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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 11-22-09, 06:14 PM   #1
NateRod
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Not sure if my chain is too tight

I was hearing some clicks while riding my SS today and wondered where they could be coming from. Pedaling itself didn't feel weird, but the click kept on worrying me.

I've read conflicting stories about how tight a chain should be (including some threads here on the forum - yes, i did search). Some say it should be as tight as possible, other say it should have a small sag.

So, which one is it? I'm thinking more in terms of extending the longevity of my components. My chain is currently really tight and does not sag at all. Should it be more loose?




Thanks.
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Old 11-22-09, 06:20 PM   #2
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ya loosen it up a tiny bit. I like to see just the faintest amount of sag in my chain. One way to tell is that you should be able to move it up and down at least 1/2". I ran my chain really tight when I first got fixed b/c I was paranoid of it falling off, but the truth is that if your chainline is pretty straight then your chain isn't going to pop off unless it's REALLY REALLY loose and you hit a bump or something. Look at track racers, they all run their chains a bit on the loose side. It will also, as you say, increase the longevity of your drivetrain components.
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Old 11-22-09, 06:31 PM   #3
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From the look of it, I would definitely say your chain is too tight. I like to keep my chain, as PedallingATX stated above, with about 1/2-3/4" wiggle room. Your chain isn't going to fall off, your stuff will last longer and your drivetrain will be much quieter. It won't, however, rid you of your ghastly pink Ourys (kidding).
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Old 11-22-09, 06:31 PM   #4
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It hurts to look at that drive train. Slacken that chain a bit...
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Old 11-22-09, 07:03 PM   #5
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i like to have just under an inch wiggle room total, so about 3/8s both up and down.

also, get some foot retention! looks like your pedals can take double straps. go on and get some! best thing you can do for your riding experience.
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Old 11-22-09, 07:19 PM   #6
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thanks OP for posting this! i had the same question.
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Old 11-22-09, 09:21 PM   #7
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and the obligatory, "get some foot retention"
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Old 11-22-09, 09:34 PM   #8
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Put your bike in a stand or something, give the cranks a good spin and note how long it spins when the chain is fairly loose. I've heard you want to tighten it as much as possible with it still able to spin that much. There should be a little play as others have said. This will ensure you get no excessive DT wear, maximum responsiveness, with a minimum chance of deraillment. One thing you don't want is binding, i.e. some parts of the rotation may well be tighter than others due to slightly out of round chainwheel (or to a lesser degree cog).
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Old 11-22-09, 10:00 PM   #9
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chain tension probably has little to nothing to do with the click your hearing.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/creaks.html
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Old 11-22-09, 10:09 PM   #10
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If you even think your chain is too tight, then it's almost definitely too tight. Your chain is stupidly tight.
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Old 11-23-09, 12:11 AM   #11
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You're riding a SS, you chain could be almost falling off and you'd still be fine.
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Old 11-23-09, 01:06 AM   #12
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Thanks peeps! Appreciate the info. Will try adjusting it tomorrow.

And bionnaki, thanks for the link as well. I'll look into all this tomorrow and hopefully I'll get that clicking to stop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
It won't, however, rid you of your ghastly pink Ourys (kidding).
Whyyyyyy I oughta...
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Old 11-23-09, 01:21 PM   #13
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I just noticed that my left pedal was going into the crankarm at a weird angle, with some of its threading showing. I removed it, but whenever I try to reinstall it, it will only go in at that same weird angle, and can't get it fully in.

Could this pedal have ruined the threading in my crankarm? PLEASE, I hope this doesn't mean I need a new crankarm. That'll suck.
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Old 11-23-09, 02:09 PM   #14
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are you positive the threadings on the pedal and crankarm match? and are you positive you're threading the pedal into the crank correctly?

grease the threads. right pedal = clockwise / left pedal = counter clockwise. tighten with pedal wrench to the proper torque.

if you ruined your threading, go to your local bike shop and have them helicoil your crank arm. the repair should be ten bucks to fifty bucks depending on how friendly you are with your LBS.

once that is complete, be sure to read up or learn how to install pedals correctly. In fact, I recommend reading the sheldon brown and park tools websites more often and picking up a copy of zinn & the art of road bike maintenance -- you're all over the place.

Last edited by bionnaki; 11-23-09 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 11-23-09, 02:22 PM   #15
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Yes, the pedal and crankarm match.

Anyways I think I've already taken care of this. I tried screwing in the pedal from the arm's back and it went in easily. It also seemed to have cleaned up the arm's threading. I was able to install it properly from the arm's front again after that.

Thanks
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Old 11-23-09, 02:27 PM   #16
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left pedal is reverse threaded. you were turning the wrong way.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:19 PM   #17
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On aluminum frames you'll hear the frame creak if the chain is too tight.

I doubt you've tightened your chain to the point of making the frame creak without tensioners (that's one of the major downsides of chain tensioners).

You probably have a bad pedal (just noticed that was pointed out above).
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