A lot of people define it as “moving your wheel as far forward in the dropouts as possible”. And that’s fine, and that’s what most people do. But my question was “what if the chain gets too loose?” Most of the time people will say to get a halflink chain. However if you read article #1, about halflink chains, you’ll see why I think that’s a stupid idea.
“Put a halflink on it”. Alright, that’s a simple fix too. But what if that still isn’t the right length? So I had some issues. (as it turns out, that did happen to me, so I was stuck). Every other week or so I was in a jam. Trying to get my chain tight and wheel straight all at once, while then tightening the bolts, and everything went haywire.
Then….I forget when, Simple came out with their wheel slamming spacers. I thought it was a genius idea! A set of spacers that you put on, and it pushed your wheel in to place! I LOVED THEM! They were around 10$ USD, and unfortunately, that was only for 2 sizes. There were in total 20 sizes I believe. My problem with them is what if you get a new chain, then you need a new set. What about when that chain stretches a bit, another new set (if your previous set didn’t fit).
All seemed a bit of a hassle. So I went out seeking a fix for it.
Also right about now is when another definiton to "slam" came in. You can probably figure it out on your own, but I'll try to put it in words. "Adjusting your dropout depth to fit your wheel snug when the chain is under proper tension". (I just made that up).
Some frames have integrated chain tensioners. I thought they were amazing. A sweet invention. I wanted to put some on my bike, but back then I was not technically inclined to do that kind of thing. So I went back to the simple wheel slammers for a concept. Sure enough, later that day I had my solution.
The gap I had to fill was about 3-4mm thick. I could have gotten a set of simple wheel slammers, but paying about 17$ (shipping included) for them, I didn’t see it making sense. Instead, I replaced them with zip ties. What I did was cut a piece of zip tie off and wedged it between my axle and front of my dropouts. I tightened up my axle nuts, and rode away for months with no issues with chain tension. I was happy.
Untillll my chain went bye-bye and I needed a new one. Before stretching, my chain was shorter, so I needed to get about 1mm spacer. Zipties didn’t still fit. So I needed to replace them with something. This is where it gets interesting. I used a pen.
Another quick hint, take a quick dab of elmers glue and put them in and hold them in with that. The glue will come off really easily, but it holds them in place while you’re putting your wheel on.
Also just an FYI, with this ghetto fix, you'll probably want to make a few wheel 'slammers' of a size you're going to use a lot and keep them in your toolbox or somewhere handy. Whenever I loosen my wheel, not even just taking it off, I replace them. They work as long as the wheel is tight. I wouldn't suggest trying to reuse them.