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Thread: chain tension

  1. #1
    Senior Member vredstein's Avatar
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    chain tension

    On all the bikes I build, the chains are ridiculously tight out of the box. In my experience outside of BMX bikes, this leads to quick chain wear, chain ring and driver wear, and bottom bracket wear. So I loosen the rear bolts and give the chain some slack. Not floppy slack, just enough so the chain doesn't feel lock a solid steel rod.
    I understand that with jumps and drops, you need the chain a bit tighter than on another style of bike to avoid the chain dropping.
    Am I missing anything here? Is there a reason why I should leave the chain in this hyper-tight state when I build bikes?
    "See, it's not that getting wet is a big deal. Really, it's what you're getting wet with.
    Fenders....because it's probably urine."
    Bike Snob NYC

  2. #2
    Yeah. I Race. minichamp31's Avatar
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    I never have my chains too tight. Like you said, it causes premature wear on the drive train. I keep it snug enough that it doesn't rattle around, but loose enough that it doesn't cause the cranks to not spin freely.

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    Senior Member michaelscycles's Avatar
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    Most brands do come very tight. A few don't. I think most of the Stolen bikes have been coming in not too tight. I had an Eastern today that was adjusted fine in the box. I think they do it so it isn't bouncing around in shipping which could cause some damage to the paint on the frame.

    We sell over 10 brands of BMX bikes in our shop. The Stolen bikes are the easiest to build. The brake cables are all attached and even adjusted. A few times a pad may need a little tweaking. I think the worst has been the Easterns. The pads are always way out. The cables are not attached to the brakes, and if it has a gyro, that cable is in the box with the pedals.

    We do Fuji for our other bikes. Some of them are great, and others are a pain. I got a 29er in the other day and it took longer then any bike I ever did. The rear dérailleur has to be bolted on. Both wheels are off the bike, but before you put them on, you have to put bolt the rotors to the hubs. The shift cables are all connected and are adjusted pretty close. The rear brake cable is on, but the front isn't. Neither is the front caliper. And of course the seat, bars, and pedals have to be put on too. Some BMX bikes take about 20 minutes. This takes an hour.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vredstein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelscycles View Post
    Most brands do come very tight. A few don't. I think most of the Stolen bikes have been coming in not too tight. I had an Eastern today that was adjusted fine in the box. I think they do it so it isn't bouncing around in shipping which could cause some damage to the paint on the frame.

    We sell over 10 brands of BMX bikes in our shop. The Stolen bikes are the easiest to build. The brake cables are all attached and even adjusted. A few times a pad may need a little tweaking. I think the worst has been the Easterns. The pads are always way out. The cables are not attached to the brakes, and if it has a gyro, that cable is in the box with the pedals.

    We do Fuji for our other bikes. Some of them are great, and others are a pain. I got a 29er in the other day and it took longer then any bike I ever did. The rear dérailleur has to be bolted on. Both wheels are off the bike, but before you put them on, you have to put bolt the rotors to the hubs. The shift cables are all connected and are adjusted pretty close. The rear brake cable is on, but the front isn't. Neither is the front caliper. And of course the seat, bars, and pedals have to be put on too. Some BMX bikes take about 20 minutes. This takes an hour.
    For all the bikes I build, the rear wheels might we well not be attached because just like the chains, all the hubs are adjusted way too tight. Same with any threaded headsets. On most comfort bikes, the housing loop for the rear derailleur is too short, so I have to cut a new longer section, and sometimes install a new cable if the added housing length makes the cable too short.
    On some of the bmx bikes with Oryg gyros, an instruction sheets says to set up the gyro's drive side upper and lower adjuster barrels so there's a two dime-sized widths of threads between the lock nut and the knob, and one dime's width of threads exposed on non-drive side. It also says to not lock down the nuts on the drive side to allow for "flop". I'm not sure what they mean by "flop". I always thought you adjusted both sides so the gyro is level.
    "See, it's not that getting wet is a big deal. Really, it's what you're getting wet with.
    Fenders....because it's probably urine."
    Bike Snob NYC

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