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Nowhere will you find a better return idler than the Elite Return Idler from T-Cycle. First there's its super-tough, exquisitely machined construction: the beautiful aerospace-grade nylon sideplates, the supremely durable industrial urethane chainbed and the immaculately designed inner cores. Then there's the bearing: either the unbeatable resilience and consistency of the precision hybrid ceramic bearings (8mm only) or top-quality ABEC-7 steel bearings (for other sizes). Never has a ride been so smooth and so reliable as with an Elite Return Idler.


1. What's the deal with this idler?

This idler is a lightweight return side idler. It's in our Elite Series, which means the very best of everything. It has a very light machined out AL frame. The chain runs on a a tough industrial urethane bed. The sideplates are fiberglass reinforced Nylon, tapered to guide the chain in super quietly. Everything runs on a single top quality bearing. It's tough, light, and really sharp looking. It's the ultimate idler for any return application.

2. How big is the idler?

We make the Elite Return matching the 15T size only. It has an outside diameter of 2.75 inches, or 70mm. With 8 or 10mm bearings, it fits on a wide range of bikes and trikes. The width is 0.60 inches or 15.2mm.

3. I see it has bolts. Can I take it apart?

Yes, but we do not recommend taking them apart. If they have many thousands of miles on them and you have reason to believe the bearings are finally worn out, please contact us. If you damage the idler in a crash or something and need to replace parts, you can.

4. If I ever wear out the chainbed or sideplates, can I replace them?

Yes, we can replace individual pieces if that's ever necessary. We haven't had to do that yet, but with so many idlers out there, we're sure it will happen some day. We have idlers pushing 60k miles with no signs of wearing out, so it may be a while.

5. What about efficiency and noise?

These idlers are about as efficient as you could possibly get and basically silent. The urethane for the chainbed is specifically chosen for it's durability and durometer. It is just the right level of cushioning, without being spongy. The side plates are carefully tapered and rounded to minimize rubbing and noise.

6. What bearings can you get with these idlers?

We make these idlers with 8mm Hybrid Ceramic bearings (ceramic balls, stainless steel races). They are also available with a premium quality 10mm steel bearing.

7. What's the difference between these idlers and the Sport Series idlers?

The Elite Series are all out performance and bling. Titanium cogs, hybrid ceramic bearings, and completely lightened out CNC machined frames. They are designed to look super sharp and work as good as they look. The Sport Series idlers have 7075 Aluminum cogs, top quality steel bearings, and injection molded fiberglass reinforced Nylon frames. They are designed to be simple, high performance, and tough. The look is much simpler, more businesslike than bling.


  • Available with 8mm and 10mm bearings. The most common bearing size on recumbents is 8mm. Some older bikes and trikes were made with 10mm idler shafts, and only a few bikes were ever made with 3/8" bearings. Some newer European bikes use 12mm bearings. Chances are you need 8mm bearings.
  • We make the Elite Return Idler in the matching 15T size only. The outside diameter is 2.75 inches, or 70mm. The width is 0.60 inches or 15.2mm.
  • Weight: 52grams
  • Single bearing.
  • We also make matching compatible Power and Over/Under idlers in the 15T size.
  • We make matching chainkeepers in either clamp on or bolted laser cut stainless.
  • In case of damage, all parts are individually replaceable. Contact us for details.
  • We use stainless fasteners because we know you don't want things rusting.
  • Bearing Care: The bearings are shielded, not sealed. Shielded bearings have less rolling resistance because the seal, while super close, doesn't actually rub. True sealed bearings are rare, when people talk about "sealed bearings", they usually actually mean shielded. These are top quality shielded bearings and will last a long time. What kills bearings is solvent, dirt, and water intrusion. As long as you don't spray things on the bearing faces, you will be OK. Regular amounts of dust and dirt getting on the outsides of the bearings won't be a problem, as it's hard for it to get past the shields (the shields really do come *very* close to the bearings). When you clean them, what you want to do is gently wipe dirt off and away from bearings, rather than rub aggressively and push the dirt past the shields. There is no need to lube the bearings, the special grease that's in them is what they need.
  • No maintenance should be required other than occasional cleaning with a paper towel or soft cloth. We recommend keeping solvents and soap and water away from the bearings, they don't need aggressive cleaning and solvents and soaps tend to go after the grease in the bearings. It's water resistant, but solvents and soaps are harder to deal with.
  • The urethane chainbed is very durable, but can be affected by strong solvents. Dumonde Pro lubes apparently have such solvents in them. All the other lubes we and our customers have tried are OK. We don't recommend using Dumonde Pro series chainlubes with this idler.
  • You will probably never need to disassemble your idler. Should you ever need to, a 2.5mm Allen wrench is all you will need.
  • We recommend setting up your idler so it can float side to side with the chain as you shift. If your existing idler mount doesn't allow for this, we offer a variety of upgrade parts to make this possible.
  • This idler can be used on most bikes and trikes. 8mm is the most common bearing size. This idler can also be ordered with a 10mm bearing.