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  1. #1
    yesterday you said tom.
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    Are chain tensioners bad for your bike?

    So someone told me that chain tensioners (if used over time) are bad for your rear hub and BB? How do you guys feel about this? Have any of you had problems associated with using a chain tensioner?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    If used improperly overtime they will bend your axle and push on the bearings. But when used properly nothing will ever go wrong.

  3. #3
    Oscillation overthruster Dr. Banzai's Avatar
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    Running too tight of a chain does the damage. Not the tensioner. Sadly, people usually run the tensioner to ensure a tight chain.

    On a bmx a chain tensioner is useful. I see zero reason to run one on a fixed gear bike. If it's slipping then clean it up and use good nuts.

  4. #4
    yesterday you said tom.
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    If used improperly overtime
    be more specific. I use a chain tensioner to make it easier for me to center the rear wheel.

  5. #5
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai View Post
    On a bmx a chain tensioner is useful. I see zero reason to run one on a fixed gear bike. If it's slipping then clean it up and use good nuts.
    Well, a tensioner is a convenience in certain situations. If you get a flat tire while riding and you have a tensioner like Surly makes, you can remove and then reinstall the wheel without having to fuss with adjusting chain tension.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  6. #6
    Senior Member polobreaka's Avatar
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    my bike has a built in chain tensioner, i use it to center the wheel. so much easier.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    If the tensioner is used to pull the wheel it will pull on the axle. They should be used to sit the wheel in place, not to pull it in place.

  8. #8
    steel lover
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    Yup... too tight is the issue, not the tensioner.

    I use mine for two reasons...
    I have VERY little clearance on a track bike with 700x25s... so tweaking via tensioner is much easier to get good tension and a straight wheel. Especially if it has a little wobble.
    I have aluminum track ends, so use a tensioner so the nuts aren't digging into the aluminum, and I don't have to overly crank down on the nuts to limit slip.
    No lugs, no care.

  9. #9
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    If the tensioner is used to pull the wheel it will pull on the axle. They should be used to sit the wheel in place, not to pull it in place.
    A chain tensioner is not a substitute for properly tightened axle nuts; it should properly be called a chain tension adjuster. Once the axle nuts are tightened properly, the chain tensioner will not carry any load. It will prevent pulling the axle forward, but this is meant to be a safety feature in the event of insufficiently tightened axle nuts, and not a normal function.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  10. #10
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevy42083 View Post
    I have aluminum track ends, so use a tensioner so the nuts aren't digging into the aluminum, and I don't have to overly crank down on the nuts to limit slip.
    Am I to assume that you don't have steel inserts in the track ends? If so, you should get some so that you can properly tighten the axle nuts. My two aluminum track bikes do have steel inserts, and I fully tighten the axle nuts on them.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    A chain tensioner is not a substitute for properly tightened axle nuts; it should properly be called a chain tension adjuster. Once the axle nuts are tightened properly, the chain tensioner will not carry any load. It will prevent pulling the axle forward, but this is meant to be a safety feature in the event of insufficiently tightened axle nuts, and not a normal function.
    I was trying to describe that, but maybe it wasnt clear.

  12. #12
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    I'm an advocate of the Origin 8's that I purchased to replace cheapo steel chain tensioners that came with the bike, so that out there on the table here's my opinion. I see the whole package, axle, axle nuts, hub, hub nuts, frame track ends, chain tensioners (acting as washers/spacers), that when aligned and tightened down properly, regardless of chain tension, working the same as if there weren't any chain tensioners and only washers/spacers being used. Any load on the chain tensioners from what I've experienced is the tightness on the tips of the track ends of the frame, axle and chain tensioner plates that the adjustment process produced. I expected that to remain, I don't want it to ever move. My particular situation required the chain tensioners, because every time I adjusted chain tension the torquing of the axle nut would actually move and the desired chain tension was lost. Rather than hold the wheel and hope it would tighten without moving in on me every time, the chain tensioners held it with no movement the first time and every time. Be it due to crappy track ends or a lousy frame, I had an issue and resolved it with the chain tensioners, every individual has to assess what's best for them. For me, it was the most recent & best $ 9 that I've spent on this bike and consider it an upgrade.

    Over the past week I haven't experienced any axle bending, it's a 3/8" threaded bolt on my bike. In the few months I've had this bike, after installing the Origin 8's, I've never been more content with the bike. A peace of mind that mine is set to forget and I can focus on fun and riding. I'm glad this topic resurfaced. Are they necessary ? No. Do they make life easier ? I feel they do and they've made my bike riding experience much better for it. Just me, but my rides are better served paying attention to traffic than they are worrying about whether my chain tension loosened after a jolt from a pothole or because I rode it off the fat part of the curb rather than the sloped ramp portion. It's bad enough you have to be concerned about whether the rim bent in those situations.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai View Post
    On a bmx a chain tensioner is useful. I see zero reason to run one on a fixed gear bike.
    FWIW, a BMX and a FG track frame have the same identically designed track ends. If the chain tensioner is useful on a BMX, it's equally as useful on the track frame for pretty much the same reasons. I can foresee, even understand where on a BMX where loosening of the axle/axle nuts would occur over an accumulation of jolts, but which one really was the jolt that caused the majority of the movement ? Was it the several jolts or just one hard/big jolt ?

    The first couple of days I had my bike, I was riding in the dark at night and hit a pot hole. Later, after revisiting the pothole, it turned out to be a deeper hole because of rain washing away and packing it below the pavement and it not ever being fixed in a timely fashion. And the darn thing was growing longer and longer in it's state of disrepair. Was that the jolt that messed up my bike to the point where I needed to replace the other chain tensioners with higher quality ones ? I can't really say for sure, but there is that possibility just the same ? After hitting that pothole, I wasn't very happy about it, then spent several rides and miles of road to listen for noises and so forth. The pothole may have been the reason the rear wheel was more untrue than the front wheel when I finally had that adjustment done ? Who knows what eventual wear and tear that pothole incident will cause ?

    If the chain tensioner saves me from eating it like:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...other-day-NSFW

    That's worth $ 9 to me every and any day, all day long too ! Poor dude looks like a horror film zombie !
    Last edited by fuji86; 09-01-10 at 09:32 PM.

  14. #14
    Veteran Bastard Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    built-ins ftw:


  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    I like that feature designed into the frame. To me the track ends are beefier (thicker) and I perceive that as a sign of higher quality at both the design and manufacture of the frame, perhaps even materials. Mine didn't have it, so I had to go with the add on parts. I don't know which I prefer or is better, but they both work.

  16. #16
    GONE~
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    Maxway ftw:
    Fixed.

  17. #17
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    VISP ftw
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    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  18. #18
    Veteran Bastard Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixtor View Post
    Fixed.
    True. Although the dropouts on the Leader 722TS give Maxways a good run for their money.

    TT - the design of that Visp tensioner is actually quite cool.

  19. #19
    GONE~
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    VISP ftw
    Holy clearance, Batman!

    722's dropouts are so damn good looking but I wouldn't mind having the 722 frame or the Maxway frame.

  20. #20
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    TT - the design of that Visp tensioner is actually quite cool.
    Actually, I got those tensioners from Paul Component Engineering >>> http://www.paulcomp.com/dropouts.html The stock tensioners that came with the VISP are simple hex socket head (allen) screws with no lock nut.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  21. #21
    Veteran Bastard Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    I thought I had seen them somewhere before!

  22. #22
    Oscillation overthruster Dr. Banzai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuji86 View Post
    If the chain tensioner is useful on a BMX, it's equally as useful on the track frame for pretty much the same reasons.
    I had totally different reasons in mind. Where I used to jump my bike about 10 feet in the air and land flat bottom on wood or concrete sometimes, the result was wheel movement. Once bmx switched to 14mm axles this was pretty much solved. Even with dropouts that were dead flat you could move the wheel because you never landed with both wheels, you try to land and at an angle.

    I do not jump my current track bikes 10 feet to flat or with insane lateral loads landing a 380 or 320 that was supposed to be a 360. Or an abubaca on a fence, etc. etc.

    I have no tensioners on my current bikes and have no need for them.

  23. #23
    Veteran Bastard Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    I've never had a wheel slip on me but I use the tensioners on my Maxway frame all the time when centering my wheel. They do make things a heck of a lot easier.

  24. #24
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    Actually, I got those tensioners from Paul Component Engineering >>> http://www.paulcomp.com/dropouts.html The stock tensioners that came with the VISP are simple hex socket head (allen) screws with no lock nut.
    Do they fit perfectly? As $15 isn't such a bad upgrade

  25. #25
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happypills View Post
    Do they fit perfectly? As $15 isn't such a bad upgrade
    Yes. They are M4x0.7 screws. What you are paying for are the pretty aluminum machined nuts and knobs.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

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