Smooth sail­ing is within your line of sight

Motorcyclist - - Garage - —Brody Cox

PROPER FI­NAL-DRIVE MAIN­TE­NANCE is key to en­sur­ing your mo­tor­cy­cle op­er­ates smoothly and safely. Many of us keep a watch­ful eye on chain lu­bri­ca­tion and ten­sion but over­look rear wheel/ sprocket align­ment—a recipe for ex­cess chain, sprocket, and coun­ter­shaft-bear­ing wear.

Most think­ing holds that lin­ing up axle ad­justers with in­di­ca­tors on the swingarm is “good enough.” Those grad­u­ated marks aren’t meant for fi­nite ad­just­ments, how­ever, and there’s a chance they’re not iden­ti­cal from side to side. What’s needed is a re­mark­ably ac­cu­rate tool you al­ready have and an ex­tra frame of ref­er­ence—that’s where your eyes and the Mo­tion Pro Chain Align­ment Tool comes into play. The de­vice slips over the rear sprocket and clamps against its face, a ny­lon thumb screw hold­ing it firmly in place. Your eye does the heavy lift­ing from there.

The tool holds a sight­ing rod per­fectly aligned to the sprocket, cre­at­ing an ac­cu­rate vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the an­gle at which the sprocket meshes with the chain. If your rear wheel (and your sprocket along with it) is not per­fectly in line with your chain, the de­vi­a­tion of the sight­ing rod will be easy for your eye to see. Once set, tighten the rear axle nut with the ap­pro­pri­ate amount of torque and be on your way. Us­ing the align­ment tool might re­quire the re­moval and re­place­ment of your chain guard, but that’s usu­ally a sim­ple process.


Cheap in­sur­ance, that’s re­ally what it comes down to. We just wish it came with a box for safe stor­age.



The Chain Align­ment Tool is de­signed well; the body is made of alu­minum with an an­odized fin­ish, and both small thumb screws are plas­tic—sen­si­ble con­sid­er­ing they’ll only ever be fin­ger-tight. The sight­ing rod is made from steel for in­creased dura­bil­ity, but we wish the tool came with a car­ry­ing case to mit­i­gate dam­age or bend­ing in a busy tool­box. Still, the Mo­tion Pro Chain Align­ment Tool has be­come a go-to among the Mo­tor­cy­clist staff, es­pe­cially at the race­track where we’ll make mul­ti­ple ad­just­ments through­out the day. In­ex­pen­sive, well made, and sim­ple to use—it doesn’t get any bet­ter than that.

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