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  1. #1
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    How quiet should my fixed gear be?

    I've got a constant, though fairly quiet, chain noise. A friend who doesn't ride fixed commented on it recently and I had never thought twice about it. He said it could be possible that the rear sprocket wasn't in line with the front, or something to that effect.

    What's normal? Should I be worried? The rear wheel is straight, chain tension is good. There's nothing obviously wrong with it in my eyes.

    It's a 2002 Bianchi Pista, by the way. Two months old.

  2. #2
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    Relube and clean the chain and check it for tight or loose links.

    If that doesnt work,flip bike over and spin cranks,check for tight spots in chainrings rotation....there should be some,nothing real bad though.You can adjust some out by taking advantage of the play in the chainring bolts by loosening them a bit and spinning cranks till chainring is situated better on the spider to deal with the runout....an inherent trait of square taper cranks.Chainrings are rarely very perfectly round....not as much as you'd expect,and making cranks with a square hole at the center of rotation is a difficult thing to do accurately,it isnt perfect....these things will show up in the drivetrain action.I doubt youve ridden enough to wear out the chain or gears yet.

    It should be pretty freakin quiet.

  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Make sure there's some slack in the chain. A tight chain almost always creates noise. Your bike should run morbidly quiet...
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  4. #4
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    This may be unanswerable, but at the tightest point, how much play would you expect to see from the resting place? Should it visibly hang (curve) as it sorta does on the loosest point? I'm thinking maybe I just have things too tight. It just seems like there's a big difference between the tightest and loosest.

    Thinking about it now, the noise comes in half turns, so this would make sense. I'm kinda worried that giving it more slack will make the loose much too loose. Could centering the chainring solve that problem?

  5. #5
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    Sounds like youve got the chain just a bit too tight,and chainring is slightly out of round.....you want the chain to be as tight as possible w/o it binding up,should go around smoothly.To adjust that chainring,and this takes practice,loosen the chainring bolts,spin crank,then start tightening them,spin crank.Then as they get tighter find the tight spot in the chain rotation and then gently tap chainring into a postion where its not so tight.Finish tightening bolts and try it,it should be better.....it wont be perfect.May have to repeat this a few times to get it right.Your chainring may be out a whack too.....may need replaced.Sometimes there's only so much you can do,usually its close enough.In the end your chain should be fairly tight,just not so it binds up.

  6. #6
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I give my chain a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch slack, measured at center from lowest point to the highest by pulling up with your finger. As long as your chainline is right on, reasonable slack should be fine.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  7. #7
    Frankly, Mr. Shankly absntr's Avatar
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    I agree,I recently converted a bike over to a singlespeed and had a bit tight despite straight chaninline and got noise. Loosened it up a bit and all is quiet.

  8. #8
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    You have noticably tight spots and loose spots? Are you using BioPace or other non-round chainrings? My fixie is very quiet except when I wait too long to lube the chain.
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  9. #9
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Rainman.......read Sheldon's comments on using BioPace rings.....they actually work with fixed gears.......believe it or not, with just minimal difference in chain tension. Sounds crazy to me.......
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member shrimpx's Avatar
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    You can't have a bike that's "dead quiet." You will always have the whirring noise that any chain makes. You have a metal chain spinning two metal sprockets; there's no way you can achieve absolute muteness.

    If you have excessive noise that you can clearly hear while you're in motion, then you need to adjust some things.

  11. #11
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by shrimpx
    [B]You can't have a bike that's "dead quiet." You will always have the whirring noise that any chain makes. You have a metal chain spinning two metal sprockets; there's no way you can achieve absolute muteness.

    Well.........when I ride my fixie, the only things I hear are the wind and my breath.....
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  12. #12
    KISSSSSSS MEEEE!! GNARR! dumpstervegan's Avatar
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    I dunno George, my bike is pretty near silent. Most of the time all I hear is the sound of my tires on the pavement and the occasional strain-induced fart. He he he.

    Seriously though, I can hear my chain whirring if I listen for it but I'm pretty confident that my bike is about as close to silent as you can get while moving....

  13. #13
    don d.
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    Regarding chain tension on a track bike. The chain should be just tight enough that it will not come off the chainring when the pedals and wheel are spinning and the bike is held on it's side or 90deg. from it's normal position. Another way to do this is to pedal the bicycle in the stand at ~75rpms and hold a wrench against the chain and try to derail the chain. It should not come off. The chain should be no tighter than it takes to achieve this. Spicer Cycles(search for web site)offers track bike chain tension adjusters that will allow you to precision dial this adjustment in. Unless you are competing, these are very convenient to have on your bike.

  14. #14
    Fixie Tinkerer
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    I have a quiet, constant, tickity-tickity noise coming from the rear (fixed) sprocket of my flip-flop hub. I think the fixed sprocket is spaced a little closer to the hub than the freewheel sprocket, causing the sprocket teeth not to catch the exact middle of the chain rollers.

    Chain tension seems fine; I could probably stand to lube the chain; but my question is this: Is is dangerous to run a fixie when the rear sprocket doesn't catch the exact middle of the chain rollers?

    Besides the minor noise, should I be worried about anything?

    --> '08 Redline 925, stock drivetrain

  15. #15
    partly metal, partly real sp00ki's Avatar
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    even the quietest chainlines make a little noise-- unless you ride 3/32.
    when you watch the pros at the velodrome, you can hear the same chainline noise on their rides as you hear on yours. keep in mind that these guys ride stuff that's designed to work together. if their stuff has noise, yours will too.

    3/32, however, especially with a nicer road chain, sounds remarkably silent when your chainline is right.
    That said, i hapily ride 1/8 njs stuff. my chainline is is on, so it's quiet enough (and looks hot).

    As a rule of thumb, when riding outside by yourself at night or early AM when it's really quiet, your chain's sounds should get lost in the sounds of the rest of your bike (tires on ground, carbon fork resonating).
    On the other hand, if you hear your chain more than everything else, it's probably too noisy. give it a little slack or inspect your chainline.
    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Road [racing] is one of the only sports where adult men can compete in a non-scholastic setting, so inevitably 8/10 racers are fiercely-competitive nobodies. It's fun as hell, but it's also the foremost refuge of defeated and aging jocks, turned middle-management types.

  16. #16
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    it may also be your components. cheap chainrings, cogs, and chains may add to the noise.

  17. #17
    Senior Member dddave's Avatar
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    sugino 75 + super toughness + EAI superstar = buttery silence.

  18. #18
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    agreed. sugino zen chainring.

  19. #19
    Senior Member xsuperflyx's Avatar
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    I can hear my farts on my bike.

  20. #20
    Senior Member cblaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    Make sure there's some slack in the chain. A tight chain almost always creates noise. Your bike should run morbidly quiet...
    How much slack should I be riding with? I remember reading on Sheldon Brown's website that the chain should be "as tight as it can be in the loosest part of the chain without the metal binding".

  21. #21
    partly metal, partly real sp00ki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cblaster View Post
    How much slack should I be riding with? I remember reading on Sheldon Brown's website that the chain should be "as tight as it can be in the loosest part of the chain without the metal binding".
    i like to ride as loose as i can without it ****ing with trackstands (which isn't too loose).
    an inch of wiggle works for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Road [racing] is one of the only sports where adult men can compete in a non-scholastic setting, so inevitably 8/10 racers are fiercely-competitive nobodies. It's fun as hell, but it's also the foremost refuge of defeated and aging jocks, turned middle-management types.

  22. #22
    Senior Member cblaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sp00ki View Post
    i like to ride as loose as i can without it ****ing with trackstands (which isn't too loose).
    an inch of wiggle works for me.
    I am so conflicted.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Chicagoan's Avatar
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    whoa way to wake the dead guys
    Franklin

  24. #24
    partly metal, partly real sp00ki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cblaster View Post
    I am so conflicted.
    Why?
    The only thing slack does is prevents immediate reverse pressure (you have to take up the slack before the power generated at the cranks makes it to the back wheel). If you don't apply reverse force (ie, trackstanding or skidding, etc) slack doesn't ever factor into what your drivetrain does. the teeth and chain are always engaged, and it takes quite a bit of slack to risk dropping your chain.
    with 1/2" or so of slack, you can still trackstand with no problems. try it for yourself. give yourself an inch of wiggle and go around the block. your bike won't explode, i promise.
    Quote Originally Posted by bonechilling View Post
    Road [racing] is one of the only sports where adult men can compete in a non-scholastic setting, so inevitably 8/10 racers are fiercely-competitive nobodies. It's fun as hell, but it's also the foremost refuge of defeated and aging jocks, turned middle-management types.

  25. #25
    Senior Member cblaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sp00ki View Post
    Why?
    The only thing slack does is prevents immediate reverse pressure (you have to take up the slack before the power generated at the cranks makes it to the back wheel). If you don't apply reverse force (ie, trackstanding or skidding, etc) slack doesn't ever factor into what your drivetrain does. the teeth and chain are always engaged, and it takes quite a bit of slack to risk dropping your chain.
    with 1/2" or so of slack, you can still trackstand with no problems. try it for yourself. give yourself an inch of wiggle and go around the block. your bike won't explode, i promise.
    I say that only in the first place because I currently have a tiny bit of wiggle I can feel in my cranks in a short part of my rotation and the rest is tight and responsive. I'm just bothered by the inconsistency when I'm riding. I'll try tightening and loosening and see which option gets my bike to be quiet.

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