Monday, June 20, 2016

DIY chain tensioners

   Keeping your chain tight is the cassette is paramount to smooth running drive train. "Tighter is righter."  For a bike with vertical dropouts, the best way to keep your chain taught is with a chain tensioner. A standard chain tensioner looks like this:

Old reliable

   In the absence of a normal tensioner, cyclists have had to create something to keep things moving forward with whatever is laying around. Lets start at the top and work our way to the most... creative.

1. This is a simple hack that uses the quick release axle as a mounting point. probably needs to be adjusted a lot since gravity is working against you. And you better have your skewer tight! Score: 6/10

Tensioner #1

2. This is interesting because it mounts on the inside of the frame. Same issues as above but it looks a little cleaner. Score: 7/10

Tensioner #2

3. Good 'ol yankee ingenuity! This is an open ended wrench re-purposed into a tensioner. The open end of the wrench is bolted to the derailleur hanger, so probably needs to be very tight. Score: 7/10

Tensioner #3

4 & 5. The next two are more like chain guides than a standard tensioner. But they do keep the chain on, and they are hack-tastic. One is metal pipe hanging tape and the other is a short piece of garden hose, an extra point for simplicity. Combined Score: 8/10

Guide #4

Guide #5

6. Next come the chainstay mounted tensioners. These are mounted under the frame and can be used with or without a derailleur. This one looks pretty professional, minus the zip ties. Score: 7/10

Tensioner #6

7. We are getting away from civilization. This is a clamp and some bent metal. Than bent metal probably provides a little springy-ness to keep the chain tight, even if unintentionally. I do appreciate the rubber on the clamp to maintain the integrity of that bike (sarcasm).  Score: 6/♧

Tensioner #7

8. What problem can't be solved with a trip to the silverware drawer? Score: ♫/10  

Tensioner #8

9. Last, but certainly not least creative, this is an example of necessity being the mother or invention. Another testament to the structural power of dict tape. And they left the remains of the derailleur on there as a message to the other parts as to what happens to quitters. Score:  ♲/

Tensioner #9

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