What Happens if a Motorcycle Chain is Too Tight?

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Because motorcycles are much smaller than cars and have less components, every part of a motorcycle serves an important part of it’s function. The motorcycle’s chain is crucial in making it go.

That’s why chain maintenance and ensuring the tension is correct is so important. This happens all too often when people tighten their bike chain too much, resulting in an undesirable situation that could easily have been avoided.

What happens when a motorcycle chain gets too tight? When a motorcycle chain is too tight, it’ll put stress on several components of the bike and cause the sprockets to wear faster, make the engine work harder, and cause the suspension to be tight and uncomfortable. In the end, a bike with a tighter chain may cause damage and leave you without any power.

It is important to check the tension of your bike’s chain. If you feel the tension is too tight, it should be adjusted immediately. This article will explain what happens to a motorcycle when it’s too tight and what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

What happens if a motorcycle chain is too tight?

The drive chain is a key component of a motorcycle’s motorbike. The engine generates the motor’s power, which is then transmitted through the chain to its back tire. This allows the motorcycle to move. The chain would have prevented the motorcycle from moving.

Motorcyclists are familiar with chain maintenance. It is usually an easy task. Motorcyclists can make mistakes when tightening the chain because each motorcycle has its own specifications.

Many things can occur when a bike chain isn’t tight enough. A tight chain can cause the sprockets’ wear much faster. Because the chain is tighter than normal, it puts more stress on the teeth. This can cause them to wear down and even bend or warp the sprockets.

To make up the tightness of this chain, the engine will have to work harder. The front sprocket is an indirect link between the engine and the chain. The engine will have to work harder to rotate that chain, so the front sprocket will need to work harder.

A harder engine means less gas mileage. The engine will need more fuel and energy if there is a force against it.

The rear suspension of the bike will also be affected by a tighter motorcycle chain. The rear sprocket of the motorcycle is connected to it through a number of other parts. Too tight a chain can result in stress on the rear suspension. This can make the rider feel uncomfortable.

Also, the chain will wear faster. The stress between each link may become too much and, in extreme cases, may break while you’re out for a ride.

Extremely dangerous is a broken chain when the motorcycle is still in motion. It’s possible for the chain to jam up one of the sprockets causing the rider to come to an abrupt stop, it could fling backwards and hit another vehicle, or it could snap up towards a rider’s leg and cause injury. You can read my other article to find out what happens when your motorcycle chain is broken.

Symptoms Of A Chain That’s Too Tight

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not your chain is too loose, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the correct tools to check the tension. These are signs to look for that indicate a too tight chain.

First, you may notice that your gas mileage isn’t as good as it used to be. It’s always good practice to write down in a little notebook what your gas mileage is every time you fill up. This can help to identify the root cause of problems. However, bad gas mileage isn’t caused by a tight chain alone, so look for other accompanying signs that may indicate this issue.

Perhaps you have noticed that there is a “whirring” or high pitched sound coming from your motorcycle while you’re riding it. It’s likely that it gets worse the faster you go. This is a tell-tale sign of a motorcycle chain that’s too tight.

As we mentioned, a tight chain can also affect the rear suspension. This is something you’ll likely feel, especially when you go over any bumps in the road. Anything other than smooth road will be uncomfortable for you since the suspension isn’t able to absorb the shock.

Also inspect the rear sprocket and it’s condition. You should point the teeth. They should all look the same. Tensed chains can quickly wear down teeth, which could lead to the chain falling off.

It is best to manually check the tension to see if it is too tight. A seasoned motorcyclist will be able to tell if it’s too tight by simply moving the chain up and down while the motorcycle is off and on it’s center stand. A tape measure can be used to determine how tight or loose the chain is.

How tight should a chain be?

There isn’t one magic answer that fits all motorcycles when it comes to knowing exactly what the chain tension should be. Because each motorcycle is different, they’re each going to require a different measurement of tension.

On average, however, most street motorcycles will need a chain tension of about 20 – 30 mm, or about a half inch to an inch in slack. The chain should move approximately a quarter inch to one inch higher than it does lower.

It’s easiest to measure this using a measuring tape. While the motorcycle is off, put the motorcycle on it’s center stand and locate a spot on the lower half of the chain in between the two sprockets. Use the link pin for reference. Place the tape measure’s end at the bottom swing arm. The link pin should move according to the measurements. If it doesn’t move that much, your chain is too tight.

Check your owner’s manual to know how much chain slack your specific motorcycle requires. Some motorcycles require a more tight chain than others.

What would cause a tight chain?

Many motorcyclists are left wondering why their chain is so tight. This happens, and there are many reasons.

First, it is possible to purchase a motorcycle directly from the seller, or through a dealer. The previous owner changed the chain incorrectly. When you purchase a new motorcycle, be sure to check the tension.

To get a precise reading of the tension in the chain, check the tension at several points. Some chains will offer a “tight spot” The owner might believe the chain is too tight, resulting in an inaccurate result.

It is possible that the rear wheel is loosening and the chain is being adjusted too tight. Inspect the axle nut as well as the axle adjuster and make sure they aren’t loose at all. This will cause the tire to push back on your motorcycle and the chain become too tight.

Similar Question

What causes a motorcycle chain to rust? Lack of maintenance is the most common cause of rusty motorcycle chains. This includes regularly cleaning and lubricating your chain, as well as riding in harsh conditions like wet roads or salt roads. For more information, see my article.

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