Opinions on my new chain tensioner design?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Opinions on my new chain tensioner design?

    I just made up a prototype set of chain tensioners. They weigh in less than 9 grams a piece. They have a bottle opener built in, an idea which i kindly borrowed lol. The chain tensioners aren't side-specific, which means that on one side of the bike, the opener is on the bottom, and on the other side, it's on the top. This makes it convenient if you have your bike right-side up, or up-side down and are trying to open a bottle. They are aluminum, and i put a polished finish on the exposed surfaces. These are just prototypes mind you, so the finished ones will be much cleaner.
    I'm just looking for some opinions on them... got any?
    good or bad are appreciated.
    PS: dont mind my beat up PUSS.


  2. #2
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    Looks sharp (literally and figuratively). Not sure the market really needs another tensioner, but those are nice. Maybe do some bling ano colours...

  3. #3
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    i suppose i could put some radii on some of the sharp corners. Didnt think they'd be in a typical injury inducive area though.
    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    That would be pretty cool.

    "My bike isn't just a bike... it is also a bottle opener."
    A medical student who wandered into Iowa

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSSasky
    some bling ano colours...
    Shove it with that crap....let the 90's die already
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  6. #6
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    Gorgeous. I want one! (Seriously, what do I have to do?)

    Looks pretty thick, getting enough threads into the QR nut?

    And I guess on the non-drive side, you'd have to either turn the bike or the beer upside down....
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  7. #7
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    I like, polished is nice, elegant design

    will those also work with front facing horizontal drops?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by j e SS e
    Gorgeous. I want one! (Seriously, what do I have to do?)

    Looks pretty thick, getting enough threads into the QR nut?

    And I guess on the non-drive side, you'd have to either turn the bike or the beer upside down....
    Thanks!
    It is about .150" thick. I've made ones that were counterbored to be a little thinner in the past, and they've actually bent from tightening the QR. This i think is a happy medium. My QR nut fits just fine, although a QR for a tandem bike is reccomended for anything with chain tensioners, IMHO.
    As for the opener thing, here's my reasoning:
    if you lay your bike down or lean it against something, most of the time the drive side is up to prevent damage to the drivetrain (not super neccesary on a SS, but hey, most of us came from gear decent, and old habbits die hard). This way all you have to do is pull the bike upright to use the opener.
    On the other hand, when you're wrenching on your bike or if you have a habbit of keeping your bike upsidedown, you can still open your beer on the non-drive side. I could put one on both sides of each tensioner like someone else does with their heavy steel ones, but i'm a minimalist, and the goal was to make them as light as possible, because frankly, i'd rather not have tensioners at all if i could avoid it without spending $$$$. Ok, fine, i'm a weight weinie!
    This was one of the things i was hoping to get an opinion on. Would you guys rather see them both in the same direction?
    And as for getting a set, i suppose i could run off a limited amount if some people were interested in trying them out. Figure maybe $15 a set for the first 10 sets so i can get some feedback?
    These are fully CNC'd aluminum, hand polished, and stainless hardware will be included.
    Manufactured in my home garage!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by doco
    I like, polished is nice, elegant design

    will those also work with front facing horizontal drops?
    got a picture? if not, i'm sure i can whip some up that will work.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    got a picture? if not, i'm sure i can whip some up that will work.
    Are we talking about the semi horizontal drop like on the Cross Check?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by J-No
    Are we talking about the semi horizontal drop like on the Cross Check?
    if so, these probably wont work, but i have some ideas.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    ...Figure maybe $15 a set for the first 10 sets so i can get some feedback?...
    They look good to me. PM me if you want to sell a set.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  13. #13
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    Any experience with the screw wandering? Did you locktite it or once set does it tsya there?

    I'd be interested in a set.

    Cheers,
    Marty

  14. #14
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    They look great!!

    I already have some for my only track end frame. But boy if I saw this 2 days earlier you would have a customer.

    But a bottle opener is unnecessary. SPD's work fine!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by marty_hd
    Any experience with the screw wandering? Did you locktite it or once set does it tsya there?

    I'd be interested in a set.

    Cheers,
    Marty
    that screw is just there for demonstration purposes. i'll be ordering some stainless steel replacements on monday, and jam nuts will be included. But i've been using a similar set on my bike that i made years ago without a jam nut, and they dont move very much if at all.

    If anyone wants a set, shoot me a pm with your zip code and/or address and i'll shoot you a price shipped. My zip is 92027 if you want to check yourself, and i'll probably mail them via usps priority unless you want something different.
    Dan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    Thanks!
    It is about .150" thick. I've made ones that were counterbored to be a little thinner in the past, and they've actually bent from tightening the QR. This i think is a happy medium. My QR nut fits just fine, although a QR for a tandem bike is reccomended for anything with chain tensioners, IMHO.
    As for the opener thing, here's my reasoning:
    if you lay your bike down or lean it against something, most of the time the drive side is up to prevent damage to the drivetrain (not super neccesary on a SS, but hey, most of us came from gear decent, and old habbits die hard). This way all you have to do is pull the bike upright to use the opener.
    On the other hand, when you're wrenching on your bike or if you have a habbit of keeping your bike upsidedown, you can still open your beer on the non-drive side. I could put one on both sides of each tensioner like someone else does with their heavy steel ones, but i'm a minimalist, and the goal was to make them as light as possible, because frankly, i'd rather not have tensioners at all if i could avoid it without spending $$$$. Ok, fine, i'm a weight weinie!
    This was one of the things i was hoping to get an opinion on. Would you guys rather see them both in the same direction?
    And as for getting a set, i suppose i could run off a limited amount if some people were interested in trying them out. Figure maybe $15 a set for the first 10 sets so i can get some feedback?
    These are fully CNC'd aluminum, hand polished, and stainless hardware will be included.
    Manufactured in my home garage!
    No I totally dig it as it is. Though I use the Surlys, I do find them bulky and heavy. And it's annoying having to use the little washer with a QR axle.

    Every bit on my KM is polished (all my bikes, actually), so this is perfect.

    Thanks for being.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by j e SS e
    No I totally dig it as it is. Though I use the Surlys, I do find them bulky and heavy. And it's annoying having to use the little washer with a QR axle.

    Every bit on my KM is polished (all my bikes, actually), so this is perfect.

    Thanks for being.
    Cool, thanks man!
    Glad to see my work is worthy of such a mythical creature as a Karate Monkey!

    I also am hooked on polishing stuff. I don't know why, i guess I've always been attracted to shiny things.

  18. #18
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    hey guys, for whoever's interested, shipping is $4.95 american flat rate to anyone in the US, and $12.95 or international. This is shipped via USPS Priority, so it'll get to you quick, at least stateside. If anyone wants a different shipping method, let me know.

  19. #19
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    hardware will be here tomorrow, so i'm still on schedule for getting these out on Wed. for whoever ordered them

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=j e SS e

    Every bit on my KM is polished (all my bikes, actually), so this is perfect.

    Stuff it with polished already. Let the 80s BMX days die.
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  21. #21
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    for those who dont want polished, i can do a brushed aluminum finish instead. Anodizing would be great, but for a few pieces, it would cost a ton.

  22. #22
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    here's kind of a "How It's Made" post for the tensioners. The whole process isnt shown, just the milling. The last finished set is Marty_hd's, going in the mail first thing tomorrow.

    Milling in the thickness:



    Milling the outer profile:



    milling the inner pocket:


    Finish milling the outer profile and inner pocket:


    after polishing and drill/tapping:

  23. #23
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    SWEET!!!!

    Are you milling that by hand or CNC?

    Marty

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by marty_hd
    SWEET!!!!

    Are you milling that by hand or CNC?

    Marty
    everything in the pictures is on the CNC mill, but the other operations (drilling, tapping, some minor milling) are done on my manual mill for now.

  25. #25
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    Great bike (PUSS!), good job but I don't see any improvement over the markets offerings at $10-30. Essentially this is a milled out stock Bianchi tensioner with a Surly/Spot bottle opener. For a DIY project, props, but for marketing it, you'll need to do something about that size. I use MKS tensioners and they trump over anything on the market as they're super compact and almost invisible. The stock Bianchi's are just a tad smaller and less one bolt than the disastrously large Profile tensioners which must be the ugliest on the market.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by illnacord
    Great bike (PUSS!), good job but I don't see any improvement over the markets offerings at $10-30. Essentially this is a milled out stock Bianchi tensioner with a Surly/Spot bottle opener. For a DIY project, props, but for marketing it, you'll need to do something about that size. I use MKS tensioners and they trump over anything on the market as they're super compact and almost invisible. The stock Bianchi's are just a tad smaller and less one bolt than the disastrously large Profile tensioners which must be the ugliest on the market.
    i think you may be thrown off by the photo, these are pretty small, and deffinately alot smaller and lighter than the stock bianchi's, and they're going to be a fraction of the weight of the MKS tensioners. At around 8.5 grams each without the screws, i dont think you'll find a much lighter set out there period, nevermind one that is QR compatible w/o washers, and expecially not one with a bottle opener.
    I'll admit i'm a weight weinie when it comes to parts that dont offer real sructural integrity to the bike.

  27. #27
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    sweet design. with your machine talent, why not make something that the market won't? I not sure about the feasability or difficulty of the job but I sure would like to see an independent machinist (i.e. kooka, carumba, ac) make a set of machined 5 arm cranks like the older race face turbines with the smaller bolt pattern. This would allow people to run smaller front chainrings like 30t. Have you seen what some of the older ones' bring on ebay? obviously there is market for them.

    For an example, look at this thread: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=528473

  28. #28
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    ISuckatriding,

    Very nice. One thing about the Surly or Redline tensioners is that they have two holes for varying axle position in the dropouts. Any thoughts in that regard?

    Also, the above tensioners have a small notched piece of metal that the adjustment screw seats in to fit the dropout. How well does your tensioner work without them?

    Just curious, as the first time I used the Surly Tuggnut with that setup -- and the wimpy 4mm adjustment screw -- I bent the crap out of the bolt as I tightened the axle nut... and the main body of the Tuggnut shifted up while the seat stayed firmly in place. Not impressed. Never had that happen with the 6mm Redline adjustment bolts with the locknut like you have.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruso414
    sweet design. with your machine talent, why not make something that the market won't? I not sure about the feasability or difficulty of the job but I sure would like to see an independent machinist (i.e. kooka, carumba, ac) make a set of machined 5 arm cranks like the older race face turbines with the smaller bolt pattern. This would allow people to run smaller front chainrings like 30t. Have you seen what some of the older ones' bring on ebay? obviously there is market for them.

    For an example, look at this thread: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=528473
    hmm, thanks for the idea, i'll look into it for sure

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by racerdave
    ISuckatriding,

    Very nice. One thing about the Surly or Redline tensioners is that they have two holes for varying axle position in the dropouts. Any thoughts in that regard?

    Also, the above tensioners have a small notched piece of metal that the adjustment screw seats in to fit the dropout. How well does your tensioner work without them?

    Just curious, as the first time I used the Surly Tuggnut with that setup -- and the wimpy 4mm adjustment screw -- I bent the crap out of the bolt as I tightened the axle nut... and the main body of the Tuggnut shifted up while the seat stayed firmly in place. Not impressed. Never had that happen with the 6mm Redline adjustment bolts with the locknut like you have.
    Thanks!
    As far as the dual holes, i felt that this had enough adjustment for most people to not need it. I thought it would have been uneccesary, but then again, that's only my opinion and i'm sure there are some people out there that would prefer it the other way. If the screws were a bit longer, it would reach the entire dropout on my Bianchi PUSS. As it stands, it reaches the front, to a little less than an inch back if you remove the jam nuts (how i run them). For reference, a 32-16 will put your wheel back approximately .5" farther than a 32-20, so you have a pretty wide range of gearing you can use, assuming you dont like to run your wheel at the very end of the dropouts.
    As for tweaking the screw, i havent had any issues but i run a QR, which i kinda designed these to work well with. But with a bolt on wheel, i think this would work better than a screw in the center using that notched piece of metal. My reasoning is that when you tighten the axle on something like the surly, it is using the tensioner as leverage to bend the screw. Since my screw is offset in the direction of rotation on each side, it kinda acts more like a wheel chock instead of a limp noodle. Kind of like pushing something with the end of a stick instead of the side of a stick, much more rigid. Also, the rectangular piece on the inside of the tensioner where the axle goes through keeps the tensioner from spinning in the dropout.

  31. #31
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    just remember....

    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    hmm, thanks for the idea, i'll look into it for sure
    who suggested it. so that means I got dibs on the first set you wanna sell.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruso414
    who suggested it. so that means I got dibs on the first set you wanna sell.
    haha deal. Would square or isis style be prefered?

  33. #33
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    I say square taper but maybe do a poll to see where to consensus is. I think isis might be difficult to tool.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruso414
    I say square taper but maybe do a poll to see where to consensus is. I think isis might be difficult to tool.
    square might actually be worse to tool. i can make a broach for the isis myself. The taper part of the square taper would be a pain.

  35. #35
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    Every tug that uses bolts to back up on the fork ends have always damaged my frame (bolt starts to dig into the fork end) and have been a pain to adjust. I like the Redline/Sinz/etc style that uses an aluminum plate to push up against both parts of the fork end. Easy to adjust and doesn't mess up the bike.

    Also, bottle openers? really? I never understood the stupid frame-mounted bottle opener crap.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slurry
    ...Also, bottle openers? really? I never understood the stupid frame-mounted bottle opener crap.
    Real men use their eye sockets
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slurry
    Every tug that uses bolts to back up on the fork ends have always damaged my frame (bolt starts to dig into the fork end) and have been a pain to adjust. I like the Redline/Sinz/etc style that uses an aluminum plate to push up against both parts of the fork end. Easy to adjust and doesn't mess up the bike.

    Also, bottle openers? really? I never understood the stupid frame-mounted bottle opener crap.
    i dunno, 3 years damage free for me, aside from a 4mm spot of paint missing where each screw contacts the frame. I think i scratched the bike more than that the first time i rode it. have run the type with the center screw and aluminum paint and i think that has actually removed more paint than these.
    My tensioners have those bosses that fit inside of the dropout and keeps them from rotating, so the screw always hits in the same spot. also, I do not use a single tool when adjusting my tension. I tighten the screws by hand. I set my drive side tension, then i push the wheel to the side and tighten the non drive side screw untill the wheel is centered when i let go. Sometimes you need to readjust both sides since the tension changes when you center the wheel, but it still litterally takes seconds to do. After that, i just torque down the QR and i'm good to go. I dont even run a jam nut on mine and i havent lost a screw or had my wheel move yet. I also run pretty rocky terrain.
    I'll be happy to take a picture of my dropout ends if anyone has any concerns.


    As for the bottle opener, it may not be entirely practical, but it symbolizes a love for beer, which i think goes along well with a good ride and good riding buddies. I never end a ride without an ice cold beer.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Real men use their eye sockets
    i thought that's what the taint was for?

  39. #39
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    PM sent. Any more available soon?

  40. #40
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    Yep! i'll make up some more this coming week.

  41. #41
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    took a new picture. i suck at photography so dont criticize too much lol

    I will be offering anodizing on these in the following week. Pretty much any color.

    I have a bunch of sets finished, so if anyone would like some, shoot me a message.
    Unfortunately, due to the amount of hand work that goes into these, i'm forced to raise the price to $20 a set to cover costs.
    Hopefully you all understand.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    took a new picture. i suck at photography so dont criticize too much lol

    I will be offering anodizing on these in the following week. Pretty much any color.

    I have a bunch of sets finished, so if anyone would like some, shoot me a message.
    Unfortunately, due to the amount of hand work that goes into these, i'm forced to raise the price to $20 a set to cover costs.
    Hopefully you all understand.
    Does that mean my set is in the mail!! I will post pictures of mine installed once I have 'em.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Does that mean my set is in the mail!! I will post pictures of mine installed once I have 'em.
    yes sir!
    I'd assume you'd get them today or tomorrow. Pictures would be awesome!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    yes sir!
    I'd assume you'd get them today or tomorrow. Pictures would be awesome!
    I got them Friday, but no installed pictures till Wednesday when I get my bike back from the shop

  45. #45
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    I put these on my 1x1 last weekend. They are much lighter then the Surly Tugnut. Not quite half the weight, but close. So far so good.

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