How to check if chain needs attention? - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum
 
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Model: Honda Shadow Spirit 750
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How to check if chain needs attention?

Hi, I've had several very helpful folks tell me I should check and see if my chain is making the noise I'm hearing, and that it might be too long. Can anyone tell me how I can see this? Since they are metal, I can't imagine they would stretch...not sure what to look for.

Many thanks for any assistance!


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Old 06-19-2019, 02:34 PM
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Good thing to have is a manual for maintenance and specs.

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Old 06-19-2019, 02:34 PM
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They do stretch quite a bit over time. I'm going by my '07 manual and it says to check the slack on the bottom run of the chain, about half way from front to rear. Specs say 0.6" to 1.0" slack. If you've got more than 1" of slack it very well could be clanking against the chain guard. Adjust it by loosening the rear axle nut and turning both adjusting bolts an equal number of turns until the proper slack is obtained.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Hamhock View Post
They do stretch quite a bit over time. I'm going by my '07 manual and it says to check the slack on the bottom run of the chain, about half way from front to rear. Specs say 0.6" to 1.0" slack. If you've got more than 1" of slack it very well could be clanking against the chain guard. Adjust it by loosening the rear axle nut and turning both adjusting bolts an equal
number of turns until the proper slack is obtained.
Also, sit on the bike when you check the chain and check the chain in multiple places because it could be tighter or looser in places.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by scooter13 View Post
Also....check the chain in multiple places because it could be tighter or looser in places.
Yes. Chain slack is easy enough to check, but you should also check for frozen links. I'm sure there are some videos or written instructions on the web that will show/tell you how.

I had a relatively new chain on my bike go bad and due to undiscovered frozen links. I had to replace it prematurely along with the sprockets because I didn't catch it in time.

I'm not sure what noise you are hearing, but I know I was getting a weird noise when the frozen links started asserting themselves. I didn't know then what I know now.

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Old 06-19-2019, 10:27 PM
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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.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:30 AM
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Our Gurus have already given you GOOD instructions and advice, some from experience and also the "Book"...
My chain "talks "to me, it makes noise when service "OVERDUE"...
Lube and adjusting is Regular preventive maintenance...
I even do it whilst traveling, As Needed, I check, lube & adjust (about every 6th fill up) I check it at each fill up for tension...

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Old 06-20-2019, 11:06 AM
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Move the chain "side to side" at the bottom and see how sloppy it is. This will be a judgment call as how much slop is too much but us ole' abuser's know from instinct especially riding off road a lot.




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Old 06-21-2019, 06:52 PM
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I had a ton of noise coming from my chain about a month ago.
Like everyone else has said, you need to check your slack.
You should have a chain guide indicator of sorts on either side of the swingarm. The drive side (where the chain is - left if you sit on the bike) should also have a sticker on it that says if the chain is "replace - good - new"

Ended up doing full sprocket and chain replacement on mine too get rid of the noise from the chain being loose.

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Old 06-22-2019, 05:31 PM
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I have not had a bike with a chain for 30 years but I do remember it can get tight and loose spots so you have to set it to the tight spot and live with the loose.Buy a new chain and sprockets to get rid of this or a shaft drive ,that's what I did.


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