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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just yesterday I flipped my rear wheel around from the free cog (correct term?) to the fixed side. The bike is a basic "Vilano" brand single speed I got off of Amazon and have been happy with.

I did my best to align the rear wheel once I had it in place, secured it well, and positioned it with some good tension on the chain. I don't have any special tools or equipment (yet), so I did as well as I could for now.

After riding a bit I noticed a few things and wanted ANY AND ALL input, advice, wisdom, corrections, etc that anyone here could offer...

1. I noticed when I really stomped down on the rear-positioned pedal in an attempt to skid it felt like the cog or pedals slipped or unscrewed for maybe a quarter revolution. My thought was that the cog or pedals were unscrewing (off the cassette or crank, respectively? Again, I'm slowly learning the terms.), but I figured this may not be the case since it seemed to catch itself and not just keep slipping/unscrewing. What's happening? And how do I fix it?

2. I also noticed a bit of a sound like spokes were rubbing together... I'm not sure of this may have been just because my tire pressure was a bit low, or if maybe the sound was actually the chain making some noise for whatever reason. How do you measure or calibrate or insure that the chain is aligned properly, and how exact can/should it be? I was also wondering what the appropriate amount of tension should be to a fixed chain, is there's a rule of thumb, variable by ratio or chain used?

3. Also, what tools/equipment/supplies would you recommend for basic maintenance and tune-ups? What should be on the shortlist for keeping things in good working order?

I really appreciate the help! I'm starting from a point of little to no knowledge, but plenty of interest, enthusiasm, and general handy skills ready to be applied. If this is well-covered ground in prior threads and reference sites I'm more than happy to take a given link to those and run with it.

Thanks!
 

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8,414 Posts
DNEBS- Welcome to the forum! I'm not very adept at fixed gear bikes although I have had my eye on a Wabi for quite some time.

For maintenance, I'd suggest a really good book, Zinn's series and the Park Tool Big Blue Book come to mind as my favorites. If you almost always have the internet at the ready, Park Tool's website offers decent explanations and videos.

Tools for basic maintenance? Hex keys (allen heads), phillips/flat screw drivers, lubes and a floor pump to start. A bike stand makes life MUCH easier.
 

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1. Yeah, the terminology first. Your "cog" is the single sprocket that threads on to the hub. It should thread on clockwise, i.e., the direction the chain travels. It should also be secured by a lockring, which threads on in a counterclockwise direction, and prevents the cog from loosening due to your backward pedal pressure. So without a lockring, it's possible that your skid pressure could loosen the cog. I don't skid at all myself, so I'm at a loss to explain what's happening. I doubt the pedal is loosening. It may be that you're quarter revolution backward feel is the tire losing contact with the ground during the skid?

2. I have about a half inch deflection from the horizontal when I push the chain down equidistant between the cog and the chainring. It sort of like Goldilocks, as you don't want it too tight or too loose. That's primarily just a process of trial and error in getting the chain tension right. There is usually enough room to slide the wheel in the dropouts to get it right. As for the alignment, you can pretty much just eyeball it with a fixed gear, since there's no derailleur to complicate things. The technical term is chainline. I recommend you go to sheldonbrown.com and scroll to the articles on the fixed gear page. The dude is a wealth of information on everything bikes. The tension does not vary by chain or cog being used, it's a static function. There's also a chainline discussion at sheldonbrown, but chainline isn't usually a major deal. It can become so with some road bike conversions to fixed where the rear axle spacing is larger than optimum, you have a triple up front maybe, but this should not apply to you since you bought a new fixed.

3. What kneedrachen said here is good stuff. Bicycling mag's web site might also have some tool/maintenance basics as well.
 

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Total noob (& forum admin)
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Did you tighten your lockring yet? If not, you'll strip that hub in no time.

My suggested method is to remove the lockring, and remove the cog. Clean the thread of any dirt, grit, or metal filings. Tight the cog all the way down, then back it off to clean the threads again. One final tighten, then crank that lockring down. Check the lockring often. If it gets loose, you'll go to skid and end up stripping the threads right off your hub.
 
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