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chain stretch and a stem question(5 posts)

chain stretch and a stem questioncmgauch
Sep 11, 2003 10:13 AM
I'm a month and about 210 miles into my FG habit (and loving it). I'm riding a new off the shelf Fuji Track with a KMC Zsomething chain.

Last night I had to move my wheel back for the 2nd time to take up slack in the chain - is this normal? I think my chain gets a lot of stress w/no brakes (love those skip stops), a 48/16 gear and pretty hilly terrain. Is this an area to upgrade given my entry-level ride?

I'm also wondering about my stem. Sometimes trackstands (attempts at I should say) or steep climbs cause the stem to twist slightly in the steerer tube. I've tightened it up (2x now) and I didn't experience that problem last ride but now it's a trust issue. Is this another area for a future upgrade or is there something I can do to help it out? I don't want to go gorilla and break the bolt...

Thanks for the help

- Chris
re: chain stretchss-nyc
Sep 11, 2003 11:59 AM
chain stretch...

Chains do not really stretch...they wear:

Are you sure the wheel is not slipping?
Wheels can pull forward due to the paint on the track ends causing them to slip...some people remove the paint. You could try chain tugs to keep the wheel in place.

Now a question for you...How do you like the ride of the Fuji?

I have been considering building a Surly, Soma, Kogswell, or buying a Fuji, KHS, and keep realizing that the Fuji has the most "road-like" geometry of all of them. Since I am going to use it mostly on the road it seems silly for me to get a more agressive frame with track-like geometry. So, how is the ride and how is it compared to your road bike it terms of road feel and handling?

re: chain stretchcmgauch
Sep 11, 2003 1:23 PM
Thanks for the links. I never knew that chain stretch was misnomer. It doesn't look like the wheel is slipping but rather than just loosening the nuts & pulling the wheel back like I've been doing I'll take the nuts off and check it out better.

I like the ride of the Fuji but I've always been partial to steel frames/forks. I too, use it as a road bike. I love the way it sprints and handles, but I'd say my fixed gear skill/confidence level has kept me from exploring its handling limits.

I broke my road frame last year (a sweet fillet-brazed cro-mo GT) and am ashamed to say that I replaced it with a cheapo 7005 road frame and closeout Kestrel c/f fork from Nashbar. It's competent, and the ride is OK, but it's not really in the same ballpark.

If your user name is any indication, we are very proximate to each other so feel free to check it out in person, go for a spin and form your own opinions. I live in northern NJ and work in NYC, although I've only commuted in on the fixed once so far.

re: Steel vs. Alumnium, A good shop, and
Sep 11, 2003 2:05 PM
I HATE Aluminium.

I have owned a few Cannondales and thought it was the fat tubes but have also borrowed other aluminium bikes and just cannot get used to the harsh ride...I just do not need that much "road feel" in my life.

In my size, 53 or 54, aluminum is just that much worse. My current road bike is a Fuji steel 853 with a carbon fork which just rides great. I found a 2002 leftover on eBay and could not pass it up. I like/want the track frame becasue it almost has the exact same geometry. It would be great to have a road geared and a road fixed that would be identical in all aspects.

I am not sure if you need a shop that specializes in track bikes but one of the best in Manhattan is BikeWorks. They have built me 3 bikes so far. Check them out:

I appreciate the offer on the "test ride" and may take you up on it one day. I have family in Tenafly so when I am not in the mood to deal with traffic I drive out with the bikes in the car, leave the car in Tenafly, and then ride to Piermont, Nyack, or some other place with the wife. The track bike will be for fun rides in Central Park and maybe some longer ones after some time.

Anyway...follow up via email:
bid4items AT aol DOT com

Be well.
In most cases you won't break the bolt ...Humma Hah
Sep 12, 2003 3:01 PM
... the steer tube will fail first. At least, that's the case with the older stems (wedge type) I'm used to. Overtightening is NOT a good idea. If it keeps coming loose, you might want to disassemble the whole thing, pull the fork, and be sure you're not distorting the steer tube. Sometimes these older ones simply have rust, grease, or other crud in them that prevents them from gripping well, and a good cleaning fixes it.

I did some calculations on this chain slack issue a few months ago. A lot depends on how tight you run your chain. If you like it almost taut, maybe 1/8" or so of slack, then the most phenomenally small amount of chain wear, cog wear, or differential thermal expansion (aluminum frame and steel chain, for example) can make a big difference in chain slack. A few thousandths of an inch in chain length can make a 1/4" difference in slack if you run that tight. It doesn't mean your chain is shot, it just means you can easily see the results of small changes.