How to Remove a Motorcycle Chain

Written by bryan schatz
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How to Remove a Motorcycle Chain
Change your motorcycle chain before your sprockets become overworn. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Motorcycle chains commonly wear out from excessive use and sometimes neglect. Chains need to be lubed frequently to stay in functional shape and often, when the chain goes bad, so to do the sprockets. That being said, changing out a chain on your motorcycle is a relatively quick task, assuming you are equipped with the proper tools and some basic mechanical know-how. According to Canyon Chasers, the money saved in doing the labour yourself "will buy all the tools you'll need to do the job."

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Chain breaker tool (optional)
  • Chain rivet tool
  • Hammer
  • Drift
  • Grinder

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  1. 1

    Make the chain as loose as possible by first loosening the rear axle and pushing the rear wheel as far forward as it will go. The chain should loosen considerably and be easy to move with your hands.

  2. 2

    Place a link of the chain along the rear sprocket so that it will not move. Use a grinder and grind down the top of a link on the chain you want to remove. Be careful when grinding and avoid hitting anything else around the link you are grinding. Alternatively, you can use a chain breaker to remove a link if your motorcycle is equipped with a small chain.

  3. 3

    Push the pins out of the chain link once the face of the link has been ground off using a hammer and a drift, or a heavy duty chain breaker. Make sure that you place the drift in the centre of the pins before hammering them out.

  4. 4

    Remove the chain once the link comes out and throw it in the trash. Use a chain with a rivet-style master link as the replacement chain to avoid having a chain that may come apart at high speeds.

  5. 5

    Measure the new chain along the sprockets and shorten it if necessary by removing links in the same way you did with the old chain. Do not remove too many links, otherwise your chain will be too short and you will have to purchase another.

  6. 6

    Place your new chain around the sprockets. Secure the rivet-style master link to the chain by placing two O-rings onto the new link and lather it with lube. The O-rings and lube will come with the new chain. Slide the link into the chain, beginning in the back. Place O-rings over the pins of the master link, apply more lubricant, and slide in the master link plate on.

  7. 7

    Press the master link plate securely into place using a chain rivet tool. Do not press the link on too tightly however, to avoid binding the master link. Press it on just enough to mushroom the pins in order to keep the master link together. Do this step slowly and cautiously to avoid damaging the new master link.

  8. 8

    Adjust the chain according to your motorcycle's owner's manual and lubricate the chain to finish. Make sure you have tightened any other components you loosened before taking your bike out for a ride.

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