Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: West Coast Florida
Here's some basics.
If your bike has a center stand, place the bike on its center stand. If not, invest in a rear axle lift dolly so you can raise the back wheel supported and free.
With the bike in neutral, engine off, rotate your rear tire to move your chain through its complete length. You can mark where you started with a sharpie on the side of one of the links. Watch the links as they come into the open space off the front of the rear sprocket while rotating the rear wheel counterclockwise like the bike is moving forward. If any link stays cocked a bit after leaving the sprocket it may be fully or partially frozen. Also take a careful look at the sprocket teeth. If there is wear on any tooth or teeth that is uneven and starting to form a cusp, it's time for new sprockets. Always replace the chain and sprockets as a set.
Check your chain slack at the midpoint per owner's manual specs. Too tight a chain will cause excessive wear on the engine output shaft bearing, as well as excessive tooth wear on the sprockets. Too loose a chain will damage the guards that protect the frame.
There is a general formula for setting chain slack, regardless of bike manufacturer. Basically, the chain must have enough slack to allow the rear suspension to move its full range of travel without the chain being able to slip when the supension is at full range up/down either direction, nor the chain to be too tight when the wheelbase is at its maximum (the point at which the front and rear sprocket centers are aligned level with the ground). You can accomplish this on any bike by either loading the seat or using a ratchet strap to pull the swing arm up toward the frame until the centers of the sprockets are aligned level with the floor. At that point there should be 1/2" of slack at the center point of the chain.
Old chains that have worn beyond their nominal service length/life play "jingle bells" while you ride. Due to O-ring or X-ring wear. These are internal to each link. Chain life will depend upon how hard you ride and how well you maintain your chain and chain tension.
Others will likely have thing to add as far as chain cleaning, etc. With excellent maintenance the most I have gotten out of a chain is 22k miles, and that was pushing it a bit outside its wear limits.
If it jams, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway.
Last edited by ShadowGeezer; 06-19-2019 at 10:34 PM.