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  1. #1
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    Why is the chain rings always on the right?

    Why is the chain rings always on the right?
    Silly question I know but it would be interesting to know if there is a specific reason.

    Is it just tradition or some mechanical reason that the chain ring is always located on the right of any type of bicycle?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Monster Pete's Avatar
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    There are several possible reasons. The most likely to me seems to be to do with mounting the bicycle, and when wheeling it on foot. The majority of people apparently mount their bike from the left side, and stand on the left when pushing it (something to do with right-handedness?). It therefore makes sense to put the transmission on the right, away from the rider's leg when standing beside the bike. Tandems of course usually have a chain on each side, and it's technically possible to set up a fixed gear with left-side-drive, though the pedal threads will be the wrong way round.
    I've got a bike, you can ride if you like it's got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good- Pink Floyd, 1967

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Standardization. To put it on the left side, you'd have to come up with an entire new drivetrain's worth of parts. And the frame would need the dropouts switched. Disclaimer: A tandem puts the captain's chainring and timing chain on the left side.

  4. #4
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Mechanical sensibility. If you have chainring botls etc on the right side, the transmission turns in a direction that tightens the components. If it were on the left side, it would be going against the right tighty left loosey thingy. Stuff might come loose.

    Like bar tape, you wrap it in a direction that tightens it when you grip it. Although the last shop to do our newest bike didn't. They suck!

  5. #5
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Disclaimer: A tandem puts the captain's chainring and timing chain on the left side.
    Where do they put the stoker's timing chainring?

  6. #6
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    For the same reason all motorcycle mufflers are mounted on the right side--a vast majority of crashes and tipovers occur on the left-hand side. The drivetrain (especially the delicate derailleurs) are protected by mounting them on the side which statistically sees the fewest crashes. I have three theories why we have this tendency:

    ~Our hearts (which are big, heavy organs) are located on our left, which makes us asymmetric bipedal primates more prone to tip that way.
    ~We have a Darwinian tendency to protect our sword (right) hand. I've even seen left-handed people who seem to do this when you're attacking them.
    ~(This one probably doesn't apply to you), because we drive on the correct side of the road, we tend to have better visibility when negotiating left-curves, than right-curves, so we naturally ride them more quickly and aggressively.

  7. #7
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Mechanical sensibility. If you have chainring botls etc on the right side, the transmission turns in a direction that tightens the components. If it were on the left side, it would be going against the right tighty left loosey thingy. Stuff might come loose.
    I vote for this answer.
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    Because you carry your sword on your left side and you don't want it
    in the chaining!

    I have no idea what I am talking about! but it makes no sense any way!!

    LOL...

    The real reason is, the French invented the bicycle and they don't need
    a reason for any thing, it is just French!

  9. #9
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
    Because you carry your sword on your left side and you don't want it
    in the chaining!

    I have no idea what I am talking about! but it makes no sense any way!!
    Actually you're closer than you think. It's the same side people mount horses from.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Marauder9;12599314]Why is the chain rings always on the right?
    QUOTE]

    If the chain rings were on the left, there would be some unforgettable cross chaining.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Where do they put the stoker's timing chainring?
    well track tandems and Rohloff Hub Tandems
    all 3 chainrings can be on the Right, BUT..
    derailleur bikes, the timing chain nowadays connects the captains crank.
    to the left of stokers Crankset.. 3 on the right 1 on the left

    the 40's~ 50s setups, there was often a really long final drive chain,
    and the Captain had the chainrings on both sides of the spindle, then..

    so in that situation, the stoker could be considered connected by 'their' timing chain..

    current setups I'd say it was the Captains timing chain..

    SO, The folly of universal generalizations, not Always

    tandems are commonly having 2 chainrings on the left..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-05-11 at 04:54 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Mechanical sensibility. If you have chainring botls etc on the right side, the transmission turns in a direction that tightens the components. If it were on the left side, it would be going against the right tighty left loosey thingy. Stuff might come loose.
    That's what I think too. Whether you use a freewheel or a fixed cog, if you install it on the right side of the hub a more common right hand thread will self-tighten as you ride down the road.

  13. #13
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    That's what I think too. Whether you use a freewheel or a fixed cog, if you install it on the right side of the hub a more common right hand thread will self-tighten as you ride down the road.
    Yes, the freewheel would be the best example. Me and my little chainring bolts.

  14. #14
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I saw an article from WorkCycles in the Netherlands...they built a left side chain ring fixed gear bike for someone so their dog wouldn't get tangled up while running along side.

    Aaron
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  15. #15
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Sheldon Brown to the rescue: http://sheldonbrown.org/gunnar/
    Just because!

    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  16. #16
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Well, if it were on the left, drive train would get a lot more dirty because the motor vehicles are always on the left. On an average, people in England clean their chains way more often.

  17. #17
    Sputnik - beep beep beep Wake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    I vote for this answer.
    Well, you would be wrong, because the bearing cup on the drive side is a left-handed thread (lefty-tighty). Evidently the torque forces on the cup are opposite the direction of rotation, and would tend to loosen a right-hand (normal) threaded cup.

  18. #18
    Shop Wench
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wake View Post
    Well, you would be wrong, because the bearing cup on the drive side is a left-handed thread (lefty-tighty). Evidently the torque forces on the cup are opposite the direction of rotation, and would tend to loosen a right-hand (normal) threaded cup.
    That's precession causing rotation in the opposite direction of the shaft rotation.

    Chainring bolts/nuts may experience a different rotation force. Witness lug nuts on certain older heavy duty pickup/van axles - the left rear wheel uses lugs with left hand thread.

  19. #19
    okay maybe not. mmerner's Avatar
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    once I accidental put the drive train on the left side on my fixed gear. rode it for a block and the thing fell apart. still not sure why.
    question everything.

  20. #20
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    It's on the right because that's the only way a balance is achieved between the coriolis force, precessionary reaction of the crank arms, and the electromagnetic induction caused by moving through the earth's magnetic field..... that's why all bikes in the southern hemisphere have the drivetrain on the left.

    BTW, you should never lube your chain during a full moon because the tidal effect of the moon's gravity will prevent the lube from penetrating into the links where it's most needed.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  21. #21
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    ' could be because most people are right leg dominant (righty vs lefty kinda thing)?
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  22. #22
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
    Actually you're closer than you think. It's the same side people mount horses from.
    Motorcycles too.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Mechanical sensibility. If you have chainring botls etc on the right side, the transmission turns in a direction that tightens the components. If it were on the left side, it would be going against the right tighty left loosey thingy. Stuff might come loose.

    Like bar tape, you wrap it in a direction that tightens it when you grip it. Although the last shop to do our newest bike didn't. They suck!
    The engineer in me approves of this logic

  24. #24
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    Why is the chain rings always on the right?
    Because if it is not right it is wrong?
    We have met the enemy and they is us.

    Pogo

  25. #25
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do!
    Jeff Wills

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