First of all, Ducati’s don’t melt in the rain. I found out today in a short but horrendous downpour. Nor did I get a full on laser show from all the electrics shorting out. The Mutley just pressed on through, unflustered. And the boxes did not leak.
Anyway, on Saturday I adjusted the chain on a motorcycle for the first time in about 8 years and for the first time on a bike with a concentric adjuster on a single sided swinging arm. I have to admit I was a little anxious as the owners manual said “Bring it in to Pappa Ducati, and for many liras one of our mechanicos will adjust it for you” – but I still have enough pride not to pay anyone to adjust a chain. It looks much more of a faff than it actually is (GS riders – a chain is not to be loved but it does not have to be feared either)
I found an excellent stage by stage guide on the internet. Basically you take the very end off the chain guard by undoing 3 x 5mm Allan Bolts – I found an Allan Key socket in a 3/8 ratchet made the job a lot easier than using a T bar Allan key. Then with my bike on its centre stand, release the two 10mm Allan bolts a couple of turns to release the concentric adjuster. Put the fairly useless C spanner on the underside of the notched ring and give it some deliberate but steady pressure up. First go was a bit heavy handed so the chain was overtightened, but it is easy to slacken and re-tighten. Ducati give a little chain guide which shows if your tension is right but I don’t think it is an improvement on just looking at it and checking if it looks right. Then tighten off the 10 mm Allan bolts – one turn at a time alternating sides with a torque wrench, until the torque is reached, then putting the chain guard back on. Job done.
It took me about 20 minutes with a short break to lift a dog cage and a wheelchair out of and into a car, so in real time, about 15 minutes, and it will be quicker next time. So, do I still hate chains? Yup. Bloody horrible oily things that need adjustment but do I hate chains enough to regret the swap from my GS Panzer tractor to the Mutley Strudel? No. I’ll do the adjustment every couple of weeks, more if I am hacking into London which seems to stretch the chain worse than ordinary riding. Mind you, the difference a properly adjusted chain makes on this bike is really obvious. I have also given up on all settings except sport, which works best in all weathers and all loads. If you usually ride one up, think hard before you spend all that money on electrickery for the suspension. Mine stays in Sports mode and only adjusts for load or pillion. If I rode the bike as a solo rider without load, I would really not bother with the fancy suspension, IMHO.
Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a GSX1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.
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