Ducati Multistrada 1200 / MTS1200 Drive Chain Adjustment

Ducati Multistrada 1200 / MTS1200 Drive Chain Adjustment

The simple guide to keeping your chain at the correct tension.

Adjusting the Chain on your Multistrada 1200

(2010 – 2012 bikes, as of Oct2012 unsure if there are changes for the 2013 models)

There’s a great guide here to the best motorcycle chain lube. I recommend going with a dry lube on the Multi to prevent chain fling.

1) Multistrada 1200 – using the chain tension guage (Ducati Service memorandum)

2) Multistrada 1200 – adjusting chain tension (below)

1) Use of the supplied chain tension guage
Ducati Motor Holdings Memorandum Date: 07/05/2010
Models: MULTISTRADA 1200 (all versions)

The tool kit in the compartment under the passenger seat includes:
– a tyre repair kit;
– a 5-mm Allen wrench for the stone guard;
– a 10-mm Allen wrench for the eccentric clamp;
– a 10-mm wrench or Phillips screwdriver for the battery;
– an eccentric pin wrench (‘C’ spanner) with extension and a chain tension gauge.

Stabdard Ducati Multistrada 1200 toolkit

Chain tension guage – this tool is intended for customers to check for proper drive chain tension.

# For correct measurement, the motorcycle must be placed on the side stand.
# Chain tension must be checked at the point where the chain is tightest
(more measurements must then be taken at several equally-distant points along the chain).
# On versions S equipped with electronic suspension, chain tension varies with selected Riding Mode.  Chain tension must be measured with the bike set to Level l preload (URBAN Riding Mode and SOLO Load ) as this is the tightest chain setting.

Before proceeding, push down the chain with one finger and let go, then apply the

The chain tension gauge must be applied between swinging arm and lower chain
sliding shoe, at the position of the central shoe fastener (see image).

Chain tension is correct when the chain rivet axis (shown as a black line in the
images) falls inside the limits dictated by the notch on the chain tension gauge
(arrowed in the images).

If the chain rivets are above or below these limits, chain tension must be adjusted.

Please note that drive chain tensioning is the job of authorised Ducati Service Centres.

Original document:

Ducati Multistrada 1200 - how to use the chain tension guage

Ducati Multistrada 1200 - how to use the chain tension guage (2)

Multistrada 1200 Chain Adjustment (extract from the Workshop Manual)

Adjusting the chain tension: Move the motorcycle slowly until you find the point at which the upper section of the chain is most taut.
Place the motorcycle on the side stand. (Ensure URBAN Riding Mode and SOLO Load  are set;-)
Measure chain tension at the centre of the lower section, with the motorcycle on the side stand: lower the chain by pressing down on it only with your finger, release it and measure the distance (A) between the centre of the chain pins and the aluminium
section of the swingarm. It must be: A = 35 ÷ 37 mm.

If the screws (1) [eccentric hub securing / locking bolts] are removed, lubricate with specified grease underhead and thread, then tighten the screws (1) to the torque of
35 Nm ± 5% (Sec. 3 – 3, Frame torque settings) proceeding with sequence 1-2-1.
Warning The correct tightening of the fixing screws of the eccentric hub is essential for the safety of the rider and the passenger (Sec. 3 – 3, Frame torque settings).

2) Multistrada 1200 – adjusting chain tension

Many thanks to ‘torxhead’ (aka Scott) for emailing me about the following ‘how to’ article (20July2010):

Ducati Multistrada 1200 Chain Adjustment Procedure

1. Remove rear splash guard: three 5mm Allen-head bolts on hub carrier

2. Place suspension in “urban” mode. (‘Solo’ – refer to instructions above: Multistrada 1200 – adjusting chain tension).

3. Place bike on side stand.

4. The tool kit includes a chain tension adjustment gauge; it’s a piece of folded aluminum sheet with a long notch on one edge and a small notch on the opposite end. Fit the edge with the long notch between the chain rub strip on the bottom of the swingarm and the swingarm itself. There’s a screw holding the strip to the swingarm that’s directly below the passenger footrest, and the gauge slips in with the long notch providing clearance around the screw (it should be obvious when you try it).

The small notch will now be facing forward and is aligned with the chain rivets when tension is correct. As a note, the bottom of the notch is approximately aligned with the top of the rivets if you adjust with the bike on the center stand.

…and with the bike on the centrestand (thereby altering chain tension;-)

5. Loosen the two 10mm Allen-head axle pinch bolts on the hub carrier (Pic 2 above again) exposed when the splash guard was removed.

6. The tool kit includes a “C-spanner”, a curved piece of flat steel with a tooth at the end of the curve and a handle for this spanner which is a tube flattened on one end.

Slip the flattened end over the straight part of the spanner to assemble (Pic 8).

Just inside the rear sprocket is a notched ring which turns the eccentric rear axle, thus adjusting the effective length of the swingarm and so adjusting the chain tension.

Place the tooth of the spanner into one of the notches. Check for good contact by looking through the slots in the sprocket.

[AndyW] Turn the eccentric hub anticlockwise to tighten the chain or clockwise to loosen (viewed from chain side)..

Important – An incorrectly tensioned chain will lead to accelerated wear of the transmission components. Recheck after retightening the eccentric hub locking bolts.

The ring rotates kind of hard, and the spanner is flimsy. I “recurved” my spanner by bending the curve a bit tighter after problems with the tooth slipping out of the adjusting ring notches. It’s pretty soft metal; I just put the toothed end in an adjustable wrench and bent it. Make sure the curve contacts the ring around its full length. As long as the pinch bolts are completely loosened, the ring will turn but it takes a concerted effort (not super-human strength, but a decidedly firm pull or push).

I suggest doing this on the center stand (if you have one!), aligning the bottom of the gauge notch with the top of a rivet and then rechecking to see that it lines up with the center of the rivet when put back on the side stand. You don’t have to tighten the pinch bolts when going from center- to side stand to check, the axle won’t rotate without using the spanner.

7. Still with me? Now tighten the 10mm pinch bolts to 35Nm (26 lb-ft) using a 1-2-1 sequence (tighten one, then the other, then the first again, then the other, repeating until both bolts remain at 35Nm (26 lb-ft); it’s really “1-2-1-2-1…”). Don’t forget to remove the gauge!

8. Reinstall the splash guard (or not – it looks much better off, IMHO, and saves a bit of weight). Be careful not to cross thread the mounting bolts; I snapped off the threaded portion of the shouldered lower bolt with very little pressure and believe me, it was a BITCH to remove the broken piece from the hub carrier. Beats me how a steel bolt snapped rather than it stripping the soft aluminum threads in the hub carrier, but it did. As a substitute, I used a hex-head bolt with plastic bushings to emulate the original’s shoulder.

When you’re sure they’re threaded properly, torque them to 10Nm (7.5 lb-ft).

That’s it; it’s much easier to do than to describe, but a bit fiddly. By the way, the chain on the bike doesn’t look nearly as dry and gritty as in the pics, but I guess a lube job is in order.

Comments [AndyW]
I had to adjust the chain tension for the first time in the car park of a Scottish hotel (400 miles from home) a few days back (SV1000 owners annual meet…..yes I’m still welcome even on the MTS!). Luckily I’d already done some research on the procedure (1098/1198 forums!) and had a copy of the Ducati memorandum above. Adjusting your chain is definitely something best done ‘in the comfort of your own’ garage wherever possible and remember you WILL need access to a torque wrench.
Thanks again to Scott for saving me the time and effort in doing a write-up 🙂

‘C’ spanner – the supplied item is barely adequate (not enough leverage and as Scott says, not the best fit…..let me know if you’ve found a better ‘after market’ tool that’s suitable. [UPDATE: see here: Eccentric hub / chain adjustment tool (‘C’ spanner)]  In reading the 1098/1198 forums I did come across posts by guys that use a hammer and ‘punch’/drift to rotate the eccentric hub but this is not recommended as the ‘teeth’ on the hub get damaged.

I suspect that Scott’s ‘tip’ re putting the bike on the centrestand to rotate the eccentric hub may make the job easier as the weight of the bike is no longer through the hub….I have the ‘Sport’ with no centrestand and found it extremely difficult to get the hub moving.

Here’s a couple of the photos I took when installing a Scottoiler, just before heading of for the Scottish Borders trip, in anticipation of writing a chain adjustment ‘how to’ article. You can see how tight access to the hub adjusting ring is, with the wheel on it becomes difficult….

See also: Eccentric hub / chain adjustment tool (‘C’ spanner)

See also: Multistrada 1200 Chain Adjustment: MkII Eccentric Hub Adjuster tool aka “C Spanner Plus” 

See also: Shazaam’s Tech Library – Chain Adjustment (external link)
Great article including advice on checking the condition of a chain and the positioning/orientation of the eccentric rear wheel hub.

  • Ralph says:

    This was helpful.
    However, I found it impossible to rotate the hub using the tool to tighten the chain. Finally, I left the bike in gear and rolled it forward until the chain was at the right tension. The chain pulled on the wheel hub until it rotated to the right position. This seemed to work like a charm. Is there a problem with doing it this way?

  • Vlado says:

    Hi. pls where to buy this tools set ?

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