Dinglespeed without a chain tensioner- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Nov 2016

    Dinglespeed without a chain tensioner

    I recently converted my SS to a dinglespeed so I can ride through town to the trails at a reasonable speed. I went with 32/17 and 30/19 gearing. (2 teeth change) The problem is chain tension. I have an EBB so adjusting chain tension between the two speeds is a pain. Right now the 32/17 high gear is a bit tight and the 30/19 is too loose. I haven't thrown a chain or skipped a tooth while climbing yet so I think it's ok for now. I will however want to change my gearing in the future. Will probably run a 33/16 or 34/15 high gear. Thant would be going from a 2 tooth difference to a 3 or 4 tooth difference. With that big of a difference between low and high gear I'll have to adjust chain tension with the EBB every time or run a chain tensioner. At least thats what my chain length math says. But math can only say so much so I figured I'd ask around for some real world experience.

    What gearing do you guys run on your dinglespeeds?
    Do you get away with not having to adjust tension or run a chain tensioner?

    I did a quick writeup about my dinglespeed setup including a little excel spreadsheet tool for estimating chain length difference between high and low speeds. Heres a link to the blog post and theres a link to my main page in my signature. Also, not sure if I should post dinglespeed stuff in the SS forum. If theres a better place to post this, let me know.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Velobike's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by legopro87 View Post
    ...What gearing do you guys run on your dinglespeeds?
    Do you get away with not having to adjust tension or run a chain tensioner?...
    You're doing it right.

    There will always be a little variation in tension between the 2 ratios.

    There's 2 reasons.

    Slight differences in the accuracy between the chainrings and rear sprockets (or wear), and if you're lucky these may cancel out, if not then they add up.

    Then there's the different angles the chains come off the radius of the ring and sprocket means there's going to be a slight difference in lengths (trigonometry).

    Set the tension up for the tightest combination, and the slack on the other should be ok**. That's so long as you are running proper singlespeed chainrings and sprockets, and also using a singlespeed chain. (Remember that parts intended for a derailleur bike is designed to unship the chain easily, and you don't want that).

    Presumably you have checked your chainlines are straight.

    Because of the variations you can get in machining accuracy, I no longer bother trying to calculate ideals for tension. I just have a few different combinations (Rings, sprockets, both new and slightly worn) available around the required gear ratio, and use whatever works. After all you're always in the wrong gear in single speed, so does it matter if the ratio is a couple of gear inches out from what you wanted?

    And yes, dinglespeed belongs in the SS forum because you have no means of changing gear on the fly.

    BTW I run 32/22 and 22/32 on my fatbike, the latter being my deep doodoo gear.

    **Slack on a proper singlespeed setup has to be pretty gross to be a problem. Proper tension feels better, but is not essential. Third world bicycles are usually singlespeed, grossly overloaded, and it's not uncommon to see the chain hanging low.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Velobike nails it. I've done a lot of dingle and even tringle speed tinkering, mostly for touring. Chain Line is key. If that's good chain angle will be the major player in tension.
    Widest spread I've done is 30/19 paired 24/25. Tringle went 30/17 28/19 and 24/23. Check the link below for some dingle motivation and detail on setups. Dingle's are awesome.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Dingles are awesome! Thanks for the gearing info and link to the other thread. I think Ill post my bike there too for future dinglespeed enthusiasts.

    I really like the idea of doing a 32/22 and 22/32 or similar setup for the exact same chain length but that would give me a gear far too low for what I ride now. Though it would be a cool way to setup a diy street trials bike I've been thinking about. Crazy low gear for practicing trials skills and a higher gear for riding to the park.

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