Sunday, May 06, 2007

more Kona tinkering

So the great Kona singlespeed conversion wasn't quite as finished as I'd hoped.

Annalise and I went for a ride yesterday, and parked our bikes outside the St. Lawrence Market while we loaded up on fruits and veg. About halfway through our ride, just after Annalise split off to go visit a friend, I started losing the chain every five seconds, and it just drove me batty. The chain had been loose from the get-go, and I think I'd put just enough kilometres on the new and improved Kona to stretch the chain a little bit more. People with lots of single speed experience probably could have guessed this, but chains that are loose to begin with don't stay happy campers for very long.

So, when the chain on your new singlespeed mountain bike set-up is slipping off the cog and ring all the time, here's what you do:
a) Go up to the bike shop and buy a chain tensioner. b) Call your buddy Smut, who is coming down to watch the hockey game anyway, and see if he still has the chunk of chain that you guys had removed last week. c) After he says "yep, I'll bring it down" you get even luckier, because he also finds his spare spacers and he remembers to bring his chain whip and cassette-lockring remover as well.

Once you have all that stuff, things go pretty smoothly. Break the chain, play with the spacers to improve the chain line, install the chain tensioner, measure the chain to see how many more links to put back on, put the chain back together, and la voila! You have your bike working again!

I don't love the look of the bike with the tensioner on there. It was much more simply elegant with just the cog - but hey, aside from buying a Steelwool SweetCity SS, what are you going to do.


Melissa said...

When I was a kid I have an awesome blue bike with a banana seat called Blue Dream/Blue Angel, or something to that effect. I loved it. I would ride it to Mac's Milk everyday, because that's what I called that place.

Snakebite said...

Dude - don't you want the tensioner tensioning up instead of down so your contacting more of your rear sprocket teeth? Also, Martino gave me some contact info for a guy named Johnny Jet Fuel regarding the track.

Tuco said...

Hey Snake - I've seen different a tensioner online that snugs onto your chainstay and holds the chain up more, but these ones are supposed to work as well.
I just tinkered again actually - removed a few chain links so that the chain is a lot tighter and contacts more of the cog teeth. I got some skipping happening today which sucked, and therefore the chain tightening.

Jeff said...

Is that a Surly tensioner? Mine came with two springs...a push up and a push down. I put the push up spring in, and my chain skipping woes were ended. It's all about chain wrap!

Smudgemo said...

How about a White Industries ENO eccentric hub? I built up a wheel for my Cannondale road bike with that hub and it worked well. The brake reach sometimes was a little funky, but on the whole it seems like a good way to go.

Tuco said...

My tensioner is made by axiom. Just the one spring, but now that I've taken out the links the chain wrap is pretty good and I haven't had any skipping happening, even on some biggish hills.

Love the bike! It's like being a kid again!