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Old April 25th, 2021, 09:22 AM   #1
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Question about alignment

Hi, I am very much new to motorcycles and got the tires changed recently. I have some experience with mechanic work and the documentation is good so i opted to take off and install the wheels myself and only pay for the tire change.
The installation of the wheels was quite straightforward but i ran into issues with alignment, mainly the fact that the wheel is not straight if the chain is and the chain is not straight if the wheel is aligned with the front wheel.
I used a laser to align the chain and the string method to align by the front wheel. With the chain straight the alignment markers in the swingarm are quite far apart with the left side nearly one notch behind the right side. When aligned with the string the markers are within reasonable inaccuracy from each other.
So my question is wether this is a major issue. The chain is maybe 3-4mm off line at the countershaft.
Thank you for the help.
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Old April 26th, 2021, 11:23 AM   #2
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You want the chain straight, and you want the wheels aligned. When you have a choice between the two, I'd prioritize the wheel alignment. Wheel alignment affects everything in terms of the riding experience on the bike, from turning to braking/accelerating. Chain alignment (unless *extremely* off), is more related to chain wear over time. If the countershaft sprocket and the rear sprocket happen to be a mm or 2 further from the centerline of the bike, the chain might not ever be able to align with the exact straight line that you're shooting for between the wheels, as there is no cheap/easy way to shim them perfectly. But having the chain slightly misaligned really isn't that big a deal - the risk is slightly quicker chain & sprocket wear. But on a low-powered / low-torque bike like this, chain wear is going to be affected much more significantly by how careful you are to keep the chain lubed properly over time. Let it get dry and rusty, and it could be toast in a few thousand miles. Keep it adjusted and lubed, and it could last for tens of thousands of miles.

This is why I always thought the silly chain aligner tools that are sold to new riders are relatively pointless.
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Old April 26th, 2021, 10:08 PM   #3
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Are your sprockets correctly installed/ is your wheel installed correctly?

Any little dirt or road grime could have fell in between the mating faces and misaliging them?

Oem/correct sprockets for the bike?

From the neglectful few times I remember adjusting my chain there was a fair bit of play in the adjusters markings try seating them completely forward or aft before you start your adjustment to check they're level to begin with and work back/forward keeping them mated just so you're not concerning yourself over slop.

You've got 2 different measurement methods so one might be wrong (sure your cheap laser is square?)

Try to use one method for both to rule that out
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Old April 28th, 2021, 07:08 PM   #4
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im with alex. wheel alignment has priorty
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Old April 29th, 2021, 06:19 AM   #5
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This might help -

How to Adjust and Align a Motorcycle Chain
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Old May 14th, 2021, 05:17 AM   #6
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@jkv45 GREAT video! Tells you not only the what but also the why...thanks for posting that.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 06:39 AM   #7
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String Alignment Method...

This was a good "how to", if you decide to use the string method to align your wheel.


I agree as well on getting your wheels to track straight, if you have to pick one-or-the-other.
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Old May 14th, 2021, 07:14 AM   #8
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Motion Pro has a chain alignment tool. Not too expensive and quite compact.
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Old July 29th, 2021, 01:38 AM   #9
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I have seen spacers on the rear tire/axle that are slightly different in length
I have no idea if that is the case with your bike or not but if it is it's an easy fix
just pull the axle and the spacer on each side of the rear wheel and see if they are the same width.... if one is longer it probably belongs on the right side
.... the wheel alignment is top priority, I have ran a Old Honda 90 for thousands of hours with the chain running off to one side but it worked fine
it bugged me one day so I aligned the chain and sprockets despite the alignment marks on the rear swingarm and took it for a short ride....
when I returned I aligned the wheels not the chain !!! it would wallow in the corners and make your butt pucker big time not something you want to experience on a faster bike for sure !

edit; something must be amiss somewhere because both the chain and the alignment should be spot on at all times they were made to do that
so if your's is noticeably out of alignment with the sprocket when the wheels are aligned I'ed say you did something wrong somewhere
I mentioned the spacers for a reason , many times they interchange real easily and a person won't notice it at all. I think the DT1 Yamaha has
a 2" spacer on one side and a 1/4" spacer on the chain side you can mix them up but nothing will fit right, but it's a bit tougher when it comes to better street bikes the spacers look identical most of the time but ARE THEY ? that's the big question .... if their identical in thickness and can be swapped from side to side there's no problem ...but you need to know or pull it apart and check yourself because you could have swapped them without noticing it. and that may well be the cause of the wheel alignment being correct but the chain isn't ( rides to one side on the rear sprocket)
Its too late when you've gone too far !

Last futzed with by Bob KellyIII; July 29th, 2021 at 10:37 PM. Reason: needed more explanation
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