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Preventative Maintenance Tech Talk 9/20/2014

By Maxwell Materne
on September 25, 2014

This are the presentation slides that were made by Maxwell Materne September 20, 2014 the Preventative Maintenance Tech Talk.























Basic Maintenance - Chain Adjustment Single Sided Swingarm

By Maxwell Materne
on January 25, 2013

 Single sided swingarms are a beautiful thing, not only for their form but their amazing functionality.  One reason to love a single sided swingarm is the ease of chain adjustment.

Checking chain tension is as easy as measuring the amount of vertical movement of your chain using a set of calipers or tape measure.  Compare your findings with what your bike manufacturer requires and you know what direction you must go in.  The only other measurement you should take is the rear ride height measured from the center of the rear axle to one stationary point on the tail section (I will explain why later).

First step in adjusting tension is loosening the pinch bolts holding the wheel eccentric.

Using the special spanner wrench, grab the teeth of the wheel eccentric and spin clockwise to tighten the chain and counter clockwise to loosen it.

Torque rear eccentric pinch bolts to the spec specified by the motorcycle manufacturer and you're almost done.  Because the eccentric of the rear wheel acts like any cam, the rear ride height will change as chain tension does.  

In order to ensure the same ride you had before adjusting your chain, remeasure your rear ride height from the center of the rear axle to the same fixed point on your tail section.  Raise and lower the rear ride height adjuster accordingly to reset rear ride height to what it was before chain adjustment.  Most riders will not notice a difference one way or the other, but if you're putting your bike on the racetrack this is imperative.  

If it's time for a new chain visit, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Replacement," and to maintain the chain you have on there visit, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Clean and Lubrication."

Basic Maintenance - Chain Replacement

By Maxwell Materne
on January 25, 2013

 So it's about time to replace your chain.  Hopefully you have gotten around 10,000 miles out of it because you have been properly maintaining it every 500 miles...right?  Regardless, chains are not something to mess around with if you don't have the right tools and knowledge but if you do and you just need a nice refresher here's the info.

    A kinky chain is something to be replaced quickly (or something you hang above a bed).  Before you start cutting your current chain make sure that you have the same size chain (eg. 520, 525, 530), the correct amount of links and a good rivet style master link.  

Using an angle grinder with a cutting wheel on it, cut through the existing chain making sure to not come in contact with the swingarm.  

Make sure to clean all road grime and chain lube collected by the front sprocket and check for any damage to the output shaft seal from debris thrown from the chain.

Move your axle carriers forward to the first quarter of axle travel (unless a certain axle position is specified for optimal wheelbase length, usually necessary for racing purposes.  More on this later).  

Wrap axle around front and rear sprocket laying both half ends in the center of the rear sprocket.  This placement will help determine where the chain needs to be cut and where the master link must be installed.  The link that must be cut is the one that only half fits, mark this link with a sharpie and get your grinder out again.

Grind off the top of the rivet and push the rivet through the back side of the chain. 

After placing your lubricated o, x, or z-rings on the master link slide it through both open ends of the chain.  Place your second set of o, x or z-rings on the outside then your link plate.  With a plate-press adapters on your chain tool, press your master link plate down past the tops of the rivets.

Replace the plate-press adapter with the rivet-expanding adapter and the divited adapter on the back side.  Tighten the chain tool with rivet-expanding adapter driving into the divit of the master link rivet.  Tighten until rivet is expanded and will not pass trough the master link plate but not too hard as to crack the rivet or bind the movement between inner and outer link.  Repeat this process on both links and you're good to go.

Celebrate your accomplishments.

Next step is to tighten your chain to the specific spec.  For instructions on this either visit, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Adjustment Conventional Swingarm," or "Basic Maintenance - Chain Adjustment - Single Sided Swingarm."  To maintain your new chain and make sure it lasts you another 10,000 miles visit, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Clean and Lubrication"

Basic Maintenance - Chain Adjustment Conventional Swingarm

By Maxwell Materne
on January 25, 2013

    Chains will stretch over time so it's important to make sure it is at the correct tension.  A chain that is too loose will wear fast, damage the sprockets and potentially dismount or break.  A chain that is too tight will create a mechanical bottom out of the suspension and not allow full travel of the rear end.  This will also stretch the chain causing tight spots and a potential break.  Moral of the story is to run the right chain tension that is suggested by your OEM.  Not all chains should be adjusted to 1.5" like many people suggest, only your owners manual will lead you the right way (except for us at TTRNO of course).

First step is to check the chain tension you currently have against what your required tension is.  Using a set of calipers or a tape measure, measure the amount of play in the chain centered between the front and rear sprockets.  It is also important to rotate the wheel and check chain tension at numerous spots, this will ensure there are no tight sections in the chain.  If there are tight spots replace.  As you can see from the photo, Ducati provides the chain tension specifications on the side of the swingarm.

If your tension is not correct, loosen the rear axle bolt so that the adjusters at the back of the swingarm can be moved back and forth.  The axle doen't have to be too loose, just enough so that the axle will move back and forth in the swingarm.  

Adjusting the position of the rear axle is what tightens and loosens the chain, so the axle carriers on either side of the swingarm will do all the movement you will need.  By turning the rear bolt clockwise, the carrier bolt will thread into the swigarm, moving the axle forward and loosening the chain.  Turn the bolts counter clockwise and the chain will tighten.  Make sure to do all adjustments in small increments on both sides of the swingarm to ensure that the rear tire stays properly aligned.   Each axle carrier has small lines engraved in them to easily tell when both carriers are in the same position.  This process of adjusting each carrier to the same position and ensuring the tension is correct takes a bit of patience and attention to detail, but once all 3 components are correct your almost done.

Here's a little trick of the trade. Often times, when you tighten your axle, the clockwise motion will end up pulling the axle back and in turn tighten the chain again.  The easiest way to avoid this is to put the bike on a rear stand, put an old screwdriver handle between the chain and sprocket and push the wheel forward.  This additional tension on the chain will ensure that the torque applied from the wrench does not mess up all your hard work.  


Using a properly calibrated torque wrench, tighten your rear axle to the torque specified by the manufacturer and RECHECK ALL OF YOUR WORK.  Make sure your carriers are in the exact same spot and your chain is at the right tension.  

Congratulations, you just tightened your chain!

If you would like to learn the best practices of cleaning and lubricating your chain visit "Basic Maintenance - Chain Clean and Lubrication" and if your chain has seen better days visit, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Replacement."

Basic Maintenance - Chain clean and lubrication

By Maxwell Materne
on January 25, 2013

 If you've ever wondered the best ways to maintain your chain, here it is in a step by step process.  Now you have no excuses for not doing it every 500 miles!

Cleaning and lubricating your chain

    Here is a great example of a terrible chain.  Thousands of miles of neglect will cause rust, worn rollers, broken o-rings or x-rings, worn sprockets, or even a chain break causing harm to both engine cases and the rider.  It is important to check chain tension and to clean and lubricate your motorcycle chain every 500 miles to prevent this.  Once a chain starts kinking like the one pictures it's too late and it's time to change it, but with the right chain cleaner and chain lubricant you can keep this from happening for tens of thousands of miles.

    The right tools make all the difference, and solvents are no exception.  Alcohol, soap, and even WD40 will dry out o-rings, x-rings and z-rings in your chain, causing kinks, tight spots, and chatter.  Motul chain clean removes all encrusted deposits: sand, dirt, oil and grease.  It is a chlorine free formula that degreases the chain and is suitable for o-rings, x-rings and z-rings.    To use, simply spray Motul chain clean on the inside of the chain while spinning the rear tire with your hand **IMPORTANT** do not spin the tire under the bike's power, unless you'd like a few less fingers.  Let the chain clean sit on the chain for 5 minutes then scrub the chain with either a rag or a Grunge Brush (much preferred for cleaning in the rollers and getting gunk out of the o-rings).  

    When lubricating the chain it is important to make sure you use a good/sticky lubricant, and Motul Chain Lube Factory Line is exactly that.  Rotate the rear tire and lubricate the chain from the inside in 4 inch sections making sure to not get any lube on the rear tire.  The reason for spraying in 4 inch sections is to make sure you can use your other hand with a rag to prevent overspray from getting everywhere.  By spraying from the inside of the chain the centrical forces will spread it through the chain, which can not be said if you spray on the outside of the chain on the sprocket.  It is best to clean and lubricate the chain at the end of the day after a ride.  This will get keep the chain warm as to dry the lube faster and also allow the lube to sit on the chain and harden over night.  A hardened chain lube will fling less and prevent you from having a dirty tail section.   

Next step after cleaning and lubricating you chain is checking and adjusting your chain tension.  For adjusting chains on conventional double sided swingarms go to our next article, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Tension Conventional Swingarm," but if you would own a singel sided swing arm bike go to our article on, "Basic Maintenance - Chain Tension Single Sided Swingarm."

Reading Tire Markings

By Maxwell Materne
on January 23, 2013

 Every tire has a plethora of information stamped into the side of the tire, here is a list of what each of those mean:

  1. Brand name and registered trademark with type of tread pattern and/or product line.
  2. Nominal section width, expressed in metric, inche or alpha; see size chart below
  3. Ratio between tire section height and nominal section width.  The ratio is not indicated when section width is expressed in inches (eg. 3.5-18)
  4. Code for tire construction (" - " = Bias, "R" = Radial, "B" = Bias Belted).
  5. Nominal rim diameter size in inches
  6. "Motorcycle" is abbreviated form differentiates motorcycle tires and rims from those designed for other vehicles.  Shown on some models only.
  7. Expresses the tire's maximum load capacity (pounds) at the pressure indicated (psi); see load index chart below
  8. Speed symbol.  Indicates the tire's speed; see speed rating chart below.
  9. Tubeless (TL) or tubetype (TT), as applicable.
  10. Number of plies and material.
  11. Abbreviation of "US Department of Transportation."  Serves to indicate that the tire conforms to the regulations issued by the US Department of Transportation.  Includes the serial # of the tire.
  12. Last 4 numbers of the DOT number represent the construction date.  Example 3510 means the tire was produced in the 35th week of 2010.

Motorcycle Speed Ratings

Speed Symbol Max Speed Speed Symbol Max Speed Speed Symbol Max Speed
J 62 mph K 68 mph L 75 mph
M 81 mph N 87 mph P 93 mph
Q 99 mph R 106 mph S 112 mph
T 118 mph U 124 mph H 130 mph
V 149 mph W 168 mph Y 186 mph

Load Indexes (L.I.)

L.I. lbs.   L.I. lbs.   L.I. lbs.
33 254   49 408   65 639
34 260   50 419   66 661
36 276   52 441   68 694
37 282   53 454   69 716
38 291   54 467   70 739
39 300   55 481   71 761
40 309   56 494   72 783
41 320   57 507   73 805
42 331   58 520   74 827
43 342   59 536   75 853
44 353   60 551   76 882
45 364   61 567   77 908
46 375   62 584   78 937
47 386   63 600   79 963
48 397   64 617   80 992

Tire Conversion Charts

Motorcycle Street Tire Size Conversion Chart
Front Tires
Metric Alpha Inch
80/90 MH 2.50/2.75
90/90 MJ90 2.75/3.00
100/90 MM90 3.25/3.50
110/90 MN90 3.75/4.00
120/80 N/A 4.25/4.50
120/90 MR90 4.25/4.50
130/90 MT90 5.00/5.10
Rear Tires
Metric Alpha Inch
110/90 MP85 4.50/4.75
120/90 MR90 4.50/4.75
130/80 N/A 5.00/5.10
130/90 MT90 5.00/5.10
140/80 N/A 5.50/6.00
140/90 MU90 5.50/6.00
150/80 MV85 6.00/6.25
150/90 MV85 6.00/6.25
Motorcycle Off-Road Tire Size Conversion Chart
Front Tires
Metric Alpha Inch
60/100 90/80 2.50/2.75
70/100 90/90 2.75/3.00
80/100 100/80 3.00/3.25
Rear Tires
Metric Alpha Inch
80/100 80/90 2.50/3.60
90/100 110/90 3.60/4.10
100/100 120/80 4.00/4.10
110/100 130/80 4.00/4.50
120/100 140/80 5.00/5.10

Basic Maintenance - Tires

By Maxwell Materne
on January 23, 2013

Tire Maintenance

    No matter what you read on the internet, except for here, the most important thing on your motorcycle or scooter is the tires.  Tires that are aged, improperly inflated or worn can cause an uncomfortable ride or even a crash.  Keeping up with motorcycle tire maintenance is a simple task and can save you in the long run.

Checking Pressures: 

    On average a tire will loose 1 pound of pressure a month.  To exacerbate the issue, a tire will gain and loose 1 pound of pressure for every 10 degree fahrenheit change in temperature.  If you were to ride your bike in the summer then ride it 6 months later in the winter, without increasing pressures, you are likely to have pressures 10 pounds lower, or 2/3 of the tires required pressures.  It is best to check the pressures in your tires every time you ride, how else will you know if you have a slow leak?

Scalloped Tire

    Every motorcycle manufacturer has recommended tires and pressures for their bikes.  These pressures have been tested specifically for the weight, suspension and riding style specified for each bike.  By running a tire at incorrect pressures you could experience increased wear, scalloping of treads, overheating of the tire carcass or possibly a blowout.

Checking Wear:

    Tire wear can be found in many different ways, and the most common for city riding is squaring.  A squared tire is exactly how it sounds, the center of the tire has worn flat and there are now edges to roll over when leaning the bike.  This wear, usually caused by straight line riding or running too high of tire pressures, makes the bike feel very unstable when leaning anywhere past where it has become flat.  The second most common type of wear is scalloping and this can be caused by low tire pressure settings.  Low pressures not only overheat the carcass of the tire, but they also allow the larger tread blocks to push into the tire and wear the smaller sections faster.  This wear will cause the tire to become bumpy and create vibrations that resonate through the bike.  Neither a squared nor scalloped tire can be fixed, so keep on top of your pressures to keep this premature wear from costing you a set of tires

Checking tread depth

    If your tires wear correctly then congratulations, but your not out of the woods just yet.  Checking tire tread depth is important for water evacuation and without that, hydroplaning is eminent.  Each tire has tread depth indicators in the sipes (the lines cut in the tire to make the individual tread blocks) that are slightly higher than the normal sipe depth.  These indicators are usually found toward the outside of the tread so it is important to still measure the depth of the tire wear in the center.  This depth should be no less than 2/32 of an inch, or if you want a quick inexpensive way to check, the distance from the top of a penny to Lincoln's head.

Checking for Rot:

    If tires are too old they will begin to dry rot in the sipes or on the sidewall.  This is very important to catch before it become a serious problem.  Best way to make sure this doesn't happent to you is by checking the manufacture date on the tire and make sure it is not older than 7 years.  Each tire has the manufacture week stamped on the sidewall, this number can be found in a small oval on one side of the tire.  The number will be 4 digits and will denote the manufacturing week and year of that specific tire.  For example, (3210) would mean that the tire was made in the 32nd week of 2010.  Anything older than 7 years old, and it's time to replace.

For the best tire prices in the City contact or call (504) 595-6776 Ext 4.    

If you'd like to find out more information on typical tire markings check out our article "Reading Tire Markings."

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