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  1. #1
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Best way to tighten chain tension/insert back wheel

    What are some of the methods that you long time fixie riders use to put the back wheel in and make sure that every thing is tensioned properly?

  2. #2
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Insert wheel.
    Put chain on cog.
    Pull wheel back.
    Tighten nuts.

  3. #3
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    Really? that easy? or are you just being the first of many wiseasses?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    its pretty much just that easy.

  5. #5
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    I do the same thing. No chain tensioners. I have them on my bmx and they are a *****.
    chain on cog.
    put in my drop out.
    pull wheel back.
    tighten drivetrain side.
    center and tighten other side.

  6. #6
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    Yeah, there's really not much to it.

    Don't overanalyze it or you're likely to screw it up.

  7. #7
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    all the walking back and **** is for people who keep their chain too tight.

    Instead of pulling I push though. I find it's easier to keep everything centered that way.

  8. #8
    tried to coast once chinnt's Avatar
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    I do it a little differently. To tension the chain, I stick my hand between the seat tube and the wheel with my palm facing the wheel. then you can expand your hand to push the wheel back in the dropouts with one hand and tighten the nuts with the other...to me this has always been easier than to pull on the back of the wheel....having your hand sandwiched there also allows you to adjust and center the wheel easier

  9. #9
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    I'm picky about my tension so I tighten the non-drive side first and use my thumb on the rim (side to side) to get the correct tension. Tighten the drive side, then readjust the non-drive side so that the wheel is straight.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  10. #10
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    I use a tensioner mainly to prevent slippage. This makes getting the right amount of chain slack pretty easy. I test how the slack is like everyone else: i just hit/wiggle it with my 15mm wrench and see if it's loose. (Edit: loose=good) I'd never considered this hand sandwich method but it sounds like a good idea.
    Last edited by mander; 02-26-07 at 05:37 PM.

  11. #11
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    I use tug nuts because I had problems with slippage, and they make centering and tightening really easy. Other than that, just make sure you do it with the chain at it's tightest on the chain ring.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim-bob
    Yeah, there's really not much to it.

    Don't overanalyze it or you're likely to screw it up.

    I can attest to that.

  13. #13
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    i walk it back and forth, but not to get my chain tight. it's just the easiest way to make sure it's not too loose. i pull the wheel back, then push the tire and rim over toward the nondriveside chainstay (not all the way), then tighten the NDS nut, then push it centered and tighten the driveside. simple.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  14. #14
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    How does that caveman-simple quote go? And doesn't it apply here?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  15. #15
    70mm4$!n! freeskihp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mander
    I use a tensioner mainly to prevent slippage. This makes getting the right amount of chain slack pretty easy. I test how the slack is like everyone else: i just hit/wiggle it with my 15mm wrench and see if it's loose. (Edit: loose=good) I'd never considered this hand sandwich method but it sounds like a good idea.
    I didn't know anybody besides me did this but it is a great method and usually gets the perfect tension
    "The only reasons anyone should ever ride in the rain is because a) youíve had your license to operate a motor vehicle suspended by the state. b) youíre in a bike race in which case youíre not allowed to use fenders anyway. c) youíre from Portland- in which case my main problem is with your neck beard- not your bicycle...If you need to train when itís pissing rain- buy a trainer or one of those cheap charter flights to Mallorca."

  16. #16
    CICLETO cicleto's Avatar
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    when i had my bmx i used to turn the bike upside down with the seat and the handlebars on the ground,then with a "broomstick" inserted until the rear of the rear brake bridge,and pivoting the lever on the wheel to push it backwaeds with your shoulder leaving both hands free to tighten the nuts,its a simple lever using the brake bridge as the fulcrum.
    Understood?

  17. #17
    tarck bike.com exile 666pack's Avatar
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    it's not hard at all dude. at least not hard enough to require a thread.

    sheldonbrown.com could have answered that question in about five seconds.

  18. #18
    Live Deliberately. davidmcowan's Avatar
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    666pack- I've read Sheldon's web page on it and frankly it is a little bit confusing. I couldn't quite figure it out. I am, however, quite happy that there is someone like you who thinks that creating the thread was such a waste of time that they took the time to post in it. Your post was so insightful, so helpful, so...so... arrogant.

    Thanks to those of you who have posted useful stuff. I'll try out the palming technique tomorrow and see if I can get that bad boy aligned right so that I can rule out wheel issues as the source of my clunking.

    Gracias,

  19. #19
    delicious 40x14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinnt
    I do it a little differently. To tension the chain, I stick my hand between the seat tube and the wheel with my palm facing the wheel. then you can expand your hand to push the wheel back in the dropouts with one hand and tighten the nuts with the other...to me this has always been easier than to pull on the back of the wheel....having your hand sandwiched there also allows you to adjust and center the wheel easier
    Ok, I'm a little late but I want to add to this... if you feel the chain is hard to get right and usually just a bit too tight then tighten the driveside 1/2 turn with the wrench before starting on the non-drive side. If it is just a bit too loose, then start by turning the non-driveside 1/2 turn with the wrench. The time to use the wrench for that 1/2 turn is right after thumb-tightening.

    This experience comes from wanting to run lots of different gears on a well-loved and old trackbike that has grooves in the dropouts (from use). If you have a new frame, and don't change gears much, it should be pretty easy to get just right.

  20. #20
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso
    How does that caveman-simple quote go? And doesn't it apply here?
    Quote Originally Posted by Aeroplane
    Most things having to do with fixed-gear/SS are bone stupid, and folks who usually work on modern bikes aren't used to thinking at that caveman level.
    At your service (internet famous)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  21. #21
    legalize bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by mander
    I'd never considered this hand sandwich method but it sounds like a good idea.
    mmm.. hand sandwich. sounds delicious.

  22. #22
    Senior Member 1fluffhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinnt
    I do it a little differently. To tension the chain, I stick my hand between the seat tube and the wheel with my palm facing the wheel. then you can expand your hand to push the wheel back in the dropouts with one hand and tighten the nuts with the other...to me this has always been easier than to pull on the back of the wheel....having your hand sandwiched there also allows you to adjust and center the wheel easier
    I use a rag instead of my hand between the seat tube and wheel and found that to be a lot easier especially when you have tight clearances. If you slowly rotate the wheel towards the seat tube with the rag there it increase the chain tension and allows for you to center and dial the alignment and tension you want with the freedom of using both your hands.

  23. #23
    Senior Member rule's Avatar
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    One of those rubber wedge doorstops and a wrench.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcowan
    666pack- I've read Sheldon's web page on it and frankly it is a little bit confusing. I couldn't quite figure it out.
    Dave,

    as others have said/implied, dont read to much into it. It really is as simple as jim-bob stated, and most people dont find a need for special techniques involving palms, broomsticks, seattubes, counting rotation, etc. Its really the same, simple, toolless technique that most 7-year olds use on their coasterbikes.

    Is there some specific issue/problems your having with your tension to warrant special techniques?

  25. #25
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    First I do the unspeakable and flip my bike upside down.
    Learn if your chain tension is even throughout crank rotation. Lower end chainrings can be eccentric. If tension varied you will learn with experience where to place crank arm so that when tension is not too much at tightest spot. For me this was hand tensioning at slack spot which nicely resulted in tight spot being just right (still some movement)
    I push wheel back with hand on botton bracket area, pushing against frame and wheel - paying most attention to keeping wheel lined up with frame. Push tight, hand tighten nuts, keep pushing and snug gently with wrench.

    My new bike with a nearly perfectly even chain tension has adjustment screws which i changed to knobs, these make setting tension very easy and quicker than I thought once I change screws to knobs.

    Al

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