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How-to: Install A Chain Kit

Old 09-26-2008, 12:11 AM
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Default How-to: Install A Chain Kit

I had a lot of fun replacing the chain and sprockets on my bike recently, so I did a write up on it while it was still fresh in my mind. I hope this helps someone out.

This how-to is based on a 2000 CBR F4 and covers removing and replacing both front and rear sprockets as well as the chain. The nut sizes and torque values will vary for different bikes. Check your bike's manual.

A friend and I did the switch in well under an hour. However, this friend had ALL the tools we needed. Like any job, this one is MUCH easier if you have the right tools.

If you don't have all the tools, specifically the first couple things on the list below, it's gonna be rough, and probably take a while if you're even able to do it at all.

First things first...

What you'll need:

-Rear stand - This is really necessary. If not an actual stand, a couple of jack stands under both sides of the swingarm would work... but it would be sketchy. Either way, you need some way to hold up the rear end, as you'll be removing the rear wheel completely.
-Torque Wrench - Also pretty necessary. The front and rear sprockets both have nuts that need to be torqued correctly.
-Chain rivet tool (chain breaker) - Mandatory if using a rivet type master link (which is best). Will also definitely need it to remove links from the chain if it came too long (likely).
-Breaker Bar - Or a long pipe to get leverage on some hard to turn nuts.
-Sockets of various sizes - I can't remember all the sizes off the top of my head, but I do know the rear axle nut is 27mm. The tools that come with the bike have a wrench for it and it will work also, it's just easier on the hands to use a socket (27mm is a BIG socket though... not a common size.)
-A friend - it can be probably be done without, but someone there to help will make it a ton easier.


1) Get the rear wheel up on the stand. Take of the front sprocket cover. It's held on by two small bolts. It's also helpful to remove the chain guard (held on by two small hex key bolts.)

Front Sprocket:

2) Get the right size socket for the bolt that holds the front sprocket on and attach it to the breaker bar (because the bolt will probably be on there really tight).
3) Have a friend press on the rear brake while you loosen the bolt that holds on the front sprocket. You have to press on the rear brake hard enough to stop the wheel from spinning. This stops the chain from spinning and thus will keep the front sprocket in one place while you loosen the nut. Otherwise, the front sprocket will just spin on you and the bolt won't loosen.
4) Once the bolt is loose, take it out and then remove the front sprocket and NOTE WHICH WAY IT COMES OFF. This is important as the front sprocket can be put on backwards, and this of course is very bad. (You may have to loosen the rear wheel and chain tensioners to get enough slack in the chain to take the front sprocket off.)
5) Replace the front sprocket with the new one (leave the chain off, obviously) and use the torque wrench to torque the bolt to 40 lb/ft.

On to the back wheel:

6) Remove the rear axle completely using the big socket. (Have your friend hold up the wheel as it will fall when the axle comes out.)
7) Take the chain off the back sprocket (just let it hang there) and remove the rear wheel from the bike. (This is why you need a stand.)
8) Use the breaker bar to loosen the 5 nuts holding on the rear sprocket. This is best done by laying the wheel flat on the ground and having your handy friend stand on it while you loosen the nuts with the breaker bar.
9) Replace the rear sprocket with the new one and CROSS-TIGHTEN the nuts, torquing them down to 65 lb/ft. Leave the rear wheel off for now.

On to the chain:

10) Use the chain tool to break the old chain and take it off the swingarm.
11) Place the rear wheel back on the bike and put the axle back through it.
12) Set the chain tensioners so the wheel is ALL the way forward in the drop out.
13) Wind the new chain around the front and back sprocket so that the two ends meet on the top side above the swingarm. It's probably best to have them meet right at the rear sprocket, with one end actually on the sprocket, just to have a definite place for the last link to seat while you determine the next step.

Dialing in the chain length:

14) Determine how many (if any) links you need to remove from the chain. If you get a chain with 120 links (which I believe is standard) you will likely need to remove 1 link (which consists of: an outer part of a link and an inner part of a link). Just take out whatever you need to make the chain fit together where the wheel is all the way forward in the dropout. (Don't worry if there's some slack, that's what the chain tensioners are for.)
15) Once the excess links are out, put the chain together with the master link, making sure to put in the provided "O rings" between each plate. There are 4 of these little rubber O rings. Also, lube the O rings and the master link pins with the lube (should be provided).
16) Use the chain tool to fully seat the master link plates, and smash the rivets so they will hold. (Use the instructions included with your chain tool for additional reference.) If using a clip style master link (I wouldn't), then just clip the clip on there.

(NOTE: if you can't put the chain together with it wrapped around both sprockets, take it off the rear sprocket and put it together. Then, once it is securely linked up, place it on one side of the rear sprocket and carefully roll it on. This is scary, but it will be fine.)

Get some tension in the chain:

17) Once the chain is all the way on and secure, be sure it's on both sprockets and use the chain tensioners to pull the wheel back so there is somewhere between .75 and 1.25 inches of slack at the midpoint of the chain. Those measurements are off the top of my head. Check the sticker on the chain guard or the specs in your manual for the official numbers.
18) Be sure the wheel is centered and straight using the notches on the chain tensioners.
19) Tighten down the rear axle nut. There is a torque value I'm sure, but I always just tighten it about as tight as I can get it without straining my whole body or pulling a hernia.

Clean up:

20) If the chain came pre-lubed, give it a slight wipe down with a cloth to get the excess lube off. If you don't want your JNCO's to get sucked into your drivetrain, replace the chain guard and front sprocket cover.
21) This is kinda dangerous, but... with the bike still securely on the stand, (you could hold the front brake just to be safe), start up the bike and let the rear wheel roll for a few minutes, just to make sure everything looks and sounds ok before taking it out for a spin.

Take a victory lap:

22) Take it off the stand and ride away into the sunset with your new drivetrain.


23) Hang your old rear sprocket in your shed as a trophy and sell the chain for scrap.

*I'm nograv1, and I approve this How-To*

Old 09-26-2008, 12:59 AM
TK954RR's Avatar
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Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

Good write up, now we just need it moved to the "how to" section
Old 09-26-2008, 07:38 AM
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Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

Oh yea. Forgot about that section... haha. That's a good section to put "how-to"s.

*punches self in the face*
Old 09-27-2008, 03:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 80
Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

Nice write up When I place new chain on I`m having trouble deciding how many links to take out . I went minus 1 in the front sprocket and after the chain is placed on it comes half way between the links and seems either way i go it will be either to tight or way to loose .
Old 09-27-2008, 11:14 AM
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Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

good one...

a nice redneck substitute to the chain breaker and rivet tool is a hack saw and a couple pairs of vice grips
Old 09-27-2008, 11:18 AM
PlayfulGod's Avatar
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Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

nice write up, pic would be a nice addition to it too. Still a great write up tho. I got lazy n never wrote mine up lol.
Old 09-28-2008, 01:20 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 80
Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

Well I decided to go with an extra link versus being too tight . The last thing I wanted to do was make the chain too short and not be able to fit it on .
Old 12-07-2008, 04:40 PM
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Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

really nice write up.[sm=happy046.gif]
Old 12-09-2008, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: How-to: Install A Chain Kit

Cool write-up ~ guess if you can do it, anybody can. Huh? J/K
Pics would be nice, but you explained it very thoroughly so no need. What kind of chain rivet tool did you utilize (if you don't mind me asking)?
Old 06-19-2009, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nograv1 View Post
19) Tighten down the rear axle nut. There is a torque value I'm sure, but I always just tighten it about as tight as I can get it without straining my whole body or pulling a hernia.
The torque values are all in the service manual. i only call this out because I've had the wheels off my bike a number of times, and was shocked at how LOW of a torque some of these bolts call for. Tightennig them as hard as you say has to be close to 100 ft-lbs, and no bolt on the bike calls for that.

VERY nice, easy to understand write-up, though. Thanks!

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