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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-21-08, 07:29 PM   #1
gutsofgold
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chain tension question

Generally, what should I be striving for in chain tension? I read somewhere that (for a fixed gear chain) you can run a straight edge along the hub and crank and the chain should sag a 1/2" below the edge. I did this and my pedals have some play now before the chain catches, is this normal?

Also while I have you people here, I have Shimano slx brake on the front and it has some sort of "quick release" that when clicked, pulls the brakes further apart. Whats the point of this? I assumed to help get the wheel off without messing with the brakes...

thanks!!
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Old 05-21-08, 07:42 PM   #2
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Yes and yes
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Old 05-21-08, 08:58 PM   #3
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awesome thank you. is there a reason that the pedals should have some play to them before the chain catches?

also - this bike came with clipless pedals. I'm still getting used to riding fixed and don't want to worry about clipping in too. I need some recommendations to a cheap platform pedal with clips.
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Old 05-21-08, 09:01 PM   #4
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well in order to move the actual gear the chain has to pull that 1/2" sag. if there was no sag it wouldn't have to straighten out to pull it...you get it? and cheap pedals are everywhere. just go to your lbs.
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Old 05-21-08, 09:03 PM   #5
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The reason for having a little play in the chain is that chainrings ar usually not perfectly round on the crank,therefore creating uneven chaintension.Keeping a little slack will keep the chain from binding in a tight spot.MKS gr9s are reasonably priced and are the most comfortable with softsoled noncycling specific shoes.
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Old 05-21-08, 09:08 PM   #6
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The reason for having a little play in the chain is that chainrings ar usually not perfectly round on the crank,therefore creating uneven chaintension.Keeping a little slack will keep the chain from binding in a tight spot.MKS gr9s are reasonably priced and are the most comfortable with softsoled noncycling specific shoes.
this is correct. make sure, too, that you're checking the tension at the pedal's tightest spot so you know it won't bind up. a little slack is weird when you're riding but you get used to it.
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Old 05-21-08, 09:15 PM   #7
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here's my tension. I don't go by the measurement method because I prefer doing it by feel. I think it's an easier way of doing things
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Old 05-21-08, 09:22 PM   #8
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I've seen your chain in the chainline thread.That thing is sweet.
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Old 05-21-08, 11:47 PM   #9
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my chain has little to no sag, but it's not so tight that it doesn't bind.
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Old 05-22-08, 12:03 AM   #10
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oh man i've been doing it wrong

i've been yanking the wheel as hard as i could then tightening it. i thought it had to be tight. i didn't know it was supposed to even sag a bit.
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Old 05-22-08, 12:44 AM   #11
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if you have too much tension on the chain, it contributes to chain wear as well....
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Old 05-22-08, 12:56 AM   #12
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too tight = more grinding = you going slower due to excess friction = faster cog,chain,ring wear = BB wears out swifter = noisy
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Old 05-22-08, 08:13 AM   #13
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An easy way to test if your chain is too tight is to lift the rear wheel off the ground and give the pedals a kick/spin. If you can see it slowing down at one part of the revolution, or if it doesn't spin for a long time, your chain is way too tight.

There should definitely be a little sag in your chain, how much you can run depends on your bike and riding style. Play feels gross, especially when you're learning to trackstand and such, but it shouldn't prevent you from doing anything.

Pictures can be misleading, but this picture looks like an example of a chain that is too tight:

You can see how the chain appears to curve up from the ring.
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Old 05-22-08, 08:15 AM   #14
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I run about the same as Gyeswho and it's the perfect set up for me. But on my conversion I had to run a bit tighter because my chainline was off a hair and if I was riding a real crappy rode I was able to throw the chain and did that once so I ran it a smidge tighter. The other great advantage of having a little slack is you can feel where your stroke is weak because you'll feel your chain catch and it will help you perfect your stroke.
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Old 05-22-08, 08:59 AM   #15
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i suggest the spinning trick with wheel off the ground. The noise and all other "cues" are often not preventable. My chain is noisy cause it's kinda bent from normal use. I was told this isn't a problem though.
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Old 05-22-08, 09:41 AM   #16
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another trick to cue you in is dropping the back of the bike and watching to see if the chain moves a little. If it doesn't then your chain is too tight
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Old 05-22-08, 10:27 AM   #17
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thanks. i really have been doing it wrong. damnnn.
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Old 05-22-08, 10:43 AM   #18
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so how do ya'll suggest i put my rear wheel back on? just tighten it snug, tighten down the drive side nut and then the other side?
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Old 05-22-08, 11:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tx_what_it_do View Post
so how do ya'll suggest i put my rear wheel back on? just tighten it snug, tighten down the drive side nut and then the other side?
Sheldon has the answer, of course: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html#wheel
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Old 05-22-08, 02:58 PM   #20
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I think I have it, the pedals move very very very little before the chain catches but they still do move and there is still visible sag in the chain.

I was thinking about adding a freewheel for my ride to school since it is much longer and has a lot more hills to deal with. Currently its a 16/39 setup. Would a 15t freewheel work good? I could get away with the extra gear inches since I wont be spinning down hills. ?
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Old 05-22-08, 03:06 PM   #21
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wow... the pista with rocket ring, bulletproof, and pink chain... isn't that a downgrade? seems to me like a downgrade.
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Old 05-22-08, 03:14 PM   #22
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Old 05-22-08, 03:39 PM   #23
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You can see how the chain appears to curve up from the ring.
Is that a joke?
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Old 05-22-08, 08:09 PM   #24
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so how do ya'll suggest i put my rear wheel back on? just tighten it snug, tighten down the drive side nut and then the other side?

I always just do this: with one hand wedge two fingers or so between the tire and the seat tube to push the wheel back (as centered as possible), with the other spin down the nuts enough that it doesn't slip back. tighten to finger tight, then do alternating half turn with a wrench until it is tight-tight-tight.

I suppose it could be rough on the hands, but even if the track nuts are lightly finger tight I can wedge the wheel further back this way. pretty easy to get good tension. if the bike is upside down I often use the chainstay bridge instead.
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