I am slowly coming to dislike chain tubes in all forms. They suck power (a little bit at any rate) but mostly the fact that they fill with gunk, are difficult to clean and no matter how well you clean your chain it gets dirty again as soon as it goes through the tube. The M5 has had its tube removed already, but it was a slightly more involved task on the Fuego. Here it is:
I bought a Terracycle return idler and frame mount which I bolted to the main frame tube. I then removed all the chain tubes and took it for a spin – seems to work pretty good. Much less friction on the drivetrain now, and quieter too. I’m still trying to find the best place to put the new idler – the return chain runs quite close to the seat mount bracket and it occasionally bounces off it which I’m trying to minimise. I’ll keep moving the idler forward a bit until it becomes silent.
With the chain tubes off, the power chain now eats the tyre on tight bends. Before, the chain tube would make contact but it didn’t matter so much – now you need to be a little more careful. The chain does run quite close to your leg as well, so I’ll see how that goes. Normally I get a dirty patch from catching my leg on the idler guard above the front wheel, so I don’t think that’s going to change – I’ve yet to see if the power chain will ricochet around on bumps and hit my leg.
So far so good – and now I can properly clean the chain! I’m thinking that doing the same on the Sprint might be a challenge too far though.