After reading your article "Chains and Bearings" in your Ask the Geek section (Sept. '09), I have to say that adjusting a chain on most motorcycles is a sensitive thing to get done right. You never answered as to how much the chain should move under tension. Also as far as I know there should be the rider's weight on the bike while checking this. Most Suzuki bikes for example are very sensitive to adjust (like my TL). Also when tightening the rear axle (on most Suzukis), after adjusting the proper slack, the wheel seems to move in some way back and the chain is usually way too tight. Maybe another article to revisit this issue would be helpful for most readers and riders.
Nelson, BC Canada
I didn't say in the answer how much the chain should move because it's different for each bike. What I failed to mention was that this number is almost always listed in your bike's owner's manual, sometimes along with more detailed information about how and where to measure-such as with or without the rider's weight on the bike. The amount of slack required is determined by the relationship between the front and rear sprockets and the swingarm pivot. Not knowing the measurement for slack, you can align the pivot and sprockets by having someone (it may take a heavy person or even two) sit on the bike; at this point of maximum tension, you still want a small amount of slack in the chain. The Suzuki GSX-Rs going back to the first SRAD models, along with your TL, are difficult because the chain tightens as you tighten the axle. With the axle loose, its threads are riding in the spacer; as you tighten the axle, its larger-diameter shoulder pulls into the spacer, pulling the wheel back and changing the chain tension. On these bikes it's a matter of accounting for this change when you measure the slack, or tightening the axle each time you check.
Got a question? Send a note to Sport Rider, Attention: The Geek, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail email@example.com.