On the Topic of Chains

Chain drive isn’t as common of a drive train here in the esk8 world lately from what I’ve seen; but in my opinion it’s a good way to transfer power to the wheels mainly because It’s cheap, it’s hardy, and it’s simple. I figured I’d make this thread so we can all share some tips and tricks to keep our chains running smoothly and as a general source of knowledge for those looking to indulge.

I will start with some questions I have and also share what I have learned in my short time riding them. You can answer and help us understand a bit better or simply refute what I stated and share what you think is useful for others.

  • How often to lube and clean a chain
    After about a month mine started to get pretty loud and gnarly. I didn’t see much gunk on it even after riding through mud and dirt and grass and everything under the sun but as soon as it was cleaned and lubed it quieted down considerably and even felt a bit more smooth. I did this by running an old wetted toothbrush along every link for about 3-4 rotations. Then I dried it with a cloth and went at it with the same toothbrush this time wetted with a dosh of lube. I did 2 rotations with the lube and re applied a small amount to the brush each rotation. You don’t need much. I used wet lube but perhaps dry will last longer?

  • Tension
    I’ve kept my chain pretty loose. there’s a good inch or two of up and down play between the motor and wheel sprockets but not enough to derail it under power.

  • Master link clip
    I’ve heard this should always have the open end facing away from the direction of travel as to not unclip while barreling down the road.

  • Sprockets
    Commonly available for Trampa Superstar and MBS hubs ranging from ~30 to ~42 teeth. Be careful with 42 tooth sprockets. They are a bit big in diameter for even 200mm wheels and will scrape the ground sometimes. You can make your own with a hubless sprocket with a big enough hole to fit over your axle/truck and a drill press to accurately drill mounting holes to fit your wheel. I’d like to see some made for ABEC or kegel wheels.
    Commonly available motor sprockets are 9 tooth for 8mm shafts and 10 tooth for 10mm shafts. Then you can go up in size.

  • Buy
    Good retailers include Overion, Unik, Etoxx, mcmastercarr and others I’m sure.

What else you got?


I use monsterscooterparts in the usa for extremely cheap qaulity parts.

They sell tubes and tires as well. Orders of $59 ship free, so you might as well pick up some spare pneumatics.

I do my drive trains with cheap rims from china and #35 size chains. All you have to do is 3d print an insert that fits the bore of the pulley, then add some branches with holes at the tip marking your bolt holes. Its the easiest way to get precise holes without scribing it by hand. Most sprockets are soft steel except for the tips that are tempered with induction coil heating. For attaching the sprocket, you can use either a crap load of nuts as spacers to get it away from the hub, or just get washers or metal tubes/bushings. Really anything works as long as its tightened well


Good source for all people from EU


You can’t add that much bling to your build when using belts, right?

Invest in a chain breaker and forget about the master link


Im using #25h chain without issues. Dual 6374 hitting 35+ mph

Is there a way( like on a bike) to allow free rolling when the throttle is not being used

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Yes, just take off the chain. Works 110% :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::muscle:


Sounds like you have a fixie. Its when the rear sprocket doest allow for free spin. Meaning its fixed in place. You’ll have to get a different rear assembly or chance it and removed thw fixed gear yourself. I do not, I repeat, I DO NOT advice doing it yourself. Take it to a bike shop.

To my understanding, no, not if you want to maintain regenerative breaking anyways.
On a bike, to achieve free rolling, there is a one-way bearing in the rear hub to prevent the chain from adding drag to the wheel. This is great as it doesnt impair control since bikes have the addition of a physical hand brake.
For esk8, since we use our motors to brake, we cant utilise this same free-role mechanic as by doing so, our brakes would be useless.


Is there anyway to get around this problem somehow

Yes, buy manual brakes like they use for old school mtb.

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But then you have to deal with a vesc not really being designed for that.

for what you need to change something in the vesc than?
the brake is independend from the vesc management.

Introducing a sudden mechanical deceleration over and over wouldn’t have effects on the esc? I’m asking because I don’t know.

I actually don’t know if it would affect the VESC since the mechanical deaccelerstion wouldn’t be sensed by the VESC since the motors (and hence the VESC) are essentially separated from the mechanical braking (assuming a one way bearing Is present)


Momentumboards.com has a nice chain drive set up also.

Idk I mean you shouldn’t give full throttle and hit the brake handle than. I see it as taking away throttle than brake with hand. Shouldn’t have an influence on the vesc. Just my thoughts…

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I bet you’d be able to replicate that on a “sudden super steep hill”

Or just riding into a wall :grimacing:

Where did you source your #25H wheel sprockets from?
It’s easy to find motor sprockets, and there are tons of large 55T+ sprockets from the world of pit bikes, but it’s nowhere near as easy to find plate sprockets in the 25-40T range that is suitable for skateboarding.

CNC’ing them is an option, but not the easiest or cheapest.
Some CAD files available from https://www.vexrobotics.com/25-sprockets.html#CAD_Files

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