Wits end on chain tension


New Member
Aug 13, 2019
Hello everyone,

I have a single speed bike and I am at my wits end on this chain tension screw on the back wheel. Every time I remove the wheel it's such a pain to correctly dial in the chain tension - I have tried pliers, my hands - using these screws on both the size of the wheel, I end up incorrectly replacing the chain and wheel and so the bike wobbles when I ride.

How do I correctly keep the tension on both the size of the wheel since I have to manually tighten the screw on both the size. I saw there was something called a chain tensioner.

Any help is really appreciated


If you're talking about something like these:https://www.bing.com/images/search?...&selectedindex=11&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=0,1,2,6
then it sounds like you're using them wrong.
You rest the rear axle against these gently, and adjust until the wheel is aligned in the frame and/or with the front wheel.
That's all they're meant to do.
On forward-facing dropouts, you leave them alone once you've got them aligned.
On rearward/track dropouts you may need to back them off when you want to take the wheel out.
Or you can run a 1/8" chain with a traditional quick link with removable side plate, then you can open the chain and remove the wheel w/o messing with the adjustment.
Then - while gently resting the axle against the adjustment screws - you start snugging up the axle nuts.
Don't go gorilla on one side directly, creep up on torque in stages, alternating left and right. That usually gets the wheel installed at the position where you want it.

And the right chain tension is no tension. Mid-run, you want to be able to lift the chain about 1/2" with a fingertip.
Yes, there are chain tensioners. Most are for rearward-facing dropouts.
Their merit is somewhat debated.
Pro roadies before the days of vertical dropouts stomped harder on the pedals that most recreational riders and yet managed just fine w/o them.
And their purpose is to keep the wheel in place while riding. Getting a wheel into position still takes some manual skill.

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