Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stopping chain suck

I love it when I can MacGyver a cheap and effective solution to a problem. I’ve been looking around lately for a device for preventing chain suck, because I’m concerned about damage to my aluminum Fatback frame. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one locally, and online reviews of several commercially manufactured models were mixed.

With a helpful idea from a sales guy at a big-box hardware store, I came up with this arrangement. I bought a foot of vinyl tubing for 41 cents, then cut a short piece and slit it down one side so I could wrap it around my drive-side chainstay. I clamped it down tight with three zip ties, positioning them so they would help block a chain from entering the space between the bike frame and the front chainrings.

It ain’t the prettiest bike accessory in the world, and it’s certainly not indestructible. But it’s light, it’s cheap, and the combination of zip ties and vinyl should provide a decent buffer for at least a couple of chain-suck incidents.

And if the whole thing gets ruined in the process of protecting my frame, I can install a new one for next to nothing.


The Old Bag said...

The mutha of invention....

Phil B said...

T, Question for you, and maybe not appropriate to answer here, but I have recently started the process of getting serious about purchasing a big wheeled beast for next winter. In trying to decide which way to go, I wonder if you can enlighten me and the blogosphere as to what drove your decision to go with FatBack over the other options available? I lean towards the FB or maybe 9Zero7, but would like a seasoned vet's take on it.



Tim said...

Phil, drop me an email at the address shown near the top of my blog. I'd be glad to give you some stuff to think about.

FatbackRider said...

So does this work? I have a Steel Fatback with terrible chain suck. I've gouged the frame pretty badly and really want that to stop.

Tim said...

FatbackRider, I should write a follow-up post now that I've used this idea for about a year. Yes, so far, I love it. Just last week, it saved my frame from a chain scratch.

The beauty is that it's cheap and easily replaceable if the zip-ties and rubber tubing get torn up.

If your drive train is clean, you shouldn't be getting chain suck. Maybe you have a bent gear ring that's catching the chain. If you have a repair stand, put your bike on it and slowing turn the pedals in several different gear combinations to see if you can find a spot where the chain is catching and being lifted into the chainstay.

I still recommend my homemade doo-dad, but it could be that a new chainring (or a straightened tooth) would help eliminate your problem.