Author Topic: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns  (Read 3132 times)

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  • Offline broderp   us

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    Offline broderp

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    First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    on: Nov 02, 2021, 07.51 pm
    Nov 02, 2021, 07.51 pm
    As a perfectionist, I can fully understand why people want things to be right.   But from a practical standpoint, how far out of adjustment can you be and NOT have any real issues?   Has someone put a number to this?  Is 3% from a perfect alignment going to cost you a new chain and tire or will the damage occur more like at 10%?   What is the +/- spec for wheel alignment?   I know the chain tension spec, and tome I can never seem to get the exact spec twice in

    All methods I have read about sound great but the one fact you cannot remove is the HUMAN factor.  Any string method, eyeball method, counting hash marks and measuring is filled with human error.  Even using a laser system, like those used for cars can get you within a few degrees of a spec and the amount is negligible, as there is a range of acceptable tolerance.

    I am asking because I am doing my first chain and wheel alignment and am paranoid I will mess it up, adversely impact the bikes handling and prematurely wear out my new tires.   The process is relatively simple,  its my accuracy that is the concern.   :034:

  • Offline MaverickAus   au

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    Offline MaverickAus

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #1 on: Nov 02, 2021, 07.59 pm
    Nov 02, 2021, 07.59 pm
    The chain alignment tool has always been good enough for me, I imagine with a laser it would be even more accurate




  • Offline Cazzy_R   england

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    Offline Cazzy_R

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #2 on: Nov 02, 2021, 08.13 pm
    Nov 02, 2021, 08.13 pm
     My take.
     If the chain stays central on the rear sprocket after a rotation or two it's aligned.
     If the bike runs straight after achieving the above, irrespective of what the alignment marks tell you...... be happy.  :001:
     If it pulls one way be prepared to make compromises.
    Tighten it 'til it strips then back it off half a turn.

  • Offline 3alfa3   hr

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    Offline 3alfa3

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #3 on: Nov 02, 2021, 09.25 pm
    Nov 02, 2021, 09.25 pm
    I measured front to rear wheel alignment when bike was brand new and did correction (it had 7-8mm difference from the factory). After that, only even movement (left/right) of the chain tensioner without worrying. On swingarm markings, now is around 0,5-1mm  difference (left side more to the back).

    Recently replaced chain and sprockets and had to count 5 full turns in for new chain install, but with a little patience even then no need to align wheel, just counting turns (i marked one flat on each bolt to ease the counting).
    Last Edit: Nov 02, 2021, 09.28 pm by 3alfa3

  • Online Led Zed 70   us

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    Online Led Zed 70

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #4 on: Nov 03, 2021, 01.22 am
    Nov 03, 2021, 01.22 am
    I also use the motion pro chain alignment tool and have had no problems. After a few miles on bike I donít really have to adjust much anymore just keep clean/lubed and check it.

  • Offline Zed62   ca

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #5 on: Nov 03, 2021, 01.34 am
    Nov 03, 2021, 01.34 am
    I do not align the rear sprocket to the front sprocket.  Instead I align the rear wheel to the front wheel.  Wheel alignment trumps chain alignment for this rider.
    ZED62

    Yamaha HSI, RD400, RD350 LC, Honda CX500, Seca650, Z400, Z900

  • Offline MaverickAus   au

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    Offline MaverickAus

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #6 on: Nov 03, 2021, 01.53 am
    Nov 03, 2021, 01.53 am
    *Originally Posted by Zed62 [+]
    I do not align the rear sprocket to the front sprocket.  Instead I align the rear wheel to the front wheel.  Wheel alignment trumps chain alignment for this rider.

    Just some info, the ZRX1200's rear wheel is offset to the front wheel therefore your method won't work on that bike. I don't know if any others have the same issue. I stick with my Motion Pro tool because I have owned 3 ZRX1200's

  • Offline broderp   us

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    Offline broderp

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #7 on: Nov 03, 2021, 02.39 pm
    Nov 03, 2021, 02.39 pm
    *Originally Posted by MaverickAus [+]
    The chain alignment tool has always been good enough for me, I imagine with a laser it would be even more accurate



    I bought this exact tool.  Its, my eyes I don't trust.  lol    I have a very strong eyeglasses prescription along with eye condition that keeps my left eye a bit blurry, ad to this I'm getting old and my eyes get tired... :012:

    *Originally Posted by 3alfa3 [+]
    I measured front to rear wheel alignment when bike was brand new and did correction (it had 7-8mm difference from the factory). After that, only even movement (left/right) of the chain tensioner without worrying. On swingarm markings, now is around 0,5-1mm  difference (left side more to the back).

    Recently replaced chain and sprockets and had to count 5 full turns in for new chain install, but with a little patience even then no need to align wheel, just counting turns (i marked one flat on each bolt to ease the counting).
    7-8mm??? Wow.  I would consider that very bad.   I think once I get my bike dialed in, I will follow your method.  I need to slow down and count.  Right now I am using the marks on the tensioner and making sure they are equal.  I am using a digital caliper to measure but the measurement relies on the manufacturing tolerance of the swing arm and tensioner block to be "good enough to be in speck"

    *Originally Posted by Zed62 [+]
    I do not align the rear sprocket to the front sprocket.  Instead I align the rear wheel to the front wheel.  Wheel alignment trumps chain alignment for this rider.
    Have you ever noticed or had issues with chain or sprocket wear?  This is an interesting thought.   I would tend to agree that front to rear would be best for handling characteristics as well.  Hope fully Kawasaki as manifesting tolerance mastered to the point that if you go with front to rear tire alignment over chain and sprocket alignment you are still within  the bikes specs and one method will not adversely impact teh other.

    *Originally Posted by MaverickAus [+]
    Just some info, the ZRX1200's rear wheel is offset to the front wheel therefore your method won't work on that bike. I don't know if any others have the same issue. I stick with my Motion Pro tool because I have owned 3 ZRX1200's
    I assume the Z does not have the same offset front to rear?  If so then wouldn't it be impossible to properly align the wheels front to back? (Unless human error creeps in)   Thanks for the info!

    There is so much to learn !  As a newer rider -I'm still in the learning curve for motorcycle mechanics when it comes to procedures and alignment.  I lack the experience and knowledge of many on the forum.  Thanks to all.    :821:
    Last Edit: Nov 03, 2021, 02.53 pm by broderp

  • Offline 3alfa3   hr

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    Offline 3alfa3

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #8 on: Nov 03, 2021, 05.03 pm
    Nov 03, 2021, 05.03 pm
    *Originally Posted by broderp [+]
    7-8mm??? Wow.  I would consider that very bad.
    It needed 3.5-4mm correction, because when i gained that on one side, on the other disappeared and that was between rear and front wheel, not on chain tensioner.
    Corrected with 1/2-3/4 turn on one tensioner and now on swingarm there is a less than 1mm difference in marks, but wheels are aligned perfectly (so is chain).

    So, 1 turn on tensioner  on one side (thats 1.25mm movement) could mean roughly 10mm space difference left/right on the front wheel (measured with straight edge, string etc).

    *Originally Posted by broderp [+]
    I assume the Z does not have the same offset front to rear?

    It does not, when wheels are aligned, so are sprockets. Anyway, you can have little "give" on chain alignment, sprocket is narrower than chain, as long as you can push chain sideways onto sprocket  from both side after rotating wheeel between tries and feel there is at least minimal space, youre OK. But if you have chain pressed on one side of the sprocket and it stays there on multiple rotation  and position of the sprocket, that needs to be corrected.
    Last Edit: Nov 03, 2021, 05.21 pm by 3alfa3

  • Offline MaverickAus   au

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    Offline MaverickAus

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    Re: First chain tension and wheel alignment concerns
    Reply #9 on: Nov 03, 2021, 05.18 pm
    Nov 03, 2021, 05.18 pm
    *Originally Posted by broderp [+]
    I bought this exact tool.  Its, my eyes I don't trust.  lol    I have a very strong eyeglasses prescription along with eye condition that keeps my left eye a bit blurry, ad to this I'm getting old and my eyes get tired... :012:

    I've never used one so I have no 1st hand experience but would a laser be easier to see?