keeping your chain adjusted is a basic and important maintenance task that every rider is familiar with. Keeping the chain slack in the proper range will extend the life of your chain and sprockets, and prevent premature wear on the swingarm, countershaft, and rear wheel bearings. Making sure your rear wheel is properly aligned goes hand in hand with adjusting your chain. Proper wheel alignment is critical for good handling and can even affect tire and chain wear when it is badly out of line.
This job is a piece of cake, right? You just line up the adjuster with the marks on each side of the swingarm, and you are done. How hard is that? What many people don't know is that on many bikes, the marks on the swingarm may not be even accurate due to manufacturing tolerances, and by using them you can unintentionally misalign your wheel, causing a variety of problems.
If you have a look around, you will see many different ways of measuring wheel alignment, from simple and inexpensive, to crazily complex and wallet-emptying. However, there is one simple fact that you need to take into consideration before you go too crazy with some of the solutions out there. This is the reality- you only have two adjustments for your rear wheel, the left and right adjusters on the swingarm. Thats the only thing you can change. So using lasers to align the rear wheel to the front, or long reference rods to measure one side against the other is a waste of time and money.
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