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Chain noise caused by overly tightened chain?

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Chain noise caused by overly tightened chain?

Old 05-25-10, 09:47 AM
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Chain noise caused by overly tightened chain?

Yeah I know I should've posted this in mechanics but I feel like I always get the best answers in this thread

So basically, the other day i noticed my chain was sagging a bit so I decided to tighten it. I did so but realized that it would sag immensely after a few minutes of riding. I suspected I stripped the bolt which cause the wheel to move fwd. However, I took it to the bike shop and it turned out I didn't tighten it enough. Anyway, the chain is tight but everytime I start to pedal hard It starts to become noisy. I cleaned the chain up a bit and added more lube but still the sound persists. I don't hear it when I'm pedaling slow. Could my chain be too tight? I'll try to put up a pic later.

I also noticed that the when I'm not on the bike, the cranks don't revolve on their own. They just kinda stop, another reason why I believe that the chain is too tight? Should I just ride it for a couple of weeks and let it loosen it on it's own? Do i need a new chain?
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Old 05-25-10, 09:49 AM
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Yes, your chain is most likely too tight.
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Old 05-25-10, 10:17 AM
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Bone dry chains make noise too.

Get your chain just right then gently back off your chainring bolts a bit. Spin the cranks and get the chainring perfectly centered. Tighten everything up ans you should have eliminated any possible tight spot. Now it sounds like you are a bit of a novice at the wrenching thing so maybe try this a couple times until you get it right.

Maybe look into a chain tensioner as well. With a tensioner, a well lubed chain and a centered front ring you'll have smooth sailing that requires little intervention from you if ever.
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Old 05-25-10, 10:18 AM
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Sounds like it isn't just too tight, its WAY too tight.
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Old 05-25-10, 10:27 AM
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Sheldon B. has a whole web page dedicated to this topic and how to adjust the chain tension properly.

Enjoy
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Old 05-25-10, 10:43 AM
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I do have a chain tensioner that I've been meaning to put on but I just haven't gotten around to it. And it's not that i'm a novice at wrenching, it's just that I'm always a little tentaive when I tighten things cuz I've stripped several bolts before. Also it makes it hard to do all this when I don't have a repair stand to hold the bike still.
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Old 05-25-10, 11:10 AM
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I have been learning about bikes as I do my conversion, so each task is a learning experience for me. I knew that the chain should be as tight as it can be without binding.

But after reading sheldon browns blerb on chain tension, he mentions loosening and tightening the stack bolts on the chain ring. I didn't quite understand the article. When I put my chainring on I just tightened it down as hard as i could, but according to this article, there is something about, 'centering' the chain ring.

Can someone explain further the process, and reasoning, of chainline/chainring/stackbolt relationship?
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Old 05-25-10, 11:28 AM
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All chainrings are not perfectly round, despite what they look like. The more unround ones usually result in chain tension variance, tight/slack spots in the chain as you spin the crank. This can be evened out to some extent by using the sheldon method of loosening/tapping/tightening/rotating, etc., the chainring bolts.

I've never bothered to do this; I just set my chain tension "correct" at the tightest spot in the crank rotation, and live with it.
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Old 05-25-10, 11:31 AM
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so you find the tightest point, loosen stackbolts, retightened to finger tight, tap the chainring, rotate till the next tight spot, tap, rotate till next tight spot, tap, until there isn't a tight spot? and then re-tighten?

or do you have to loosed and re-tighten after every top?
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Old 05-25-10, 11:50 AM
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I've never bothered to do this; I just set my chain tension "correct" at the tightest spot in the crank rotation, and live with it.
I always do this as well.

Hey guys for chain tensioners, one is enough right?
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Old 05-25-10, 12:39 PM
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Yes, one chain tug is enough. Driveside
Two if you please.

As it has already been said, not all rings are perfectly concentric...
Also not all cranks/spiders are perfect..

Move on, set your chain tension, a little noise won't kill. Factors like 1/18 or 3/32 make a difference, brand of chain, cogs, conversion, etc... Look for wear, make sure you lube, ride your bike.

You want the chain as tight as possible without any binding.
If
the cranks don't revolve on their own. They just kinda stop
your chain is too tight. Everything should spin freely.
Notice how freely the drive train turns when the chain is too loose. That is how freely it should turn when you are done, but with as little chain droop as possible.
https://sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html#tension
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Old 05-25-10, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cg1985
I knew that the chain should be as tight as it can be without binding.
The chain should be as loose as it can be without falling off.
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Old 05-25-10, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lz4005
The chain should be as loose as it can be without falling off.
The chain should be just right Goldilocks.

Enjoy

Last edited by powers2b; 05-25-10 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 05-25-10, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lz4005
The chain should be as loose as it can be without falling off.
THIS IS TRUTH.

I wish people would reverse their thinking on this. Chains should be loose, not tight. You'll probably be able to see sag in the chain all the way around with the cranks. That's great, as long as you can't derail your chain (careful with your fingers.)
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Old 05-25-10, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by day1si
You want the chain as tight as possible without any binding.
Wrong, wrong wrong! If the chain is too tight, you will hear a "popping" noise. This is caused by the chain pulling too hard on the hub, causing the ball bearings to be pressed real hard into the races, brinelling the bearings and causing all sorts of destruction.

If you are racing on the track, you adjust the chain so that it's about to fall off but will not. You test this by lifting the back of the bike, spinning the cranks, and trying to derail the chain with your peanut butter wrench. (If you don't know what a peanut butter wrench is, go ask a trackie.) You can do this on the track because you are constantly removing or loosening the back wheel to change cogs or chainrings for each race. On the road, you need to adjust the chain a bit tighter because you may not adjust it until your next puncture, or until the chain "stretches" enough to fall off, whichever comes first. So this time, you do the same test, but instead of trying to derail the chain, you tap it with the wrench and make sure there's a bit of movement in the middle, that it's not completely rigid at any point of its rotation. It should spin freely without making any popping noises. A loose chain is easier to pedal.

Luis (38 years of track racing experience)
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Old 05-25-10, 11:47 PM
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My rule of thumb is if you can "hear" a chain it's too tight or too loose. Crap components or crap setup will give you the mentioned tight spot.

You use a tensioner not to make it tight but to keep an even slack without over-torquing nuts. I don't use a tensioner myself, just a mental torque wrench. My chain is silent, lasts years and doesn't come off.

lhbernhardt makes good points. Everyone has a system that works for them.
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Old 05-26-10, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by powers2b
Sheldon B. has a whole web page dedicated to this topic and how to adjust the chain tension properly.
Who?
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Old 05-26-10, 06:38 AM
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When I brought my bike to the LBS to get the wheels trued he tightened the chain so tight that the wheel only spun freely a couple times. I thought to myself, he has fixed gears for sale and hes a local shop with 30+ yrs experience. Why would he tighten it so much?
I only hope that it was one of his shop boys that put it back together because it didn't make me feel to confident that he knew very much at all about fixed gears.
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Old 05-31-10, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt
Wrong, wrong wrong! If the chain is too tight, you will hear a "popping" noise. This is caused by the chain pulling too hard on the hub, causing the ball bearings to be pressed real hard into the races, brinelling the bearings and causing all sorts of destruction.

If you are racing on the track, you adjust the chain so that it's about to fall off but will not. You test this by lifting the back of the bike, spinning the cranks, and trying to derail the chain with your peanut butter wrench. (If you don't know what a peanut butter wrench is, go ask a trackie.) You can do this on the track because you are constantly removing or loosening the back wheel to change cogs or chainrings for each race. On the road, you need to adjust the chain a bit tighter because you may not adjust it until your next puncture, or until the chain "stretches" enough to fall off, whichever comes first. So this time, you do the same test, but instead of trying to derail the chain, you tap it with the wrench and make sure there's a bit of movement in the middle, that it's not completely rigid at any point of its rotation. It should spin freely without making any popping noises. A loose chain is easier to pedal.

Luis (38 years of track racing experience)

Ok, So I have some questions about chain tension, a lot of places say it should be this way or it should be that way.

Why is it that Sheldon Brown's site (someone we all obviously respect) says it should be as tight as it can without binding? Your point makes sense about the tightness of the chain causing wear and tear on the hub, but what's the advantage otherwise?

Secondly, is the only reason you want it loose to reduce the wear and tear? or is there another reason?

So on the road you want it as loose as it can within safe ranges (so it won't fall off)?

It would be nice if they made a chain tension tool that you could use to test your chain tension (like a torque wrench).
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Old 05-31-10, 10:36 AM
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That's what we are saying. It should be as tight as it can with binding. You need to be clear on what binding is. Since I was a kid, chain binding is clearly identified as any noise coming from the chain. Since you are pedaling, chain tight spots, out of true sprockets etc. - the only quick way to identify it is by noise.

Try this: index fingers on the axle nuts, thumbs on the track ends. Press together and spin the nuts tight keeping the thumbs on the track end. Make sure the axle doesn't move. Tighten the drive side first. Align wheel and tighten the non drive side. Done.
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Old 05-31-10, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai
That's what we are saying. It should be as tight as it can with binding. You need to be clear on what binding is. Since I was a kid, chain binding is clearly identified as any noise coming from the chain. Since you are pedaling, chain tight spots, out of true sprockets etc. - the only quick way to identify it is by noise.

Try this: index fingers on the axle nuts, thumbs on the track ends. Press together and spin the nuts tight keeping the thumbs on the track end. Make sure the axle doesn't move. Tighten the drive side first. Align wheel and tighten the non drive side. Done.
That's what I do, of course, first I just do a quick tighen, find the tightest spot (my chainring is old and probably not great) on the chainring, then I adjust tension.

However It seems awfully tight there. and then It seems I am either too tight or too loose. It seems a never ending battle
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Old 05-31-10, 10:52 AM
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It it is awfully tight then you need to not use as much finger pressure when squeezing the axle and track end together.

Getting chain tension right can be a very fussy setup depending on the make and state of your components. In my experience, sometimes you just have to get a new chainring.
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Old 05-31-10, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Banzai
It it is awfully tight then you need to not use as much finger pressure when squeezing the axle and track end together.

Getting chain tension right can be a very fussy setup depending on the make and state of your components. In my experience, sometimes you just have to get a new chainring.
Yea, I've been looking at chainrings since I heard that nicer chainrings are more round.

Secondly, I was thinking of getting a chainring that was 1/8 because that is what my chain/cog is.

Problem is, I seem to have trouble finding a 52t 110mm 1/8 chainring. maybe it's because I don't know where to look.

I want 52 because it's what I have on there now and I like the gearing, also I have a nice Soma cog, and would prefer not to have to buy another, smaller cog. Though I suppose I'm not entirely opposed to that.
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