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 reused my chain that came from a 7-spd drivetrain plus a Forte SS conversion kit from Performance Bikes. Originally I wanted to see if I could do away with the chain tensioner. but the chain was a tad loose--no way around it, though a half-link might have made it just right. The Forte kit came with a spiffy chain tensioner, so I installed it. Now it seems the chain is a tad too tight. By tight, I mean turning the crank by hand feels stiff and if I try to spin the crank backwards, it won't even spin freely. When turning the crank by hand clockwise, everythings seems to spin normally with no binding or excessive noise, but I'm not sure if the noise I hear is normal.

    I read customer reviews on the Forte SS kit, and it looks like the tensioner sping is stiff from the get go. I have it so that it is almost parallel to the chainstay. The tensioner spring wants to push the chain downward, and I've read that a trick is to use a zip tie or a velcro strip and loop it around the tensioner arm and chainstay so that you can ease the downward force of the tensioner. I think it ruins the aesthetics of the SS set-up! I was wondering if the tightness is normal and will go away after "break-in"? What is the right tension?

  2. #2
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    The tightness will go away as the chain stretches, however your BB and freehub may not last that long.

    Caution...


    I can shift, just not my gears.
    It's all in the mind.

  3. #3
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    That sounds like it is way too tight to me. There should be no binding whatsoever and I like to run about a half inch of slack. Too tight and its going to destroy your chain, BB and freehub.

  4. #4
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    I ground off the pin that goes against the dropout stop. Then I could set the tension and tighten it up and it stayed without moving. I got smart though and now use a zip tye to the stay without the spring.

  5. #5
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    I decided to go with a zip tie to ease the tension on the chain. I really don't like how it takes away the clean look, but oh well.

    For anyone interested in the Forte SS kit, it's pretty decent kit for under $30. Performance usually has it for $30, but I got it for $25 at the store when I asked about any discounts.

    1niceride: I thought if you remove the tension spring, the tensioner arm would just flop downwards. Not sure if you have the same Forte tensioner as me, but when installed, the tensioner arm wants to go down due to the tension of the spring. This downward force is what causes the jockey wheel to press down on the chain, which becomes taught. Apparently you can set the tension, but I can't set it so that the arm holds it's tension where the chain isn't so tight. Hence the zip tie.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by djork View Post
    I decided to go with a zip tie to ease the tension on the chain. I really don't like how it takes away the clean look, but oh well.

    For anyone interested in the Forte SS kit, it's pretty decent kit for under $30. Performance usually has it for $30, but I got it for $25 at the store when I asked about any discounts.

    1niceride: I thought if you remove the tension spring, the tensioner arm would just flop downwards. Not sure if you have the same Forte tensioner as me, but when installed, the tensioner arm wants to go down due to the tension of the spring. This downward force is what causes the jockey wheel to press down on the chain, which becomes taught. Apparently you can set the tension, but I can't set it so that the arm holds it's tension where the chain isn't so tight. Hence the zip tie.
    I run the chain over the pulley and use the tie to adjust tension without a spring. Check out all the pics in the SS forum. You might see something that will work for you.

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