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Half link or half link chain

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Half link or half link chain

Old 02-03-21, 05:35 PM
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Half link or half link chain

I am running 46 x 16 gearing on my new to me Wabi , I am in a position with the chain that my hub axle gets pretty far out on the dropouts when at correct chain tension but pulling the minimum links out I can't get quite enough slack
to install a quick link.
I have , no doubt, compounded the problem by running 25 tires rather than 23 but I don't think all that much, I was considering changing rear sprocket teeth up or down to hit the dimension I need but that may be a chase as well, plus I like my gearing.

Any thoughts appreciated, should I just buy a half link, or a half link chain? Coming from a common road bike background this was never a problem..but I am determined to learn how to do this. You can see I'm out a little far on those drop outs, but the dimension that is limiting me is the tire clearance to the downtube

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Old 02-03-21, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
I am running 46 x 16 gearing on my new to me Wabi , I am in a position with the chain that my hub axle gets pretty far out on the dropouts when at correct chain tension but pulling the minimum links out I can't get quite enough slack
to install a quick link.
I have , no doubt, compounded the problem by running 25 tires rather than 23 but I don't think all that much, I was considering changing rear sprocket teeth up or down to hit the dimension I need but that may be a chase as well, plus I like my gearing.

Any thoughts appreciated, should I just buy a half link, or a half link chain? Coming from a common road bike background this was never a problem..but I am determined to learn how to do this. You can see I'm out a little far on those drop outs, but the dimension that is limiting me is the tire clearance to the downtube

Half link chains are pretty heavy and not really that handy, one half link is fine. I certainly wouldn't worry too much so long as it is not completely out of the dropouts and still can bite the dropouts. I also wouldn't go with skinny tires those are terrible.
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Old 02-03-21, 08:00 PM
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half-link chain = lifetime supply of half-links for the whole neighborhood.

Also, they look cool.
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Old 02-03-21, 08:04 PM
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A half-link chain won't get you anything that couldn't be gotten with a single half-link, other than a lifetime supply of half-links.
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Old 02-03-21, 09:05 PM
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Well gee guys, that is what I was hoping to hear. One of our locals was commenting that running far back on the drop outs was bad and might be stressing the frame.

As I was looking at it I was thinking others may have something different to say about it, it must be an issue with many of these bikes. As WGScott said, half link chains do look cool. But it is the light weight that I am liking about this bike and I'll
bet a half link chain is heavy as Vegan says.
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Old 02-03-21, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
Well gee guys, that is what I was hoping to hear. One of our locals was commenting that running far back on the drop outs was bad and might be stressing the frame.

As I was looking at it I was thinking others may have something different to say about it, it must be an issue with many of these bikes. As WGScott said, half link chains do look cool. But it is the light weight that I am liking about this bike and I'll bet a half link chain is heavy as Vegan says.
My thoughts (I've been riding these fix gear things 45 years, many miles and have three now): isn't a half link chain pretty expensive? If not, buy it but keep it as a supply of half links for all your new chains, plus freebies for all your fix gear friends (for your next three lifetimes). As far as running the hub that far back - do you have enough nut on the dropout to have at least a little of the outer edges of the nut and locknut behind the axle centerline supported? Bending the axle would not be good for either the axle or the bearings over the long haul. If you have enough that the nut clamps at least a little on the back half, you're good. Also, how much slack do you have in your chain? A full half inch between push down and pull up is fine. If you are running 1/8" chain over an 1/8" cog and ring and that cog has square teeth with very little rounding and your crankset is round, ie the chain doesn't tighten and loosen much as you turn the cranks, you can go a full inch of slack. That won't buy you much axle movement, but it helps. The concern here is that you do not want to throw the chain off, especially at high speed going down a bumpy hill. But on my best fix gear with its full competition grade track crankset and cogs, I can run that full 1" over any road. The cheaper or "prettier" the teeth of the cogs and rings, the more they like to throw off. I use the Eur-Asian cogs which are not cheap and have teeth that are cut square, no rounding or shaping The exact opposite of a modern cassette cog. And as hard to "shift" as possible. On a fix gear, shifting is throwing the chain off. I do not like the Surly cogs at all. They run far quieter and smoother but I have to run the chain tighter to keep it on. I haven't mic'd them but I am sure they are also a little narrower than the Eur-Asians. On my bikes with mediocre cranksets, I can barely find the balance between not going too tight and not going too loose with the Surley. I don't trust myself to throw the wheel back on after a flat when I'm tired. (That cog only sees service on my best bike but I feel that bike deserves better. If the cog runs away, I won't cry.)

Damaging the frame running the wheel so far back? Stressing the frame? Are you Nelson Vails? One of America's best track sprinters 20 years ago. You could damage the track ends a little if the nuts aren't sitting properly. (See above.)
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Old 02-04-21, 01:19 AM
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I'm surprised you have the problem at all. On most bikes you can flip the back wheel and change the sprocket by a couple of teeth and the wheel will still fit nicely without adjusting the length of the chain. The only thing is to get the brake blocks adjusted so that they catch the rim in either position.

The position of the back wheel is not critical to half an inch when you have horizontal dropouts as your bike does. Looking at the picture I'd say take 2 links out of the chain, move the wheel forward to compensate, and reset your brake blocks accordingly.

However, if you need to make the change, then do it with a single half link. You will derive no benefit from a half link chain except a tiny bit more style, possibly at the expense of weight and price.

The frame will not break under the stress.
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Old 02-04-21, 03:16 AM
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First, thanks for the detailed replies, despite being a life long rider I have zero SS experience, it's a new language.

My first look at this was similar, drop two links , all fixed. In order ,however, to move the wheel forward enough to engage the quick link I had to deflate the tire because it was hitting the seat tube. After getting every thing all back in position, chain tensioned , tire filled, I have almost zero clearance between the tire and the seat tube. I'm good with running close tolerances, but this is close. I think a few hundred miles wear on the tire may change things.

BTW, if it makes a difference I am not running fixed on this bike, that's a freewheel in there.

Also I have a very good bite on the frame the way it sits, she's not going anywhere but I would rather be a scant 1/2 inch forward in the drop out.

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Old 02-04-21, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
half-link chain = lifetime supply of half-links for the whole neighborhood.

Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
A half-link chain won't get you anything that couldn't be gotten with a single half-link, other than a lifetime supply of half-links.


Sorry I but gotta tell you guys that I ain't all that cool with you stealing my lifetime supply of half-links line


OP - are you telling me that while you've gone to the trouble of taking your chain apart, you think deflating the tire to be able get a quick link in is too much work? You'll never be able to slam your wheel thinking like that. JK.


It just so happens that due to changing around tires, chainrings, and cogs on a couple bikes the over past week I did a bit of chain adjusting too. To be honest - I deflated and more - like unlooping the chains from the jagged bits to move the wheels around but I got both about as far forward in the trackends as they can be with the tires that are on them, but still be flat fixable. Give it a try - I found it oddly rewarding. And...single half-links and quick links are wonderful things...
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Old 02-04-21, 07:44 AM
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I've tried a few half-link chains in my BMX days and I found that they "stretch" really fast. a single half-link in a regular chain is a much better idea IMO.
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Old 02-04-21, 03:46 PM
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I took some time this afternoon and installed a half link ( my first and a pain, I even had to go to Utube) to get it done. I said I was new to this.

Net result is the wheel is now forward about 3/16 of an inch from where it was and I could still bring it forward another 3/16 of an inch before the tire comes too close to the seat tube.

So I have about a 1/2" of adjustment on this bike using these tires. that will change for the better as the tires wear or I find a 700C/25 tire that runs a little less height. I would rather not ride on the little 23's anymore, I'm running 32's on my Domane and 27.5 plus tires on my Scott hardtail, looking down at a 23 tire is just to much width shock!

I'm thinking, as is, I should have enough adjustment to handle normal chain wear and when I change gearing I'll just try and keep the changes small enough or balanced enough to work within the envelope.



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Old 02-05-21, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
I took some time this afternoon and installed a half link ( my first and a pain, I even had to go to Utube) to get it done. I said I was new to this.

Net result is the wheel is now forward about 3/16 of an inch from where it was and I could still bring it forward another 3/16 of an inch before the tire comes too close to the seat tube.

So I have about a 1/2" of adjustment on this bike using these tires. that will change for the better as the tires wear or I find a 700C/25 tire that runs a little less height. I would rather not ride on the little 23's anymore, I'm running 32's on my Domane and 27.5 plus tires on my Scott hardtail, looking down at a 23 tire is just to much width shock!

I'm thinking, as is, I should have enough adjustment to handle normal chain wear and when I change gearing I'll just try and keep the changes small enough or balanced enough to work within the envelope.



I have a wabi classic with 46x16t and 19t on the other cog with 700x28 gatorskins and have plenty of room to run 32s.
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Old 02-05-21, 08:20 PM
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This is a Lightning, there must be some dimensional differences but I can't see there is all that much. The Lightning uses a Columbus triple butted tubing and has a carbon front fork, comes delivered a pound and some lighter but seems to have all the same rear triangle dimensions. At first I thought I could get 32's in this but now I am not so sure.

I had an ass kicker of a ride on this today so I am real pleased with it right now. I am looking for some stuff to drop some grams off this little porker though, that 18 lbs seems a bit high for such a simple bike
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Old 02-05-21, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
This is a Lightning, there must be some dimensional differences but I can't see there is all that much. The Lightning uses a Columbus triple butted tubing and has a carbon front fork, comes delivered a pound and some lighter but seems to have all the same rear triangle dimensions. At first I thought I could get 32's in this but now I am not so sure.

I had an ass kicker of a ride on this today so I am real pleased with it right now. I am looking for some stuff to drop some grams off this little porker though, that 18 lbs seems a bit high for such a simple bike
if itís a lightning then 28 will probably be your max. Contact wabi and they will give you the max clearance. You have to remember itís a steel bike. If you change handle bars, seat post and cranks into carbon Iím sure you can get the weight down.
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Old 02-07-21, 08:40 PM
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The further forward the rear hub sits in the track ends, the better, as long as the axle is not hitting the front of the track end.

Half links are stretchy. Use as a last option. Half link chains.....very stretchy. Avoid them.
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Old 02-09-21, 07:17 AM
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overcome your fears

Your frame won't accept the large tires. You have to show it who's the boss .Ditch the rear brake and bring out the file .File away on the brake bridge and chainstay bridge . You should be able to move closer to the down tube, problem solved. Now you'll have to ride with your head on a swivel but who rides a fixed gear with two brakes !!!
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Old 02-09-21, 08:27 AM
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Just throwing this out here,most half link chains are not designed to be used for single links. Once you push the pin out it won't have the same bite when you put it back in. I've done it myself with no problems but just want to make sure people know what they are getting into. Your use may vary.

Like I said,I've done it and it works but I cannot suggest someone else do it without being aware that it will be more likely to fail than if you bought a dedicated single half link.
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Old 02-09-21, 12:59 PM
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KMC 610 (3/32") and 510 (1/8") singlespeed chains come with a single preinstalled half link. You can either leave it in or remove it when you install the chain. You won't need to buy extra half-links, or half-link chains, or fuss with pushing pins out and in, or any other such nonsense.
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Old 02-09-21, 02:52 PM
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I still can't believe no one talks about Wabi's ridiculous problem of half the track ends being unusable because the chain stays are too short. I hope they've fixed it now, because that is a deal breaking design flaw in my eyes.
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Old 02-10-21, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
I still can't believe no one talks about Wabi's ridiculous problem of half the track ends being unusable because the chain stays are too short. I hope they've fixed it now, because that is a deal breaking design flaw in my eyes.
That seems to be the fundamental issue. I am old to biking but new to singles so I am expecting a learning curve and I enjoy working on my bikes so I'm good with looking for a new frame to build up.

This Wabi is a pleasure to ride so I'm going to keep it all adjusted and ready to roll but, damn, there are some nice frames out there and I am building up a good parts stash for the next one.
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Old 02-10-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
That seems to be the fundamental issue. I am old to biking but new to singles so I am expecting a learning curve and I enjoy working on my bikes so I'm good with looking for a new frame to build up.

This Wabi is a pleasure to ride so I'm going to keep it all adjusted and ready to roll but, damn, there are some nice frames out there and I am building up a good parts stash for the next one.
Half the fun of riding single speeds is building your next one.
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Old 02-10-21, 04:10 PM
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I'm picking up a bunch of parts tomorrow AM from a guy that is getting rid of his White Industries goodies, Thompson stems and seat posts, a couple of cranks with chainrings, some bars and seats, all top condition stuff.
My friends say "but do you need this stuff"....? Obviously they are not biking friends.

As soon as I find a lightweight track frame about a 55 or 56 I'll start my next one, I like that as much as I like to ride.
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Old 02-10-21, 10:01 PM
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If you are looking for a nice frame you can get my attainable dream bike: https://www.rencycles.com/yarak.
You could customize it as needed as well and still be pretty reasonable for handmade titanium in the U.S. by someone who knows their stuff.

When I thought of a titanium fixed gear bike, this was more or less what I pictured where as a lot of other stuff just seems off or has stuff I can't get down with the sickness on.
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Old 02-11-21, 08:17 PM
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Vegan! You have great taste in bikes. The Yarak is now my work computer background, what a great looking bike! It appears you can't actually get one yet, I didn't see a way to order one, but I may just if it comes available.

I put a bunch of newly acquired goodies on my Wabi this morning and had it out on a 30 mile run to set up the new seat and seatpost and to check the new freewheel, chain and gearing. When I checked over the new stuff it was all
for 1/2" BMX chain but I had the entire driveline so I went ahead with dumping the 3/32 and moved on to 1/2 chain.
I like to look down and see that sturdy chain and will forgive the slight weight gain. The thing I was mainly buying these parts for was the almost new set of White Industries BMX style freewheels, all unused, a 16T,17T and 18T set,
my new gearing is 48/17 with a new 1/2" chain and it all feels great. The White freewheels are like a watch compared to the $19.00 noisy, off center, freewheel I was running.
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Old 02-14-21, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
Vegan! You have great taste in bikes. The Yarak is now my work computer background, what a great looking bike! It appears you can't actually get one yet, I didn't see a way to order one, but I may just if it comes available.

I put a bunch of newly acquired goodies on my Wabi this morning and had it out on a 30 mile run to set up the new seat and seatpost and to check the new freewheel, chain and gearing. When I checked over the new stuff it was all
for 1/2" BMX chain but I had the entire driveline so I went ahead with dumping the 3/32 and moved on to 1/2 chain.
I like to look down and see that sturdy chain and will forgive the slight weight gain. The thing I was mainly buying these parts for was the almost new set of White Industries BMX style freewheels, all unused, a 16T,17T and 18T set,
my new gearing is 48/17 with a new 1/2" chain and it all feels great. The White freewheels are like a watch compared to the $19.00 noisy, off center, freewheel I was running.
note on the 16t WI will only take a 3/32 chain (see link below). what kind of a deal did you get on those free wheels?

https://www.whiteind.com/wifreewheel

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