Sylvie’s New Groove – Part 2 – CBF250 Chain Replacement, How Not To Rivet A Chain, And Precise Chain Tensioning

In last week’s post, I had completed fitting Sylvie’s new sprockets and rear wheel and put her under cover for the night.

The next day, I had me trouble getting the new chain properly fitted.

The Ognibene chain was already the correct length at 106 links, and came with what I assumed to be two rivet-type links.

I fed the chain through the rear chain guard as I hadn’t bothered removing it.

I put Sylvie in neutral and looped the chain around the front sprocket and back to the rear sprocket.

I unpacked a new rivet-style master link from its zip-lock bag and confirmed all parts were present.

I fitted the rear o-rings to the pins and pushed the link through from the back, fitting the front o-ring and cover plate.

Having a brand new chain tool, I expected no trouble riveting the chain.

The new chain tool came in pieces and unfortunately came with no instructions. The pieces were labelled, so I assembled them in what seemed to be the most logical order.

Unfortunately after quite some time attempting to rivet the chain, I discovered that the riveting pin that seemed to be made of a softer metal than the chain links I was attempting to rivet. After bending the pin to the point of being unable to change pins in the chain tool and making no progress on riveting the chain, despite multiple further attempts using the tool in every logical configuration, I ended up taking to it with an angle grinder Suffice to say I won’t be buying another cheap chain breaker/riveting tool any time soon.

I ended up re-using the clip-style master link I had used to temporarily fix the old chain, although I used the new o-rings with it.

On closer inspection of the other new master link supplied with the chain, I found it was also a clip-style link. By this stage I just wanted Sylvie working again for the following week, so I left the one I had fitted in place.

I adjusted the left chain tensioner nuts until the chain was at the recommended minimum slack of approximately 20mm and measured the length from the rear or the swingarm to the end of the thread with Vernier calipers.

The distance was just  over 27mm.

I adjusted the right chain tensioner nuts until the end of the threaded rod on it was the same distance from the rear of the swingarm.

Once I was satisfied that the the rear axle was as close as possible to perpendicular to the chain, I set my large torque wrench to the specified torque and used the 17mm socket to turn the axle against the nut.

Finally, I replaced the front chain guard.

I’m pleased to report that Sylvie has been much more responsive when taking off from the lights, overall power has improved and gear changes while in motion have even been a bit smoother!

The next priorities for Sylvie are a new rear tyre and re-covering the seat. Hopefully they’ll be in an update in the near future.

That’s all for this week’s update. Next week’s entry will most likely be a return to one of the project bikes.


Sylvie’s New Groove – Part 1 – CBF250 Chain Tensioner And Sprocket Replacement

I got a parcel last week, far earlier than expected.

Inside the outer bag was a tough bag.

Inside the tough bag were the new chain and sprockets I had ordered from the UK only a few days earlier!

I checked the spare rear wheel I had for Sylvie and found the tyre was more worn than the one I was thinking of swapping it with!

I gathered every tool and spare part I though I would need and got ready to remove the chain, rear wheel and right chain tensioner. From the left, spanners in 24mm, 17mm, 14mm and 12mm sizes, a spare chain tensioner, small socket wrench with an extension bar, 10mm and 8mm sockets, small and medium standard screwdrivers, new Ognibene o-ring chain, new AFAM front and rear sprockets in standard sizes for the CBF250, WD 40, Inox, lithium grease, my new chain tool and Vernier calipers.

I started by loosening the rear axle nut.

The 24mm spanner was used on the axle nut.

The 17mm spanner was used to hold the bolt end of the axle.

After slacking off the axle nut, I unlocked the steering and straightened the handlebar.

I then put Sylvie in neutral and raised her onto the centre stand.

Next I used the 14mm and 12mm spanners to loosen the chain tensioners.

I turned the rear wheel until the master link was visible and prised off the clip with the medium screwdriver.

I took the faceplate off and pulled the link out from the back.

I gave the old chain a cursory clean to inspect the overall damage.

After cleaning off the worst of the grime, the chain seemed to be in relatively good condition apart from the obvious wear near the ends where the broken master link had been.

I cleaned the outside of the front chain cover with Inox lanolin spray as it is kinder to plastic than WD 40

Next I removed the cover with the 8mm socket and extension bar.

I put the cover aside with its bolts and the mounting bracket under it.

I put Sylvie back into first gear and cleaned up the front sprocket and the outside of the transmission with more Inox spray.

I switched over to the 10mm socket.

I then removed the front sprocket mounting bolts and rotated the retaining plate to to get it past the splines on the drive shaft.

After removing the sprocket I cleaned up the rest of engine casing outside the transmission.

The old front sprocket had a fair amount of wear.

I unwrapped the new sprocket for a comparison before fitting it.

Fitting was of course a reverse of the removal process.

While replacing the mounting bolts, I realised I’d forgotten an important tool when laying out all the tools before starting.

This was of course the small torque wrench.

I set the torque to the specifications from the manual and tightened the bolts.

I set about removing the rear wheel.

With everything loosened, I realised I had forgotten to remove the nut for the rear brake lever. The right chain tensioner had some badly stripped thread too.

I screwed the nut back onto the connecting rod for the brake pedal so I wouldn’t lose the spring.

I removed the rear brake assembly from the wheel and inspected the shoes for wear before placing the wheel on a soft rag with the sprocket facing up.

I realised at this point that i had forgotten another important tool – A large socket wrench, extension bar and 17mm socket.

I loosened and removed the nuts in a star pattern, then removed the rear sprocket.

The wear on the rear sprocket wasn’t as bad.

As with the front sprocket, I unwrapped the new rear sprocket for a direct comparison before fitting it.

I removed the right chain tensioner from the swingarm.

Here it is with its replacement below.

I decided to clean up the rear brake lever connecting rod while the wheel was off.

While I was at it, I cleaned up the right side of the swingarm.

Much better!

Here’s a closer look at that stripped thread. Pretty nasty!

The replacement part ready to grease.

I coated the replacement with a good layer of lithium grease on both sides.

It slid in easily and held itself in place quite nicely.

By this stage it was getting close to dinner time, so I sped things up a bit.
Returning to the rear wheel, I realised I had forgotten yet another tool – my large torque wrench!

I fitted the sprocket, then set the torque wrench to the specified torque and fastened the nuts in the same star pattern I’d loosened them in.

I quickly cleaned up the rear axle bolt.

I cleaned the left side of the swingarm, reassembled the rear wheel and moved it into place.

I cleaned and re-greased the left chain adjuster and slid it back in.

I greased up the rear axle bolt liberally.

I realised I’d almost forgotten to reconnect the rear brake lever rod.

After sorting out the rear brake, I pushed the axle bolt through.

Finally, I replaced the bracket for the wear indicator and moved the bike under cover again.

At this point I called it a night and went to buy something for dinner.

I got the chain fitted the next day, but I will cover that in next week’s post!.

Sylvie Nearly Throws A Chain

I had noticed a fair bit of noise while riding lately and heard a horrible snapping noise on my way to work last week. I was less than a kilometre from work at the time, so I kept going despite the horrible grinding noise I could hear.

I checked the chain quickly after work before riding home and found the chain very slack!

I used the on-board toolkit to make a temporary adjustment to the chain tension so I could ride Sylvie home.

I then tightened up the lock nuts on the chain tension adjusters. I noticed at the time that the right side chain tension adjuster didn’t seem quite right, although I couldn’t quite place what the issue was.

I then re-tightened the axle nut.

I put the on-board toolkit back in place and replaced the seat before riding home extremely carefully.

I head horrible scraping noises all the way home, so after getting changed out of my riding gear I removed the front chain cover and inspected it.

I didn’t notice anything amiss at the time, so I had a closer look at the chain and soon found the problem. The master link had popped right off, which was probably the snapping noise I’d heard that morning.

On closer inspection, the area behind the front sprocket has some visible scrape marks

I loosened the axle and removed the broken master link. I found it was quite bent, either from wear that let to the master link coming loose or from me tensioning it before limping home on Sylvie.

I found a spare clip link and some o-rings in the shed and put them all in order ready for assembly.

I fitted the master link in the chain, being sure to put o-rings on the back plate during assembly.

I added o-rings before putting the front plate on too.

FInally I added the clip and moved it into place.

I adjusted the chain tension and re-fitted the front chain cover.

Finally I checked the rear tyre, and found it sorely in need of replacement too, so I’ll have to follow that up later.

I’ve ordered a replacement chain and sprocket set, which should arrive this week.

That’s all for this update. Next week I’ll hopefully have time to try out my new chain tool for the first time!

Filling In The Cracks – Work On Khaleesi Nears The End

This week, I finished up most of the work on Khaleesi.

I started by cleaning up the shed and sorting the pile of old parts from Khaleesi

I found my J B Weld and mixed up a small amount.

I filled the cracks in the bottom of the engine casing and put a thin layer around the bottom to keep the cracks from spreading further

I checked the charger and found that the connector was connected to a circuit that had  some sort of overload that didn’t work with my charger, so I took the side cover off and attached the trickle charger’s clips directly to the battery.

Finally I tightened the front sprocket nut to the specified torque and replaced the front chain guard.

I didn’t have any suitable oil to top up the lost oil, so I’ve let Khaleesi’s owner know and he’ll top it up.

The two remaining tasks are to to tighten the gear shift lever bolt and loosen the chain a little and she’ll be picked up next weekend.

That’s all for this week – hopefully I’ll have some time to work on my own bikes again in time for next week’s update!

Khaleesi’s Rear Wheel Replaced And New Chain Fitted

This week, I replaced Khaleesi’s rear wheel now that her owner has organised a thinner profile rear tyre.

The first step was replacing the sprocket carrier with the new sprocket on it

I was trying to prevent the disc still from scraping on the brake mount but hadn’t taken enough photos at the right steps of wheel removal, so I wasn’t entirely sure how the spacers and washers had been fitted previously.

I decided to try the spacer and its matching washer together at first.

I fitted them on the inside of the brake mount

I applied some fresh grease to the axle

The rear wheel was originally from a KR1S, so I had some trouble fitting the spacers and washers in the right order.

After swapping the spacers and washers around quite a few times, I got to a point where I was satisfied that the disc was scraping as little as was possible on the brake mount and moved on to the chain.

I removed the clip master link and put it aside.

I was having a lot of trouble getting the chain onto the front sprocket, as it seemed to be getting wedged against the engine. I realised this was because I had mounted it with the flat side toward the engine! After removing it and flipping it over, I no longer had the problem and the chain fit nicely.

I measured the length the chain needed reducing by fitting it without connecting the ends and moving the chain tensioners to the lowest point.

At first it seemed to need 13 links removed. As motorcycle chain links are in pairs, they can’t easily be shortened by single links.

I pushed the rear wheel hub as far forward as it would go and found that the 120-link chain needed 7 pairs of links cut out, for a total reduction of 14 links.

With all the trouble I had replacing the rear wheel, I took it off again just to check there was a bearing on the brake disc side. There was, so I think the KR1S spacer missing from the axle might be needed to fit it properly.

I removed the extra links rom the chain with my chain breaking tool after grinding the end of the pins with a carbide wheel on my rotary tool.

I lined up the chain on the rear sprocket and fitted the master link and o-rings.

I put the cover plate on, then clamped it with my chain tool.

With the slots on the pins clear of of the cover plate, I fitted the clip with the split end at the bottom so as to be at the opposite end of the clip to the direction of travel.

I adjusted the chain tensioners and fitted a split pin through the castle nut and the hole in the axle.

I bent the ends of the split pin back around the castle nut.

I had some spare rubber glue, so I glued on the loose LED strip indicator.

I found that Khaleesi already had a connector cabled to the battery that fitted my trickle charger, so I sprayed it with some electrical contact cleaner and hooked up the trickle charger.

That’s all for this week – hopefully I’ll finish the remaining work on Khaleesi in time for next week’s update!

Khaleesi’s Rear Wheel Comes Off For A New Tyre And Sprocket

This week, I took off Khaleesi’s rear wheel so her owner could get a thinner profile rear tyre fitted in order to leave some clearance for the chain.

The rear wheel was originally from a KR1S, so it had some spacers and washers added.

The first step was removing the split pin from the axle.


This was followed by the castle nut.

Then I removed the spacer and right chain tensioner.


Out came the axle and the wheel was off.


There’s some damage inside the brake caliper mount. The owner told me it was from when one of the screws holding on the rear brake disc wasn’t tightened enough.

The wheel itself seemed to be in good condition.

With the wheel off, I removed the sprocket mounting plate.

I left the sprocket mounting plate with the axle while I inspected the rest of the wheel.

There were some scrape marks on the brake disc mounting plate and the rubber shock damper for the sprocket mount had seen better days.

I compared the new sprocket with the old one to make sure the mount points were the same before opening the packet. the size difference is due to Khaleesi’s owner deciding to change the gearing for greater acceleration on take-off.

I put the sprocket mount in my bench vice to hold it while I undid the mounting screws

The old sprocket isn’t really worn, so it’ll be kept as a spare. There’s a considerable size difference between the sprockets due to the new sprocket having 40 teeth where the original one has 45.


I fitted the new sprocket to the mounting plate and  put it back on the wheel.


Khaleesi’s owner then picked up the wheel so he could get the tyre replaced. The spare tyre he already had was for a 17″ rim rather than an 18″ one, so it looks like it’ll be a little while before the rear wheel goes back on.

That’s all for this week – hopefully I’ll find some brake pads for Sylvie in my CBF250 spares box or I’ll need to order some for express delivery soon!

Progress On Khaleesi’s Front Sprocket At Last!

This week, I got Khaleesi’s old chain from her owner so I could temporarily fit it and hopefully get the front sprocket off.

I lined up the chain on the rear sprocket so I could temporarily fit a spare 520 master link.

I fitted a clip-style master link without the clip just to hold the chain in place but forgot to take photos of that step. After a lot of swearing while putting most of my weight on the rear brake while trying to use a breaker bar on the opposite side of the bike, I decided to  liberally apply WD40, set my large torque wrench to the specified torque setting and give it one last try. To my surprise, it worked!

With the nut finally loosened, I removed the chain again.

The nut was next, followed by the retaining washer and the sprocker itself.

I put the parts aside until I was ready to fit the new sprocket.

With the sprocket removed, I set about fitting the replacement external shifter cover.

I then replaced the clutch lever.

Comparing the old sprocket with the new one, there was a world of difference in terms of tooth wear. Also noticeable is the difference in size, as the new sprocket is one tooth smaller.

I fitted the new sprocket and finally added the small plate on the bottom left of it .

I still need to check under the engine and make sure the crack doesn’t appear likely to be causing any other issues before filling it with some J B Weld.

After that I’ll need to remove the rear wheel, fit the new sprocket to it (or the original wheel if the chain doesn’t have enough clearance form the tyre), put the new chain on torque the front sprocket nut completely.

I’l also connect a charger to the battery and top up the oil if I have any suitable oil before she goes back to her owner.

That’s all for this week, hopefully I’ll have most of this finished and can focus on my own bikes again after next week!