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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the final steps of fitting a 16T sprocket and realizing that this is my first motorcycle, I'm not super certain on setting wheel alignment or chain tension.
Even after reading several threads on it, I'm still a little confused.
I've measured the distance between from the axle bolt to the rear opening and they are near exact, counted the threads to the adjustment but on both sides and they are also the same.

Pics attached show how it looks. Is it alright? Or within spec?
Any help or knowledge is appreciated.

Stock 500F besides the 16T sprocket now. Everything else seems to be original
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Both ordered now. Thanks. They'll be here tomorrow.
 

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I recall 35-40mm as proper slack for the 500. Don’t make it too tight or you will muck up things.
 

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IMO, I don't think you need to spend $$ on any tool.

About 6 month's ago, I think it was Czeck who simply said that if you measure back from the swingarm center to the center of the axle, and make those two measurements (1 on each side) as close to the same as possible, and have the chain tensioned properly at the same time, you should be fine. This method has worked for years and is very good.

Method 2: IF (and that's a big IF) your original adjustment bolts were properly done prior to your checking (like when the bike was new from factory) you can count the turns of the bolts. I usually take a magic marker and put a dot on one of the flats of the hex, then I count revolutions to loosen them so there is slack (If I were changing the sprocket(S)) and then count back when doing the final adjustments. This assumes that they were correctly adjusted to begin with AND that you can count!! hehehe. Otherwise, if you are simply adjusting the chain and it was OK before, but now just needs adjusting, then just tighten each side the exact number of turns 'till chain tension is back into spec.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've gone back and adjusted again to give it more slack. I plan to start on a regular interval, measuring the slack since I'm putting 250-350 miles a week on it.

The slack worries me less than rear wheel alignment. I rode it up and down my street and I heard some noise coming from the rear wheel that I'm not sure existed before I messed with anything.

I'll find out later today when the tools arrive if my measurements were good enough to align the rear wheel correctly.
It's also in need of a lot of cleaning. There was a ton of gunk around the front sprocket, cover and chain guard.
 

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The sticker on the swing arm of my bike says the chain slack should be 40mm.

About 6 month's ago, I think it was Czeck who simply said that if you measure back from the swingarm center to the center of the axle, and make those two measurements (1 on each side) as close to the same as possible, and have the chain tensioned properly at the same time, you should be fine. This method has worked for years and is very good.
That is roughly what I do.

I have a piece of string with a knot in it. On the right had side of the bike I hold it so that the knot is in the middle of the axle bolt, then stretch the string behind the exhaust to the swing arm axle and mark press my nail into the string in the centre of it.

Holding the string tightly, I move to the left side of the bike and position it with my nail in the middle of the axle bolt. All being well, when stretched back out the knot should be in the middle of the swing arm axle.

Then to double check everything I do it again in reverse, with the knot on the wheel axle on the left side, then stretching it from the swing arm axle on the right side.

That all said, a version of the tool ExTex linked to is only £5 on Amazon U.K., so I think I will get one just for occasional verification.
 

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When using the Motion Pro chain alignment tool,
be sure that the tool is clamped on the rear sprocket evenly.
There may be a lip on the sprocket (rear side ?) and the clamp can be part-on / part-off that lip.


Ride safely,
 

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If you now have a noise that wasn't there before, I'm guessing its too tight.
Had the same happen to me.
Changed the back tire and decided to adjust the slack at the same time.
Then a new noise showed up.
Loosed up the chain - noise gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've now ridden to work twice on it. If anything I feel like the chain has too much slack, but pulling the chain on the rear sprocket it barely moves.
I'll recheck today both using a tape measure and the slack setter tool.
 

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I've now ridden to work twice on it. If anything I feel like the chain has too much slack, but pulling the chain on the rear sprocket it barely moves.
I'll recheck today both using a tape measure and the slack setter tool.
I don't remember the actual dimensions, but I think the way to check the chain is measure the small and largest distance between the upper and lower chain about 1/2 way between the front and rear sprockets.

Squeezing them together you get the smallest dimension, and measuring the largest dimension by separating the upper and lower chains apart.
 

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OK check the adjustment.
Then increase that amount a bit and go for a ride.
See if the noise changes or is still there.
And then maybe increase the slack a bit more.
No, the chain will not suffer any if you do this.
Your trying to determine if its the chain being to tight causing the noise!
 

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I've now ridden to work twice on it. If anything I feel like the chain has too much slack, but pulling the chain on the rear sprocket it barely moves.
I'll recheck today both using a tape measure and the slack setter tool.
Pulling the chain off the sprocket is a simple, if crude way to get a feel for chain wear:



Slack is a different measurement:

 

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Pretty sure I've been measuring slack wrong all this time. :confused2
 

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What other ways are there to check slack?

I rotate the chain around constantly lifting and pulling it to find where it moves the most. Then, as in Blackfin's photo, I stand up a tape measure, lift the chain to its highest point and set the metal end of the measure to middle of the roller, then pull the chain to its lowest point and measure the difference.

Although I use a spanner to move the chain instead of a screwdriver, as I am already using those for the chain adjuster. No need to dirty up an innocent screwdriver.

Then I adjust the chain adjuster until the chain measures the correct amount. Lock the adjuster and tighten the axle and check again. Discover that it is now to tight. Loosen the axle then loosen the chain. Lock the adjuster and tighten the axle and check again. Discover that…

… and check again. Finally I use my piece of string as mentioned above to make sure the wheel is aligned before finishing tightening the axle to the correct torque.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I used the sprocket alignment tool to first set the wheel alignment.
Then I checked the slack both with the slacksetter tool and a tape measure to verify afterwards.
If it was off I had a starting point with the wheel aligned to make the adjustments the same to both sides while on a stand, tightened the axle bolt then back on the ground to check the slack again. Repeat if necessary.
 

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Pulling the chain off the sprocket is a simple, if crude way to get a feel for chain wear:
The "sprocket pull" method is not a good way to do it. It REALLY measures the slack the chain has on the sprocket which is due to wear, chain stretching, etc. NOT really the chain slack overall.

The second method with the upper and lower limits using the tape measure is the right way to do it per Honda specs. Chain should be clean so that you get a pretty good reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So is it highest point it can be pushed up to, to lowest point it can be pushed down to?
Or instead of lowest pushed to, just normal hanging position?
 

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So is it highest point it can be pushed up to, to lowest point it can be pushed down to?
Yes. In the middle of the chain between the sprockets, lift the chain as far as it will go, then push it down as far as it will go. Those are what you measure between to get the amount of slack. i.e. the amount of movement away from its normal position.
 

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The "sprocket pull" method is not a good way to do it. It REALLY measures the slack the chain has on the sprocket which is due to wear, chain stretching, etc. NOT really the chain slack overall.
Please re-read what I wrote. I said that the sprocket pull is a crude way to measure wear (I even emphasized "wear" with italics) and said that slack is a different measurement followed by a photo of the tape-measure method.

I agree that the sprocket pull is not the best indicator of wear. A less-crude measure of chain wear is to use an actual gauge that measures rivet spacing, like this:



A chain will typically need many slack adjustments before it is worn to the point of needing replacement. The index marks on the swingarm give a similar measure of wear; the further back the axle is, the more the chain is worn. The sprocket pull gives a rough idea of link wear but it also encourages the rider to check his sprocket teeth for shark-finning.
 
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