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.


CB250RS Parts Transplant – Sprockets, Chain, Side Panels, Mudguard And A Fuel Line

This week, I started with removing the rear wheel from the donor bike and salvaging the sprocket from it.

The sprocket and the wheel it came from…


And the sprocket after cleaning up with degreaser.

Next was the rear wheel from the “recipient” bike


This sprocket looked a lot worse for wear.


Almost like a saw blade compared to the donor one!

One of the bolts from this wheel had a 13 mm nut on it. I cleaned all 12 mounting bolts and nuts up with some degreaser and picked the best-looking ones

While the wheel isn’t in the best shape, I figured I can put a new tyre and new sprocket on it ready for when the bike needs a new chain. I put the better sprocket on the wheel as it had the better tyre before taking a short break for lunch.

After lunch, I compared my three front sprockets. I opted to use the right-most one as it had the least wear.

I cleaned up the primary drive shaft before fitting the sprocket.

The sprocket and the locking plate in place, fixed in place with the mounting bolts.

I opted to re-use the spare chain for now, after a liberal coating of “rust buster” spray.

Adjusted the chain tension, tightened the axle nut and fitted a split pin.

I popped the side panels in place and re-fitted the front mudguard.


I removed the front brake caliper from the “donor” bike and placed it in my bench vice to have another crack at loosening the stiff screw on the rear cover.

It chose not to cooperate, so I brought in the heavies – a small sledgehammer and traditional impact driver of the style from the days before they were all motorised. The recalcitrant screw soon saw the error of its ways!

Getting back to the chain, I realised the rear chain guard was a bit warped, so I retrieved the one from the “donor” bike and gave it a once-over with Inox.

Fitted and looking good!

The lower front chain guard was next. I fitted the plastic one too but I must have been getting tired by this stage, as I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of that step!

The helmet holder that matches the ignition, fuel and steering locks went on next, but was only fitted loosely as I’ll probably switch all the locks with Scarlet’s later.

Finally, I cut a fresh length of fuel hose to replace the piece that had been broken off prior to the parts transplant.

I haven’t started the bike again yet, I’m saving that for next week!

Final Tweaks Before Inspection – Scarlet Rides Again!

Last weekend I went through the very final stages before Scarlet’s rego inspection.

First up – rear brake shoe replacement.


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To replace the brake shoes, I needed to remove the back wheel.

This meant removing the split pin from the rear axle nut first.
The multi-grip pliers from the onboard toolkit were just the tool for the job!

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In order to get to the rear axle without major space issues, I took the mufflers off.
I figured it would be a good time to fit the exhaust gaskets and replace the missing nuts for the exhaust mounts too.

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The nuts came off easily enough

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The clamps and flanged nuts for the mufflers. The nuts are 10 mm, for those of you playing at home.


The rear mounting bolts also hold the pillion pegs on.

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Mufflers off – these bolts are 14 mm and needed a socket wrench to remove easily.


Once the mufflers were off, I had more room to work.


I took off the rear chain case to make it easier to remove the chain and made a mental note to replace the missing chain case bolt.


Next up I removed the front chain cover.


This chain is a non o ring chain with clip master links. We’ll come back to these.


Before I removed the chain, I loosened off the chain tensioning nuts

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The rear brake assembly was next.



I also removed the bolt form the rear brake stabilizer bar.



I removed the axle nut – this one is 22 mm. I realised later that I didn’t need to remove it, just loosening it would have done.


Finally the chain itself could come off. I pried off the clip from the master link with a flat-bladed screwdriver, removed the plate and the master link came out easily.

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The chain ready for cleaning.


A closer look at the components of the clip-style master link.


I put the chain in an old plastic bucket and soaked it in kerosene while I removed the wheel.

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I loosened off the chain tensioners a bit more until I could swing them down enough to remove the axle retaining plates



The wheel lifted out easily. I took a couple of reference photos so I could see how it went back together after disassembly.



The brake shoes were pretty worn.


The new ones are on the left, old on the right.


Fitted the new brake shoes.


After starting to reassemble the axle, I realised I didn’t have the shoes lined up correctly. They should be flush as per below.


A bit of axle grease to go with the elbow grease involved in all this work!


Reassembly – looks like everything is on the right order!

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Lifted the wheel back into the slots on the swingarm and greased the retaining plates before putting them back in.

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Swung the chain tensioners back up and tightened the axle nut to hold them in place.

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After scrubbing the chain with a toothbrush it’s noticeably cleaner.

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Threaded the chain back through the front sprocket and reassembled the master link on the rear sprocket.

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A flat-bladed screwdriver is very handy for pushing the clip back on.

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At this point, I was ready to put everything back together, until I noticed the damaged plug from the left crankcase cover.

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This could have been a major cause of oil leakage and is pretty much not what I want to see on a bike I intend to ride!


Luckily the left crankcase cover from Bruiser was in great condition!


To take this cover off, I needed to remove the gearshift pedal.

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Out came the sump plug.


Good thing I had that bucket handy from cleaning the chain!



Once the oil had drained, I removed the cover. As the stator is attached to it, there was a fair bit of magnetism holding it on.



The old gasket and bolts placed in approximate positions for reference when refitting. Two of the bolts hold the lower chain guard on.20140913_143041

Stator mounting bolts removed.

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I figured I might as well replace the gasket while the cover was off. Luckily, I’d already bought a complete gasket kit in expectation of a complete motor rebuild. The replacement paper gasket is at the top, the original plastic one at the bottom.

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Bolted the stator onto the replacement crankcase cover and put the sump plug back in before reassembly to save time.


I noticed some corrosion/crud in here and cleaned it out before replacing the cover.


Put the new gasket on.


When replacing the cover, I replaced the washer over the gear selector axle before easing the bottom corner of the crankcase cover onto it.


While replacing the crankcase cover, there was a strong magnetic attraction that “sucked” it into place.


After bolting on the crankcase cover and lower chain guard, I reconnected the neutral switch wire to the neutral switch. It’s held in place with a spring and washer.

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The collar for the neutral switch was missing, so I used the one from Bruiser, then replaced the gearshift pedal.


After refilling the engine oil, it was on to the chain. Out with the trusty chain oil!



After oiling the chain and sprockets, I replaced the front chain cover.


Adjusted the chain tensioners to approximately matching settings.

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Reconnected the rear brake stabiliser bar and brake pedal

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Tightened up the rear axle nut and replaced the split pin.

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Finally, I moved on to the exhaust gaskets. At first I thought that there were no exhaust gaskets fitted but they were just completely crushed. The old gaskets are at the top, the new ones are at the bottom.


The new gaskets were a tight fit, so I tapped them in place with a hammer and the extension bar from Scarlet’s toolkit.


I replaced the flange nuts with the new ones from the engine bolt kit I bought months ago but never got around to using.

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Bolted the rear mounts back on with the pillion pegs.

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With the mufflers replaced, it was time to start her up!

After a quick run in neutral to test her performance, I decided to give her a polish with the towel I’d mopped up the spilled 20W-50 with while replacing her oil. She came up a treat!

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Unfortunately after a quick test ride, I noticed that while the speedo seemed to work, the odometer didn’t. As I’m planning to take her on some long road trips, this could be an issue!

I swapped the speedo for another one that had a broken needle and broke both the tacho needle and the speedo needles in the process. The tacho needle was able to be glued back together but the speedo one broke so thoroughly that I replaced it with a piece cut from a broken translucent orange plastic box I had. It’s on my list of “things to fix longer-term”.

The good news is, she passed a rego inspection today so will be registered as soon as possible!

Eric, A Parcel From Japan And Bruiser

I picked up my parcel of parts for Eric from Japan this morning before work.This evening near the end of my work day, I got a call from the transport company about the blue CB250 RS from Adelaide asking it could be delivered tonight. Of course I said yes, I’d be home tonight!

First up, the contents of the parcel, plus the battery I still haven’t installed!

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So of course I had to install something from the box of parts before the other bike arrived. I decided to install the indicator relay.

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The rubber loop on the right is where it should be. Plugged in the wires as they were nicely colour-coded on the relay.

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I put it back in its place but forgot to get a photo of that, as I noticed the rear brake light switch wasn’t connected and decided to fix that.

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Next I attached the fuel tank strap.

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This one has a key that works!

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Next up I started on replacing the steering lock, as this came as part of a matching set of locks with the tank strap and  the helmet holder.

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The face-plate had to come off to get to the screws for the lock.

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I put it on the seat for safe-keeping and was just about to tackle the screws for the previous steering lock now that they were accessible.

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The transport guy had arrived with the blue bike!

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After thanking the driver before he left and giving the bike a once-over, I settled on the name Bruiser, as this bike is blue, black, brown and beaten-up-looking!

By this time it was fairly late in the evening, so it’s off to bed so I can get up early and go pick up a red one tomorrow morning…