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There's a braze-on for a chain tensioner on the tube between the bottom brackets, but I'm guessing esoteric replacement parts for basic bikes are either expensive or nonexistent.

I wouldn't recommend this, but I admire the flair and it's probably fine for the application. Stop pedaling if you throw the ring, and even that might not matter if the upper (drive) tension doesn't sag. If you do the sort of riding that bike implies and avoid rough roads, it probably won't come to that anyway.


My brother-in-law used one to get the tension right on a fixie he built from a frame with vertical dropouts. It worked, and looks cool but he did say it gave the bike a curious 'spongy' feel when you pedaled.

Alan Braggins

Also known as a "ghost" or "phantom" chainring.



Heads up all you tall-bike tinkerers out there. This could save your life some day!


I have that same Columbia tandem. It's a POS. That said, if the chain tensioner wheel went missing, it really wouldn't be difficult to rig one up using a derailleur jockey wheel, which you'd almost certainly be able to get hold of, if you have access to a loose chainring. So I really don't see the point of this hack.

Bicycle Bill

I've seen this used on the linking chains on multi-seat bicycles (triples and quads) before, as well as on long-wheelbase recumbents like the original Linear.

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