Chain Tensioner Chain Tensioner

Discussion in 'Transmission / Drivetrain' started by artik, May 2, 2009.

  1. artik

    artik New Member

    Man, I get done fixing one problem, ride the bike for like 5 miles, come home, EAT, and got another problem to fix. My chain tensioner is the problem THIS time.

    So, origionally i used the chain tensioner that came with the kit, which worked well for awhile. The plastic wheel got all cut up and eventually the sides started to just break off. I replaced it and got one with a bearing inside it. It worked for awhile but the sides STILL broke off. I don't know what else to do.

    If anyone knows of any sellers that have chain tensioners which use sprockets, that would help a lot! I was thinking of making one out of a small sprocket (like the clutch one). If anyone knows a place where I can get a tensioner like this, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

    Thanks in advanced guys!

  2. mralaska

    mralaska Member

    There are spring loaded tensioners around that are higher quality than the stock tensioner. I am a believer in getting rid of the tensioner completely. Some people find enough adjustment in the rear wheel or motor mounts after taking out links to get it close. I personally use shims in the motor mount to adjust the chain tension:
  3. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Also one of our members here has built a chain tensioner just like you described; sprocket.

    I've forgotten who (and thread title) but you can find it, I'm sure, by typing "tensioner" into the search engine.

    Good luck.
  4. Nuttsy

    Nuttsy Member

    Large Filipino fashioned one using the guide wheel from a recycled deraileur.
    Like BGW said do a search. You could also use a 10 or so tooth idler in place of the roller you have now. Search some of the bike engine and scooter parts sites for "chain idler". Also, Northern Tool and Tractor Supply sell them.
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    Toro Supply -- found in most any fair size town
    can probably help you to make a very heavy duty one
    they carry parts for all lawn equipment used on golf courses
    many have idler gears -- with good bearnings

    ride that thing sideways
  6. crazeehorse

    crazeehorse Member

    i wonder if you have your sprocket running true. pick up the back end of your bike, lock the clutch so the wheel turns. spin it slowly, & see if your sprocket wobbles in relation to the chain stay. if so, take your time, & adjust the sprocket mounting bolts, being careful not to over tighten or strip. this is one of the most important steps on an installation. if you do strip one of the bolts, like i did, get another washer & nut & thread it on behind the striped one to hold it , until you can get a replacment.
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  7. artik

    artik New Member


    Yah, I was thinking about it yesterday... My chain does a lot of jumping around when I'm riding, my sprocket isn't off center enough to cause worry but does everyone's chain bounce around while the engine is displacing work? I'm worried if i get a sprocket idler, it will just jump off it and that would be no good. I've got a curiosity to use a ghost ring, but i don't want to buy a new machined sprocket, anyonne know where i can get one cheap (maybe broken holes or something, teeth intact tho)?
  8. crazeehorse

    crazeehorse Member

    not that much, the bike that i use a tensioner on does'nt jump hardley at all. you must have something going on there. just take your time, do a lot of looking both on your bike, & the many pics on here to compare to. you''ll find what it is.
  9. Junster

    Junster Member

    Sometimes you have to file/grind the top of the teeth on the rear sprocket to get the chain to seat well. Many have made tensioner wheels from skateboard wheels, inline skate wheels, single speed freewheels with the cogs removed. One thing, you may have to band/twist the tensioner mount to line it up with the chain. The stay arm it mounts on is at an angle. I know making a better solution to the stock tensioner is my next project.
  10. Grease

    Grease New Member

  11. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith New Member


    I'm new at this also, and the tensioner was an issue for me. I went to a rubberized roller from Tractor Supply as recommended by many on this site. It was much better than the one supplied obviously. I still had trouble getting it really dialed in and went to a sprocket tensioner. I was able to make mine, and haven't had the first problem since. I also attached a spring to even out the tension when accelerating. The JensonUSA site looks like a good place find something. If you read the past threads on tensioners something will click for you. The one I ended up making was a combination of several of the solutions others came up with. These guys have wonderful ideas and are always helpful. You will enjoy the interaction here. Good Luck
  12. Junster

    Junster Member

    I'm totally with MrAlaska on this one. I took the tensioner off and tossed it. Use a half link in the chain if you need to then take up the slack with a "tee-shirt" shim. Makes your ride so much better, safer, less vibration. It takes a little fooling around to get it right if your bikes like mine and the rear dropouts have no adjustment. It is way worth the couple hours it takes to get it right.
  13. linnix13

    linnix13 Member

    ok here is what you should do, get a block of uhmw(google it) and cut a square that will fit into the original mounting bracket, then just bolt it to the original chain tensioner(with the plastic wheel removed) and use a band saw to cut a groove for the chain, it will be rough for the first 20 or so km but once its worked in its perfect! had mine for 3000km without a hitch. i dont know how to put a pic up but if you email me i can send it to you, here look at the very first picture of my bike and you get the idea!
  14. Junster

    Junster Member

    The best tensioner is no tensioner. It's pretty easy to shim the motor to get it right.


  15. linnix13

    linnix13 Member


    yes thats a good idea but the chain stretches and its easy to have the ability to just tap the chain tensioner with a hammer to adjust it
  16. Grease

    Grease New Member

    I was browsing around and found this for less cost than the Surly. You would just need to take the in/out bolt and swap it upside down so the guard is on the top. Then fabricate something on the seat tube or chain stay. I really like the in/out feature so you can align things perfectly.
  17. terri5212

    terri5212 New Member

    alinghning idler bracket

    My chain stay and chain are at different angles which keeps the chain from squaring up with the idler roller.
    By twisting my tensioner bracket to line up with the chain it no longer rides over on the edges.