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How to Tighten a Dirt Bike Chain

How to Tighten a Dirt Bike Chain

Looking to fix your motorbike yourself? Check out these tips on how to tighten a dirt bike chain and other essentials on your maintenance checklist.



Motorcycle and dirt bike repair is expected to rise to become a $34 billion industry in 2019. It's not slowing down anytime soon, either. Motorcycle maintenance companies have grown an average of 2.4% each year for the last 5 years.

As of 2017, there were 15,850 employees working in the motorcycle repair industry. Clearly, there is a great need for motorcycle and dirt bike repairs.

Just because there are mechanics that can do it for you means that you should have them do everything, though. Working on your dirt bike can be intensely satisfying. It's even given some people a reason for living.  

Let's learn how to tighten a dirt bike chain. It's one of the most common dirt bike repairs and will help get you ready for more complicated projects.

How To Tighten A Dirt Bike Chain

Regularly maintaining your drive chain will help make sure it lasts as long as possible. It'll also ensure your dirt bike stays in peak running order. Checking your dirt back chain should definitely be towards the top of your motorcycle maintenance schedule.

Your drive chain will get looser over time, due to use. Each model of dirt bike has its own specifications regarding what is an acceptable level of slackness. Make sure to check the owner's manual before diving into any motorcycle maintenance.

Loosen The Rear Wheel

Tightening a dirt bike chain is easier than it seems. To start, simply loosen the rear wheel nut. This lets the rear wheel slide off to the side, giving you access to the adjustment nuts on either side of the swingarm.

Keep The Adjustment Nuts Even

As you loosen the rear adjustment nuts, make sure to keep them even. Otherwise, you could mess up the alignment. The easiest way to do this is to keep track of how many turns you give each adjustment nut and make sure to keep them even.

Lube Your Chain

Once your drive chain is adjusted, you'll need to make sure it's properly lubricated. This will help prevent kinks. It'll also make sure it's as frictionless as possible, so it won't warp with warp or get unnecessarily worn down.

Dirt bike lube is sticky itself, however. Once you've greased your chain, you'll likely need to wipe down the chain to remove unwanted debris. A floor jack makes that infinitely easier, letting you reach all those out-of-the-way spots.

Check out these top cheap floor jacks if you're looking for one on a budget.

This should go without saying, but make sure your dirt bike is in neutral when you're working on it. Keeping it in gear may make it slightly easier to spin the wheels, but it also greatly increases the likelihood of getting mangled.

Looking For More Motorcycle Maintenance Tips?

At EatSleepRide, we want to bring you everything you need to experience the magic of the open road on two wheels. Whether you're looking to learn how to tighten a dirt bike chain or the Must Ride Bikes of 2019, we've got what you need to know about motorcycles and dirt bikes!

Browse the rest of our motorcycle articles for even more exhilarating content.

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