Chain Tensioner Ideas for a new chain tensioner?

Discussion in 'Transmission / Drivetrain' started by Patch, Jul 6, 2007.

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  1. Patch

    Patch Guest

    So... everything on my schwinn chopper runs great except the tensioner. It just seems so inadequate. I think we could come up with something much higher quality and more ingenious.

    I was looking at using a spiring type mechanism like as used in moutain bikes and stuff. The only problem is that once you start it...all the chain tension would push down the spring and jump off of have the chain go into your spokes or something catastrophic.

    MY other idea would be a ratcheting spring loaded tensioner. This way the tensioner could only pick up slack in the chain rather than give it slack due to the springs compression.

    Anyone else got a good idea? :grin:

  2. ibeenjammin

    ibeenjammin Guest

  3. azvinnie

    azvinnie Guest

    today l spot welded the tensioner bolt so it won't slid up or down any more and it seems to work, will post some picks 2morrow.
  4. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

  5. V 35

    V 35 Member

    I think a deraileur spring is way too stiff. The spring on my bike is very light,
    just enough to ' encourage' the chain to stay in place. The tensioner belongs on
    the bottom chain, as the top chain is subjected to torque. I left the deraileur on
    my mountain bike, removed the stop, and cable, and am running a coaster brake wheel. If you live in a hilly area, you need a coaster brake.

    The pedal side is due for a re-bop, soon as my new bike runs.
  6. masterx1234

    masterx1234 Member

  7. retromike3

    retromike3 Member

    chain tensioner? we don't need no chain tensioners!

    I got tired of dealing with the ones that came with the kits I have bought, so I simply replaced my rear dropouts with track bike dropouts. I also brazed a rear cantilever hanger on the crank side so it would still index. I tried to copy the placement of the rear wheel so it matched the set up I had on the bike before I switched it over. So far so good. I have got about a hundred miles on it and it seems to be holding up pretty well.

    I did have a hard time changing the rear wheel when I had a flat, but I think that would have been a pain regardless. I was able to get home after I about an half hour of messing with it at the side of the road. Lucky for me I brought a shop rag (just in case) But I forgot my tire irons and had to use a screwdriver. I also carry a spare tube, because I hate patching tubes on the road.

    On the first motor bicycle I put together I had a really bad tensioner pulley and after about ten miles it loosened up and went into the spokes. The one I replaced it with wore out after about fifty miles and the chain got stuck in between the cog and the spokes. I had to undo the motor chain and ride the bike back home on pedal power. Lucky for me it was all down hill from there.

    So, with fingers crossed I will see how long this will hold, But it looks pretty good so far.

  8. V 35

    V 35 Member

    Thanks for verifying what I thought, the idler rollers do not last !

    My stock [ sleeved ] one got destroyed in a chain break

    The Ball Bearing Roller is shot after about 10 miles [ I may have had too much tension ] Used only the roller, nix to the bracketry .

    A better Tensioner is badly needed, one that won't hit the spokes
    For now, it's try, and buy time .
  9. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    Pirate Cycles has a couple different chain tensioners, and while they look decent, they are not cheap. They might be worth every penny (I don't know), but they are not in my budget right now...
  10. steelfan41

    steelfan41 Member

    Here is my solution to a similar tension issue.

    Attached Files:

  11. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    WOW... I would be thoroughly shocked if THAT failed!
  12. wbuttry

    wbuttry Member

    i dont know why you people have so much problems with you tentioners i never had a problem with them i bolt them on rite when i build the bike and never half to touch it again
  13. steelfan41

    steelfan41 Member

    If I could only be so lucky. I bought my bike (first MB) used off Craig's list and got a whopper of a lemon. The frame only has vertical cuts for the hub/spindels to go through, no horizontal slots to allow for tire wiggle room at all. There is a very small margin of non-contact for my tensioner and the tire. I tore up 2 tires and 1 chain before going ultra-HD. No problems anymore. :)
  14. V 35

    V 35 Member

    Check out the tensioner setup on a ' Sportsman ' Bike. A small roller that rides on a slot parallel to chainstay. I played with a medicine bottle to test the theroy. I'm impressed ! Sliding the bottle toward the sprocket tightens chain a very small amount of movement is needed as idler approaches sprocket.
    On my next bike, I'll weld something equally phycadellic to both chainstays,
    allowing very fine adjustment of both chains. I ' pledged ' my Huffy Cranbrook would use only Bolt On parts, as I don't want to weld to a new frame. Everything came out great, except the chain tensioners, which have been a heartbreaking money pit. I'm tempted to yank back the rear wheel, and say ' scr** them ' The thought of a jumped chain wrecking the new engine / sprocket, keeps the bike unfinished. It's like getting tackled on ' their ' 3 yard line. I spent the price of a new Huffy on various idlers, rollers and tensioners $ The Ball bearing Grubee roller is junk the ball bearing only goes in aprox 1/3 of the roller's ID, leaving the rest to flop. The Sleeve bearing one is much better, which isn't saying much. $ A mountain bike Chain Tensioner won't work with a coaster brake, the backwards force of braking is dissapated by the tensioner $ A steel roller seems like a bad idea [ Texas Idler ] $ The beautiful Singapore roller [ waited a month ] looked perfect in the photo, but is too bulky to fit in the narrow confines below engine $ I hacked up an old road bike deraileur in a mad quest for parts $ Metric Stuff isn't cheap the hardware store loves me. $ I'm tempted to buy another Cranbrook, dissassemble, and send frame to paint stripper. When bare metal comes back weld on motorbike components ;

    Tabs for Gas Tank + Coil Mounts
    Front Engine Mount
    Tensioner Mounts [ Sportsman style ]
    on both chainstays
    Added gussets to rear stays
    Drive Chain Guard mount
    Exhaust Bracket
    Torque Reaction Bracket
    Clutch Improver bracket

    Current Build = Huffy Cranbrook, Worksman Wheels, Felt Super Tires,
    80cc Grubee Skyhawk MM Hub Cheapo Mt Bike Calipers / Combo lever
    Domino Throttle, Alloy Non Slip pedals.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  15. Big Red

    Big Red Active Member


    Here's how I did it on a few of my OCC builds. I weigh 240lbs and it never broke there. The frame cracked in three different places, but never there. I've marked the places it did break and had to have welded. But the tensioner never gave me one minute of problems.
    Big Red.

    Attached Files: