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  1. #1
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    chain tension - pedal play

    I know there are many threads about this, and much information on google. But can't seem to get this right.

    Basically, just a couple of questions.

    With the wheels locked, how much play should there be in the pedals/crank? None?

    And when people say there should be 1/2 inch of slack, is this 1/2 inch total movement, or just in 1 direction?

    I got a new chain and it just doesn't feel right. I know part (or most) is the new chain and that is why it feels different, but it's really concerning me.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    ! crackrocksteady's Avatar
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    your pedals and crank should have no play! (correct me if im wrong BF members) I take it that your talking about your chain?!?!

    but regardless of wording....
    are you riding a track style bike or a conversion?

  3. #3
    Ths Hipstr Kills Masheenz cc700's Avatar
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    you want the chain to move at LEAST a half inch total, back and forth when pressing and pulling on it in the center of the chain. when you're stopped, you want the pedals to move a small amount. the amount will change depending on your gear ratio and how much slack you actually have.

    if you're running a 1/8 chain and cog and chainring you'll be just fine if you have as much as an inch or more of slack, even if the pedals move a ton while tensioning the top or the bottom part of the chain. if you have 3/32 components or you are using a ramped ring, you want hardly any slack at all. a track chain and track components won't derail even with tons of slack, say, two inches total. a ramped chainring and an 8 speed chain will derail at the slightest provocation with even a half inch of slack.

  4. #4
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    Yea i was wondering this too.

    I have the original chainring on my fuji conversion. I probably have about an inch of play on my 1/8th chain, but never thought it was a problem till i threw the chain skidding around on wet roads today.

    As much as I like a slightly slack chain I'm going to tighten her up a bit tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Ths Hipstr Kills Masheenz cc700's Avatar
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    three years some slackiest of slack chains and i never threw one until i put a ramped 3/32 mountain ring on. that bastard threw the chain and locked the rear wheel while i was riding brakeless down a big hill.

  6. #6
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    Currently I have it set at the slightest pedal movement when the wheels are locked. Moving the chain up and down with my hand, easily over 1/2".

    The chain is definitely not too tight.

    But the chain is making like a "crunching" noise. Not in any one spot, any place. And especially when I push more power into it.

    I even set it pretty loose to check and didn't change. It's a brand new chain. kmc z610hx. I also have a 1/2 link on it. There are no stiff links. The chainring and cog have maybe 400 to 500 miles on it.

    http://www.amazon.com/KMC-Z610HX-Dro.../dp/B000AYFS6W

    Is this normal when changing chains? Should I just run it for a week or so and see, maybe it just needs to break in a bit.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diff View Post
    But the chain is making like a "crunching" noise. Not in any one spot, any place. And especially when I push more power into it.


    Is this normal when changing chains? Should I just run it for a week or so and see, maybe it just needs to break in a bit.
    What you are describing is the classic sound of an unworn chain running on a worn cog. The noise will fade as your chain wears prematurely, but the rate of wear is only going to increase unless you replace the cog. Are you sure your cog only has 500 milles on it? What sort of cog is it? The best thing you can do is replace the cog and keep your drive train lubed and clean and replace the chain when 12 links measure over 12 1/16".

  8. #8
    Senior Member seau grateau's Avatar
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    Add lube.
    Quote Originally Posted by adriano View Post
    thanckx.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
    "I made love to your mother dozens of times last week, and she doesnt know what a worn chain ring looks like"

  9. #9
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    It's a surly cog.

    I just got this bike (steamroller complete) like a month or two ago. I commute 10 to 15 miles a day, sometimes ride 6 or 7 miles after work, have gone on a few 20 or 30 mile rides. Maybe 600 or 700 miles max.

    The reason for swapping chains is I put some bigger tires on here, and there was barely any clearance between the rear tire and seat tube. So ordered a half link and another 2 chains just in case. Couldn't get the half link on the old chain, I got it on, but couldn't close the chain. It's the kind where it has the 2 half links with 1 peg in each, connect and pulling the chain tense locks it in place. The side with the half link just wouldn't close. So was like screw it, lets try the other chain. The single speed chain closes by putting a plate over the link and then another piece slides on to lock it. Went on no problem.

    I have read that it's best to change the chain, chainring, and cog all at the same time for this exact reason.

    I can feel it in the pedals too, kinda like a vibration. It's subtle, but can feel it.

    I guess I'll order a new cog, probably should get a new chainring too? Thanks for the help.

  10. #10
    Bastard of Reality Scrodzilla's Avatar
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    In my experience, Surly cogs are loud regardless.

  11. #11
    Ths Hipstr Kills Masheenz cc700's Avatar
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    yeah but they niiiiice.

    seriously, i love my surly cogs.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    In my experience, Surly cogs are loud regardless.
    I never noticed Surly cogs being abnormally loud, however I did have the same experience as the OP with a Surly cog. I let the chain wear well past 12 1/16" and when I installed a new chain it was too late. The cog was worn and was abnormally loud and "crunching" especially when cranking hard with a new chain. I don't think the Surly cog is at fault. I've seen the same thing happen with other cogs. The problem was letting the chain wear too long, which accelerated the wear of the cog teeth. I normally get 1-2 thousand miles out of a chain before it needs replacement (when 12 links = 12 1/16"). However, I have worn out good quality chains in less than 400 miles...it depends on the conditions you are riding in and how clean you keep your DT. SS/FG chains are so cheap and easy to replace, its not worth being a hyper-meticulous chain Nazi to squeeze a few extra miles out of it. Just monitor the "stretch" so you can replace it at the right time.
    Last edited by mihlbach; 11-13-10 at 05:22 PM.

  13. #13
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    Can I use a singlespeed chain master link on a 8/9 speed chain?

    Then I can just use the half link on my old chain. I don't see why not, but not sure. Must be a reason why those chains have a closing link like they do.

    Also, are 1/8" parts better? Also thinking about just getting a new chainring, cog, and chain all in 1/8" and start from scratch.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by diff View Post
    I guess I'll order a new cog, probably should get a new chainring too? Thanks for the help.
    It's unnecessary to order new stuff. You already know that the "play" comes from the chain tension, just learn to deal with it.

    It's better to feel the play than not having any play when you back pedal/track stand; tight chain tension will eat up your drive train really fast.

    If your master link is 3/32" then you can use it on a 8/9 speed chain, otherwise it'll be too loose.

  15. #15
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    Actually never mind.

    Just going to leave this chain like it is for now. Order a new cog. And then swap it out next week when it comes. I will get another chain too, they are like $10. Then keep the one I have now for backup. And the surly cog is $20. So that isn't too bad really.

    Dying to see what a new chain + new cog feels like.

    I will post back when I get it and put it on.

    Thanks again for all the help.

    EDIT: Vixtor, the tension isnt the issue. There is a crunching noise after swapping the chain. The cog needs to be replaced. Was checking if the chainring needs to be replaced too (still wondering about that btw ).

  16. #16
    モㄥ工匕モ 爪モ爪乃モ尺 evilcryalotmore's Avatar
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    I think surly cogs are loud because the way the edge is machined. its tapered a little higher then the avg. I think it makes it have more to hug on the rivet.

    I need quiet): lubftw.

  17. #17
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    What exactly is wrong with a slack-less chain?

    Not that I'm sure I know what I'm doing, but I like running slack-less; it has a direct-response feel to it.

  18. #18
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    In my opinion, there is nothing you need to replace, everything is relatively new with ~600 miles with them. The crunching sound is most likely the cog/chainring breaking in, no big deal if you run your chain with a little slack. The tighter you run your chain, the louder your drive train will be. The taut chain will detect and react to every little eccentricity of your chainring and cog, making your drive train sound like a monster gnawing on some sewage pipes.

    As you know, the tighter the chain, the more stress the cog/chainring has to bear, thereby wearing your drive train faster than a loose chain. Plus, slack chain is always quieter than a taut chain.

  19. #19
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixtor View Post
    In my opinion, there is nothing you need to replace, everything is relatively new with ~600 miles with them. The crunching sound is most likely the cog/chainring breaking in, no big deal if you run your chain with a little slack. The tighter you run your chain, the louder your drive train will be. The [B]taut chain will detect and react to every little eccentricity of your chainring and cog, making your drive train sound like a monster gnawing on some sewage pipes.

    As you know, the tighter the chain, the more stress the cog/chainring has to bear, thereby wearing your drive train faster than a loose chain. Plus, slack chain is always quieter than a taut chain.
    What exactly do you think happens to a slack chain when you stand on the pedals?

  20. #20
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    It's ok. Ended up ordering a surly cog, surly chainring, and new chain.

    Chainring is probably overkill. Maybe I will just not put it on, and if all is ok, I will send it back. Wanted to have it just in case.

    Hopefully it's quiet, and smooth. Then will keep my eye on it and keep it much cleaner and better oiled.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diff View Post
    It's ok. Ended up ordering a surly cog, surly chainring, and new chain.

    Chainring is probably overkill. Maybe I will just not put it on, and if all is ok, I will send it back. Wanted to have it just in case.

    Hopefully it's quiet, and smooth. Then will keep my eye on it and keep it much cleaner and better oiled.
    Chainrings last a lot longer than cogs. That Surly chainring you ordered is steel and will easily outlast numerous chains and cogs. What chainring were you using before?

  22. #22
    coasterbrakelockup lz4005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnjooLo View Post
    What exactly is wrong with a slack-less chain?
    Not that I'm sure I know what I'm doing, but I like running slack-less; it has a direct-response feel to it.
    Its not wrong, it'll just wear your parts out faster, and you'll be doing more work (fractionally) to pedal a super tight chain than a loose one. If the responsive feel of it is more important to you than those things, then go for it.
    Ride lots, have fun, skid often!

  23. #23
    Hello. JDMFanatic's Avatar
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    I guess I'm in the minority... even when I'm mashing pretty hard with my surly cog with KMC Chain all i can hear is the sound of my tires rolling on the road...

    My phil wood cog with SRAM chain, however, is LOUD AS A $#%$%#$%43

    both have pretty much the same amount of slack and were greased the same way... all 1/8... you never know
    ▂▅▇█▓▒░◕‿‿◕░▒▓█▇▅▂

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
    Chainrings last a lot longer than cogs. That Surly chainring you ordered is steel and will easily outlast numerous chains and cogs. What chainring were you using before?
    The chain ring is andel.

    I think it was made specifically for surly for this bike since I couldn't find it for sale anywhere. And surly was one of the few that makes a 47t chainring in 130bcd.

    When looking through cranks and chainrings, I wonder if some of these companies have the same manufacturer produce stuff. Like the all city and andel chainrings have the exact same look, with the exact same font and writing style on them. Kind of interesting.

    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...13&category=62
    http://shop.vendio.com/benscycle/ite.../?s=1289292962

  25. #25
    abides and rides
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    Quote Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
    I never noticed Surly cogs being abnormally loud,
    Ditto. I've only used Surly and Dura Ace cogs and either are as quiet as I'd ever hope for.

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