How To Measure Motorcycle Chain Slack

It is crucial to routinely measure the slack in your motorcycle’s chain as part of maintenance. An appropriately tensioned chain will promote smooth functioning, decrease mechanical stress on the bike, and help prevent possible accidents.


Before we begin, it’s important to understand what motorcycle chain slack is. Chain slack refers to the amount of play or movement between the chain and the sprockets. Too much slack can cause the chain to jump off the sprockets, while too little slack can cause premature wear on the chain and sprockets.

Tools Needed

To measure motorcycle chain slack, you will need a few tools. These include a chain tensioner tool, a ruler or measuring tape, and a torque wrench (optional). The chain tensioner tool is used to adjust the chain’s tension, while the ruler or measuring tape is used to measure the distance between the chain and the swingarm.

Measuring Chain Slack

To measure motorcycle chain slack, follow these steps:

  1. Loosen the rear wheel axle nut and swingarm pivot bolt to allow for movement.
  2. Use the chain tensioner tool to adjust the chain’s tension until it is snug against the sprockets. Be careful not to over-tighten the chain, as this can cause premature wear on the chain and sprockets.
  3. Measure the distance between the chain and the swingarm using a ruler or measuring tape. The measurement should be taken at the center of the chain’s length, where it is furthest away from the swingarm.
  4. Compare your measurement to the manufacturer’s recommended chain slack specification for your motorcycle model. If the measurement falls within the recommended range, then the chain is properly tensioned.


Measuring motorcycle chain slack is a simple yet important maintenance task that should be performed regularly. By following these steps and using the appropriate tools, you can ensure that your bike’s chain is properly tensioned and ready for safe and smooth riding.