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 How To ...
 Preventative Maintenance
 Chain Adjustment: Feel vs. Measurement
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gdickelman
Male Advanced Member
1205 Posts
[Mentor]


Annandale, VA
USA

Moto Guzzi

California Vintage

Posted - 07/02/2009 :  6:42 PM                       Like
I am sure you have gathered by now that I have decided to do my own chain maintenance on the Ducati Multistrada. FYI, I now have 6500 miles on the bike and have been diligent about having adjustments and lube/wax done by the dealer to this point. I have also received instruction on how to do the chain adjustment, and I have the right tools (torque wrench, 14mm socket, small metric ruler to measure distance from the swing arm to the chain at the designated point).

The last chain adjustment was done a little over 1,000 miles ago. I was told to clean and lube at 500 mile intervals, and check for adjustment every 1,000. The last adjustment done by the dealer was terrific. The bike felt very smooth at proper speed for each gear and through shifting. I rode a demo Multistrada once that needed a chain adjustment, thus I have a feel for what it's like when the chain has too much slack.

My bike now feels like the chain needs an adjustment. It has lost that nice feel that I experienced following the last adjustment. But when I measure as prescribed, the slack shows exactly 40mm; specs say 38 - 42mm, so it's good. I've moved the bike around to ensure max tension, as prescribed, and the measurement is always the same, plus or minus 1mm. But it still feels like some slack needs to be taken up.

Any recommendations? Should I go by feel and take up a few mm, or go by the measurement and get over the feeling?

greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/02/2009 :  7:09 PM
Hardly anything will kill a chain faster than being too tight. Stick to the spec. That being said, are you sure you are orienting the bike properly? Variations may included center stand support, side stand support, shock preload, load weight or anything that will change the angle of the swingarm. The chain is at its maximum tightness when the front sprocket, swingarm pivot and rear axle are in line. There has to be just enough free play to allow that position to occur. If there is not enough free play to allow that position, the chain will undergo excessive force and limit suspension travel.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 07/02/2009 :  8:27 PM
Spray more lubricant on the chain, that can also make it feel a bit smoother. As mentioned, you don't want the chain to be too tight.

I generally only adjust the chain when I put on a new tire every 3500 - 4000 miles. If you keep chains properly lubricated, they really don't need to be adjusted very often.

When you lubricate the chain, do you put the lubricant on the "outside" edges or the "inside" edges (the side that contacts the sprockets)?
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 07/02/2009 :  9:17 PM
You want lubricant mainly on the X/O-rings to keep them from drying out and where the roller touch the inner plates because that is where there is access to the "sealed" in grease that is not really sealed. Beyond that, it's good to get all metal coated lightly to prevent rust.
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gdickelman
Male Advanced Member
1205 Posts
[Mentor]


Annandale, VA
USA

Moto Guzzi

California Vintage

Posted - 07/02/2009 :  10:58 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

Spray more lubricant on the chain, that can also make it feel a bit smoother. As mentioned, you don't want the chain to be too tight.

I generally only adjust the chain when I put on a new tire every 3500 - 4000 miles. If you keep chains properly lubricated, they really don't need to be adjusted very often.

When you lubricate the chain, do you put the lubricant on the "outside" edges or the "inside" edges (the side that contacts the sprockets)?



I did a very thorough lubricating job, then took the Duc for a ride. You are correct! It feels perfect once again.

To your question, I am spraying the lubricant on the inside edges (the side that makes contact with the sprocket), but I cup the chain with a rag as I do this, and then wipe some lubricant on the outside as well.
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6943 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 07/03/2009 :  9:14 AM
quote:
Originally posted by gdickelman

To your question, I am spraying the lubricant on the inside edges

Sounds like you're doing everything correctly. Spraying on the inside let's centrifugal force move the lubricant to the other side.
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gdickelman
Male Advanced Member
1205 Posts
[Mentor]


Annandale, VA
USA

Moto Guzzi

California Vintage

Posted - 07/04/2009 :  10:49 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

Sounds like you're doing everything correctly. Spraying on the inside let's centrifugal force move the lubricant to the other side.



Must be. Took a couple hour ride today and it felt superb! Thanks for the tips.
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gdickelman
Male Advanced Member
1205 Posts
[Mentor]


Annandale, VA
USA

Moto Guzzi

California Vintage

Posted - 07/28/2009 :  9:13 PM
Further to my adventures in chain maintenance...

I just picked up the Multistrada after its first major maintenance (7500 miles). Before dropping it off, I had been lubing the chain and checking that the slack was in spec. There is a sticker right on the chain guard that tells you exactly where to measure and what the tolerances are. As far as I know, I was doing everything right and it was in spec at exactly 40mm. After lubing, it felt fine, although not as good as it felt after the prior shop adjustment.

After picking up the bike, I immediately notices how great it felt. What had been an occasional "chatter" feeling when traveling at the low end of the rpm band for a given gear, is now gone. It is consistently smooth. I took the time to check the chain slack and it is exactly 30mm. Spec is 38 - 42mm. So I am wondering if (a) I had been measuring at the wrong place (I don't think so); (b) if the mechanics adjust more by feel than by actual spec, based on other factors; or (c) I am constitutionally incapable of doing my own chain maintenance.

Any thoughts? I do remember a tech saying that he made some sort of rear wheel adjustment at the 4,000 mile oil change to better accommodate my weight and riding style. Could it be that he moved the wheel back a little and thus reduced the chain slack? (...I still have a bicycle mentality.)
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Daddio
Male Advanced Member
775 Posts
[Mentor]


Calera, AL
USA

Suzuki

Bandit 1250

Posted - 07/28/2009 :  9:42 PM
As far as I know, the chain is adjusted by moving the rear wheel in its adjustment range. The rear wheel position IS what determines the chain slack/adjustment.

Does the Duc have an alternative way of adjusting chain slack? I too have been able to tell my bikes shifting/throttle response performance is better with a well lubed chain. I also like the feel of my bike when the chain is on the low end (tight) of its adjustment tolerance. Slightly tight and well lubed gives me the best shifter feel.

edit - I just reread my respose - honestly - no underlying meaning was intended.
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gdickelman
Male Advanced Member
1205 Posts
[Mentor]


Annandale, VA
USA

Moto Guzzi

California Vintage

Posted - 07/28/2009 :  9:48 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Daddio

As far as I know, the chain is adjusted by moving the rear wheel in its adjustment range. The rear wheel position IS what determines the chain slack/adjustment.

Does the Duc have an alternative way of adjusting chain slack? I too have been able to tell my bikes shifting/throttle response performance is better with a well lubed chain. I also like the feel of my bike when the chain is on the low end (tight) of its adjustment tolerance. Slightly tight and well lubed gives me the best shifter feel.



I hadn't thought about the chain adjustment procedure as actually moving the wheel (as opposed to rotating some part of the hub that takes up or lets out slack), but it certainly makes sense. So I guess the tech was simply saying that he took up some slack, period (which would explain why there is less slack). Duhhh....

I think I'll stick to less practical things, like math.
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 07/28/2009 :  9:48 PM
Hmmm. Perverts adjusting chains.
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