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For chains that do not have a master link, I am curious how one removes a rear wheel on a fixed gear bike that has track ends without breaking the chain. Do you just leave space to slide the wheel towards the front of the bike in the track end and then slip the chain off the cog after creating some slack? Do most people simply use a chain that has a master link of some sort?

I have read that it is possible to remove the chain sometimes without even moving the wheel and that sometimes it is necessary to move the wheel forward. I am curious what the experienced fixed gear riders usually do and if it is accurate that a properly tensioned chain still can be removed (or put back on) without moving the wheel.
 

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Chain tensioning by moving the wheel forward or back in the droputs

nate said:
For chains that do not have a master link, I am curious how one removes a rear wheel on a fixed gear bike that has track ends without breaking the chain. Do you just leave space to slide the wheel towards the front of the bike in the track end and then slip the chain off the cog after creating some slack? Do most people simply use a chain that has a master link of some sort?

I have read that it is possible to remove the chain sometimes without even moving the wheel and that sometimes it is necessary to move the wheel forward. I am curious what the experienced fixed gear riders usually do and if it is accurate that a properly tensioned chain still can be removed (or put back on) without moving the wheel.
I think you've actually answered your own question. Typically, the chain is sized so that it can be slipped on and off with the wheel all the way forward, and then the wheel is pulled back to tension the chain.

Keep in mind that the only way for a track rider to change gear ratios is to change the size(s) of either the front chainring or rear sprocket (or sometimes both). It is not desired to keep breaking the chain to length or shorten it as the chainring/sprocket sizes are changed, so the slots in track dropouts are intentionlly made long so that they can accomodate moving the wheel forward or back as necessary to tension the chain with different chainring/sprocket ratios. Of course, there is a limit on how much change in chainring/sprocket size can be accomodated by dropout slots, but given the relatively narrow range of gearing used for most track riding, moving the wheel forward and back in the slots to accomodate gearing changes generally works fine.

Road fixed gears often use a flip-flop hub, with different sprocket sizes on each side of the wheel. The gear ratio can be changed by simply flipping the wheel from around to the other sprocket. The only way this really works on the road is if the wheel is moved forward or back in the dropouts as needed for the two sprocket sizes - with a little slack left over so that the chain can be mounted/dismounted with the wheel all the way forward in the slots. (Side note: This setup can be used to dispel the myth that the reason for horizontal dropouts on road bikes is so that the wheel can be moved forward or back to change the wheelbase and the handling of the bike. If you ride a flip-flop hub and regularly move the wheel forward and back to accomodate different sprocket sizes, you'll realize that a centimeter or so difference in chainstay length had no real affect on handling.)
 

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nate said:
For chains that do not have a master link, I am curious how one removes a rear wheel on a fixed gear bike that has track ends without breaking the chain. Do you just leave space to slide the wheel towards the front of the bike in the track end and then slip the chain off the cog after creating some slack? Do most people simply use a chain that has a master link of some sort?

I have read that it is possible to remove the chain sometimes without even moving the wheel and that sometimes it is necessary to move the wheel forward. I am curious what the experienced fixed gear riders usually do and if it is accurate that a properly tensioned chain still can be removed (or put back on) without moving the wheel.
Yeah. You size the chain so that you need to pull it back a bit into the forks for the right tension--loosen the bolts, slide the wheel forward a bit, and it should be easy enough to take it off the ring.
 

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nate said:
For chains that do not have a master link, I am curious how one removes a rear wheel on a fixed gear bike that has track ends without breaking the chain. Do you just leave space to slide the wheel towards the front of the bike in the track end and then slip the chain off the cog after creating some slack? Do most people simply use a chain that has a master link of some sort?

I have read that it is possible to remove the chain sometimes without even moving the wheel and that sometimes it is necessary to move the wheel forward. I am curious what the experienced fixed gear riders usually do and if it is accurate that a properly tensioned chain still can be removed (or put back on) without moving the wheel.
How did you get it on? - TF
 

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nate said:
For chains that do not have a master link, I am curious how one removes a rear wheel on a fixed gear bike that has track ends without breaking the chain. Do you just leave space to slide the wheel towards the front of the bike in the track end and then slip the chain off the cog after creating some slack? Do most people simply use a chain that has a master link of some sort?

I have read that it is possible to remove the chain sometimes without even moving the wheel and that sometimes it is necessary to move the wheel forward. I am curious what the experienced fixed gear riders usually do and if it is accurate that a properly tensioned chain still can be removed (or put back on) without moving the wheel.
You've got the first part right. It doesn't take too much movement between properly tensioned and able to slip the chain off for wheel removal.

The answer to the second part is (or should be) no. A properly tensioned chain shouldn't let you remove it without moving the wheel. It's more likely to be an issue on converted bikes, because the tooth profiles that allow for shifting are lower than for proper track gear.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
TurboTurtle said:
How did you get it on? - TF
I don't have one on. I bought a used bike, and when it was shipped, the chain was removed by pushing a pin out. Judging by the position of the rear wheel, it was too far forward in the track end. The chain is sized to fit with the wheel all the way towards the front of the bike.

It is a Shimano HG93 9-speed chain, which I believe means I can't add a link, right? Just buy a new chain? If so, any recommendations? I think a 3/32 is fine judging by the cog and chainring but I will check to be sure when I get home.
 

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nate said:
Judging by the position of the rear wheel, it was too far forward in the track end.
Even a 1/4" is enough to take the chain off. Not the easiest way, but you can do it.

nate said:
Just buy a new chain? If so, any recommendations? I think a 3/32 is fine judging by the cog and chainring but I will check to be sure when I get home.
KMC Kool Chains are my current favorite. Good price, decent look, plenty tough (It's not something to worry about. I ran a fixed with the chain you have now with no problems. Ever)
 

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I knew a guy whose rear wheel ran right up against the back of the seat-tube when he ran a big tire; we're talking 2 mm of clearance, max. To get the wheel off and on, he had to let the air out of his tire in order to move it forward far enough to drop the chain. Some people like to set up their bikes really "tight," with the rear tire scraping the ST and the front tire scraping the underside of the DT; I guess it's more like the way track bikes are set up, but it seems impractical for daily street riding.
 

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Kinda of hard to describe, but what you can do with a very tight chain and no room on the drop outs is:

On the front ring
Find the link on the bottom that is just starting to or is next engage the next tooth
Slowly rotate the front crank backwards while at the same time pushing on the side of that next link
You should be able to slip past the tooth while still moving the crank backwards slowly

And the chain should slip rigth off.
 

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Good advice from everyone. One add-on from me: when you use magic's method, don't use your finger to push against the chain. Screwdriver, allen wrench, rock, ballpoint pen - anything but your finger anywhere near the chain when the cranks on a fixie are turning.
 
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