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Chain Tensioners and Single Speed Vertical Dropouts

Chain Tensioners and Single Speed Vertical Dropouts

Chain Tensioners and Single Speed Dropouts

When using a single-speed bike, there is no derailleur to keep your chain from becoming loose. This generates that bouncing effect while we ride, which can cause your chain to jump off and force you to stop to fix it. Fortunately, there are some solutions to this, such as chain tensioners, that can help you avoid this issue.

What do Vertical Dropouts Do?

Vertical dropouts keep your rear wheel’s axle at a predetermined distance away from the cranks. On a single-speed bike, this may result in a chain that is too tight or too loose.

What are Chain Tensioners?

A chain tensioner is a device you can add to your bike to create and maintain tension. These are ideally used when the type of riding is on a bumpy surface or when you know things may get rough during a ride.

There are different types of chain tensioners, each one corresponding to a specific type of bike. Single-speed chain tensioners, for example, allow you to decide how tight your chain will be to avoid it from coming off while riding.

How do Chain Tensioners Work?

Chain tensioners can be moved horizontally or vertically depending on their type. By doing so, you create tension on your single-speed bike chain and prevent its bouncing off the sprocket. You should always be careful not to make it too tense since it may affect your performance or even hurt your bicycle parts.

Check this video on how to adjust your chain tension to the correct amount (credits to BikeBlogger), and forget about having problems with your bike chain.

Source: BikeBlogger on YouTube

Of course, there are different types of single-speed bike chain tensioners, and you should choose the one that fits your requirements and ride.

Different Types of Chain Tensioners

Chain tensioners come in different types to fit your ride. In this article, we will focus on single-speed bikes and the various tensioners you can use in them. However, bear in mind that there may be others that are more suitable for your ride. Having said that, let’s go with the different types of chain tensioners for single-speed bicycles.

  • Shimano Chain Tensioner – This device is backed by the name of its brand. Moreover, it provides a smooth tension on your chain, making it look and feel as natural as possible. This is a good feature, as it does not affect your riding in any possible way.
  • PSLER Chain Tensioner – This is made of aluminum alloy. This is a great advantage, as it will not add undesired weight to your ride while protecting your chain from coming off on bouncy roads.
  • Fixed Gear Chain Tensioner – This is a different type of chain tensioner. Coming in a set of two, it is useful for frequent skid-stop riding.
  • Single Speed Adjuster/ Converter Chain Tensioner – This is a great way of converting a mountain bike into a single-speed one. You can forget about your chain bouncing around and derailing if you are certain you will not make use of shifting gears.

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Alternatives to Chain Tensioners

If you choose not to use a chain tensioner, your other options are to fix an eccentric bottom bracket or use a horizontal dropout.

If you choose to get a chain tensioner, however, make sure your type of ride is compatible with it. This way, you will ensure a healthy ride with no tension problems on your chain.

As a bonus tip, remember that creating tension to your chain may cause it to make a little rattling noise. Do not worry about it. As long as pedaling is smooth enough and your bike does not come off, everything is in order.


Credit and Useful Reading:

https://stevenjohnson.me/cycling/single-speed-dropouts-and-chain-tensioners-explained/

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