Always maintain your chain

This guy did and it still didn’t help him.

Or did he? Chain maintenance also involves checking the sprocket teeth and every chain link, but how many of us bother with that? We should be checking for wear, seized links, partially seized links, failing rivets and failing link plates. we should also measure the amount of ‘stretch’. If we ain’t getting down and dirty we ain’t doing it right.

Maximum tolerance for chain ‘stretch’ varies from 1.5% to 2.5% and depends on several factors. I tend to replace at 2% but if you ride it hard, fast and entertain track days you’d want to replace it at 1%. So what’s all that in real money? A brand new 120 link 520, 525 or 530 chain will measure exactly 75" long (motorcycle chains remain imperial), therefore maximum wear will see that same 120 link chain ‘stretch’ by an extra inch or so. No need to measure the entire chain length just measure the distance between 19 link pin centres on a taught chain with a 300 mm steel ruler.

286 mm between 19 link pins centres = new chain
289 mm between 19 link pin centres = 1.5% wear
291 mm between 19 link pin centres = 2% wear
293 mm between 19 link pin centres =2.5% wear

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I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of not checking and riding with a loose chain. I was luckily only doing about 20 when my chain came off and locked my rear wheel.

I now check its tightness daily, and general overall health/clean it/lube it once a week. But like National Treasure has pointed out, I never really look into that much depth. Time to get some callipers :grin:


no calipers required just a steel rule

I have a plastic rule…

Is there such a thing as a motorbike chain wear measuring tool? I have one for my bicycle that sits on the top of the chain, if it drops in between the links then the chain is worn/needs replacing.
Something like this

I realise that using a ruler is hardly rocket science but the tool cost about £2 and I’m far more likely to use it as it’s so quick and easy.

didn’t even know this kind of thing existed! equally that is literally the most zoom in site I’ve even seen. I thought I was at 300% when I landed on the page

Part of my apprenticeship included projects to fabricate tools, one of these projects was a tool to indicate 2% wear on a ⅝" pitch chain and comprised a 12" baton with 19 divisions at ⅝" on one edge and two brass pins at 11½" centres on the other edge.

It looks horrible. Yeah, check your chain… :roll_eyes:

Hey, welcome to LB @OliverMatt!

Oh, hello Jay and thanks! : )