Adjusting motorcycle chain tension should be part of your regular motorcycle maintenance. While the adjusting process can be done by referring manufacturer’s guidelines and some tools there is a possibility of leaving the chain loose or overly tight.
This is where motorcycle chain tension tools come into play. These tools are handy equipments to measure and adjust the motorcycle chain tension effectively.
In this comprehensive guide and review post, you will know the importance of motorcycle chain tension tools, how to use them, and why they are an essential addition to your motorcycle maintenance arsenal.
Furthermore, we will guide you through the process of choosing the right motorcycle chain tension tool with our buyer’s guide and also help you find 3 best motorcycle chain tension tools to choose from.
Why Chain Tension Matters
Motorcycle chains are prone to wear and tear and damage due to the constant accumulation of dirt and debris during regular usage.
The circumstances can lead to worn-out sprockets, bearings, etc. resulting in loosely gripped motorcycle chains. An excessively loose chain can skip teeth, leading to a sudden loss of power. At the same time, an overly tight chain can strain components and potentially snap.
If the chain is not properly adjusted, it can lead to inefficient power transmission, poor acceleration, and less responsive ride which can be life-threatening in the long run.
Correct chain tension improves your motorcycle’s overall performance minimizing wear and tear on the chain, sprockets, and other drive train components.
If you want to extend the lifespan of your motorcycle chain and save money on costly repairs or replacements then correct chain tension is necessary.
What Is a Motorcycle Chain Tension Tool?
A motorcycle chain tension tool, also known as a chain slack tool, is a device designed to measure and adjust the tension in your motorcycle’s chain accurately.
These tools come in various types, including manual and digital variants. As mentioned earlier, you can use some manual items such as measuring tape, spanners, wrenches, etc. to perform the adjustment task.
However, there is always a risk of inaccuracy while adjusting the chain tension manually. Moreover, it also takes time and effort which many motorcyclists fail to invest.
Having a dedicated tension tool helps you maintain consistent chain tension every time you adjust it.
These tools provide precise readings, ensuring that you set your chain to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.
In terms of usage, most chain tension tools are user-friendly and do not require advanced mechanical knowledge. They typically include clear instructions for use.
While adjusting, over-tightening a chain is a common mistake performed by many motorcyclists that can lead to costly repairs. Chain tension tools help prevent this by providing a reliable reference point ensuring optimal performance and safety.
3 Best Motorcycle Chain Tension Tools
Now, that you know the importance of chain tensioning here is the list of the 3 best motorcycle chain tools to make your selection process easier.
If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast who loves tinkering with your bike or a seasoned racer looking for precise adjustments, the BPA Racing Chain Slack Adjuster Tool might just be your new best friend.
One of the standout features of this tool is its sheer simplicity. It’s designed for easy attachment to your motorcycle chain, eliminating the complexities of manual measurements or ruler-based estimations. Even if you’re a beginner, you’ll find the tool’s operation straightforward.
The BPA Racing Chain Slack Adjuster Tool excels in precision and accuracy. The gauge on the tool provides real-time feedback, enabling you to achieve the perfect chain tension for your specific motorcycle model. This means no more guesswork and perfect precision.
The tool offers calibration options, allowing you to set it to your desired chain slack specifications. However, calibration might take a bit of time initially, but it’s a one-time process that ensures accurate measurements in the long run.
The calibration feature is particularly useful if you own multiple motorcycles with varying chain tension requirements. It ensures consistent and accurate adjustments every time you use it.
On the plus side, this tool is compatible with various motorcycle makes and models. Whether you own a sportbike, cruiser, adventure bike, or anything in between, the tool can accommodate different chain sizes, making it a versatile addition to your toolkit.
- Easy to use, even for beginners
- Customizable for multiple bikes
- Provides real-time, accurate chain slack measurements
- Compatible with various motorcycle makes and models
- Requires a bit of setup initially
- It is pricey
The Motion Pro SlackSetter is another tool specifically designed to simplify the often-overlooked process of measuring chain slack.
The tool underscores the importance of having the correct amount of chain slack. Unlike the subjective three-finger rule, SlackSetter provides a standardized way to measure chain slack.
It’s versatile and can be used on various motorcycle models to ensure uniformity in your maintenance routine.
Using the Motion Pro SlackSetter is straightforward, ensuring that even novice riders can maintain the correct chain tension with confidence.
Like any tool, it relies on manual measurements. Therefore, it’s important to ensure precision when measuring from the center of the sprocket to the sprocket.
All in all, Motion Pro simplifies a crucial maintenance task by providing consistent and accurate chain slack measurements, promoting safety, and prolonging your chain’s life.
While it does require careful manual measurements, its affordability and the peace of mind it offers make it an indispensable addition to your toolbox.
- Simplified process
- Ensures consistent chain tension
- Applicable to various motorcycle models for uniform maintenance
- Safe and reliable chain tension
- Very affordable tool
- Relies on manual measurements
The Chain Monkey Tool is tailor-made for achieving optimal chain tension with precision.
The tool’s design is straightforward and user-friendly, making it accessible to riders with varying levels of mechanical expertise.
The Chain Monkey Tool simplifies the otherwise intricate process of measuring and adjusting chain tension, ensuring that riders can achieve the correct tension with ease.
The tool comes with a reference chart that corresponds to numbers marked on the tool itself (1, 2, 3, etc.). Riders must first determine the correct reference column based on their chain’s height, which is measured using a side plate.
Adjusting the tool’s position involves aligning it with the chosen reference number, which corresponds to the recommended chain slack for the specific motorcycle model.
Once the tool indicates the required chain slack, riders will need to adjust the chain tension accordingly.
For riders who engage in high-mileage journeys or frequent chain checks, this tool offers a time-saving alternative. It accelerates the chain maintenance process compared to traditional manual measurements.
On the flip side, one potential limitation of the Chain Monkey Tool is the possibility of variability in tension readings. The tool’s scale may not consistently provide the precise measurement desired, necessitating additional manual adjustments.
- Efficiently streamlines the process of measuring and adjusting chain tension
- Excellent tool for quick checks and adjustments
- Simplified process reduces downtime
- The tool contributes to prolonging the life of both the chain and sprockets
- Occasionally requires fine-tuning through manual adjustments
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right Motorcycle Chain Tension Tool
Here are the crucial factors to consider when purchasing a motorcycle chain tension tool:
Accuracy and Precision – Accurate measurements ensure that you set your chain tension correctly to the manufacturer’s specifications which is crucial for safety, performance, and longevity.
For example sports bike! Motorcyclists owning sports bikes know precision matters greatly to maintain optimal power delivery and handling.
If you are one of them, look for a tension tool that provides accurate and precise measurements of your chain’s slack through clear and easy-to-read measurement rankings.
Build Quality and Durability – A durable tool made from high-quality materials will withstand regular use and last longer, offering better value for your investment.
Examine the construction materials and build quality of the tool. Choose a tool with a robust construction, such as stainless steel or aluminum components that also come with protective coatings or finishes to resist corrosion.
Such features really come in handy, especially for adventure riders who encounter rough terrain and varying weather conditions.
Ease of Use – Beginners or riders with limited mechanical experience may find using tension tools a bit difficult.
Therefore, consider the user-friendliness of the tool, including its design and instructions. A tool with a quick-release mechanism simplifies the chain adjustment process.
Opt for a tool with clear instructions, user-friendly features, and ergonomic grips that make chain maintenance less intimidating for both experienced riders and beginners.
Compatibility – Versatility and cost-effectiveness make a tension tool compatible with various motorcycle chain types and sizes.
Compatibility ensures that the tool can be used with different motorcycle chain pitches, such as 520, 525, and 530.
Motorcyclists with multiple two-wheelers and touring riders will benefit greatly from a versatile tool that can fit various chains. Look for adjustable or interchangeable components to accommodate different chain sizes.
Digital vs. Manual – Along with compatibility, tension tools are available in different versions like digital and manual.
Digital tools offer precise readings on an LCD screen with less room for human error, while manual tools come with a simpler mechanical approach and gauges.
The choice between digital and manual tools depends on personal preferences and comfort levels. If you are a tech-savvy rider go for a digital tool with an easy-to-read LCD screen. Nostalgic vintage motorcycle enthusiasts may prefer a manual tool for their classic bikes.
Price and Value – Compare the cost of the tool to its features and capabilities. Although, tension tools are comparatively less expensive, finding a tool that strikes the right balance between affordability and quality ensures you get the best value for your money.
If you are a budget-conscious rider you can find reliable options with essential features at a cheaper price. However, it is recommended to evaluate the long-term benefits and consider investing in a highly-priced tool that offers quality and durability.
Portability and Storage – If you plan to carry the tool with you, its size and weight matter. Riders who embark on long journeys regularly should prioritize compact tools that don’t take up much space in their luggage.
A tool with a carry case or a pouch will add convenience while traveling. Preferably, opt for a compact and lightweight tool that easily fits in your motorcycle’s toolkit or riding gear for ease of portability and storage.
How to Use a Motorcycle Chain Tension Tool
You must always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the desired chain tension results using a tool. However, here are some of the common and straightforward steps:
- Park your motorcycle on a level surface and make sure it’s stable. Turn off the engine and allow it to cool down if it has been running.
- Refer to your motorcycle’s manual to find the chain adjustment points. These are typically found on the swingarm.
- Place the tool against the chain and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to measure the chain slack. Ensure the tool is positioned correctly for accurate readings.
- If the chain slack is not within the recommended range, use the tool to adjust it. Loosen the axle nut, make the necessary adjustments, and then tighten it back to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- After making adjustments, recheck the chain tension to ensure it falls within the desired range.
- Double-check all your work, ensuring that the wheel is aligned correctly, and there is no excessive tension on the chain.
Here’s a short video showing how to use a Motion Pro Slacksetter tool:
Investing in a motorcycle chain tension tool is a wise decision for any rider or motorcycle enthusiast.
It not only enhances your safety but also contributes to the longevity and performance of your bike.
Regular chain maintenance, with the help of a reliable tension tool, can save you from unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs.
So, make sure to add this essential tool to your motorcycle maintenance toolkit and ride on with confidence.
Choose a chain tension tool from our best-of list or follow our buyer’s guide to make an informed decision while buying a tool of your choice.
Moreover, always consult your motorcycle’s manual and follow manufacturer guidelines when adjusting chain tension. If you’re unsure about the process, consider seeking professional assistance from a certified mechanic.