Chain Tensioner for Balloon Tire Bike?

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RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
I'm working on my '52 Murray today, taking off the crappy Chinese chain tensioner I had on there as a temporary fix. I shortened the chain a couple links and it looks a lot better, but the oversize 26x2.35 tires I had in it rub the frame. Is there any way I can get the back wheel to move back an extra 1/8"? I was thinking of either putting on a stretched out old chain or a tensioner, but none of the new tensioners look good on this thing. I'm going for a sort of 60's custom theme on this thing with no new parts, and it's looking really good but it just doesn't look right without the oversize tires.

I'll try and post some pictures soon, I'm pretty proud of this thing. Once I can get the oversize tires on, it's pretty much exactly the bike I've always wanted- Bendix 2 speed hub, Schwinn crank with smaller sprocket, rat trap pedals, period headlight, reupholstered Troxel seat, and an NOS Cat Eye reflector on the rear. I even managed to save the original white rims with the red pinstripe that none of the local shops said were salvageable
 

Autocycleplane

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Jan 6, 2010
2,181
NorCal, United States
KMC and others make half links for various width 1/2" pitch chains, that might help.
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
20170705_201401_HDR.jpg

Here are a few pictures, I built this thing last year. In the pics it has the crappy Chinese tensioner on it along with the oversize tires. I polished, buffed, and wiped a coat of Val Oil over the entire bike before assembly. All original paint.
20170705_201348_HDR.jpg
20170705_201446_HDR.jpg
20170705_201505_HDR.jpg
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
KMC and others make half links for various width 1/2" pitch chains, that might help.
I was thinking about that, but I can't figure out what size chain I have. It's made by KMC but there's no markings indicating the size. I ordered one after measuring it but it was too big for my chain
 

Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
3,968
39
Roseville MI
If your axle is all the way back in the dropout, then no, there is no way to move it back farther. Try this:

1.Get rid of the tensioner.

2.Try loosening the axle nuts and see if you can move the wheel back farther. If this fixes the problem, proceed to #3.
If it doesn't fix the problem, see #4 after completing #3.

3. Shorten the chain to the proper length and you won't need to use the tensioner.

4. Is the tire rubbing the frame all the time, or only rubbing in certain spots? If it's only rubbing in certain spots, try truing the wheel and that may solve the rubbing issue.
 
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RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
The wheel is actually almost all the way forward in the dropout now that I deleted the tensioner. Even with a set of 26x2.10 tires it still just barely rubs. The chain is as tight as I dare make it, but I need the wheel to move back about a quarter inch or so. The wheel is pretty true and when it's not rubbing it's 1/16" away from the frame
 

Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
3,968
39
Roseville MI
Also, your chainring is backwards. While I don't think it's contributing to the issue you're having, it may cause premature chain wear.
I have seen them mounted backwards on 5 speed bikes, but on single and two speed bikes it is supposed to be flipped around.
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
Also, your chainring is backwards. While I don't think it's contributing to the issue you're having, it may cause premature chain wear.
I have seen them mounted backwards on 5 speed bikes, but on single and two speed bikes it is supposed to be flipped around.
Yeah, I flipped it because it's not the stock crank, rear hub, or crank sprocket. With all those changes it seemed to line up better that way
 

Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
3,968
39
Roseville MI
The wheel is actually almost all the way forward in the dropout now that I deleted the tensioner. Even with a set of 26x2.10 tires it still just barely rubs. The chain is as tight as I dare make it, but I need the wheel to move back about a quarter inch or so. The wheel is pretty true and when it's not rubbing it's 1/16" away from the frame
That doesn't make any sense. The only purpose of the tensioner is to take up the slack from the chain being too long. It looks like with the tensioner off, you should have pleanty of chain to move the axle all the way back in the dropout.
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
Without the tensioner, and with the previous chain length the chain was too long, I took out 1 link and it's too short now. If I have that extra link and push the wheel back, the tire rubs the fender, if I remove it and tension it, it rubs the frame
 
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Jay81

Cruisin' on my Bluebird
Apr 26, 2015
3,968
39
Roseville MI
Without the tensioner, and with the previous chain length the chain was too long, I took out 1 link and it's too short now. If I have that extra link and push the wheel back, the tire rubs the fender, if I remove it and tension it, it rubs the frame
Maybe move the wheel all the way back, and see if you can attach the rear fender brace to the axle, rather than the frame? Looks like it may give you a little more fender clearance? Just "thinking out loud"
 

bairdco

I live for the CABE
Dec 24, 2009
1,880
Midway
"Extreme" measures, you could dimple the frame where the tire hits.

Less extreme measure, change the sprocket or the cog on the hub, meaning add a tooth or lose one, to put the wheel where you need it.
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
Less extreme measure, change the sprocket or the cog on the hub, meaning add a tooth or lose one, to put the wheel where you need it.
Now that's not a bad idea, but where would I get a new sprocket for the bendix hub? I'd probably either go 1 larger on that or 1 smaller on the crank sprocket. It currently has a 46t on the crank and an 18t on the hub
 

GTV

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2011
118
A, A
Now that's not a bad idea, but where would I get a new sprocket for the bendix hub? I'd probably either go 1 larger on that or 1 smaller on the crank sprocket. It currently has a 46t on the crank and an 18t on the hub
Good luck finding a kickback cog in anything other than 18t.
A 44t chain ring would be easy to find, a 48t probably wouldn't be too bad either.

I was thinking about that, but I can't figure out what size chain I have. It's made by KMC but there's no markings indicating the size. I ordered one after measuring it but it was too big for my chain
You must be using a narrow chain then. Normal chains for use without a derailer is 1/8" wide by 1/2" pitch.
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
I would definitely want a smaller 44t sprocket rather than the 48t. Lots of hills in my area. But with that smaller sprocket, I think I might have the same issue with it being too far back and rubbing on the fender in back.
 

RadRacer203

'Lil Knee Scuffer
Jun 5, 2018
19
23
Shrewsbury, MA, USA
Can anyone tell me what size chain I have? All it says on the side is KMC and 6K-2. I did some measuring and I think just a half link should do it. If anyone has a spare 44t sprocket I wouldn't mind one of those either. Always better to have more options
 

GTV

Finally riding a big boys bike
Jun 23, 2011
118
A, A
I would definitely want a smaller 44t sprocket rather than the 48t. Lots of hills in my area. But with that smaller sprocket, I think I might have the same issue with it being too far back and rubbing on the fender in back.
Then you take a link out of the chain.

There is a happy place where it will all work, you just have to play around and find it.
 
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Archie Sturmer

I live for the CABE
Jun 13, 2018
1,304
Los Angeles, CA, USA
I just re-did the math.
An added half link (1/2") results in about 1/4" move of the axle in the drop-outs.
A 1-tooth change, (in either front or rear), results in a 1/8" move in the drop-outs.
 

bike

Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe
Feb 26, 2007
6,686
Bicycleland
Is it possible that your bike is a middleweight? That would explain tight clearance....
 
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