Dear Mr. Know-It-All,

I just put a new chain and sprockets on my pristine 2005 Honda 250F. I also put new plastic on because I like my bikes to always look perfect. To make the chain last longer, I pushed the axle all the way forward, so it has more room to stretch before I have to buy a new one. Since I put the new chain on my bike, it is real twitchy and the shock is all messed up. I don’t understand how a new chain and sprockets can make my bike handle bad. The chain is an O-ring, and the rear sprocket is steel. Is the extra weight of the chain and sprocket screwing up my handling? 

Clyde Drooler
Via [email protected] 


Here’s a good rule of thumb: any time your machine starts handling poorly, ask your UPS driver for a solution, because it will have more merit than your mind-numbing elucidation. Let’s try this: with the wheel pushed all the way forward in the swingarm, you have shortened your wheelbase. This will have an effect on your rear suspension, deleting some of the necessary sag in the damper, with the end result being a machine that gets nervous at speed, turns tight and rides high in the rear. All the way back in the swingarm will have the opposite effect, more leverage on the shock and too much damper sag, resulting in slower-cornering traits but possibly more comfort at speed. Run the wheel in the middle of the slot. You’ll be rewarded with proper swingarm flex and wheelbase, which will help balance the chassis.   

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