Breaking your Motorcycle Chain - how-to

Sure, you could have your motorcycle garage or local motorcycle shop swap your motorcycle chain for you, but then you'd miss myriad chances to get greasy and pinch off a few hundred Thai baht. Assuming you're still interested, here's the easy way to break and replace your motorcycle chain.

Yes, naturally, there are tools. We use Motion Pro's Chain Breaker tools, because it's versatile, rugged and, well, we have one. These days, the chain manufacturers are trying to get owners and service establishments away from clip-style master links in favor or riveted links in the belief that riveted items are stronger and more durable.

You've got the get the old chain off first. The vast majority of modern motorcycles come with endless O-ring chains, and this type of chain requires removal of a roller pin to get the chain off the motorcycle.

Find an unobstructed run of the motorcycle chain and set the chain tool in place. Sometimes it's even easier to bust a link on the rear sprocket. For clarity, we're using the pin extended from the mandrel where it contacts the pin; you will want to wind the head right up against the side plate, and wind the center pin in from there. Some motorcycle chains may require grinding of the pin head beforehand, but the mighty Motion Pro Chain Breaker tool had its way with our #525 motorcycle chain with no problem.
Push the pin all the way through and separate the links. Don't let the chain fall off the sprocket just yet. Grab the new chain and temporarily insert the master/rivet link between it and the old chain. Carefully roll the new chain first over the counter-shaft sprocket, up along the upper run and then over the rear sprocket, letting the old chain coil out of the way.

Sometimes you're lucky and the new chain will be just the right length; most of the time you're not so lucky. Hold the ends of the chain overlapping to determine how many links to remove, paying particular attention to which pin you'll need to remove to expose the female link. Be sure you've readjusted the rear axle to the forward one-third of its travel; you don't think the chain is going to get shorter do you? Remove the excess links by pushing the pin out the same way you did with the old chain.

Dig the rivet link out of the box along with the supplied moly grease. Apply the grease liberally to the link pins and insert the first pair of O-rings over the pins. You'll be sliding this link in from the back, and it may be easier to join the chain on the rear sprocket while you do this. Next you have to press the side plate in place; the Motion Pro chain tool includes a cool die for this purpose. Tighten the tool until the link is approximately the same distance from the rollers as the adjoining, permanent links. (Too tight and you'll bind the O-rings; too loose and the grease will escape, and the peened ends of the pins will not be deep enough.)

Next is reveting. With the Motion Pro chain tool, you must remove the extricating pin and fit the riveting head and buck; the dimpled end fits into a hole in the fixed part of the tool. Align the button end with the backside face of the rivet pin carefully and crank down. The pin ends should mushroom nicely, but not so far that they're driven flush with the side plates. Check for freedom of movement along this link, double-check the adjustment and you're done... You can get a Motion Pro Chain Breaker here, but probably any other motorcycle chain tool will do the job...

Motorcycle manufacturers often recommend that you should replace the sprockets while changing your chain, so check the condition of your sprockets first.
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