The 101 Association, Inc.
For the preservation and enjoyment of 1928 to 1931 Indian Scout Motocycles
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Rear wheel chain drive

  • 29 Oct 2018 2:04 AM
    Message # 6877489

    I have a 1929 101 scout, with a Goulding sidecar attached.  The 45 cubic inch has some load, when one considers the weight of the side car, its frame, the bike, rider and the passenger in its chair.  What I find from time to time, is, the rear chain free play, varies from 1/2 inch slack to no slack.  Not overly tight, but firm.  Can anyone suggest any likely cause.  I have checked the usual ...rear wheel nuts, adjusters etc.  Enigma to say the least.  I will try to wheel the bike back and forward when next in the shed, checking at each movement, to see if it is chain distortion.

    I have since moved the bike, some two feet forward, and found that the chain, from being tight, has now become loose, with 1/2 inch play.  I presume it's a distorted chain, where some links have stretched more than others.  There is some wear on the chain, as it can be lifted, half its width, away from the rear most portion of the rear sprocket.  Any other advice/theory concerning this will be well received.  Thanks Danny 

  • 30 Oct 2018 3:30 AM
    Reply # 6879102 on 6877489
    Tim Raindle (Administrator)

    Entirely possible the sprocket is slightly eccentric, Danny. There seem to be a lot of these about. Aim for an inch free play, altho you could go slightly under at the tight spot. 

  • 30 Oct 2018 7:04 AM
    Reply # 6879214 on 6877489

    Thanks Tim ...


  • 30 Oct 2018 7:05 AM
    Reply # 6879215 on 6877489

    Yes the rear sprocket can very well be eccentric if it is aftermarket. That can go for the front sprocket too, but two feet forward suggest the rear sprocket or worn chain. Aftermarket sprockets can be made from really soft iron and wear quickly. At least the front sprocket MUST be hardened or it is at high risk of getting loose on the splines with expensive havock as a result. 

    Another thing that can be checked at the same time is if the gearbox mainshaft is bent. I find on some shafts that I have, that the end of the shaft at least slightly bent from the force of the kicker. It is easy to check but the signs are small as the movement is small. Depress clutch pedal and kick slowly with the rear tire locked and check chain slack.

    Last modified: 30 Oct 2018 7:35 AM | Carl-Erik Renquist
  • 30 Oct 2018 3:34 PM
    Reply # 6881341 on 6877489

    Soft inferior sprockets ...hmmm.  Ok, now that makes sense.  What makes of sprockets do we look for in today’s market ?  ...and as an added measure, are we able, to adopt a quenching process ie: case harden the sprockets by heating them and dipping them oil ?  Or is it in the pour mix, whilst the metal is molten, from the onset, that makes these sprockets weak ?  


  • 31 Oct 2018 3:56 AM
    Reply # 6882117 on 6877489
    Tim Raindle (Administrator)

    Depends what they are made of, Danny. Wouldn't risk it, could make it too brittle, unless you have hardening experience and know exactly what your material is. Better to just buy a new one when its worn, considering the mileage and relative cost compared to bike. 

     Another possibility is to have a machine shop turn off the teeth and weld on a tooth ring, mean to do this one day with a pile of old worn sprockets I have lying about, relatively common * with old brit stuff.

    *Relative being the operative word, used to know one guy that did it in the UK but it was cheaper to buy a new sprocket and chain.

     As a matter of interest, local old time brit bike shop near here where I have occasionally been buying bike chain for 30 years has recently stopped selling Ren**d chain ( what I have always bought) and recommends IWIS ( German made) on the grounds that all of a sudden the standard has dropped massively on the first one. Purely anecdotal, No personal experience. On this. Chain quality itself is a minefield, when I first started working with George in 2007, one of his customers gave him a large roll of Renold chain the correct size, the guy had been putting it on bikes for years. Obviously didn't use them much, as it broke very quickly a couple of times one one of our bikes.. Turns out it was industrial, for slow moving machinery without much load,  hence a lot cheaper than motorcycle chain. 

    Went in the dumpster so noone else could do the same thing. 

  • 31 Oct 2018 4:38 AM
    Reply # 6882128 on 6877489

    Same happend to another guy bought a Diamond motorcycle chain, original looking box but the chain was unmarked and substandard quality. A classic example of counterfit chinese production unbeknown by the supplier. Buyer beware. 

  • 03 Nov 2018 4:07 PM
    Reply # 6887226 on 6877489

    Hmmm ...Forest Gump comes to mind.  ‘Life’s like a box of chocalates.  You just don’t know what your going to get’ !  

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