The tennis ball trick for single speed bikes

Tennis ball from Flickr

This is one of those little bike maintenance tricks that I just had to share!

For a while I struggled with punctures on my single speed bike. The problem was, it was difficult to pull the wheel back to get the chain adequately tensioned and at the same time secure it in place.

It’s one of those occasions when you wish you had four arms.

Fortunately, last weekend I attended the London Bike Hub two day bike maintenance course. There, I had the chance to ask a question that had been bugging me for a while. Fortunately, David, well informed about single speed and fixed gear bikes had the answer.

You simply need to jam a tennis ball in between the rear wheel and the frame, that will push the wheel in to place, so you can secure it.

I hope this quick maintenance tip helps someone else. I know I would have love to have heard it a few months ago!

I’ll have a full write up of the London Bike Hub weekend soon.

Image via Lynda Giddens, on Flickr

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4 Responses to The tennis ball trick for single speed bikes

  1. coney 03/08/2012 at 10:11 am #

    mate this is a great tip. wish I knew about it when I was maintaining my recently stolen fixie…

  2. Peter Smith 03/08/2012 at 10:24 am #

    No tennis ball?

    Use the original “walking” technique …

  3. Howard 03/08/2012 at 11:08 am #

    Hah, clever. Wonder if it would result in the chain being too tight though?

    I’ve always used the walking technique – gives you a bit of control over the tension of the chain.

  4. Butters81 03/08/2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Just use two dumbbell spanners (one on each side). Put the bike upside down, pull back on both the spanners while tightening up the nuts and make sure the rear wheel lines up with the seat tube. Don’t pull back too hard, otherwise I find this usually overtensions the chain.

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