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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have this weird issue after about 200mls that my chain keeps slacking.

I have torqued all bolts down but still it keeps going getting slacked

What the H is happening ?
 

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2016 R3 / 2007 ZX-6R / 2008 Ninja 250
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A little bit more information could help. How many miles are on the bike? Some pictures of both tensioners while the bike is on it's sidestand could be helpful, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is it really necessary to adjust the chain every 600mls?

That is what I do in 2 weeks at the moment.

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2015 Yamaha R3
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The chain shouldn't need to be adjusted very often, I installed a new set of chain & sprockets 20K KM's ago and hasn't needed to be adjusted since than the initial run in.

How much slack are you putting in it? If it stays between 35-45mm then it's fine (just touches the bottom of the swingarm when pushed up). If it keeps going beyond that when adjusted to the right spec then that's usually a sign that it's pretty much worn out.
 

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How many miles are on the chain? How often do you do a good lubrication to the chain? If you are a good sized person and take off fast from a stop it could be stretching the chain if it has a lot of miles on it. There are a lot of variables that could be contributing so the more info you give us the better to try and help.
 

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A chain that needs excessively frequent retensioning is knackered. Replace it.

I have found that the best chain lubricant is ... Oil. Not fancy no-fling chain lube, not "chain wax", not "dry lube". OIL.

Yes, it flings off (and takes dirt with it). Yes, it makes a mess. But ... I just got in from a ride on my ZX10R that has over 60,000 km on its chain that has been lubricated every few hundred kilometers with oil and never cleaned beyond a quick wipe with an old rag.

Don't go crazy with cleaning the chain. Oil the chain, wipe the excess off (one rotation of the chain with a sacrificial rag held against it), DONE. Do not use solvents. Do not be aggressive with brushes. Do not try to get every speck of dirt out of it. If it takes longer than three seconds to wipe off the excess oil (and dirt) after lubricating it, you are being too aggressive with it. Aggressive cleaning, either by solvent or by mechanical means, WILL destroy the O-rings/X-rings, and get water/dirt behind them, and when that happens, the chain is not long for this world.
 

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I have found that the best chain lubricant is ... Oil. Not fancy no-fling chain lube, not "chain wax", not "dry lube". OIL.
I agree that sometimes, less, but more frequent, is better. Every 600 miles or so, I do a quick wipe/clean down with a slightly damp kerosene-soaked cloth, then a dry cloth to wipe down again. I've had good results using a 70-90w gear oil on the chain, using an old-style oil can to drip oil between the links... every link, inside and out.
It's not as quick as a spray, but IMHO, provides better results. It does sling off some oil into the front sprocket housing, but even there it's minimal.
 

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Needing to adjust every 200 miles is a bit excessive if it keeps going that way. New chains do tend to loosen faster as they break in on the sprockets. I've found that generally, once a chain is solidly broken in, the rate of "stretch" slows, and adjustments tend to become less frequent during the middle portion of the chain's life. Then when reaching the later stages of chain life, it may start to loosen faster again. I would say to just keep monitoring this for at least another thousand miles or so, and if it's still loosening that fast, then yea, it might be a tired chain. It's possible that it might slow down a little and still be good for quite a while (of course you need to be looking out for any frozen/binding links or damaged/broken pins or anything like that as well).


Side note: I've always been happy with a quick cleaning and application of spray-on chain lube every 500 miles (also checking and adjusting tension if needed at this interval), but IIRC, the manual might actually list (10W40?) engine oil as a suitable alternative (I am sure it would be fine).
 

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just rode a 200mls trip to test the adjustment of my chain and again slacked.
I don't check my chain tension every 200 miles, so maybe that's the reason I've never had this problem. One thing I may suggest. Any bike's chain and sprocket will have tighter and looser areas somewhere in the full rotation of the chain. Maybe this is part of your problem, because it sounds like you've checked most everything else.
With the rear of the bike off the ground, mark a chain link on the side with something like fingernail polish; by hand, slowly spin the rear wheel to get a full rotation of the chain.... back to your beginning reference point. At one or several places during this "full rotation of the chain" there will be areas of "tighter and looser" tension. The sprockets and chain by their nature cannot give perfectly even tension throughout the full rotation of a 112 linked chain.
I'm not sure this is the problem, but if you check it out and find "looser and tighter tension" areas in the process, maybe it'll ease some of your concerns.
 
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Airhead does bring up a good point about different tension in different segments.

Here are a few other things to consider (sorry if some have already been covered^^):

*When adjusting chain tension, your final measurement should be taken after you have torqued the rear axle nut, with the bike resting normally on the side stand and the transmission in neutral. Chain tension will increase notably after torquing the axle nut to spec. If you're checking it while the nut is still loose or just hand tight and then torquing the nut and calling it good, you might have been running the chain too tight (which can lead to it loosening prematurely, as well as other problems that you definitely want to avoid).

*The correct way to measure slack is to pull the chain up with "medium pressure" right in the middle between the front and rear sprockets, with a measuring tape right next to and perfectly perpendicular to the chain in relation to the chain's upward/downward path-of-travel (not necessarily perfectly vertical as per the ground). The tape should be positioned such that your initial measurement would be zero inches if the chain goes ALL the way up and touches/pushes into the rubber. The second measurement will be taken by pushing the chain down with "medium pressure" at the same point along the chain. The difference in these two is of course your chain slack (e.g.if the first measurement [chain UP] = 3/16 of an inch, and second measurement [chain DOWN] = 1 9/16; then your slack is 1 6/16 or 1 3/8 inch, which would be perfectly at the tightest side of the acceptable range listed in the manual IIRC).

*If you are LOOSENING the adjuster nuts on the swingarm caps to facilitate an adjustment, make sure that you hold the bike back while pushing the wheel forward so that the axle slides as far forward as it can go. If you don't do that, the axle could potentially be scooting itself forward at some point(s), thereby decreasing chain tension (making the chain loose). It's not a bad idea to just check this anyway when doing adjustments: just make sure the axle is slid as far forward as it can go before you torque the axle nut to check chain tension.

*Make sure that your wheel alignment is correct by counting the marks on the gold side-plates to see that the same number of lines are visible on each side-plate (left and right). You can also actually mark one surface of each adjuster hex-nut for each side of the swingarm (use a black permanent marker) and then use that mark to help you count the number of turns in -- making sure it's exactly the same for both sides from when it's first threaded on to the bolt until you've reached the desired point of adjustment [exactly the same even down to 1/6 of a turn!]. Then just verify that method by also checking the lines on the gold plates.

*If your rear wheel bearings are totally shot...that could potentially cause problems like this.

*Be careful to not allow the adjuster nuts to move at all (even 1/6 of a turn can make a big difference!) while you tighten the locknuts that hold the adjuster nuts in place (use a wrench on the adjuster nut to hold it perfectly in place while you use another on the locknut to tighten it; those permanent-marker marks will help here, too).

*Make sure that your adjusters/locknuts and axle nut are not loosening over time / after riding or anything like that.

*Did you buy your bike used? Is the chain on it the original from the factory? Perhaps the wannabe-racer previous owner could have put a 428 chain and sprockets on it? That will need more frequent adjustment and won't last as long. This is highly unlikely even if your bike is used, but it's possible...

There might be some other things that I'm not thinking of right now, but these are at least a few to check over if you haven't already.


If/when you do end up replacing your chain, I would highly recommend spending the extra money for a high quality, high strength chain (read the tensile strength ratings and such). A better/stronger chain will generally need fewer adjustments and will last longer than a comparatively cheap/weak chain.
 
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