Keeping your bike’s chain clean, lubricated and to correct tension is essential to maintaining your pride and joy.

Correct motorcycle chain tension will:

  • Prolong chain and sprocket life
  • Optimise performance and power delivery
  • Provide a smoother ride

Here’s how to set the chain correctly.

Setting motorcycle chain tension

1 – Position the bike and read up!

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Check your manufacturers manual to find out how the bike should be positioned while setting the chain tension. Should it be on the side stand? Centre stand? Paddock stand? Should the riders weight be applied to the bike? It’s important to know.

Also note down the chain tension specified in the manual, usually in millimetres or inches.

2 Find the tight spot

Take hold of the lower run of the chain below the swing-arm and move it up and down. Examine it section by section, either by turning the wheel if the bike is on a centre or paddock stand, or wheel the bike forwards slightly and recheck if it’s on a side-stand.

3 – Measure the size of your chain and use the table below to identify your required Chain Monkey setting.

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Align the bottom of the domed nut to the required setting line, and adjust the circular stop until it touches the orange base.

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4 – Apply the Chain Monkey

Undo the Chain Monkey and hook onto the chain and tighten the centre bolt until the circular stop touches the orange base. This will cause an arc in the chain.

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5 – Tighten the chain

With the Chain Monkey still in place, tighten the chain until all slack is removed and ensure your wheel. If you are unable to remove all of the slack, it’s probably time to replace your chain. Check out our guide to know when to replace your chain and sprockets.

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6 – Remove Chain Monkey

That’s it! Simply undo the centre bolt and remove the Chain Monkey, keeping it under your seat easy access.

Watch the video >

How often should I check the tension of my chain?

We recommend checking your chain tension every 2 or 3 times you refuel, with a bare minimum of every 500 miles. More often as the chain gets older. You’ll soon get a feel for how your chain wears. Check it whenever you can – you should be cleaning and oiling your chain every 200-300 miles anyway.

Read more:

How to clean a motorcycle chain >

When should I replace my chain and sprockets? >