A few fixed gear questions.



W

Will Fisher

Guest
A few questions:

1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
certaintly does not feel so.

2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?

--
Will Fisher
 
T

Ted

Guest
"Will Fisher" <[email protected]> wrote:

> A few questions:
>
> 1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
> rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
> trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
> forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
> certaintly does not feel so.


Observation of your drivetrain while turning the pedals by hand will
make it obvious that the chain is not uniformly tight, due to small
eccentricity of either sprocket. Find the tightest spot and adjust the
axle position so that there is just a little (less than 0.5 inch)
vertical movement of the chain.

Do not attempt to make the chain as tight as you can. This will mean
that the chain will be even tighter at some point in the rotation and
that will lead to premature bearing failure.

If you like to have no slack in the chain, a tensioner will give the
closest approximation. But it does take away from the cool minimalism
of a fixie.

> 2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
> manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
> Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?


Fatter tires will make a BIG difference. If you are riding 23mm tires
now, try a pair of 28s if you have the clearance.

If your bike is a true track frame, it's gonna be harsh on the road, as
it is designed for a smooth track.

Saddles? A highly personal decision. A big ol' sprung saddle might
help with your ass, but not your hands, and such a saddle would be
offensive to my sense of taste on a fixie.

--
Ted Bennett
Portland, OR
 
On 6 Jan 2005 18:58:16 -0800, "Will Fisher"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>A few questions:
>
>1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
>rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
>trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
>forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
>certaintly does not feel so.


[snip]

Dear Will,

When you reverse tension, the chain roller taking the load
rolls back and forth in the bottom between two gear teeth,
no matter how hard you tension a chain.

Applying even a little tension causes the roller to ride up
just a tiny bit onto the face of the tooth.

To make things worse, this happens on both the front and
rear sprockets.

Notice that when you pedal, the top chain run goes taut and
the bottom run goes slack. When you start to brake and
reverse the tension, the bottom run goes goes taut and the
top run goes slack.

Sheldon Brown commented on fixie chain tensioning about a
year ago:

http://groups.google.co.uk/groups?q...en&lr=&[email protected]
or http://tinyurl.com/6m9tf

Carl Fogel
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
"Will Fisher" <[email protected]> writes:

> A few questions:
>
> 1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
> rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
> trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch
> from forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut
> but certaintly does not feel so.


Chain doesn't need to be so tight, in fact it often causes binding
problems in the drivetrain.

> 2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles
> (potholes, manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be
> extremely harsh. Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?


Track bikes ride harsh because of the short wheelbase. Try a
different type of bike that's actually designed for riding on the
road, if a track bike is what you're riding.
 
W

Will Fisher

Guest
I'll take that tire suggestion into consideration. Too bad my rims will
look a little too small for 28s but if it makes the ride easier,
anything.

I agree with you on that saddle aesthetics point. I considered a brooks
but none of the models would fit the slick look of my fixie. I'm
thinking Selle Italia Flite but that's because I've heard such good
reviews of it, not because I've tried it personally. Oh well.
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
Will Fisher wrote:

> A few questions:
>
> 1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
> rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
> trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
> forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
> certaintly does not feel so.
>
> 2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
> manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
> Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?
>

That sounds too tight.
You'll feel lash no matter what when you reverse direction.
http://www.yellowjersey.org/chainchk.html

You'll learn to lift your butt off the saddle. No saddle
will cushion a pothole with your full weight on it.

--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
R

R15757

Guest
Will Fisher asked:

>1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear?


Generally speaking, you can allow a little bit
of slack in the chain which will be visible
to the eye. Ideally, imo, the chain should
look pretty straight on top. If you get it
too tight you will know because the
drivetrain won't turn freely.

One way to do it is install the wheel
with the bike turned upside down, and
jam a big crescent wrench or other
suitable object between the frame and
the tire to crow-bar the wheel back
as you tighten the nuts.

>2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
>manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
>Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?


It's not about the saddle. Remove yourself from
the saddle at least a little while traversing bad road
sections and your life will improve. Keep your arms
and legs bent and stay loose.

Also, micro-manage your line to avoid obstacles.

Tires: I wouldn't use any tires smaller than 25
in the city.

Robert
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
> Will Fisher asked:
>>1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear?
>>2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
>>manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
>>Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?


R15757 wrote:
> Generally speaking, you can allow a little bit
> of slack in the chain which will be visible
> to the eye. Ideally, imo, the chain should
> look pretty straight on top. If you get it
> too tight you will know because the
> drivetrain won't turn freely.
>
> One way to do it is install the wheel
> with the bike turned upside down, and
> jam a big crescent wrench or other
> suitable object between the frame and
> the tire to crow-bar the wheel back
> as you tighten the nuts.
>
>
> It's not about the saddle. Remove yourself from
> the saddle at least a little while traversing bad road
> sections and your life will improve. Keep your arms
> and legs bent and stay loose.
> Also, micro-manage your line to avoid obstacles.
>
> Tires: I wouldn't use any tires smaller than 25
> in the city.


Good saddle and tire advice but your chain is way too tight.
You're needlessly accelerating drivetrain wear.

--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
Will-<< 1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
forward to backward pressure. >><BR><BR>

I say, chainwheels and rear hubs/cogs are not perfectly round. The chain will
go tight/loose as you pedal. The tightest part should have about 1/2 inch of
slack.

Will-<< 2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)? >><BR><BR>

I say-fatter ties are a better solution, fat enough to fit into your frame.

Peter Chisholm
Vecchio's Bicicletteria
1833 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535
http://www.vecchios.com
"Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
Q

Qui si parla Campagnolo

Guest
Carl assumes-<< When you reverse tension, the chain roller taking the load
rolls back and forth in the bottom between two gear teeth,
no matter how hard you tension a chain. >><BR><BR>

I would hope this gent doesn't have a 'roller' or anything else to help chain
tension. This is a fixie and with horizontal dropoiuts, no tension device
needed plus it can be ripped off spectacularly on a fixed gear.

Peter Chisholm
Vecchio's Bicicletteria
1833 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO, 80302
(303)440-3535
http://www.vecchios.com
"Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
 
A

Antti Salonen

Guest
Will Fisher <[email protected]> wrote:

> I'll take that tire suggestion into consideration. Too bad my rims will
> look a little too small for 28s but if it makes the ride easier,
> anything.


I don't think there are rims so narrow that using a 28-millimeter tyre
would be a problem. I know people running 40-millimeter studded tyres on
narrow road rims on the cyclocross bikes without problems, although
that might be pushing the limit. Here's a compatibility table:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html#width

As it says below the table, people commonly exceed these recommendations
without problems. I think in your case, running 28-millimeter tyres on a
narrow rim should be just fine unless you use unusually low pressures.

> I agree with you on that saddle aesthetics point. I considered a brooks
> but none of the models would fit the slick look of my fixie. I'm
> thinking Selle Italia Flite but that's because I've heard such good
> reviews of it, not because I've tried it personally. Oh well.


The Flite works well for many people, but not for all. It's quite
expensive, but otherwise I think it's a good starting point if you
absolutely don't know what might be good for you.

-as
 
T

Ted

Guest
Ted wrote:

> If you like to have no slack in the chain, a tensioner will give the
> closest approximation. But it does take away from the cool minimalism
> of a fixie.


I know it's bad form to respond to your own post, but the above is *bad*
advice for a fixie. A tensioner will fail spectacularly there.

Sorry about the brain fart.

--
Ted Bennett
Portland, OR
 
K

Kinky Cowboy

Guest
On 6 Jan 2005 18:58:16 -0800, "Will Fisher" <[email protected]>
wrote:

>A few questions:
>
>1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
>rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
>trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
>forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
>certaintly does not feel so.


You can't have the chain backlash free, that would need more residual
static tension than the maximum top run tension under full power. Some
backlash is inevitable, so get used to it. I run my chain pretty tight
compared with some other respondents (i.e. a small amount of residual
tension with no pedal load at the tightest point in the rotation), but
even so I can get enough stretch by hand pressure on the pedal to make
the lower run noticeably slack. Even to get this much tension in the
chain requires chain tugs on the hub axle, you just can't do it by
holding the wheel back while you tighten your track nuts.

>2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
>manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
>Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?


As everybody else has already said, float your body over them using
flexed limbs.


Kinky Cowboy*

*Batteries not included
May contain traces of nuts
Your milage may vary
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Qui si parla Campagnolo wrote:

> Carl assumes-<< When you reverse tension, the chain roller taking the load
> rolls back and forth in the bottom between two gear teeth,
> no matter how hard you tension a chain. >><BR><BR>
>
> I would hope this gent doesn't have a 'roller' or anything else to help chain
> tension. This is a fixie and with horizontal dropoiuts, no tension device
> needed plus it can be ripped off spectacularly on a fixed gear.


"Roller" refers to the doughnut shaped part of the chain the fits around
the rivet/pin.

In the past, Carl Fogel has posted links to pictures of motorcycles with
chain tensioners - a motorcycle is effectively fixed-geared when the
clutch is engaged.

--
Tom Sherman - Near Rock Island
 
R

R15757

Guest
A. Muzi wrote:

>Good saddle and tire advice but your chain is way too tight.
>You're needlessly accelerating drivetrain wear.


My drivetrain components seem to last
about as long as anyone else's. The chain
might be a little tight although I can still
see a little droop in it. Like the OP I
prefer a tighter chain for improved
low speed response.

Robert
 
Z

Zog The Undeniable

Guest
Will Fisher wrote:

> A few questions:
>
> 1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
> rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
> trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
> forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
> certaintly does not feel so.
>
> 2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
> manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
> Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?
>


1. Tight enough so it cannot ever come off. You shouldn't be able to
see any slack just by looking at the chain, although there will be play
if you grab hold if it. How tight you can make it without binding
depends on the quality of your chainring and sprocket.

2. You soon learn to unweight the saddle while pedalling.
 
Z

Zog The Undeniable

Guest
Will Fisher wrote:

> A few questions:
>
> 1. How tight should the chain be on a fixed gear? I try to push the
> rear wheel back as hard as I can into the dropout but when I do a
> trackstand, I can still feel the slack in the chain when I switch from
> forward to backward pressure. The chain looks perfectly taut but
> certaintly does not feel so.
>
> 2. I ride in NYC where there are thousands of road obstacles (potholes,
> manhole covers, etc.) and I'm finding the ride to be extremely harsh.
> Any suggestions (e.g. a good fixed gear saddle)?
>


1. Tight enough so it cannot ever come off. You shouldn't be able to
see any slack just by looking at the chain, although there will be play
if you grab hold if it. How tight you can make it without binding
depends on the quality of your chainring and sprocket.

2. You soon learn to unweight the saddle while pedalling.
 
On 07 Jan 2005 14:17:18 GMT, [email protected] (Qui si parla
Campagnolo ) wrote:

>Carl assumes-<< When you reverse tension, the chain roller taking the load
>rolls back and forth in the bottom between two gear teeth,
>no matter how hard you tension a chain. >><BR><BR>
>
>I would hope this gent doesn't have a 'roller' or anything else to help chain
>tension. This is a fixie and with horizontal dropoiuts, no tension device
>needed plus it can be ripped off spectacularly on a fixed gear.
>
>Peter Chisholm
>Vecchio's Bicicletteria
>1833 Pearl St.
>Boulder, CO, 80302
>(303)440-3535
>http://www.vecchios.com
>"Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"


Dear Peter,

By chain roller, I mean each of the 100+ rollers of the
chain itself.

You're probably thinking of a chain tensioner.

While the strangely designed tensioners used on some
bicycles can be ripped off, a spring-loaded tension arm
trailing from the chainstay like an ordinary motorcycle
chain tension cannot be ripped off by the chain unless the
bicycle's rear wheel begins to move backward.

Carl Fogel
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
> A. Muzi wrote:
>>Good saddle and tire advice but your chain is way too tight.
>>You're needlessly accelerating drivetrain wear.


R15757 wrote:
> My drivetrain components seem to last
> about as long as anyone else's. The chain
> might be a little tight although I can still
> see a little droop in it. Like the OP I
> prefer a tighter chain for improved
> low speed response.


Sorry. That was my response to your comment about levering
the wheel into place. I assumed that if you needed a lever
you were overtightening the chain. If you aren't exerting a
lot of pressure, why use a lever?

Try 'walking' the wheel into place by slacking one axle nut
at a time - no lever needed.


--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
R

RonSonic

Guest
On Fri, 07 Jan 2005 12:56:30 -0600, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:

>> A. Muzi wrote:
>>>Good saddle and tire advice but your chain is way too tight.
>>>You're needlessly accelerating drivetrain wear.

>
>R15757 wrote:
>> My drivetrain components seem to last
>> about as long as anyone else's. The chain
>> might be a little tight although I can still
>> see a little droop in it. Like the OP I
>> prefer a tighter chain for improved
>> low speed response.

>
>Sorry. That was my response to your comment about levering
>the wheel into place. I assumed that if you needed a lever
>you were overtightening the chain. If you aren't exerting a
>lot of pressure, why use a lever?


Because it makes it very easy to hold it just so. I remember doing that in my
days with a SA 3s hub, just so easy to hold the wheel centered and right where
you want it.

>Try 'walking' the wheel into place by slacking one axle nut
>at a time - no lever needed.


Sure, but not as easy. Depending on whether you are willing to subject your bike
to the indignity of inversion.

There seems to be some controversy on that one.

Ron
 

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