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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 03-05-11, 10:01 AM   #1
bobthib
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Ghost or Phantom Chain ring vs adjustable tensioner. Which is more efficient?

My tandem does not have an eccentric BB it has a chain tensioner on the sync chain. I've seen some posts and threads regarding the use of "Ghost" or "Phantom" chain rings in lieu of a chain tensioner.

Certainly it is a bit more eye catching, but on the MTB forums there is some discussion, and mention of them popping out. I suppose on a road bike that is much more unlikely, but still a possibility.

From the assembled wisdom of the experienced tandemistas that frequent this forum, what are your opinions on these vs the tensioner?

I got an old D.A. RD and salvaged and idler wheel with bearing to replace the stock wheel in my tensioner. I'm wondering if a Ghost wheel might be more efficient.

What are your thoughts?

NOTE: a few of the posts in the MTB forum mentioned that the rings should be rings with out ramps. What are your thoughts on that? That will limit the selection a little.

Last edited by bobthib; 03-05-11 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 03-05-11, 05:34 PM   #2
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Several decades ago we use a ghost chainring on one of our custom tandems.
The ghost ring has to be a few teeth larger than the crossover rings; you may have to try several rings to have proper fit.
Yes, the ring floats nicely and is an eye catcher.
Makes a great conversation starter!
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Old 03-15-14, 08:47 PM   #3
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How do you install a ghost ring?
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Old 03-16-14, 12:42 PM   #4
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rings with ramped teeth are designed to help shifting btwn rings, whereas a single speed ring will keep a chain tracking on it a bit better.
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Old 03-16-14, 12:51 PM   #5
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rings with ramped teeth are designed to help shifting btwn rings, whereas a single speed ring will keep a chain tracking on it a bit better.
In addition to ramps modern rings have some teeth that are shorter than normal and even some oddly shaped teeth to make easier for the chain the move onto or off the ring. These short and shaped teeth would concern me.

With no force on the ghost ring it shoul last a very long time. It might be worth getting a ring that is best at the job should you go that route. New very inexpensive flat rings are easy to find.

Last edited by waynesulak; 03-16-14 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:41 PM   #6
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Ghost ring would likely be more efficient and elegant in my estimation. No friction at a high RPM idler bearing generating heat. No alignment with the chain and chainwheels to worry about. If it turns out that an even tooth count will work, you can use one of those narrow/wide chainrings made for single-speed crank setups. That might increase the security factor of the ring staying put.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:21 AM   #7
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i use both on my tandem the timing chain kept dropping even with the idler pulley tensioner so i stuck a ghost ring in there too.. haven't dropped a chain since. whole thing is kinda noisy though
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Old 04-03-14, 12:35 PM   #8
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I have an old beater tandem running a ghost ring. It's been in there for many miles and many bumpy hauls up and down stairs transporting the bike with no issues. I've also run a ghost ring on a SS MTB(ramped cassette cog) with no issues, though I haven't run that one off road so no crazy MTB worthy terrain.
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Old 04-03-14, 02:52 PM   #9
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i use both on my tandem the timing chain kept dropping even with the idler pulley tensioner so i stuck a ghost ring in there too.. haven't dropped a chain since. whole thing is kinda noisy though
I would like to see a picture of that!
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Old 04-04-14, 06:11 AM   #10
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How do you install a ghost ring?
This was never answered... I believe it's just floating in the timing chain, it isn't mounted to anything.
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Old 04-04-14, 07:34 AM   #11
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Old 04-04-14, 08:28 AM   #12
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I would like to see a picture of that!
i'll be sure to snap a pic next time we take it for a ride.. I just ordered a suspension seat post for the stoker so hopefully it will be soon
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Old 04-09-14, 02:15 PM   #13
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I just picked up a cheap tandem with an idler wheel and might try going this route. The idler wheel works ok but is a bit noisy. Thanks for the good tip.
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