How to Tighten a Dirt Bike Chain

Author : Efrain Silva

Check your chain blocks, my friend, as the first step — any expert will more than likely not disagree with me here ; this is what you must do, all in all, when starting out (after you have already determined that the chain is definitely too loose, of course). How are these chain blocks aligned? That is the first question.

How to Tighten a Dirt Bike Chain

If you are not quite sure on what I refer to here, you can bring in the bike to a local bike shop (my favorite is Cycle Gear, but each has their own opinion as to which bike shop is best and offers the most value for the cost of the repair or purchase, naturally) and the expert there (if they know what they are talking about) can actually take a good look for you and tell you, as well, offering a valid second expert’s opinion (as well as make any other suggestions, while the bike is there, to help you lengthen its life and your quality of riding).

A loose chain will mess up all parts of your ride and, in worst - case scenarios, not even allow you to move forward at all. So, to fix this, after remembering that first step, we are now going to go to the second : Which is to consider tightening the connected bolt to which the loose chain engages with (and a bike shop pro can actually do this for you, either for free as a quick evaluation, or for very, very little cost). In a great majority of cases, in which people experienced a loose bike chain, it’s been found that the main problem has been a quick fix requiring just the axle and its chain to be properly aligned.

Remember that the axle actually runs right through the block itself and is an integral part of its every movement. And your bolt is what’s pushing on that block. Tighten up your rear axle nut (with a wrench or such — and by the way, if you do not have tools for this, now might be the best time to invest $50+ in a good toolbox, if you plan to repair the bike yourself from now on and save on repair costs & some labor).

Check your sprockets, as well, while you are at it, now that you have checked the chain’s alignment and adjustment itself. If you see some teeth missing down there, or even some very significant wear and tear visibly showing, then this might also be the very best time to actually have that whole chain drive swapped out. Yes, you might need to replace the entire thing, in this case, an investment that will pay off well, though.

Now, don’t just replace the chain and NOT replace the sprocket, if you’re going with the replacement option : These two have to go hand in hand (mano a mano, as they say in Spanish). Lubricate your chain, last of all, and step back to verify the alignment and feel the tightness.