel stays properly aligned with the front wheel. Misalignment can affect handling and tire wear. Use alignment marks or measurements to guide you in maintaining proper tracking.

Step 7: Tighten The Axle Nut

Once you have achieved the desired chain tension and wheel alignment, securely tighten the rear axle nut to the torque specification mentioned in the manual. Tightening the nut ensures that the adjustments remain in place.

Step 8: Recheck The Chain Slack

After tightening the axle nut, re-measure the chain slack using the same method as in Step 3. Confirm that the slack falls within the recommended range. Double-checking the tension ensures that it is set correctly.

Step 9: Lubricate The Chain

Once the chain tension is properly adjusted, apply a suitable chain lubricant. Proper lubrication reduces friction, extends chain life, and enhances overall performance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the type and application of lubricant.

5 Importance Facts That Signify That Proper Chain Tension Is Vital To Do:  

The importance of proper chain tension cannot be overstated when it comes to maintaining your motorcycle‘s performance and safety. Here’s why achieving and maintaining the correct chain tension is crucial:

1. Optimal Power Transfer:

A correctly tensioned chain ensures efficient power transfer from the engine to the rear wheel. This results in smooth acceleration, better throttle response, and improved overall performance of your motorcycle.

2. Reduced Wear:

When the chain tension is too loose, it can cause excessive slack, leading to increased wear on the chain, sprockets, and other drivetrain components. This can result in accelerated chain stretch, premature sprocket wear, and potentially costly repairs.

3. Minimized Chain Slippage:

A loose chain is more prone to slippage, especially under heavy acceleration or when shifting gears. Chain slippage can not only affect your motorcycle’s performance but also pose a safety risk by compromising your control over the bike.

4. Enhanced Safety:

A loose chain can become tangled or dislodged from the sprockets, potentially causing the rear wheel to lock up or the chain to break. This can lead to loss of control, accidents, and injuries. Proper chain tension ensures a secure and reliable connection between the engine and the rear wheel.

5. Longevity Of Components:

Maintaining the correct chain tension, you help prolong the chain’s lifespan, sprockets, and other drivetrain components. This saves you money in the long run by reducing the frequency of part replacements and repairs.

Related Question: 

Why Is My Motorcycle Chain Loose?

Motorcycle chains can become loose due to normal wear and elongation over time. Improper initial chain tension, worn sprockets, or inadequate maintenance can also contribute to a loose chain.

How Often Should I Check And Tighten My Motorcycle Chain?

It is recommended to check your motorcycle chain’s tension and condition every 500–1000 miles (800–1600 kilometers) or as specified in your motorcycle’s owner’s manual. 
However, if you notice any signs of a loose chain, it’s crucial to check and adjust it immediately.

What Tools Do I Need To Tighten My Motorcycle Chain?

The essential tools required to tighten a motorcycle chain typically include a wrench or socket to loosen the rear axle nut, a ruler or chain slack tool for measurement, and possibly a paddock stand or a method to lift the rear wheel off the ground.

How Do I Know If My Motorcycle Chain Is Properly Tensioned?

Proper chain tension is typically indicated by a specific amount of slack specified in the owner’s manual. You can measure the slack by checking the vertical movement of the chain midway between the front and rear sprockets.

Can I Over-tighten My Motorcycle Chain?

Over-tightening the chain can cause excessive stress on the drivetrain components, leading to accelerated wear. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended chain slack range and avoid over-tightening the chain.

Can I Reuse The Same Chain Tension Adjustment Marks On My Swing Arm?

Rechecking and adjusting the chain tension using the correct measurement method is generally recommended rather than relying solely on the adjustment marks on the swingarm. The marks can vary in accuracy due to wear or manufacturing tolerances.

Should I Adjust The Chain Tension With The Motorcycle On Its Side Stand Or Upright?

Adjusting the chain tension with the motorcycle upright or lifted on a paddock stand is best to ensure proper alignment and accurate measurement.

Do I Need To Lubricate The Chain After Tightening It?

Yes, after tightening the chain, it is essential to lubricate it using a suitable chain lubricant. Lubrication helps reduce friction, minimize wear, and maintain the chain’s performance.

Can I Tighten The Chain Without A Torque Wrench?

While it is recommended to use a torque wrench to tighten the rear axle nut to the specified torque, you can still tighten it securely without one. However, exercise caution to avoid overtightening, as it can damage the axle or other components.

What Are The Signs Of A Chain That Needs Replacement?

Signs that indicate a chain may need a replacement include excessive chain stretch, visible signs of wear or damage, stiff links, or the inability to tension the chain properly. If in doubt, consult a professional mechanic for an accurate assessment.


In conclusion, maintaining proper chain tension is vital for optimal motorcycle performance and safety. By these recommended guidelines and regularly checking and adjusting the chain tension, you are effectively able to learn how to tighten motorcycle chain, power transfer, reduce wear on crucial components, and enhance the overall riding experience. 

Just remember to consult your motorcycle’s owner’s manual for specific instructions and seek professional assistance if needed. Taking care of your motorcycle’s chain will contribute to its longevity, minimize the risk of accidents, and ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride.

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