Chain, how tight is too tight?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    New question here. Chain, how tight is too tight?

    I just replaced my chain and noticed that the new one is a lot tighter than the old one. Yes, I know that the chain will stretch a bit but the new one is very tight.

    If I push the top of the chain down it barelly moves, is this normal?

  2. #2
    hot like a box of fire
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    the rule of thumb as it's been relayed to me is that 1/2 an inch of vertical play is optimal.

  3. #3
    King Pin
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    Smile

    I like to forcefully spin the cranks backasswards and have 'em turn three or four times......

  4. #4
    paintbucket
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    If it binds its too tight. If it falls off its too loose. Everything else is optimal.
    When the going gets weird its bedtime.

  5. #5
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    Sink your teeth into this...

    This one has been debated here before but here's my new take on it. If your chain is adjusted to where it's relatively tight (no slack) when standing idle, in most cases the bottom half of the chain will go slack the instant you apply light-moderate pressure in a pedal stroke. This is ideal to me. The only draw back I can see to this tighter chain theory is a little bit of tension on the freewheel when coasting. What do ya think?

    Kevin

  6. #6
    Am I getting too bulky?
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by knobbytracks
    What do ya think?

    Kevin
    That's actually pretty logical. Except that I don't think he's got any adjustment capability, so he's got what he's got.

    For now. At least the chain fits.
    I gotta roll, can't stand still, got a flame in my heart, can't get my fill.

  7. #7
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    I don't have a mean of tensioning the chain other than the ring/cog combination. I'm already using a half link and don't know if adding another one will be a wise move, and adding a normal link will probably be too much.

  8. #8
    no gears, no tears
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL
    I don't have a mean of tensioning the chain other than the ring/cog combination. I'm already using a half link and don't know if adding another one will be a wise move, and adding a normal link will probably be too much.
    It should loosen up a bit after the first ride or too. When i setup my 32:15 combo the chain was quite tight but after an hour or too of riding it loosened up.

  9. #9
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    After 3hrs of riding there's not much difference on the tension. I went ahead and installed a second half link and now the chain has too much slap and the chain falls with little effort.

    I'm considering replacing the 18t cog with a 17t hoping that one less tooth will decrease the amount of tension.

    Any source for a cheap 9sp compatible 17t cog?

    Also my BB has developed a "clunk" when pedaling. I believe that the extra tension had something to do with it, it has some play in the spindle so I guess that a new BB is also needed to keep the bike in top shape.

    Any recommendation for an affordable ISIS BB?

  10. #10
    semi-evolved simian
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL
    After 3hrs of riding there's not much difference on the tension. I went ahead and installed a second half link and now the chain has too much slap and the chain falls with little effort.

    I'm considering replacing the 18t cog with a 17t hoping that one less tooth will decrease the amount of tension.

    Any source for a cheap 9sp compatible 17t cog?

    Also my BB has developed a "clunk" when pedaling. I believe that the extra tension had something to do with it, it has some play in the spindle so I guess that a new BB is also needed to keep the bike in top shape.

    Any recommendation for an affordable ISIS BB?
    Dropping a tooth is going to have the same effect as adding a half link, that ain't going to fix your problem. I'd say that you're so close that your best bet is going to be filing a mm off your axle or into your dropout. That worked great for me. Had the axle with the filed side forward until the chain stretched, then I'd turn it around and take the slack up. It doesn't take much filing at all to take up a lot of slack.

    Also the clunk may not be in your BB, it could just be the chain snapping into place on the chainring. I had the same thing when my chain was too tight, nothing wrong with the BB though.
    Last edited by Mine'sAPint; 05-20-2004 at 10:17 AM. Reason: more stuff

  11. #11
    USB Rep'n
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantrider
    It should loosen up a bit after the first ride or too. When i setup my 32:15 combo the chain was quite tight but after an hour or too of riding it loosened up.
    that's a pretty tall gear for off road. Where are you riding a 32x15?
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  12. #12
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    Mine'sAPint, could you elaborate on the filing? It seems it's the only way to deal with it.

  13. #13
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    You might get lucky

    Dropping a tooth is equivalent to adding slightly less that one-half of a half-link to the chain. ~.24", but that makes a large difference in tension.
    Last edited by pacman; 05-20-2004 at 11:05 AM. Reason: typing

  14. #14
    semi-evolved simian
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiRt DeViL
    Mine'sAPint, could you elaborate on the filing? It seems it's the only way to deal with it.
    Sure, I just filed a flat (probably removed about a millimeter of material) onto each end of my hollow QR axle. You only need to file the bit of the axle that actually sits in the dropout. That will allow you to pull the axle forward an extra millimeter which should have you at perfect chain tension.

    I'll try and take a picture when I get home if that will help.

    Edit: OK, here's a link to a rather more extreme version of what I did. I didn't take off anything like this much metal. I didn't breach the "wall" of the hollow axle.
    Clicky clicky

  15. #15
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    Thanks, appreciated!

  16. #16
    mtbr member
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    Going from 18 teeth to 17 teeth is equivalent to shortening the chain stay by 3MM. So if you don't want to file try cogs first.

  17. #17
    Rollin' a fatty Moderator
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    That's exactly what I have in mind, don't want to screw my SRAM hubs by filing the axle.

    Don't get me wrong the filing is a very nice solution but will only try it as a last resort effort, well not really, the last resort will be an ENO hub but until they have it disk compatible is out of the question.

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