How much chain slack with suspension loaded - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-22-2018, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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How much chain slack with suspension loaded

I’m a new klr buyer ( should have it this weekend) and I’m thinking about maintenance in the future and I’m seeing that you want to check the slack with rider mounted. Does the 2 inch chain slack still apply in this way? I’m a bigger guy and want to do all the right things! I’m really stoked about getting this bike! Thanks
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-23-2018, 10:50 AM
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Welcome. If you haven't read it, here's an excerpt from my "New KLR Owner Mistakes to Avoid" list;



2) Chain tension: many owners and some shops overtighten the KLR's drive chain; due to the long travel suspension and geometry the KLR needs more slack than other bikes people may be used to. If the chain is too tight you risk damaging the countershaft seal and bearing as well as possibly the wheel bearings along with premature wear of the drive chain and sprockets. Quick check; with the bike on the sidestand, you should be able to touch the chain to the bottom rearmost portion of the chain slipper but not the metal swingarm itself.



Basically the tightest point is when the swingarm is in alignment; the rear axle, front swingarm pivot and countershaft and as long as you still have some slack at that point, you're good. Weight makes no difference; a lighter rider will still move through that tight spot as the suspension cycles.

The proper way to make sure you have enough slack is to put the bike on a stand, remove the rear suspension linkage rods (dog bones) and move the wheel up until the three points have aligned as I described above, making sure there is still some slack. Alternatively people have used ratchet straps to compress the suspension to that alignment point.

cheers,
Dave
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-23-2018, 11:24 AM
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I'm on my second KLR...owners manual states the correct amount of slack, and, it should be on the left swing arm sticker.

I put the bike in neutral and measure the chain slack at the mid-point between the front and rear sprocket with a tape measure or straight edge ruler. Easy peasy. Then, I'll do periodic checks as I ride by lifting the chain mid way and checking to see that it just touches the rubber piece on the bottom side of the swing arm...again, easy peasy.

Never any chain issues running about 25K on both bikes.

Now, let's talk about oil!!!
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-23-2018, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outdoorgb View Post
I'm on my second KLR...owners manual states the correct amount of slack, and, it should be on the left swing arm sticker.

I put the bike in neutral and measure the chain slack at the mid-point between the front and rear sprocket with a tape measure or straight edge ruler. Easy peasy. Then, I'll do periodic checks as I ride by lifting the chain mid way and checking to see that it just touches the rubber piece on the bottom side of the swing arm...again, easy peasy.

Never any chain issues running about 25K on both bikes.

Now, let's talk about oil!!!
haha; lets not!

The problem with the method in the manual is that both the measurement and pressure aren't very precise and tends to vary from person to person. As you say and as I mentioned before, the quick check is the one I use 99% of the time but if I was new to the bike, I think I'd do the "full meal deal" at least once to see what it looks like and how it feels when it's right.

2 cents,
Dave
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-23-2018, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies. Very informative! I will do that check as mentioned. Thank you take care. Gus
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-23-2018, 04:47 PM
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When in doubt go on the loose side. You can over stretch a chain, but you can't under stretch it. More damage to the chain and the transmission countershaft comes from having a chain too tight rather than than too loose.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-24-2018, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GoMotor View Post
When in doubt go on the loose side. You can over stretch a chain, but you can't under stretch it. More damage to the chain and the transmission countershaft comes from having a chain too tight rather than than too loose.
absolutely. To borrow some info from someone else;


The Specifications for the chain slack measurement acording to my A17 (2003) Owners manual maintenance section is a range of 50-65mm or 2-2.6 Inches. This is measured at the midpoint between the drive and driven sprockets, with the bike on the sidestand. The Clymer manual for 1987-2003(2007 really) states 50mm-60mm or 2-2.4 inches (this is measured with the rear tire off the ground, suspension fully extended). The official service manual states 50-55mm, measured by hanging a 10kg weight on the chain at it's midpoint, procedure is in the base KLr600 manual, the spec is found in the final drive supplement section for 200-2001 models.

This leads to the question: What is the proper slack measurement with the bike on the sidestand?

As I'll prove, the measurement to aim for is the ability to lift the chain to just touch the rubber swingarm protector, or about 3/8th of an inch from the actual midpoint. This works out to 2.5 inches +/- an 1/8th or so with the rear wheel up, and the suspension fully extended. This is in the 58-63mm range, Inches are much easier to deal with for me.


and

In summary, I found my chain was a bit tight when I thought it was fine. By placing the swing-arm at it's mid travel I was able to set the tension properly and get a good benchmark for on the sidestand checks.

The lesson learned here is that 2" of play is not enough, and the chain will be very tight at mid-travel.


and


I, too found the factory procedure leaves the chain much too tight. I now have mine set a bit looser


The upshot of all this is that the minimum factory recommended slack of 50mm is NOT enough.



Dave
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