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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 09-02-08, 04:22 PM   #1
brandonspeck
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Ahh! My chain keeps coming loose!

Hey guys,

Mechanical newb here. I keep tightening my chain as best I can and after a 2 mile ride to work, my chain is looser than it started. I use my brake, I usually don't skid to stop, but I do, however trackstand at least twice on this commute.

My chain tightening technique is the spoke-pull method... is there a better way?


sorry if this has already been discussed. I tried searching already and couldn't find what I was looking for.


thanks guys!
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Old 09-02-08, 04:25 PM   #2
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Spoke pull method?

You're clearly not tightening your axle nuts enough. Get a longer wrench if you can't apply enough torque to tighten your nuts
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Old 09-02-08, 04:26 PM   #3
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Spoke pull method?
Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't know wtf that means.
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Old 09-02-08, 04:30 PM   #4
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i think he means that he just pulls backward on the spoke while tightening the axle to maintain a bit of tension.

if you are getting it tight enough at the beginning of the ride, the way that you are tightening the chain is not likely to be the problem. i agree, it sounds like the nuts (or skewer) holding the axle in place are loose enough that the whole wheel slides forward in the drop outs.
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Old 09-02-08, 04:31 PM   #5
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your just too strong! give up riding.
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Old 09-02-08, 04:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
Spoke pull method?

You're clearly not tightening your axle nuts enough. Get a longer wrench if you can't apply enough torque to tighten your nuts
if there is something wrong all the overtightening in the world won't fix the problem.
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Old 09-02-08, 04:34 PM   #7
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if there is something wrong all the overtightening in the world won't fix the problem.
Since the only way for the chain to loosen is the hub slipping forwards in the drop out, I can't think of anything that could possibly "be wrong" other than he isn't applying enough torque during tightening...
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Old 09-02-08, 04:35 PM   #8
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ah sorry. I didn't specify. But yes, that's exactly what I'm doing, Bakaster.
But it could be that, I just replaced the rear axle nuts because the wrench I was using stripped the other ones. I was using one of those park tools, and the wrench is really skinny so it actually cut into the nuts and made them super cut up and vitually useless. but this problem surfaced right when I replaced the nuts.

so a longer wrench is probably a good answer.


thanks so much for taking the time to answer my newb question.
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Old 09-02-08, 04:39 PM   #9
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Sounds like you're using a cone wrench to tighten your nuts? Not only will this eat your nuts (yes i said it), you won't be able to properly tighten them. Get a *proper* wrench.
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Old 09-02-08, 04:40 PM   #10
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Are the nutted axle threads properly lubricated with grease?
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Old 09-02-08, 04:43 PM   #11
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ah sorry. I didn't specify. But yes, that's exactly what I'm doing, Bakaster.
But it could be that, I just replaced the rear axle nuts because the wrench I was using stripped the other ones. I was using one of those park tools, and the wrench is really skinny so it actually cut into the nuts and made them super cut up and vitually useless. but this problem surfaced right when I replaced the nuts.

so a longer wrench is probably a good answer.


thanks so much for taking the time to answer my newb question.
Totally exactly what someone already said (lisafilter), as I tried to do the exact same thing when I first worked on a bike.

You're using a cone wrench. Get a longer wrench and make sure it's alot wider as well so you don't mangle your nuts (hahaha)
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Old 09-02-08, 05:23 PM   #12
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Get a Surly Tuggnut, or one of the cheaper versions from Redline.
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Old 09-02-08, 05:35 PM   #13
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Yeah, I like to keep my nuts as pristine as possible.


but thanks for the help guys, I think I'm gonna pick up a big ol' fatty 15mm wrench and then tighten them. Maybe invest in a tuggnut. you guys rule.
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Old 09-02-08, 06:27 PM   #14
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Old 09-03-08, 12:06 AM   #15
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This is what I use, and then just use the double wrench method to get enough torque. The double wrench method being hooking the end of one wrench into the other to extend the lever arm. Kind of hard to explain without pictures...
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Old 09-03-08, 02:11 AM   #16
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I hesitate to mention this because my problem is probably unique, but I took my single-speed conversion to my LBS to have it checked out. The conversion was one of the first real mechanical things I've attempted on a bike, besides easy/normal maintenance stuff. When I took it in, I specifically mentioned that the chain would loosen on a ride. Btw, I used the existing campy QR skewers, not axle bolts.

At any rate, to get my chainline, I moved a spacer from one side of the hub to the other, and everything seemed fine, and the mechanic blessed it. As I was changing a rear tire the other day I saw the problem. One side of the hub had plenty of axle to fit in the dropout, while the drive-side had maybe 1/8" of exposed axle, and did not extend entirely through dropout. I was riding partially on the thin skewer rod - amazing that the wheel didn't fall off!

I ordered new axles last week, and upon reassembly, I will be making sure there is enough exposed axle to fit through the dropout, and support the weight of the bike.
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Old 09-03-08, 03:54 AM   #17
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you could be overtightening the chain, and a full crank rotation under moderate-heavy load will pull on the chain too much and cause it to slip. this occurs because the chainring is never exactly centered onto the crank and if the chain is tensioned when the chainring is not at the furthest position, it will put more stress than what you've tensioned and cause axle slip.
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Old 09-03-08, 04:09 AM   #18
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Try greasing the threads of your axles so that you can get the axle nuts tighter without stripping the threads.
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Old 09-03-08, 06:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
I hesitate to mention this because my problem is probably unique, but I took my single-speed conversion to my LBS to have it checked out. The conversion was one of the first real mechanical things I've attempted on a bike, besides easy/normal maintenance stuff. When I took it in, I specifically mentioned that the chain would loosen on a ride. Btw, I used the existing campy QR skewers, not axle bolts.

At any rate, to get my chainline, I moved a spacer from one side of the hub to the other, and everything seemed fine, and the mechanic blessed it. As I was changing a rear tire the other day I saw the problem. One side of the hub had plenty of axle to fit in the dropout, while the drive-side had maybe 1/8" of exposed axle, and did not extend entirely through dropout. I was riding partially on the thin skewer rod - amazing that the wheel didn't fall off!

I ordered new axles last week, and upon reassembly, I will be making sure there is enough exposed axle to fit through the dropout, and support the weight of the bike.
The skewer of the qr doesn't actually take any weight on it.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:15 AM   #20
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Tugnuts are a waste of money and unnecessary. Learn how to properly set up your rear wheel. Read what Sloppy Robot and AfterThisNap have to say about doing it. It will work. You can pick up a stubby 15 mm wrench for under $10 at a hardware store or even sears. I got the Gear Wrench and can easily carry it with me.




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Old 09-08-08, 02:15 PM   #21
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The skewer of the qr doesn't actually take any weight on it.
I figured it's not supposed to, but that was the problem I was trying to describe. The new spacing of the axle was such that it did not protrude entirely through the dropout (it came up short on the drive side). I may be wrong about my prognosis, but it certainly seems the axle is not supporting the wheel very well, and that is causing the slippage, in my odd case.
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Old 09-08-08, 02:35 PM   #22
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Are you using QR?

I have always had problems using QR on horizontal drop-outs and SS bikes.
The torque applied always shifts the axle.
If this is the case, consider a nut/axle combo.

If you are in fact using axle nuts,
perhaps adding some washers might help.
Keep those nuts tight.

In some cases, a chain can also be too tight, a *bit* of slack is normal.
this is because no chainring, crank, cog, bb, chain is perfect.
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Old 09-08-08, 06:20 PM   #23
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if you're not able to get enough torque on it w/ a wrench something is wrong


do NOT double wrench, that's a TERRIBLE idea for anything except breaking a stuck nut loose (in any mechanical field)


nuts aren't meant to be tightened but so tight, so don't put too much force on it or you will surely shear something
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Old 09-08-08, 09:05 PM   #24
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I think u need a chaintensioner???
Or a huge wrench to get some mega torque...
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Old 09-08-08, 09:56 PM   #25
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one and only method to proper tightening, get a torque wrench and a proper sized box!
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