Why is my Suzuki Bandit eating chains?

Published: 13 December 2010

Q. I have a 1999 Suzuki Bandit 1200 which has gone through three different chains so far. The most recent chain, fitted in April 2010, was an SGX Gold X-ring and it looks ready to snap any time now.

The bike is my commuter, so it’s not ridden hard. I’ve run a laser pen down the centre of the chain and it lined up with the centre of the sprockets

 To adjust the chain I usually put a small spanner in the rear sprocket and roll back four teeth, then tighten the adjusters, lock nuts and spindle... Roll wheel forward, remove spanner... And check again with two fingers on top of swingarm but under chain for freeplay... The gearing is standard too...
Roy, MCN forums
Running a laser pen down the chain is a good way of checking alignment. If you don’t have a laser you can check that by measuring the distance from swingarm to wheel on both sides. 

Once you have the wheel straight it's a case of finding the tight spot on the chain. Do that by rotating the wheel slowly and pushing the bottom run of the chain up and down with your finger.

The tight spot is the point you'll adjust the tension at from now on, so make a mark on the chain sidewall, ideally at 3 o'clock around the rear sprocket to find it easily each time.

You tension the chain there because if you used a looser point the chain would be like a bowstring at the tight spot and would wear really rapidly, which I think is what has happened in your case.

The tension should be about 35mm with no one on the bike, but sit on the bike and recheck that you’ve got some freeplay at the tight spot.

All you have to do then to get the tension right is make sure you adjust each side by exactly the same amount and double check it with your ruler as you go. Less haste, more speed and you should be fine.