Tech Tips: Linkage Removal and Installation

Looking at changing out your bike's rear linkarm for improved performance, or maybe it's just time to take a peek inside and see if it needs some fresh grease? Either way, here's some helpful tips for you to tackle the task.

Remember, if you need to get your hands on some new seals, suspension tools, and other related parts; hit up Chaparral-Racing.com/DirtBikeSuspensionLinkage

For any other motorcycle parts, accessories, or gear needs, you can find them at Chaparral-Racing.com.

Transcribed version:

Michael Lindsay: "Hey, this is Michael Lindsay from Vital MX. We're here at Chaparral Motorsports today and whether you have a new or used motorcycle, it's always good to take a second to care of your bikes. So today, we're gonna show you how to remove and grease your rear linkage and bell crank. So for today's tools, you can usually get away with sockets, you may need some end wrenches as well, though. Typically, these parts, you'll need a 14 millimeter, a 17 millimeter, and maybe even a 19 millimeter to be able to remove the parts. You'll also need some grease and sometimes you may need a 10 or 12 to remove some excess parts around the linkage and bell crank.

Now we're back here in the shop, we've got our YZ125. First up, I'm gonna show you how to remove the link arm and then we'll get into the bell crank and show you guys how to grease them and put 'em back together. So here's what we're working with. We have our link arm which is bolted always to the frame and to the bell crank. Bell crank is mounted in three places to your shock, to your link arm, and then to your swing arm. Now in this case, with the YZ125, the mounting point to the actual swing arm is inside this plug hole. Most bikes you'll actually see this will be mounted down a little farther and your third mount hole will be in this area. But for what we're working with, we have to pop the plug and get 'em out of here instead. So for now, I'm using this little box here to help support the rear tire. It's always good to have a little wind block or something here, so when you start taking this out, the swing arm doesn't drop and put pressure or bind up on anything you're about to work on. 

Okay. So first up, we're gonna go ahead and break loose our linkage here. So we're gonna go ahead and remove our first bolt here. I'm gonna get fingers on the other side to push through. And take your other hand and pick up a little on the rear tire just to kinda relieve the tension off the bolt. So in the case of the Yamaha here, we have a chain roller that is blocking the way of the front mounting bolt. On some bikes, you'll run into this being in the way, some it's exposed and it's fine, and even on some models, like certain Hondas, you'll find the chain roller will actually be a part of that bolt, so when you pull it, the entire piece comes off together. So now that we have the chain roller outta the way, the nut...it's just easier to see back in here and access this.

Last up, we're gonna slide the pin out. There's our link arm. Okay, so now we're gonna get to getting our bell crank out. Like I said, with this Yamaha swing arm we actually have a...one of the nuts and bolts is inside, so we're gonna get that loose. Okay, so even though we removed the nut from the bolt inside the swing arm, we actually don't wanna push that bolt out yet. We need it so we have something to hold the bell crank while we break loose our last nut here. If we were to take it out, this would just swing around and you'd be trying to hold it with your hand which is definitely a pain in the butt. So just gonna break loose this last nut here. Push out the bolt there between the shock and the bell crank. Frees that up. And now the last thing left, because the bolt is inside the swing arm and down in there, I'm gonna use a Allen T-handle to push out. You could use a flat blade and extension, just pretty much anything you can put in here, and just push that last bolt out. And now you have a bell crank. 

Now that we've got our linkage and our bell crank off the bike, we're gonna go ahead and start greasing 'em. Gonna start off with our linkage arm. The YZ one we're working with is pretty simple. Just one long one inside. Sometimes you'll have one that have a little bit of a cap on each end. Maybe it's got a short cap on one side you'll pop out and then push out on the other side. Just depends on the model. So now that we have that, we have bearing cages on each side of the linkage. We're gonna go ahead and grease those. Gotta be careful, every once a while you'll run into some older model or some bikes that the bearing cage isn't sealed inside and bearings will basically be loose and try to fall out when you pull that pin out. So be wary, the first time you pull those out and make sure you don't spill 'em all over the floor or anything."

Credit: Joe Carlino
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