Forum home Road cycling forum Workshop

Chain Tension Confusion

robert-sbrobert-sb Posts: 118
edited August 2011 in Workshop
I have been trying to put a new chain on my Bianchi. It is a Campag set up. When I put it on there is no tension on the jockey wheels - is it too loose ? How do you gauge the correct tension ? My Cannondale which is only a couple of months old appears to have the same tension with a Shimano set up - is this too loose as well ?

In addition when I have put the chain on, the pin that I have put in to join the link is tight and won't move freely - what have I done wrong ?

Finally, I have the Park Tools chain tool How do you get the pin in the correct position to put into the link ? I have been pressing by hand hard enough to hold in place just enough to get the chain tool in place.


  • TwostageTwostage Posts: 987
    Have you measured the new chain and split it so it has the same number of links as the old one ?
    From memory (I use KMC these days and they have a split link) to get the pin in place you just hold it there and turn the handle until it starts to go in.
    If the link feels stiff once joined just flex it from side to side.
  • robert-sbrobert-sb Posts: 118
    Have I compared it to the old chain ? - that's a bit of a moot point ! The reason for changing the chain was that I was told by someone I respect (he's been right on a lot of other things) that the old chain was too loose. Without realising what I was doing I went and ordered a new chain before I realised I should just be taking links out :roll:
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,235
    Ok, to set chain length measure it against the old one you took off... you did keep it dinn't you?

    If you didn't then get thee to the Park Tools maintenace section of their website for instructions how too - or indeed go to the campag website and download the tech manual for the rear mech you have.

    Put simply. you put the chain on the big ring at the fron, and the big sprocket at the rear (yes, I know you shouildn't use tis combo in anger, but if you accidentally do you need to be sure the chain is long enough not to pull the mech cage into the sprockets) and pull the two ends of the chain together until the top jockey wheel is just clear of the largest sprocket.

    The use your chain tool to remove the unneeded links, leving 2 "inner" liks, and use the connex/KMC connector to join it. You can drop the chain off the rings to give you slack to do this. Oh, and the Connex etc link won't feel stiff.

    If you don't have one (Connec or KMC links) they can be bought separately. As can SRAM BUT the 10sp SRAM one is a permanent joining link, whereas Comnnex / KMC / Wipperman can be broken by hand to allow removal for cleaning.

    Then check it's ok. Don't make the chain too short initially as adding links is a nightmare with modern narrow chains - special pins, special tools etc. and as you've found out not easy to get smooth - although my old trick with a stiff link was to put the tool on the opposite side and push the pin back out a fraction.

    As to the park tool it should line up with no troube but will take considerable force to "break" the pin grip when trying to remove links.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    You'll notice on your chain tool there is a second option for locating the chain so you can use it to loosen the stiff link you just created. YouTube or Park Tools for details if unsure.

    Easier still to use a KMC missing link once you've shortened the chain correctly.
Sign In or Register to comment.