Is the spring chain tensioner any good

Lorenzo Guevara

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Apr 28, 2019
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One thing I've learnd is not to many bolt on are not just bolt on.most have to be fitted.
So Im in the process of grinding down my petal arm so it doesn't hit the mounting bolts then have to take a link out of the chain. Hope it works good.
 
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xseler

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Apr 14, 2013
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I've ran mine for over 5 years and lots of miles with zero issues. That being said, there's varying opinions on the usefulness of the spring tensioner. I try to have as little slack as possible in the chain anyway.

Best of luck in your decision. (I have the first unit ever sold by TurboBuick!)
 

allen standley

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Oct 22, 2011
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I always do my best to go without any type of chain Tensioner / Guide. I have used on 4 bikes over several years never a problem, and yes it is the TurboBuick model. We have since replaced the Mapbike cut roller with this 10 T sprocket.https://www.amazon.com/Oregon-34-81...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=PDXF4A4PGPVFP9D5DEFK
https://motorbicycling.com/media/1s...s-too-does-make-for-a-very-happy-chain.10746/ The idea is to guide your chain while removing excessive slack. The turboBuick tensioner should be modded with a stiff spring which will NOT allow bounce during de-acceleration.
Several useful tips can be found concerning Happy chains in my "Happy Chains Album. Good Luck to you!
 
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indian22

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I always do my best to go without any type of chain Tensioner / Guide. I have used on 4 bikes over several years never a problem, and yes it is the TurboBuick model. We have since replaced the Mapbike cut roller with this 10 T sprocket.https://www.amazon.com/Oregon-34-81...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=PDXF4A4PGPVFP9D5DEFK
https://motorbicycling.com/media/1s...s-too-does-make-for-a-very-happy-chain.10746/ The idea is to guide your chain while removing excessive slack. The turboBuick tensioner should be modded with a stiff spring which will NOT allow bounce during de-acceleration.
Several useful tips can be found concerning Happy chains in my "Happy Chains Album. Good Luck to you!
I always do my best to go without any type of chain Tensioner / Guide. I have used on 4 bikes over several years never a problem, and yes it is the TurboBuick model. We have since replaced the Mapbike cut roller with this 10 T sprocket.https://www.amazon.com/Oregon-34-81...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=PDXF4A4PGPVFP9D5DEFK
https://motorbicycling.com/media/1s...s-too-does-make-for-a-very-happy-chain.10746/ The idea is to guide your chain while removing excessive slack. The turboBuick tensioner should be modded with a stiff spring which will NOT allow bounce during de-acceleration.
Several useful tips can be found concerning Happy chains in my "Happy Chains Album. Good Luck to you!
I like spring tensioners, build some, buy some typically they need some fitting and fiddling. I like to run them on both pedal and motor side and I also like a stiff compression and rebound. Multi speed pedal bikes use them quite successfully, work as well on motorized bikes and eliminates all the messing around adjusting two chains that wear and stretch at very different rates. Set the chain line straight and the tensioner runs smoother and quieter than with a fixed idler or just chains alone. If you are running a chain close to the tire and/or close to the chain stay a well placed tensioner of some type helps keep the chain from rubbing.

If you can't or won't install them correctly some spring or fixed tensioner/idlers will tear your spokes out, that's fact. Some don't like the look of tensioners. which is ok but also fact. I don't like half links and periodic chain adjustment...that's a fact and coupled with my previous observations, why I use tensioners. I'm also positive that others disagree & I'm happy for their enthusiasm!



Rick C.
 

indian22

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Thanks Allen some of the best bike builds ever didn't use chain adjusters, some used well thought out motor mounts that allowed motor drive chain adjustment & axle drop plates that were a bit oversized in axle slot length for fine tuning the chains with axle adjusters. As I said fine builds. I hope my preferences, which I've stated, don't sound like I think everyone should follow my way of doing things. I don't. I personally am storing up a lot of good ideas from other builders, but most of these won't ever show up on any of my bikes, though they could because they are genius for certain builds. Three weeks and I'll turn 72 and each day I'm blessed with I hope to learn something new, interesting and useful. The posts on this forum is a great help in that quest.

Thanks to all, Rick C.
 
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allen standley

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Thanks Rick, All throughout my life my best friends mentors have always been 10 or 15 years older than myself. Even today! Most are in good health except for the x smokers. None the less I wish you a happy healthy B-day my new friend.
 
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indian22

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Thanks Rick, All throughout my life my best friends mentors have always been 10 or 15 years older than myself. Even today! Most are in good health except for the x smokers. None the less I wish you a happy healthy B-day my new friend.
The same to you my friend!
 
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EZL

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Thanks Allen some of the best bike builds ever didn't use chain adjusters, some used well thought out motor mounts that allowed motor drive chain adjustment & axle drop plates that were a bit oversized in axle slot length for fine tuning the chains with axle adjusters. As I said fine builds. I hope my preferences, which I've stated, don't sound like I think everyone should follow my way of doing things. I don't. I personally am storing up a lot of good ideas from other builders, but most of these won't ever show up on any of my bikes, though they could because they are genius for certain builds. Three weeks and I'll turn 72 and each day I'm blessed with I hope to learn something new, interesting and useful. The posts on this forum is a great help in that quest.

Thanks to all, Rick C.
If a fella runs 415 chain he needs a chain tensioner on the chain since it has a habit of stretching! :D
 

JakeTheSnake

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Aug 31, 2019
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My overall experience with both stock and aftermarket chain tensioners has been a complete headache. I can't even estimate how many hours of my life I've wasted messing with em.
THE STOCK ONE - well...its a spoke killer from **** (could have easily killed me probably too...) After replacing two rear rims i decided it was time to try something else.
THE SPRING/SPROCKET ONE - I started hunting around on Amazon for something better. All the reviews I read said to get one with a spring and a sprocket, so I got this one -https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07QJBSBYJ/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I was trying to be as frugal as possible, $26 bucks aint terrible. Wish I would have spent more. This one is total junk. I run a #41 chain instead of the stock 415, maybe that has something to do with it, I don't know. I had to remove the master link, and even after that the chain would still rub. I ended up bolting it on the outside of the clutch cover and using some extra spacers to get the sprocket extended to the chain, but even this was a complete fail. I sent that POS right back to China and got my money back.
IMG_20190830_191238528.jpg

THE ANSWER - aside from not using one, home made chain tensioners are the best. Your imagination is the limit, and it's built for YOUR bike, not a wide range of bikes that may or may not work well on yours. I spent $25 bucks on the junk one, think I spent $7 making this and it's far superior. $2 for a pair of 1980's roller skates at Goodwill, and $5 for u bolts and hardware. The 1/4" piece of aluminum I had leftover from another project. Since I put it on the bike, I have yet to have to mess with it or do any adjustments of any kind. The one I'm making for my new build will be similar, except I'm using steel instead of aluminum, and welding it directly to the frame (eliminate those ugly u bolts, and my weird mis-mached washers ).
IMG_20190901_202218027.jpg

One final thought on the stock tensioner is that they are not all created equal. The one that came with my first kit was terrible, pure trouble from day one. Quite the contrary, the stock one that came with my new kit has been great, it's built much better, and 4 bolts secure it to the frame instead of just two. I'm only replacing it because its permanently ingraved in my brain how quickly it can screw up your ride, and...because I can... That's my two cents worth anyway.
 

indian22

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Glad you got the chain tensioner sorted out Jake. Like most things on these one of a kind bikes off the shelf parts often require some or a lot of modification to work on different bikes. The term kit bike is a complete joke and those who try to use them as such are often quite disappointed. Those that modify make a lot of mistakes till they build several of these or fight one till it's right. A decade of building moto bikes has taught me a lot and one lesson is let the newbies make their mistakes and learn the hard way. A lot of experienced post answers and show photos of what works well, but most pay no attention to advise given. I use 415 chain and have never broken or thrown a chain in ten years of riding and I credit that to running perfectly straight chain lines and using well designed spring tensioners that are properly installed. If chains are breaking it's the builders fault not the parts.

I noticed that you are running a rag joint sprocket & these things tend to be very difficult to run concentric (along with other properties) this poor centering causes the chain to run tight in spots and loose in others on each revolution of the wheel & this can break a chain. Using a three bolt sprocket mounted on a good hub adapter is something to consider. Rag joints work ok when properly installed, which few are.

Jake the valve stem should be perfectly vertical, that's a flat waiting to happen. Happy building!

Rick C.
 
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JakeTheSnake

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Glad you got the chain tensioner sorted out Jake. Like most things on these one of a kind bikes off the shelf parts often require some or a lot of modification to work on different bikes. The term kit bike is a complete joke and those who try to use them as such are often quite disappointed. Those that modify make a lot of mistakes till they build several of these or fight one till it's right. A decade of building moto bikes has taught me a lot and one lesson is let the newbies make their mistakes and learn the hard way. A lot of experienced post answers and show photos of what works well, but most pay no attention to advise given. I use 415 chain and have never broken or thrown a chain in ten years of riding and I credit that to running perfectly straight chain lines and using well designed spring tensioners that are properly installed. If chains are breaking it's the builders fault not the parts.

I noticed that you are running a rag joint sprocket & these things tend to be very difficult to run concentric (along with other properties) this poor centering causes the chain to run tight in spots and loose in others on each revolution of the wheel & this can break a chain. Using a three bolt sprocket mounted on a good hub adapter is something to consider. Rag joints work ok when properly installed, which few are.

Jake the valve stem should be perfectly vertical, that's a flat waiting to happen. Happy building!

Rick C.
That's my goal lol. Just to go for it and if I make a few mistakes, I'll definitely learn from them. The rag joint tensioner is the one I sent back, I couldn't get it to work right now mater what I did. "Junk" may have been a strong word. I'm sure someone must have had more luck with it or they wouldn't make them. My problem, aside from the chain compleatly shredding it, was bouncing. No matter how tight I set the spring it was just bouncing back and forth. Sounds exactly like you were talking about with tight spots and loose spots being the cause. Good eye seeing the valve stem like that, I didn't. The photo is from last year, and it most definitely DID cause a flat. As always, thank you Indian for your words of wisdom, it is most appreciated.
 
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EZL

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May 13, 2016
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I went with a spring tensioner day one, when I saw the one that came with the motor, and how it installed I knew it was going to fall into the wheel.
The only thing I had trouble with it was spacing the gear sprocket and I really didn't like using them since you do get
noise off of them which might be caused by the #41 chain I'm running since a 415 chain will not hold this engine.
The price is high just because of that sprocket on it and since it is a CNC piece of aluminum work that adds to the
cost. I removed the sprocket and used a new high quality nylon bearing roller and that was the way to go with it.
If a fella had the time and machine tools it would be easy to duplicate it but then you have to purchase the material
and hardware. I also did not like the small screw and nut used to hold the band on the front I thought it was too
light and went several sizes bigger. A allen capscrew, washers and a nut would be a good option.

I have tried several and spent way too much on the spring type and minibike ones that really don't fit a bike.
The $20 arched and slotted steel on is a good one but I never cared for the looks of it and it is more placed
towards the middle of the chain. That unit will not get into the spokes and is a quick solution to a chain
tensioner. The ManicMechanic one is positioned closer to the rear axle and chain adjustment is quick plus
it's not a eye-sore in looks and won't get into the bike's spokes.
 
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Loop

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May 27, 2020
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My spring tensioner broke today well the bolt holding the arm to the bracket came out luckily I was only a couple blocks from the house.
 
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EZL

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May 13, 2016
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Chenoa, Illinois, USA
My spring tensioner broke today well the bolt holding the arm to the bracket came out luckily I was only a couple blocks from the house.
I had that happen a few year ago and use a cord to pull on the tensioner to get back home. That tensioner was a spring tensioner
and the spring broke. I'm not too enthused about using spring tensioners and they don't agree with a 212cc Predator since it will
out torque the tensioning spring. I've never had any problems with the fixed tensioners and I've spent big $$$ on all kinds of
tensioners and have settled on the ManicMechanic unit. I won't use 415 chain it's too soft of metal and on the commercial #41
chain works with my engine. The commercial #41 chain is made of better steel and is even tested with tension for stretch while
the 415 is soft steel and will stretch with use which tells me it is of low quality. I check the #41 chain to be sure it has the right
tension and hasn't stretched and I have never had to re-adjust the chain tension which tells me it is made of better steel.
 
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Loop

Active Member
May 27, 2020
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S.Knoxville
Went to ace and got a new higher quality bolt with Allen head, some washers and two lock nuts and she’s back in business, though I think I may need a new spring, I don’t like how it’s fitting anymore and I think my chain has stretched a bit. I have a new chain on the way already and a 44 tooth sprocket I’ll slow a bit but the hills around here will be better I hope. I may have to get one of the arch tensioners for the 44.