Chain Tension - How tight is too tight?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Chain Tension - How tight is too tight?

    I have what seems to be perfect length in my chain - the rear hub slides right into the dropouts without me pulling but the chain is definitely tight once everything is in-place. What's the rule of thumb?

  2. #2
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    As long as the chain doesn't fly off once you hit the gnar gnar, and as long as it doesn't bind and make moving the pedals difficult, the chain tension is fine.

    A few exceptions:

    Fixed gear: You want the chain to be pretty tight. It's no fun feeling that extra-loose section of the crank rotation every so often. It just feels "off."

    Bad chainline: If your chainline is pretty bad, you can use a 1/8" chain (if your ring and cog are 3/32"), and you should tighten up the chain a bit. This allows the chain to travel in a straighter line because there's a bit more side-to-side movement along the ring and cog. An extra-tight chain will both help prevent throwing the chain and also prevent the chain from moving laterally along the ring or cog (if you're using an oversized chain).
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  3. #3
    surly inbred
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarasota View Post
    What's the rule of thumb? :
    Tight = too tight.

  4. #4
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    What's worst case scenario...stressing out bottom bracket bearings / races?

  5. #5
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    I was always check for 1/8" play either up or down before I tighten everything down.
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  6. #6
    The perfessor
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    I read that the you should grab the chain 1/2 way between the crank and the cog (front / back) and the chain should only move 1" when you wiggle it top to bottom.........thats served me just fine for over a year now............
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  7. #7
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    Tight's tight.
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  8. #8
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    The local track bike mech say's......If you hold your bike sideways and spin the crank and wheel without the chain coming off then it's fine. He was in favor of a fairly loose chain tension. I go in between loose and tight.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by monzie View Post
    Tight's tight.

    That's what she said.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarasota View Post
    What's worst case scenario...stressing out bottom bracket bearings / races?
    Also extra strain on the freehub bearings, increased rate of wear on chain, chain ring and rear gear. You want a little slack.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

  11. #11
    ballbuster
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    Also, be sure to check with your cranks throughout the complete pedal stroke. Chainrings are almost never round. Make sure the tightest spot is not too tight.

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