Chain tension issues with track ends- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Chain tension issues with track ends

    I've got a SS bike with track ends and I run redline chain tensioners to get everything nice and snug. The problem is over the course of a 20 mile ride, it seems like the chain tension goes down. I've checked and the lock nut on the tensions are not moving, so my first thought is chain stretch. How much stretch should their be? I've got about 250 miles on the chain, so I would think it should be done stretching by now?

    The other issue I have is a tight spot in my chain as I rotate the cranks through. I've isolated it to the rear hub as it seems to occur once per hub revolution and is indifferent to the chainring centering. I've also tried several cogs from cheap stamped steel to a nice surly cog. It's a pretty cheap rear hub, so is it possible that it is not completely round? Should I just tear the free hub apart to make sure its not a bearing or some other issue?

    Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Chains will gradually elongate over time but not noticeably so on a 20 mile ride- not sure what's going on there.

    There will almost always be a tight and loose spot as the cranks rotate and it is usually the front chainring that is the culprit. It's not a big deal, just set chain tension snug- not tight, in the tightest spot.

  3. #3
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    I'm wondering a bit if the chain tension issue is paint chipping off the back of the track dropout causing the tensioner to shift?

    I thought at first the tight spot was the chain ring, but it only occurs with each full rotation of the rear hub, not the chainring. I'm not super worried about the tight spot, mostly about the chain stretch/tension issues.

  4. #4
    openwound
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    A chain doesn't stop stretching. It will keep stretching until it's time to replace it due to the wear that is actually occurring and appears in the form of "stretching."

    I would have to doubt that the issue is with the rear hub. Even if it is cheap, I would think that it would have to be visibly wobbly in order to cause a tight spot. Forgive me for doubting, but I'd take a second look at centering the chain ring.

    Do you just have the bolts of the axle against the dropout? Are there washers? I've heard of folks getting knurled washers to help get a little more "bite."

    How bad is the amount of slack you're getting after a ride? Is it such that you can't ride without adjusting it for fear of dropping it? Or is it just a little? A little bit of chain slack is not a horrible thing.
    -- let's ride

  5. #5
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    If the tensioner is shifting, then your wheel would not be centered. Check that to see if that is the culprit.

    What kind of an axle do you have? Bolt on? Quick Release? If QR, what brand?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the help everyone. The axle is bolt on and it doesn't appear that the wheel is no longer centered, so that seems to remove paint chipping from the equation.

    I'll double check the chainring to be certain. The slack varies depending on how hard the trail is and how much I'm torquing the chain during the ride. The chain has never come off during a ride, but has gotten quite loose so that I want to tighten it as soon as I get back to the car.

    The bolts for the axle are against the chaintugs, which are then against the dropout. No washers but the nuts are knurled and have good bite.

  7. #7
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    What chain are you running. I have found that "some" cheaper chains tend to do this. I switch from a SRAM PC-1 to a KMC 710XL, and the floppy chain issue went away.

    By the way, I have track ends like you with a bolt on hub.

  8. #8
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    I've also noticed that phenomena with my fixed gear where the chain will loosen after putting the wheel back on. It's got horizontal (front-facing) dropouts, and I use a Surly chain tug. It's usually only on the initial ride after installing the wheel again after putting a new tube in or something. I simply attribute it to the chain tug finally setting in tight against the back of the dropout after pedaling a bit because the chain tug wasn't completely tight against the frame. Really not a big deal, IMO.
    Sometimes, I question the value of my content.

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