Chain Tensioner ~~chain Tensioner & Hub Adapter~~

Discussion in 'Transmission / Drivetrain' started by Karryhunt, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Karryhunt

    Karryhunt Member

    Possibly the most talked about and controversial items ever known to anyone building a motorized bike. There have literally been hundreds of ideas offered on the various methods to overcome the problems encountered in keeping the chain properly tensioned and sprockets properly aligned. Some of the ideas give a new meaning to Rube Goldberg while others are very innovative and practical. I have tried just about all of them and have come to the conclusion that only two items offered by vendors on this site work and are worth much more than the cost of the parts when you consider ease of installation and safety. They are Kip Springer's chain tensioner and Maniac Mechanic's hub adapter. Both of these items are available from Pirate Cycles.

    I am in no way associated with Pirate Cycles or the inventors or receiving any monetary benefits from this shameless plug.





  2. Turtle Tedd

    Turtle Tedd Member

    I also think the Maniac Mechanic hub adapter sprocket is the only way to go..A spring loaded chain tensioner is also a good idea
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2010
  3. juliman

    juliman Member

    that may be the case but not all of us can affordparts,especially in aus, where the shipping at the mo would probably cost more than the part, anyway...=)
  4. 48rob

    48rob New Member

    On my first bike, I fashioned one from a roller skate wheel after the kit supplied pulley wore out, works great.


    On my second bike, I decided it would be a lot easier to use half links in the chain and redrill the engine mount holes for more adjustment.
    I have no tensioner now, and it works great!
    One less part, one less adjustment, one less worry.


  5. Karryhunt

    Karryhunt Member

    I suppose thats fine if you don't mind chain slap and still have to worry about throwing chains. Even with perfect alignment and tension you will get chain slap from the engines harmonics. Or at least thats what I have encountered.
  6. 48rob

    48rob New Member

    I haven't noticed any chain slap, though I suppose there could be some.

    I've not thown any chains since setting the bike up this way, but I suppose it could happen...

    My setup may not be the best way, but it works well for me.

  7. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    On one of my bikes, i made a spring loaded chain tensioner, similar to the kip springer one. This is the first time i have ever seen the kip springer one, and i made mine about 2 years ago.
    Mine is made from a peice of flat, thick aluminum with a steel toothed derailer gear that has a brass bushing in it. the bushing and gear are on a steel post. I do have to grease the steel post and bushing on occasion, but so far, there is no wear on either of them. I drilled a hole in the flat aluminum peice and mounted it to the side cover using a longer screw with a lock nut on it. i used a throttle return spring that goes from the flat aluminum down to the lower frame tube where the kick stand is mounted, to provide downward pull pressure. this cost me about $5.00 to make and it works great.
    p.s., please ignore the rear engine mounting bracket and studs. this was when i first mounted the engine. I have since lowered the rear of the engine to reduce it's angle and replaced the studs much bettter ones.

    on my other bike i made a slider type chain tensioner that's hidden.
    basically, i took an idea from a dirt bike, where they use a peice of teflon (or similar type plastic) on the swing arm for the chain to slide over. it isn't a tensioner on a dirt bike, it's more of a guard, to keep the chain from rubbing on the swing arm. I used a rectangular chunk of teflon and shaped it into a wedge, and mounted it on the inside of the rear frame tube right where the engine chain is. the chain rides up over the wedge shape, which causes the chain to stay under tension all the time. I drilled a small hole in the wedge right where the chain rides, and filled it with grease. this automatically puts a little grease on the chain as the wedge wears down (but it does not wear very's very tough stuff). this is on a schwinn occ chopper, and that's why the frame tube in the rear is square, and not round.

    I personally would rather try to design and make my own parts than buy them, unless it's something that I can't make myself.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  8. Karryhunt

    Karryhunt Member

    I am certainly not an expert on anything but logic tells me that the tensioner should be on the underside of the chain and not on the pull side because the pull side is always under tension with the engine running.
  9. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    Whatever...they work for me, and they do an excellent job of keeping the tension on the chains all the time.
  10. Karryhunt

    Karryhunt Member

    No need to be hard headed on this one.

    Just stop and think for a minute and hopefully it will kick in for you.

    The top part of the chain is always under tension. Its the bottom part of the chain that loosens after passing over the engine drive sprocket. Just trying to help you out here son.
  11. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    Not being hard headed, just stating what works for ME.
    My bikes are not my sole source of transportation, they are just for fun.

    SON?? I don't think so.
  12. Karryhunt

    Karryhunt Member

    OK.....I give up. Would you mind telling me why you think your way is correct? I have told you why I think its incorrect. If you come up with a logical answer, I will be more than happy to make a public apology to you.

    Surely I was jesting when I called you son even though I have more than enough years to be your father.
  13. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    I never said that my way was correct or incorrect. I said that it works for me. It does what it's supposed to do and just because my tensioner is on the top does not make that much of a difference in my opinion. Weather it's on the top where the engine is pulling the chain, or on the bottom where the engine is pushing the chain, in the end, it has the same effect. In the beginning I wasn't even using a chain tensioner because I didn't need one. But, I went from a 44 tooth rear sprocket down to a 41 tooth sprocket, and the only reason that I am now using a tensioner is because I could not get the peddle chain and the engine chain tight at the same time. Yes I tried half links butr that didn't help. This is what works for me, and my chain is always at the correct tension. I do not have chain slap or any of the other things that are so common.

    I know that you were joking around by calling me son, and yes, you do have enough years on me to be my father.
  14. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Member

    I do like how you took advantage of the longer bolt in the top right changing out the chainguard for the springed tensioner. That's creative. A shame there's not really any other place you could mount a tensioner right on the motor to keep it on the slack side of the drive sprocket.
  15. arkives1

    arkives1 Member

    chain tensioner & Hub Adapter

    Actually I think there needs to be some tension on both sides of the chain. When you're coasting (with a fixed rear sprocket) the wheel can actually be pushing the chain forward on the top and pulling backward on the bottom...exactly the opposite of what occurs under engine power. Keeping the tensioner in exactly the right relationship to the sprockets seems to be the problem. Having rear drop outs on a bike like the OCC Chopper and on mopeds helps because it gives another way to adjust chain length keeping the chain as straight as possible.
  16. Karryhunt

    Karryhunt Member

    Kip Springer already solved the problem.....

    Attached Files:

  17. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Member

    I thought of an idiotic idea, and I'm going to have to try it.

    Basically like the stock tensioner but with two carriage bolts. Lots of options, but most won't work. Could try two in the front two in the back, a ghost sprocket style pushing the chain apart by the drive, pulling them together by the driven. Could try single pulling together, single pushing apart. I have yet to try and get my own ideas out there for something, so it'll be a fun waste of paper if anything. Gotta take it to the drawing board for now, I'll post up when I get a rough idea figured out. Shouldn't be too tough.
  18. professor

    professor Active Member

    That KIP item is real nice!
    For anyone reading this post, Kerry is quite right. On power - the top chain is tight and the bottom loose. A spring loaded tensioner on top will take the slack out only on deceleration.

    On my home made bike, I use a fixed tensioner on bottom and a plastic guide that just messes the chain when it is tight on the top run. The guide keeps the (bike type) chain from jumping off on severe bumps.
  19. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    PS. I saw Kip's tensioner design when he was first asking readers for feedback. I like his design and I'm very glad someone makes a MB tensioner product now that you can buy online.

    re: top chain tensioner
    I"ve been running a similar design for more than half a year.
    Mine uses a long replacement for one of the drive gear cover screws, and a neoprene roller from a go-karts supplier.

    The point the roller engages the chain is directly behind the cover, where it has a lot of leverage. It only takes up a little bit of slack, and prevents vibration and lessens chain wear. I can pop the clutch whenever I want without any problem of slacking, and the chain does not slack even when bogging through mud or grass. It did have a little chain slack on the first ride, because I did not shorten the chain enough, and did not have as strong a spring.

    I am glad to see someone else has used a similar design with success.



    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  20. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    yep, like i said it works for me, and it does what it's supposed to. I have been running this design on my bike for 3 years now, with no problems at all.