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  1. #1
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    Drivetrain "slips" when I stand to crank uphill.

    I've a problem that my drivetrain "slips" sometimes when I stand and crank. It only does it a minute amount but it worries me that I might drop the chain and smack a knee into my stem. I really don't know what's causing it, but I'm more familiar with geared bikes so I'm open to suggestions. The chainline appears perfect, the hanger is straight. I don't have any problems with the rear wheel when I run it on a geared bike.

    Setup:
    '06 Fisher Paragon 29er
    Stylo 1.1 Oct crankset
    Boone 20T cog
    Hope geared hub with spacers.
    Dura-ace chain
    Forte tensioner



    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    The chainline appears perfect
    Thanks.
    Try using a plumb bob...easier to tell.

  3. #3
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    Have you tried modifying the tensioner to pull up, instead of down? The extra chain wrap on the cog might help.
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  4. #4
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    alignment...

    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    I've a problem that my drivetrain "slips" sometimes when I stand and crank. It only does it a minute amount but it worries me that I might drop the chain and smack a knee into my stem. I really don't know what's causing it, but I'm more familiar with geared bikes so I'm open to suggestions. The chainline appears perfect, the hanger is straight. I don't have any problems with the rear wheel when I run it on a geared bike.
    Thanks.

    1 thing you can check is to make certain that the Tensioner Pulley is also perfectly IN LINE with the Cog as that could cause an issue under Torque.
    I would almost bet the Tensioner is somehow to blame for your issue if you think your Cog to Chain alignment IS OK.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    I've a problem that my drivetrain "slips" sometimes when I stand and crank. It only does it a minute amount but it worries me that I might drop the chain and smack a knee into my stem. I really don't know what's causing it, but I'm more familiar with geared bikes so I'm open to suggestions. The chainline appears perfect, the hanger is straight. I don't have any problems with the rear wheel when I run it on a geared bike.

    Setup:
    '06 Fisher Paragon 29er
    Stylo 1.1 Oct crankset
    Boone 20T cog
    Hope geared hub with spacers.
    Dura-ace chain
    Forte tensioner



    Thanks.
    The usual suspect is the chain tensioner; the reason it fails is known, why it only fails on some bikes is unknown. First check to see your chain is a short as possible. Failing that, switch the tensioner to a push-up mode and use a zip tie to hold it in place. Otherwise, you may want to go to a set screw style tensioner.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    First check to see your chain is a short as possible.
    Yea, what he said...

  7. #7
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    From the picture it's definitely the tensioner. If you look at the cog as if it's a clock the chain is only touching from about 7 o'clock to 1 o'clock. There's not enough chain to cog contact which will make it "slip" under a load. Work with the tensioner & you'll be fine.
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  8. #8
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    My take is also the tensioner - as you torque down your pedal, upper chain gets stretched to max, and this will slacken the bottom chain At that point, the tensioner will further "open" down, reducing the chain wrap on your cog further. Under a heavy load, it tends to skip on rear... I hacked my Forte (mmm, yeah) tensioner to get more wrap and also lost some weight ):



  9. #9
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    Don't use a spring tensioner!

    Why do people insist on continuing to use a spring to set their chain tension? It's like saying "YES! I've finally gotten rid of my hideous cow of a girlfriend, but I'm still not going to hang out with my friends, drink beer, have fun, or pick up women."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Don't use a spring tensioner!

    Why do people insist on continuing to use a spring to set their chain tension? "
    Probably b/c when used properly & adjusted correctly they actually WORK!

  11. #11
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    A rear derailleur is a spring-type chain tensioner. Best sprung tensioner I've ever used, in fact.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrisw1
    Probably b/c when used properly & adjusted correctly they actually WORK!
    Even when used properly and adjusted correctly they're inferior to a rigid tensioner since they'll still bounce around, and can release tension on the chain. Plus, you can still get the chain bouncing off the chainstay.

    Rigid tensioners simply work better with fewer problems, and they cost the same.

    The only time to use a spring tensioner is when using a full suspension design with a variable chain length.

  13. #13
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    i'd like to hear if the OP has found his solution for the problem because i''m having the same issue with my new setup:

    Surly chainring 34t
    Surly Cog 17t
    Surly singulator chain tensioner in push down modus
    8 speed shimano ig chain
    Cannondale Caad3 xl frame

    if anyone has any advice..

  14. #14
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    I guess I was just lucky or somehow chose the perfect components that worked...my spring tensioner, which came with a "no name" $20 SS conversion kit off ebay, worked flawlessly during the time I used it. I will say that I had to remove a link or two post initial build up to acheive the flawless operation. Understandably though, not everyone's specific situation is the same and results will of course vary.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    A rear derailleur is a spring-type chain tensioner. Best sprung tensioner I've ever used, in fact.

    --Sparty
    that's why they put them on geared bikes, cause they don't work so hot on single speeds...

    technically a derailleur is a spring and cable sprung tensioner that you adjust on the fly by increasing or decreasing the amount of tension, thus shifting into different gears. so on a single speed, where you don't want/need/have different gears, a cable/spring or spring style tensioner might not be the best option since you don't want the tension on the chain changing at all.

    I am not a fan of the spring style tensioners, i got a SS to get rid of the dangly things on my bike...
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  16. #16
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    The chain is as short as I can go without using a half-link. I'll take a look to see if I can convert to push-up mode, but I think I would get tensioner/cog interference.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigit
    i'd like to hear if the OP has found his solution for the problem because i''m having the same issue with my new setup:

    Surly chainring 34t
    Surly Cog 17t
    Surly singulator chain tensioner in push down modus
    8 speed shimano ig chain
    Cannondale Caad3 xl frame

    if anyone has any advice..
    Again this is a common problem on some bikes. The Singleator comes with a push up spring, which should solve the problem.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by farrissw1
    I guess I was just lucky or somehow chose the perfect components that worked...my spring tensioner, which came with a "no name" $20 SS conversion kit off ebay, worked flawlessly during the time I used it. I will say that I had to remove a link or two post initial build up to acheive the flawless operation. Understandably though, not everyone's specific situation is the same and results will of course vary
    I wouldn't say you are lucky (you might be in other things, but I don't know about that), I would say 6thElement just fell into the 10% or so where the spring tensioners don't work.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    The chain is as short as I can go without using a half-link. I'll take a look to see if I can convert to push-up mode, but I think I would get tensioner/cog interference.
    Red Green is right when he recommends a dérailleur as a tensioning device. It not only tensions the chain, but holds the chain over the cog. If you look at a dérailleur in use, you will see, even with the tensioning arm extended out to take up a long length of chain, the jockey pulley maintains sufficient chain wrap.

    Here's the long reason why your chain is skipping (just skip past if your not interested). Most spring tensioners work by pushing the chain down and away from the rear cog. This results in very poor chain wrap. When peddling the majority of the torque from the chain is on the front chainring is on the teeth at 12:00 –0300 and on the rear cog it is the teeth from 6:00- 9:00. What this means is the very area of the rear cog where, chain wrap is necessary, a push down spring tensioner pulls the chain off the cog. This transfers the torque to the tensioner pulley wheel, which in turn pulls the tensioner arm upward. The chain then rides up in the cog teeth in the 9:00-12:00 position. Since it takes a great deal of torque to turn the rear wheel and there is practically no chain warp in the area, the tensioner will fail and the chain will jump over the teeth at the 9:00-12:00 position on the cog, causing it to “skip”. The answer is to first make sure your chain is as short as possible (a half link is a good idea but it will create a weaker link). Next use a spring tensioner with a push up mode or even better a tensioner without a spring so the arm can be locked up; this way tensioner cannot be defeated by overcoming the spring tension.

    So, if the push-up mode hits your chain stay, then I would go with either a set screw style tensioner like this <a href="http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/17057-075_SETCT7-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Sette-Chain-Tensioner.htm"> Sette </a> or the ubercool <a href="http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/17543-075_YESBT8-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Yess-ETR-B-Bottom-Bracket-Chain-Tensioner.htm"> Yess ETR-B.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    So, if the push-up mode hits your chain stay, then I would go with either a set screw style tensioner like this <a href="http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/17057-075_SETCT7-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Sette-Chain-Tensioner.htm"> Sette </a> or the ubercool <a href="http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/17543-075_YESBT8-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Yess-ETR-B-Bottom-Bracket-Chain-Tensioner.htm"> Yess ETR-B.
    That Sette Tensioner works super well for the price and is even simpler to set up. The Yess ETBR will require removing the BB drive side to install. They both weigh the same, I dont know much about the Yess but it looks like just a spring loaded tensioner mounted up front. That being said you might have the same issues as your current one.
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  20. #20
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    I've had a play around, with my 32/20 combo I could maybe shorten the chain with a half link. With my current config there's too much slack to use a push up, the tensioner would hit the cog.

    Too many logs where I ride to use the tensioner up front, I might have to give the Sette model a try.

    Thanks for the suggestions and help.

  21. #21
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    Besides your tensioner issues, I would also recommend some rings from Niner. They are much taller and wider than most and they don't have ramps. A track chain is another cool SS accessory that may help keep your drivetrain bullet proof.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGreen
    that's why they put them on geared bikes, cause they don't work so hot on single speeds...
    ...
    I am not a fan of the spring style tensioners, i got a SS to get rid of the dangly things on my bike...
    Me too. I haven't used a rear derailleur as a chain tensioner since I did my first SS conversion over ten years ago. And I didn't like the drivetrain friction that came with it. Didn't mean to imply that it was optimum for tensioning a chain, only that it works well for eliminating chain skipping because it increases chain wrap. That's all I said and all I meant to say.

    FWIW I've employed EBBs, ghost rings, Singlators, rear derailleurs, track ends, semi-horizontal dropouts as chain tensioners over the years. I prefer a non-sprung tensioning system. But I stand by what I said... a rear derailleur is the best sprung chain tensioner I've used. Please don't read any more into it than that. You won't find a rear derailler on any of my singlespeeds.

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  23. #23
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    Listen!

    Quote Originally Posted by aka brad
    Again this is a common problem on some bikes. The Singleator comes with a push up spring, which should solve the problem.
    well i finally solved my problem, and it had nothing to do with tension.. it was the sram 8 speed powerlink which wouldn't let go of the Surly cog nicely.. strange eh?

    i removed it from the chain and linked it together again with the supplied shimano pin, problem solved.

    so if anyone was planning to use an 8 speed sram powerlink on a surly cog, be warned..

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigit
    well i finally solved my problem, and it had nothing to do with tension.. it was the sram 8 speed powerlink which wouldn't let go of the Surly cog nicely.. strange eh?

    i removed it from the chain and linked it together again with the supplied shimano pin, problem solved.

    so if anyone was planning to use an 8 speed sram powerlink on a surly cog, be warned..
    Makes sense, single speed cogs are much thicker than a 8 speed cog you would find on a normal cassette.
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  25. #25
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    maybe your cog is to close to the edge of the cassette body and isnt getting the grip it needs? any close up pics of cog alignment?
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Makes sense, single speed cogs are much thicker than a 8 speed cog you would find on a normal cassette.
    yeah but according to surly this combo is advised..

    http://surlybikes.com/parts/cassette_cog/

    and the chain is 8 speed as well off course and it runs fine over this cog.

    maybe chainreaction send the wrong powerlink.. a 9 speed instead of 8

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by paradigit
    yeah but according to surly this combo is advised..

    http://surlybikes.com/parts/cassette_cog/

    and the chain is 8 speed as well off course and it runs fine over this cog.

    maybe chainreaction send the wrong powerlink.. a 9 speed instead of 8

    9 speed has thinner outside , inside is the same .

  28. #28
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    Solved my problem with the Sette fixed tensioner. Can't shorten the chain without going to an 8-speed with half link. But I just got in from a 50 mile ride, didn't skip once so I'll stick with the 9 speed on there

    Thanks to all for the help.

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    Thanks for this post and info. I am having the same problem. I have checked and rechecked the alignment, changed chain rings, cogs, chains, and even freewheel and it still skips every now and again when under extreme pressure while climbing. I am using a spring tensioner and never though that could be the problem, so i will try that next.

    hatake, can you give more details on your forte modifcation.

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    I cut about ˝ of the Forte tensioner a) to shift it closer to the chain, and b) to shorten pulley arm since that part contributes to this tensioner’s very noisy characteristics, and c) to make the pulley closer to the cog, making it wrap even more. I also had a stubby hanger bolt in my junk bin, so used that and ditched original hanger bolt (pretty heavy), collar and spring. It just so happens that it pushes up as you tighten the hanger bolt. As long as it is tighten sufficiently, it will not come down loose.


    I should give a homebrew anodizing a shot.

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    Now with your description the first photos make sense, thanks. Seems kind of backward that it pushes up (effectively spinning ccw) when tightening the bolt (cw), however, if it works it works!!

    I may give it a try without cutting it down first and then if it works, I will either cut mine done or get the Sette.

  32. #32
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    [QUOTE=gasiorv]Now with your description the first photos make sense, thanks. Seems kind of backward that it pushes up (effectively spinning ccw) when tightening the bolt (cw), however, if it works it works!!
    [QUOTE]

    What was I thinking, you are exactly right. I tighten it firm, then back it out ever-so-slightly to give a sufficient chain slack. It has never loosen on me yet.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Makes sense, single speed cogs are much thicker than a 8 speed cog you would find on a normal cassette.
    True for some SS cogs, but Surly claims their cogs are compatible with 7-10 speed size chains.


    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    9 speed has thinner outside , inside is the same .
    Well, that's not entirely true, the ID of 9-10 speed chains are 1/128 less that 3/32 (11/128).

    Quote Originally Posted by paradigit
    well i finally solved my problem, and it had nothing to do with tension.. it was the sram 8 speed powerlink which wouldn't let go of the Surly cog nicely.. strange eh?

    i removed it from the chain and linked it together again with the supplied shimano pin, problem solved.

    so if anyone was planning to use an 8 speed sram powerlink on a surly cog, be warned.
    The problem is not just the Surly cog, it is also the mismatch between a Shimano IG 8 sp chain and the SRAM 8 sp Powerlink. The Powerlink is made for an SRAM 8 speed chain. The width of the roller part of the link, where the Powerlink connects, is about .1 mm thinner and the pin hole is about .1 mm larger than a Shimano IG chain. This can cause a Shimano IG chain with a Powerlink to bind on cogs, especially a Single Speed cog with longer unramped teeth; kind of a perfect storm for failure.
    Last edited by aka brad; 11-17-2009 at 12:23 AM.
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  34. #34
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    Had the same problem and the fix was to eliminate the tensioner altogether with a magic gear combo for the front ring / rear cog. There are a few posts and charts on this if you use the search function. I only had to change the front ring to a 32 and buy a chain, the rear freewheel was the right amount of teeth for the magic gear. Whole thing was $30 ro fix and I got the benefit of ditchin the draggy tensioner. Also used a burly KMC chain that did not stretch. Have been using that set up for 6 months with no skipping or chain dropping.

  35. #35
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    The problem is not just the Surly cog, it is also the mismatch between a Shimano IG 8 sp chain and the SRAM 8 sp Powerlink. The Powerlink is made for an SRAM 8 speed chain. The width of the roller part of the link, where the Powerlink connects, is about .1 mm thinner and the pin hole is about .1 mm larger than a Shimano IG chain. This can cause a Shimano IG chain with a Powerlink to bind on cogs, especially a Single Speed cog with longer unramped teeth; kind of a perfect storm for failure.[/QUOTE]

    ah that's probably why I was having a hard time to connect the powerlink together

    Thank for your info!

  36. #36
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    I want to try and shorten my chain by installing a half link and then modify my spring tensioner to push up. I am using a SRAM 8-speed chain. Will any 3/32" half link work or does it have to be a specific 8 speed half link? Where to get a half link, none of the local LBS have 3/32" half links and neither do any of the "big" on-line retailers.

  37. #37
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    Order two of these:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ss_T15_product

    And one of these in 3/32:
    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=22297

    Use the two master links to connect the half link into your chain. I've tried a lot of different master links and half links and have found this combination to work the best.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Order two of these:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...ss_T15_product

    And one of these in 3/32:
    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=22297

    Use the two master links to connect the half link into your chain. I've tried a lot of different master links and half links and have found this combination to work the best.
    Thanks for posting that, bm. I've tried "half links" before but they didn't play well with my 8-spd chain.

    I put "half links" in quote marks because they're not really half a link. Count the number of link pin holes in a half link -- there are 3. Then count the number of link pin holes in a length of regular chain with inner plates on both ends -- there are 4. So a "half link" is actually a "two-thirds link."

    Whatever.

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    I put "half links" in quote marks because they're not really half a link. Count the number of link pin holes in a half link -- there are 3. Then count the number of link pin holes in a length of regular chain with inner plates on both ends -- there are 4. So a "half link" is actually a "two-thirds link."
    Dude, really?

    A whole link is one set of inners, and one set of outers. It's 1" in total length, and joins on the inside at one end, and to the outside in the other. A half link joins to the inside on one end, and the outside on the other end, yet is only 1/2" long; ergo a half-link.

    How do you even figure there are three pin in a half link?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    I've tried "half links" before but they didn't play well with my 8-spd chain.
    The reason is, every 3/32 half link I tried, and I think I've tried them all, is slightly too wide to be used in a multispeed 3/32 chain. The master link I listed, however, is slightly wider than normal so they play nicely with the half link, and the slight added width isn't a problem with the narrower multispeed chains since the difference is so small.

    The KMC master links in the link above is nickel plated and very nicely made, unlike most BMX style master links. They'll also digest any half link out there while still working nicely with a multispeed chain. I highly recommend them. By the way, the Amazon vendor I listed above is about the only place I've found them available separately, and the price is great.

    The Gusset half link is another quality product. The entire thing is nickel plated, unlike most half links. They also sell it already joined to a set of inner plates, the reason being they can peen the ends of the pin for extra strength. Also, unlike other half links, the Gusset is the superior bushingless design.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Dude, really?

    A whole link is one set of inners, and one set of outers. It's 1" in total length, and joins on the inside at one end, and to the outside in the other. A half link joins to the inside on one end, and the outside on the other end, yet is only 1/2" long; ergo a half-link.

    How do you even figure there are three pin in a half link?
    You're right. Don't know what I was thinking. Must have been the alcohol talking last night...

    I did drawings and everything... thought I had world peace figured out too... for a little while anyway...

    Thanks for standing me back up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Must have been the alcohol talking last night...
    Always an acceptable excuse.

    What you're drinking, I want some.

  43. #43
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    6 hour endurance race today, just under 70 miles ridden, zero problems

  44. #44
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    6 hour endurance race today, just under 70 miles ridden, zero problems
    Whoa! Close to 70 miles in mid-November! You da man! (We don't even have 6 hours of daylight here in Oregon this time of year.)

    --Sparty
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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrat
    Jaybo... quit *****ing and move to Texas

  45. #45
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    i had the same problem with my Surly Singlator in push-down mode. i could not use it in push-up mode with a 32/18 ratio because the tensioner would not pick up all the chain slack. it would actually bottom-out on the chainstay and the chain would rub on the frame.

    my push-down spring failed on me and the chain started skipping on climbs. i had to put a 17t freewheel on instead and use the push-up spring and now i don't have that problem.

  46. #46
    Drinking the Slick_Juice
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    Quote Originally Posted by hatake
    I cut about ˝ of the Forte tensioner a) to shift it closer to the chain, and b) to shorten pulley arm since that part contributes to this tensioner’s very noisy characteristics, and c) to make the pulley closer to the cog, making it wrap even more. I also had a stubby hanger bolt in my junk bin, so used that and ditched original hanger bolt (pretty heavy), collar and spring. It just so happens that it pushes up as you tighten the hanger bolt. As long as it is tighten sufficiently, it will not come down loose.


    I should give a homebrew anodizing a shot.
    where did you get that hanger bolt, i want to try this with my forte tensioner
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  47. #47
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    (sorry to go bumping an old thread)

    Very glad I found this thread as I've been having this exact problem on my DB Mojito 29er and it's been slowly doing my head in! I thought it was down to the badly-assembled Shimano Deore hub I ended up with after my first freewheel locked up on me (warranty replacement), but I've since replaced the entire wheel with a Halo Freedom and the problem is still there! I'm not an off-road rider, the bike pretty much only gets me to work and back but other than the non-stop string of problems with the rear wheel I really like the bike and dig the SS thing a lot. But I can't even accelerate up a smooth gradient without the chain constantly going *chunk* *chunk* *chunk* on me. Kinda dangerous when I'm trying to put on a burst of speed to get across a busy road.

    I'm gonna try and sort out the chain tensioner tomorrow and maybe shorten the chain a bit as well. Here's hoping!

  48. #48
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    I shortened the chain using a half link and then reversed my spring tensioner so it pushed up (actually removed the spring and just tighted the tensioner in the proper tensioned up position) and it has worked great, no slipping since then. Thanks for all the info, great thread.

  49. #49
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    I did the necessary surgery today, got myself a chain tool and shortened the chain by a link, then bolted the tensioner directly to the frame in pull-up mode. Hopefully this'll sort me out. If not, then I may have to go have a cry.


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