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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 03-22-11, 03:10 PM   #1
naturelover
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Fixed gear build problem

For the last few months I've been building my first fixed gear bike. The problem I have is the chain lenght. I've chosen a 48x17 ratio but with the chain installed, the axle sits just past the front of the dropout (horizontal) when the chain is tight. When the chain is slack, the axle isn't completely in the dropout. If I and a full link, there is too much slack and I bought a half link but it was stiff when connected. So I don't want to use a half link. I've read most don't last long.

What I want to know is will a change to a 46x16 ratio give me enough lenght? BTW, my chainstay lenght is 16". Sorry if I rambled on too long.
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Old 03-22-11, 03:15 PM   #2
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For every 4 teeth, cog or chainring, you'll need to add one full chain link and vice versa.

Example: I changed from a 44/17 to 47/18, 4 teeth difference but the same ratio. The rear axle sits on the very same spot in the dropouts as my old 44/17.

Changing to a 46/16 will require you to remove one full link and it will be closer to the centre of the dropouts.
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Old 03-22-11, 03:22 PM   #3
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+1 ^ Sounds like a win. You could also get a full chain made of half links, might be cheaper than a cog and a chainring.
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Old 03-22-11, 03:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by naturelover View Post
I bought a half link but it was stiff when connected. So I don't want to use a half link. I've read most don't last long.
Maybe the pins weren't put back in place just right?
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Old 03-22-11, 03:42 PM   #5
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+1 ^ Sounds like a win. You could also get a full chain made of half links, might be cheaper than a cog and a chainring.
A half link chain isn't any more adjustable than a regular chain with one half link.
OP: learn how to use a half link correctly. it will solve your problem.
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Old 03-22-11, 03:44 PM   #6
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+1 ^ Sounds like a win. You could also get a full chain made of half links, might be cheaper than a cog and a chainring.
A single half-link can accomplish the same thing at lower cost.
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Old 03-22-11, 04:02 PM   #7
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JohnD, Maybe you missed the original post?
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Old 03-22-11, 04:46 PM   #8
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Man, i have a hard time believing adding a single link gives you too much slack if you're almost out of the dropout as-is, but hey. Remember the chain (if new) will relax over time, so if you can live with having a super tight chain for a little bit, or a sticky half-link, the chain will eventually stretch a bit.
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Old 03-22-11, 05:12 PM   #9
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OP: learn how to use a chain tool correctly. it will solve your problem.
fixed.
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Old 03-22-11, 05:38 PM   #10
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Izumi link

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Old 03-22-11, 05:57 PM   #11
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Man, i have a hard time believing adding a single link gives you too much slack if you're almost out of the dropout as-is, but hey.
It can be a real problem on frames with unusually short horizontal dropouts. I have a frame now that will work with 42/15 right at the end of the dropout, but I cannot add a 16T freewheel to the other side because I wouldn't be able to secure the wheel. If I added a link the chain would be completely slack in 42/15. I'm still deciding what to do about my gearing for that bike.
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Old 03-22-11, 06:32 PM   #12
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fixed.
Agreed. This isn't a chain or gearing problem....its tool/mech knowledge. A stiff link is a 5 second fix with the proper tool and know how.
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Old 03-22-11, 06:40 PM   #13
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A stiff link is a 5 second fix with a pair of opposable thumbs.
fixed again!
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Old 03-22-11, 10:52 PM   #14
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To anyone currently using a half link, do you find them a problem? Do you notice or feel the link when riding? I'll add pics of my dropout. I'm new to this and don't know if I have a short or average lenght dropout. Also thanks for the fast replies.
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Old 03-22-11, 11:09 PM   #15
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The only time I've noticed anything funny with my chain is when it's worn out (skipping), filthy (scratching), not properly oiled (squeaking), or I've got a stiff link (binding). I've been running with a half link for as long as I've had my Windsor. You won't notice it unless you screwed something up.
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Old 03-22-11, 11:17 PM   #16
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my dropout

when I took these pics the chain wasn't too tight. Again, I am as green as grass and don't know what is acceptable when it comes to axle placement on a fixed. My previous bike was a single speed with vertical drops and a chain tensioner so I didn't have to worry about this.
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File Type: jpg CIMG0198.JPG (86.0 KB, 33 views)

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Old 03-22-11, 11:40 PM   #17
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naturelover - it looks like you have room to add a link there.

For bikes that have half length / short horizontal dropouts there is usually a lot of extra casting that can be machined to extend the dropout to allow for adequate adjustment but I do not see your bike as having this problem.
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Old 03-23-11, 12:09 AM   #18
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naturelover - it looks like you have room to add a link there.

For bikes that have half length / short horizontal dropouts there is usually a lot of extra casting that can be machined to extend the dropout to allow for adequate adjustment but I do not see your bike as having this problem.
When I shortened the chain the first time, the axle was in the position you see in the pics. So I added a full link. Even with the axle to the back of the drops, the full link gave the chain too much slack.
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Old 03-23-11, 12:23 AM   #19
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When I shortened the chain the first time, the axle was in the position you see in the pics. So I added a full link. Even with the axle to the back of the drops, the full link gave the chain too much slack.
Half-link would resolve axle placement, in this situation.
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Old 03-23-11, 12:49 AM   #20
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Half-link would resolve axle placement, in this situation.
Am wondering what this frame is and if some dumb ass drewed the frame to remove the derailleur hanger and in the process shortened the bottom edge of the dropout... a half link would fix the chain issue and bet the difference from getting proper chain tension and not is only a few mm.
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Old 03-23-11, 12:51 AM   #21
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After reading all of your helpful advice, I will try again with the half link. Any brand better than the other? Since I have a KMC chain, should I just stick with their half-links?
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Old 03-23-11, 12:59 AM   #22
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Am wondering what this frame is and if some dumb ass drewed the frame to remove the derailleur hanger and in the process shortened the bottom edge of the dropout... a half link would fix the chain issue and bet the difference from getting proper chain tension and not is only a few mm.
I am the dumb ass Sixty Fiver. I'm so Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid.I removed the hanger but it didn't shorten the edge of the dropout in any way. I'll be honest and tell you I removed the shifter and cable braze-ons as well. Please don't kill me if you're ever my way. I claim ignorance. If I knew then what I do now I would have left it alone. I didn't know what I did is considered a sin among bike owners. Didn't think it mattered because its looks the way I want it to look. I've only been riding for 10 months so I haven't been informed about certain do's and don'ts. I figured since I don't and won't need it, why not remove it? I bought the frame and built it up for no one but me. The thought of this build or frame in the hands of another, never entered my mind. Never thought of selling it even before I "declawed" it. I like to think this bike will be with me until the end. This first build of mine has been full of regrets, mistakes, mind changing, and joy. A true learning experience. And I can't wait to ride it! BTW the frame is an 87' Schwinn Prelude. Here are a few unfinished pics.
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Old 03-23-11, 01:37 AM   #23
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naturelover... Just be careful around the C&V crowd as they might crucify you for defiling a Chicago made Schwinn that was built on a Columbus Tenax frameset IIRC.

I am of the mind that it is your bike, you love it, and it wasn't like you did this to a one of a kind model as although the Prelude is a nice bike, they are not particularly rare as they were a production model.

20 years down the road you might be looking at this bike thinking, my knees are killing me and I'd like to re-gear it but dammit... I cut off the derailleur hangar and the guides.

Call me up and I'll replace the dropouts and cable guides for you.

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Old 03-23-11, 01:48 AM   #24
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Thanks for your kind words Sixty Fiver. Your advice and opinions are greatly appreciated around here. If I only came to you first! I'll give you a ring if I ever cry out "uncle".


*Update* - Just ordered a KMC half link online. Thanks again to all who replied.

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Old 03-26-11, 04:08 PM   #25
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I just recieved the half link I ordered and with the help of a biycletutor tutorial, I now have the axle in the middle of the dropouts. Took less than 5 min. Thanks again you guys!!!!! Consider this thread clooooooooooooooooosed.
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