by: Joe Kagerer (joek)


I replaced my first motorcycle chain last week. I'm no expert, but I've learned a few things. After spending $50.00 more than needed on duplicate tools, and 2 hours chasing down the correct one, I thought I may be able to save you the same grief. In this article I will show the special tools for the job, and also some alternate methods learned from friends and from this forum.

Tools Required:

I started out with only a Chain Breaker and a Chain Press believing the motorcycle shop sales clerk that these were the only tools I needed for the job... soon learning that I needed some way to deform the rivets.

Removing the Chain

The Chain Breaker

Motion Pro
Part # 08-0001 Chain Breaker with Folding Handle
$30.00 price range
Image courtesy of http://www.motionpro.com/

The Chain Breaker makes the job of removing a chain pin extremely easy. The Motion Pro Chain Breaker has two concentric threaded parts. The outer threaded guide acts as a vice turning the tool into a C clamp and positioning the inner pin over the chain rivet to be removed.

  1. Unscrew the inner pin so that it is well within the guide
  2. Tighten outer guide down firmly holding the chain link, and aligned with the rivet.
  3. Tighten the inner pin. Initially it will be hard to press the rivet. The rivet doesn't need to be pressed clear through, only through the outer link plate. Driving the rivet too far will make the tool hard to remove.
  4. Once the rivet is past the outer plate, remove the tool, rotate the chain link with one rivet, and the chain will come apart.

Alternate Method:

  1. Grind two rivet heads flush with a dremel or equivalent grinder.
  2. Pry the outer plate off using a screwdriver or chisel. This will take some force, even though the rivets are ground, the plate is pressed tightly onto them.

Installing the Chain:

The Chain Press

Motion Pro
Part # 08-0070 Mini Chain Press
$20.00 price range
Image courtesy of http://www.motionpro.com/

This was my mistake, I thought that the Breaker and the Press were all I needed for the job. The Chain Press only presses the link plate into place. This mini press tool was designed primarily for portable repairs using the "clip style" master link. Modern chains come with a riveted master link. Do not use a clip style link on a high output bike like the FZ1.

  1. Align the outer plate with the two rivets and press on firmly by hand. The rivets and holes are very close tolerance.
  2. Remove the outer allen screw from the Chain Press and loosen the center screw all the way flush with the outer plate.
  3. Position the tool over the link, and replace the allen screw.
  4. Tighten the outside allen screws so that the plates are aligned and flush with the link. The tool is slotted to allow room for the rivets on both plates.
  5. Tighten the center screw. This will press the link plate down onto the rivets.
The Complete Set

Motion Pro
08-0058 Chain Breaker & Riveting Tool
$100.00 price range
Image courtesy of http://www.motionpro.com/

With the Complete set the separate breaker and press tools are not needed. This set includes everything you need to Break, Press and Rivet any motorcycle chain.

Riveting The Chain

The Chain Riveter is very similar to the Breaker. With this set, you should read the instructions carefully. It is easy to break this tool using it incorrectly. Because the tool is designed for all chain sizes, you have to assemble the tool for each job. Basically, this is how it's done:

  1. Assemble the tool using the rivet set pin, spring and anvil. In this configuration, the tool resembles the breaker, although the rivet set pin is pointed to flair the end of the rivet.
  2. Tighten the outer threaded guide over the rivet to be spread. Ensure that the anvil is squarely on the back of the rivet and the guide in firmly clamped on the link.
  3. Tighten the inner Rivet Set pin. The tool includes a small metal bar to use as a handle. I found using a box wrench on the tool allowed more leverage.
  4. The Rivet does not have to be deformed very much. It may not even be visibly deformed. I tested mine by using my fingernails and pulling outward, I could feel the end of the rivet getting wider.
  5. With too much force, you run the risk of breaking the tool, or getting the link too tight.
  6. Continue on to the second rivet with the same technique.

Image posted by mikec426 on 07-15-2006

Showing a cracked rivet from too much force.

That should do it. Below is an alternate method for riveting links. I hope this article was both informative and worthwhile.

Alternate Method (no special tools):
Paraphrased from a post by: Dean Dinnetz : 12-15-2006
You do not need a chain rivet tool. And do not use a clip type link on this high horsepower bike.

Tools Required:

  • Two small end, boxed wrenches. I use a 8 and 9 m.m. boxed wrench.
  • A caliper rule, to measure the distance of the push on flat link installed, compared to a already stationary full link.
  • A large piece of flat steel, to use as a backing piece behind the main link you are installing. i use one of my body work, flat dollies.
  • One or two, large vice grips.

Put the chain on the bike, with of course, new sprockets front and back.

  1. Make sure that the chain adjusters are screwed in about ten full turns or so, to make the fitting of the rivet link easy.
  2. Start by putting the link with the pins through the chain from the back of the chain. Link with pins, then rubber o-rings on pins, one rubber o-ring per pin.
  3. Push that through the chain ends, then your last rubber o-rings, once again, one rubber o-ring per pin.
  4. Take the flat side of the rivet plate, and put it on to the pins, as equally as possible.
  5. Take the vice grips and start the plate on to the pins until you are close to touching the pins with the vice grips
  6. then put the small boxed wrench ends on top of the flat plate, over the pins, and squeeze the vice grips slowly.
  7. Keep checking the distance compared to the other full links, with the caliper rule.
  8. When you have the exact distance as the other full links, then put the block of steel behind the rivet link with the pins, and peen over slightly the rivet pin ends with a ball peen hammer, using the round peen end. Just a slight mushroom effect will do. All you want to do, is prevent the flat plate from flying off. Done deal my friend, piece of cake!

Helpful Link:
An in depth article on swapping a chain and sprockets on a Triumph, good Images of using the rivet tool near the end of the article.

Copyright © 2003-2005, FZ1 Owners Association, All Rights Reserved.

The marks YAMAHA® and FZ1® are used under license from Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.
The information on this web site is NOT approved or endorsed by Yamaha Motor Corporation in any way.

The information contained here is for entertainment purposes only. No information presented here is to be relied upon for issues of rider safety nor to replace the services of a qualified service technician. Any attempts to follow or duplicate any of these procedures are done so completely at your own risk. By reading the information on this site, you agree to assume complete responsibility for any and all actual or consequential damages that may arise from any information presented herein.