Tight chain question- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tight chain question

    I found a magic gear for my bike with vertical drop outs. I was at the bike shop today trying a 17 tooth Chris King cog coupled with a 38 front chainring. I was about a 16th of an inch off from hitting the pinhole. My friend who works there said since it was a brand new chain I was using to put it together and push the wheel down in the dropout and it would stretch slightly in the first hundred miles and it would be perfect. It is pretty tight right now but it rides nice and quiet. There is no slack whatsoever at the moment with a brand new out of the box chain. Will this hurt anything running it like this until it stretches slightly? I'm sure once it stretches a small amount it will lose some of its tension. The wheel fit inside the dropout but I had to push down a little bit to seat it.
    Last edited by iowamtb; 09-05-2015 at 06:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    So after you installed the chain did you manage to get the axle to sit properly in the drop outs or did you secure the axle with it pushed down? If it's pushed down, my primary concern would be the axle seating and marring the dropouts.

    I'm curious if anyone has any input about new chains stretching. If this new chain stretches, is it normal or is it premature wear?

  3. #3
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    The axle sat in the dropouts but didn't sit all the,way in maybe halfway in? Maybe a touch more. I pushed the wheel in to seat it then clamped it down. I am guessing I pushed it down another 1/8 inch or a little more. I rode the bike around parking lot and it pedaled smooth and quiet.
    Last edited by iowamtb; 09-05-2015 at 08:09 PM.

  4. #4
    nothing to see here
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    The new chain should settle in a bit, rather quickly. Having that sort of tension isn't great for your bearings, particularly the freehub bearings.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  5. #5
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    Try this idea... Get a new chain and an old chain from your local shop plus a bunch quick links. Cut both chains into sections of 8 to 10 links.

    Start with sections from the old chain mounted using quick links. If the chain is slightly loose replace a couple sections using segments from the new chain to tighten the system. Try to keep the layout even so the chain alternates between new and old at an even rate.

    Provided you can get the segmented chain working you can keep it in proper tension by pulling out worn segments and putting in new chain segments periodically as wear progresses.

  6. #6
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    Or what if I lightly "cleaned up" my dropouts with a file to allow a little slack in the axle. I am talking about just cleaning up the paint so to speak. Maybe filing 1/16 inch away? I am going fir a ride this morning and I will see what happens.

  7. #7
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    Update after a 30 mile gravel ride this morning the rear wheel now will sit all the way in the dropout unassisted. Yes the chain still has no droop but I can still move it up and down a half inch or so. It just doesn't sag. But the fact that I no longer has to be seated in the dropout by hand is encouragjng. And the wheel spins nice and free as do the cranks on a backspin. Stoked to not only have found a magic gear combo but also very close to what I wanted to run anyways. Winner winner chicken dinner lol!

  8. #8
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    If you use your hand and spin the cranks backwards, how many times does it spin around? It should spin 2-3 times easily. If not then the chain is too tight.

    You need to fling the cranks so they spin by themselves.

  9. #9
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    I am not sure but everything has loosened up some since my ride. I know it was too tight. That was not my question. I just wondered about running it like that until the chain stretched. The chain fit was Damm near perfect but not quite. It is loosening up as the chain works in and I know it will loosen up a little more before long. I feel much better after my ride this morning and seeing how the wheel now seats without any extra force. It was almost fully seated without force initially. I could have fit a paper match stick in the gap it was that close.

  10. #10
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    Chains do not stretch, they wear.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiretracks View Post
    Chains do not stretch, they wear.
    Yea I think most of us are aware of that lol. But when they wear they "get longer". Whatever floats your boat

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by iowamtb View Post
    Yea I think most of us are aware of that lol. But when they wear they "get longer". Whatever floats your boat



    No sense in being willfully ignorant about it and perpetuating the interweb misinformation, but if that floats your boat have at it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiretracks View Post
    No sense in being willfully ignorant about it and perpetuating the interweb misinformation, but if that floats your boat have at it.
    I like your over complicated use of the English language. No sense in talking with all the fancy words man keep it simple......
    Last edited by iowamtb; 09-07-2015 at 04:58 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiretracks View Post
    Chains do not stretch, they wear.
    They can "wear" pretty damn quickly then.
    New chain slightly too tight on 18/32.
    20min of playing on a small hill and not too tight anymore.

    Maybe if we refer to it as "bedding in" then.

  15. #15
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    I'd be tempted to buy another chain and run it in now, so you delay the onset of it becoming too loose by rotating them.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  16. #16
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    I am thinking by the time it gets too loose I will just replace it. Going to be interesting to see how long I get and how loose it gets.

  17. #17
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    Iowamtb, my have had minor chain wear riding flat rail trails with the wife on my other SS and keeping the chain clean and well oiled. I find more wear way sooner climbing hills given the forces we exert on the pedals.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankofdad View Post
    Iowamtb, my have had minor chain wear riding flat rail trails with the wife on my other SS and keeping the chain clean and well oiled. I find more wear way sooner climbing hills given the forces we exert on the pedals.
    Oh I am not hoping for fast chain wear. Right out of the box this chain was oh so close but just a tiny bit short. I am just glad to see that as it "settles in" for a lack of a better term that it is now the perfect length.

  19. #19
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    Is the Mongoose now SS'd ?

  20. #20
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    Few comments:

    1) The chain was too tight. It can damage bearings, foremost the most fragile ones at the freehub, but also the hub and BB bearings.
    2) It's normal for a new chain to stretch quite quickly for a bit in the beginning.
    3) It's called stretch. Look the word up in a dictionary and you'll see. It doesn't stretch like a rubber band, but from pin wear. Still called stretching.
    4) Filing the dropouts just a little bit is a good idea. Do it before installing a new chain.
    5) For more adjustment room, you can file a flat spot to the axle.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankofdad View Post
    Is the Mongoose now SS'd ?
    No that's a long story. In short I scrapped the idea.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    Few comments:

    1) The chain was too tight. It can damage bearings, foremost the most fragile ones at the freehub, but also the hub and BB bearings.
    2) It's normal for a new chain to stretch quite quickly for a bit in the beginning.
    3) It's called stretch. Look the word up in a dictionary and you'll see. It doesn't stretch like a rubber band, but from pin wear. Still called stretching.
    4) Filing the dropouts just a little bit is a good idea. Do it before installing a new chain.
    5) For more adjustment room, you can file a flat spot to the axle.
    The thing that worried me about filing was 2 things. 1 that using a QR and having an axle that didn't fit precise enough in the dropout (loose) might cause the wheel to move rearward that amount if I hit a large bump. And 2 that if this chain stretches to perfect slack in 500-1000 miles will having filed dropouts make the loose chain too loose where as if the dropouts are left untouched the chain may not need a tensioner at that point?

  23. #23
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    If I decided to file a flat spot on my rear axle, do I need to disassemble my rear hub to get the bare axle out prior to filing or can it be done with the rear hub/wheel assembled? I can see how critical it would be to be very very precise to get BOTH flat spots at the same clock position otherwise one would be seated flat and the other side may be not seated flat. This sounds complicated without a special jig. I have plenty of files in the toolbox. I am leary of filing the frame cause one slip up and my wheel won't sit straight plus if I file the axle all I got to do is rotate it when the chain wears. Also does filing an axle critically weaken it? It is a hollow 10mm QR rear axle not a solid one. Any tips?

  24. #24
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    disclaimer: i have no experience filing axles.

    Don't file your dropouts or your axle. just NO!

    why is this the best option? your chain will stretch quickly, and soon you'll be re-tensioning it.

    why are you considering wrecking, ok modifying, your expensive dropouts and TA just to protect a $20 chain or $5 bearings?

    bearings and chains are wear items, aka temporary. your going to go through a bunch of them. your dropouts and TA are permanent. unless you ruin them and have to buy replacements.

    i think your looking at this the wrong way. that's my $.02.

    go smash the shit out of your pedals up a couple hills, your bearings will survive, and leave the expensive stuff alone.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BENKD29 View Post
    disclaimer: i have no experience filing axles.

    Don't file your dropouts or your axle. just NO!

    why is this the best option? your chain will stretch quickly, and soon you'll be re-tensioning it.

    why are you considering wrecking, ok modifying, your expensive dropouts and TA just to protect a $20 chain or $5 bearings?

    bearings and chains are wear items, aka temporary. your going to go through a bunch of them. your dropouts and TA are permanent. unless you ruin them and have to buy replacements.

    i think your looking at this the wrong way. that's my $.02.

    go smash the shit out of your pedals up a couple hills, your bearings will survive, and leave the expensive stuff alone.
    Good point Ben. Hell I was thinking about building a better wheel set at some point anyways. Your right the chain is stretching rapidly and I am getting good caught up in all the replies.

  26. #26
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    There are a couple of things to consider.

    1) How tight is the chain, does it need attention or not? Impossible to say for sure without seeing it. If it is too tight, you don't ride it. You'll damage things. Just no.

    2) How you feel about converting the dropouts or hub. Are they expensive pieces or just something you wanted to convert? Only you can judge whether or not they are valuable pieces or expendable. If this is the case, BENKD29 has a good point.

    Should you choose to convert, there really aren't downsides to it, if done properly. If you're afraid of a QR slipping, get a proper one (Shimano internal cam, or one that you can tighten with a hex key) even if you don't plan to file anything! The beauty of a tight dropout is only ease of alignment when installing the wheel: once you're riding, the hub should stay put with the friction of the skewer.

    Filing the axle is not that complicated. You only make room for adjustment, not a critically straight surface. You eyeball the wheel for straightness as you tighten it down.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    There are a couple of things to consider.

    1) How tight is the chain, does it need attention or not? Impossible to say for sure without seeing it. If it is too tight, you don't ride it. You'll damage things. Just no.

    2) How you feel about converting the dropouts or hub. Are they expensive pieces or just something you wanted to convert? Only you can judge whether or not they are valuable pieces or expendable. If this is the case, BENKD29 has a good point.

    Should you choose to convert, there really aren't downsides to it, if done properly. If you're afraid of a QR slipping, get a proper one (Shimano internal cam, or one that you can tighten with a hex key) even if you don't plan to file anything! The beauty of a tight dropout is only ease of alignment when installing the wheel: once you're riding, the hub should stay put with the friction of the skewer.

    Filing the axle is not that complicated. You only make room for adjustment, not a critically straight surface. You eyeball the wheel for straightness as you tighten it down.
    The chain was fairly snug at first but after only 30 miles it is already loosened up. It doesn't droop yet but the cranks backspin well and I can get some play out of it with my hands. I would say it is at the point of being perfect right now as far as no droop but no really tight tension either.

  28. #28
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    I have a silly question here. Do these vertical drop outs have a derailleur hanger? Wouldn't using a few more links and a chain tensioner be the easiest solution to all this maddness?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmatt125 View Post
    I have a silly question here. Do these vertical drop outs have a derailleur hanger? Wouldn't using a few more links and a chain tensioner be the easiest solution to all this maddness?
    If I wanted to use a chain tensioner I wouldn't even shoot for a magic gear.

  30. #30
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    Use it until the chain elongates. Then take it off.

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