To tension or not to tension, that is the question?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by meowy84, May 6, 2010.

  1. meowy84

    meowy84 New Member

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    Putting my kit together and thinking of omitting the tensioner. I see bikes with and without one.

    Personally I'm looking for a simple look and I think they tend to make the bike look more clattered and also the more components the more chances of it loosening and getting into the spokes. Since I have a chain breaker and my frame has some room for adjusting the back rim I should be able to eliminate most of the slack in the chain.

    Just looking for some opinions from the MB gurus. Pros and cons.
     
  2. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

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    If you can run it w/o that is best.
     
  3. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

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    Some builds require a tensioner though like my chopper.
     
  4. meowy84

    meowy84 New Member

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    I can see how some bike configurations make it absolutely necessary to run one.
     
  5. culvercityclassic

    culvercityclassic Well-Known Member

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    Run it with-out....
     
  6. taddthewadd

    taddthewadd New Member

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    I used to say it is better to run one without. Now I would say the only thing better is running a chain tensioner that is spring loaded. The reason I say this is if your sprocket is a little off center then when you rotate your rear wheel the chain will have a tight spot and get loose then tight over and over. This will make the chain break faster and make it easier for the chain to jump off of the sprocket.

    There is a franchise store called tractor supply that sells a spring tensioner. Check their website. The spring is sold seperately so make sure you get both. The tensioner is nice it has a rubber roller and ball bearings in it.

    The springed tensioner keeps the chain tension the same all of the time even if your sprocket is off center a bit.
     
  7. TerrontheSnake

    TerrontheSnake New Member

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    yeah if you do use one go spring loaded I agree
     
  8. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate New Member

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    Here's the advice. If you run it without a tensioner, you will need some kind of axle puller/tensioners like what is found on BMX bikes, or you may get "axle creep".

    If you want to do without a tensioner or roller, you will do best with a dedicated hub instead of the rubber sprocket holders.

    Some frames don't have clearance and you will have chain slap or chain rub on the left chain stay.

    Can I have your Roller tensioner? I like them, but I suggest welding them to the frame if you have narrow chain stays.

    See my profile on motoredbikes.com for a chain tensioner I made from a go cart part, looks factory made.

     
  9. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    if you've got the clearance and install everything correctly, i think no tensioner is the way to go.

    i've ridden with them and without them, and in my experience it's a smoother ride without it. and it definitely looks cleaner.

    (edit) i've never had "axle creep" on any of my bikes, but i upgrade the washers and axle nuts, make sure they're tight, and that my chain's not too tight where it's gonna try to yank my wheel off. and, actually, i think my motor will move before my wheel does.
     
    #9 bairdco, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  10. Cabinfever1977

    Cabinfever1977 New Member

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    I use the tensioner mainly as a chain guide, its like 2 feet from engine to sprocket on my cruiser, thats a lot of unguided chain without a tensioner or chain guide, one bump or chain shake and off the sprocket the chain goes and it would jam in the wheel and off the bike you go.
     
  11. exavid

    exavid New Member

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    I run my old Mesa Runner mountain bike without a tensioner. I had to modify the left side chain stay a bit to get enough clearance so the chain wouldn't touch. It works very well at least for the 200+ miles I've run it. As already mentioned you have to get your sprocket centered well or there will be some tightening and loosening of the chain as the wheel revolves. It only takes a few thousandths for this to happen. I've got a bit of variation in the chain tension as the wheel turns, it varies from about 1/8" slack to 1/2". That amount doesn't hurt. Checking the sprocket with a dial gauge shows a lack of concentricity of around .004". It doesn't take much. One other consideration is that I'm using a 15 speed bike if you're using a single or three speed setup it might be difficult to get the chains tensioned on both sides. It also helps if the dropouts are somewhat horizontal. I haven't had any axle creep at all so far. I did put star washers under both axle nuts.
     
  12. Cabinfever1977

    Cabinfever1977 New Member

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    What i do is change the size of the peddal sprocket so that the chain will be the same legth on both sides.
     
  13. rohan3ni

    rohan3ni New Member

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    try without it and see what happen . i kinda like a tension. made one myself and i find it really cool lol automatic tensioner lol
     
  14. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate New Member

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    If you can get a 415 chain to work that way (no tensioner or roller) , it might stay on. But the BMX and multispeed chains will start flapping at some RPMs and will derail.
     
  15. tyrslider

    tyrslider New Member

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    Use common sense 1st chain tensioner 2nd! if you've got horiz dropouts go w/o if not your stuck.

    Bairdco is right (so very often)!

    How come nobody (I think Bairdco was eluding to them) ever mentions axle nuts? You do know what axle nuts are, don't you?
     

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