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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 07-13-2012, 02:07 PM
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Setting Chain length and tension

With all the work I've been doing on my rear fender I want to get to breaking my chain to the right length and rivet on the master link. My drive line is already spaced and good to go.

Before I go any further, look at this and tell me if I have it backwards. i feel like a real dummy for not remembering if this is the correct way.



Does lobe face back like this, or should it be foreward? I have the set screw (axle adjuster) driven in to where the secondary set screw sits flush in front. Not much thread left to drive it back any further.

Is the idea to have the axle end up somewhat center in the iron cross, or a little foreward, or behind it?
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:15 PM
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There's been many debates about this. That "is" the way it has been said to start,....but bring the axle way forward when measuring and cutting the chain. Then when you tighten and adjust it, the axle will end up where your's is pictured,...or at least close to it.

Later on, when and if the chain stretches, if you run out of adjustment, you pull the axle out a bit and flip it around so the tab's toward the front, ...then you have all kinds of adjustment again.
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:20 PM
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I know what the chain tension setting is from the Softail service manual (but I don't have it in front of me). Is that in one direction or up & down? Anyone have a better suggestion, maybe the CFL has a magic number that works?

I'm using a Renthal R4 SRS 530 chain, 48 tooth in the rear, 21 in front. I know everyone will have different set-ups but it would be cool to post link counts anyway. The Renthal chains come "pre-stretched from the factory", but I'm waiting on a call back from Renthal to see if there is any real expectation of further stretching. Anyway, I just wanted to know what builders think about where to set chain and where the axle lands when anticipating some stretch in the future. I don't want to end up setting my chain length and tension just right, then mounting the fender over it and 1500 miles down the road seeing the axle slide back far enough to throw off the radius of the fender matched to the orginal cold position of the wheel.

Any good tips on how to proceed when picking the link to break? Should the rear axle be slid as far foreward as possible? Any tips or general advice would a great help, I only want to have to break one link and rivit the master link once!
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:34 PM
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what frank said + all chain stretches so pre stretch doesn't mean shitall. get the axle up tight in the front so you can adjust it as it stretches. put your finger under the chain and pick it up, you should have about a 1/2' play or you can be like me and when you hear it slapping the chain guard take it up a bit
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRANKTHECRANK View Post
There's been many debates about this. That "is" the way it has been said to start,....but bring the axle way forward when measuring and cutting the chain. Then when you tighten and adjust it, the axle will end up where your's is pictured,...or at least close to it.

Later on, when and if the chain stretches, if you run out of adjustment, you pull the axle out a bit and flip it around so the tab's toward the front, ...then you have all kinds of adjustment again.
Thanks Frank... I feel better now! If my chain stretches that much to the point I have to flip the axle I imagine I would have to end up making my fender mounting holes a horizontal oval to be able to slide the fender back an equal distance?
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWings View Post
what frank said + all chain stretches so pre stretch doesn't mean shitall. get the axle up tight in the front so you can adjust it as it stretches. put your finger under the chain and pick it up, you should have about a 1/2' play or you can be like me and when you hear it slapping the chain guard take it up a bit
Pick up the bottom (returning to the wheel) or the top (returning to primary)?

1/2 inch it is, sounds good and thank you!
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:47 PM
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bottom or top but make sure to rotate the wheel and check the chain at different spots in case theres a tight spot and the tight spot is where you want the 1/2" play.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:03 PM
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chains dont actually stretch.the rollers that the pins go thru wear.quickly.so like they all said give yourself some room for adj in future.and stay way from spring chain tensioners.i have broke more than one.jus my opinion.good lookin buld
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:26 PM
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how are you guys accommodating the future chain stretch in your fender mounting? in all these builds the fenders look so tight....
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:38 PM
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Run it tight and set it up close to forward, if chain and sprockets wear you can move it back further. I just Cut those rear lobes off equal to front, problem solved.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miamio96 View Post
how are you guys accommodating the future chain stretch in your fender mounting? in all these builds the fenders look so tight....
Because you have to set up your drivetrain first, line everything up, and tighten your chain,....before you weld your fender bungs and mount the fender, you can get the fender really tight to the tire. Just remember to leave room for tire expansion due to increased mph and rotation.

That being said, as the chain stretches and you need to adjust the rear axle, the space and radius between the rim and fender will be affected. I believe, most pics you will see of CFLs are when they are first or newly completed,......shop built or home built,.....so the matching radiuses of the rims and fenders always look their best.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:24 PM
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OK i understand the fender mounting, just can't match up the amount of adjustment the axle has and the amount of room between tire and fender. Maybe chains dont stretch as much as the used to, but in the axle area there's a good inch or more of adjustment and most fender setups have less then 1/2" of clearance from tire.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miamio96 View Post
OK i understand the fender mounting, just can't match up the amount of adjustment the axle has and the amount of room between tire and fender. Maybe chains dont stretch as much as the used to, but in the axle area there's a good inch or more of adjustment and most fender setups have less then 1/2" of clearance from tire.
You mount the fender in a way that the tire could never rub regardless of axle position. Axle at the forward-most position, 1/2" clearance between tire and fender. No chance of tire rubbing fender as chain stretches and axle is adjusted rearward.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miamio96 View Post
OK i understand the fender mounting, just can't match up the amount of adjustment the axle has and the amount of room between tire and fender. Maybe chains dont stretch as much as the used to, but in the axle area there's a good inch or more of adjustment and most fender setups have less then 1/2" of clearance from tire.
I'm going to try to figure how much the chain stretch will be and mount my fender favoring the back a little, so that way when it does stretch a bit it the wheel will land where I want it in the fender radius.
The guy at Renthal called me back and said that even though the chains are pre stretched at the factory there will still be some stretch by 500 miles, but exactly how much he has no idea. He did say Renthal chains finish stretching after the first 500 and stop there and it is less than other brands (of course he would say that). I have the email address to the 'chain expert' in the UK so I will hit up him Monday to see what I can find out.

Anyone have a measurement on how far their axle did actually move back?
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:29 AM
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Your best bet is probably to run it without the rear fender for the chain break-in period, then mount the fender based on wherever the axle is at that point. Anything outside of that would be purely guesswork. Every chain will behave differently with different drivetrains, riding styles, temperatures, etc.
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