A newby's chain idler pulley alternative

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by DCX35, Nov 1, 2009.

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Do you think my alternative chain idler is a good idea?

Poll closed Nov 21, 2009.
  1. Your idea sounds good

    75.0%
  2. I'm going to try your idea on my bike

    25.0%
  3. This is a design overkill and is not necessary

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Run more durability mileage before being sure about it

    25.0%
  5. The standard kit idler works fine and is very reliable

    25.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. DCX35

    DCX35 New Member

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    Hi all - I'm a newby to motor bicycling and to this forum. I have been reading your informative threads with great interest. Lot's of great tips there. I am running an 80cc Zoombicycle engine on a 27" Schwinn Cross-Fit 18 speed bicycle. It was a simple installation (slight exhaust pipe bend the only complication) and has been trouble free during the first two hundred break-in miles. I made what I hope to be an improvement over the original kit's chain idler as follows:

    The standard chain idler pulley has a single ball bearing set in its center.

    Here is an alternative chain idler pulley with two ball bearing sets, one at either side which I have been using with success:.trk

    ** Purchase a standard 52mm skateboard wheel with the highest hardness available (durometer of 99a or 100a)

    ** Purchase a set of ABEC 9 (highest quality) skateboard wheel ball bearing sets

    ** A set of (4) Skateboard wheels with (8) matched ABEC 9 bearing sets are usually available on eBay or the internet for under $20 and will give you enough material for (4) chain idler pulleys.

    Chuck up a skateboard wheel into your drill press’ chuck with a bolt through its center, secured by a nut and two fender washers, one at either side. Note: use tape wrapped around the bolt to adjust its diameter to perfectly fit into the center hole of the skateboard wheel to keep the skateboard wheel properly centered on the bolt.

    Hold a coarse ½” wide file steadily against the circumference of the spinning skateboard wheel at the middle between the wheel’s sides until the file has machined a ½” wide chain groove (for use with #40, #41 or 415 chain) 0.200” deep, into the skateboard wheel. This will leave 3/16” thick chain guide fences at either side of the new chain groove. Add a slight taper to the sides of the chain groove by slightly tilting the file as the wheel spins so the configuration of the chain groove ends up similar in configuration to that of the original equipment chain idler’s groove. When finished, the chain groove will be 1.66” in diameter which is 0.300” larger than the original equipment idler pulley’s 1.36” chain groove diameter (a good thing - less chain flexing required as it passes over the idler).

    IMPORTANT: When using standard 52mm skateboard wheels, there must be a 0.405” thickness steel spacer stack used between the two ball bearing sets. The spacers must have a 3/8” ID and no larger than 0.600” OD to fit inside the center hole of the skateboard wheel. 3/8” lock washers satisfy this diameter requirement. Flatten out five lock washers (placing them part way into a vice and bending them with pliers until totally flat). The 5 flattened lock washers should produce a spacer stack of 0.405” total thickness. If slightly over this dimension, grind several of the washers until the total stack thickness becomes 0.405”.

    Press the ball bearing sets into sides of the grooved skateboard wheel with the stack of spacers between the bearing sets such that when the chain idler pulley’s axle bolt is tightened, the bearings will be prevented from pulling together which would cause side loading of the bearing sets and binding. The tightened chain idler pulley should spin freely when its axle bolt is fully tightened.

    I have run this type of chain idler for several hundred miles with no problems or noticeable wear.
     
  2. Dave31

    Dave31 Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Welcome DCX35, glad you joined us.
     
  3. Gentlou

    Gentlou New Member

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    Hi DCX35
    What did you use for a bolt (axle) for your skate board pulley?
     
  4. f250cobra

    f250cobra Member

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    My friend used a gear from tractor supply for his idler pulley. It has bearings and is adjustable. I like your idea too.
     
  5. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

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    Welcome to the forum....nice idler ya got there. This is what I use and it's very simple. The 11t freewheeling drive sprocket on my 4G eventually failed, so I took it apart, cleaned and re-greased it as well as removing the ratcheting pawls then re-assembled it and bolted it up. Works perfect....very quiet and smooth.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Hiigel

    Hiigel New Member

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    Pics would be a nice addition to this.
     
  7. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    chain tensioners? i have one of those. it's an 11/16's wrench and a chain breaker.

    none of the bikes i've built need a "tensioner."

    seriously. if you don't have mice, you don't have to build a better mousetrap.
     
  8. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    Yeah But I lived in this tweaker house in my early twenties. We shot mice in the house all night long with pellet gun's mice were fun :D
     
  9. matthurd

    matthurd New Member

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    so if i cut the chain down to size from the start i can go without the idler?
     
  10. abikerider

    abikerider New Member

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    If you have vertical rear drop outs (what your axle slides into) on your frame and you don't want to move your engine to adjust tension, then a tensioner is essential.
     
  11. CTripps

    CTripps Active Member

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    Some use the idler, some don't. It depends on the person and the build. I've used it on the two I've built so far, because I need the drive chain the clear the chainstays of the bikes themselves. I may not need it on one of my upcoming builds, just depends on where the chain runs.
     
  12. anim8r

    anim8r New Member

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    1. why is the poll closed? This is always a good topic
    2. who the heck voted for "The standard kit idler works fine and is very reliable "??
     
  13. BarelyAWake

    BarelyAWake New Member

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    The poll was created on 11-01-2009 & all polls expire unless you select the option not to when creating it.
     

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