What is best? Eccentric? Horizontal? Sliding?
What chain tensioning system is best and why?
lives to ride
Can of worms to be honest, and it really depends if you intend on running the bike with discs, racks or fenders.
For a daily commuter I'd say EBB or sliding is best as chain tension is the same and you can drop the wheel straight down (out) without having to worry about the disc caliper or fender. However many complain about creaking with EBBs and sliding dropouts (which has never been an issue for myself personally)..
Certainly the most reliable is track ends (horizontal), you just have to ask yourself "at what cost"?
Is it hard to get the wheels straight with track ends?
No. It's quite easy. Not sure why so many people have issues with it.
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Don't forget rockers! And it depends........
I'm looking at using sliding dropouts on a custom frame as they give slightly more adjustment than rockers, the difference in diameter between a 29+ tire and a 4" fat tire can be up to 45mm - eccentric would be useless in this application but being able to adjust for more tire clearance and a shorter chain-stay length is invaluable.
As it's sometimes difficult to use google....
Eccentric: Can be used with vertical dropouts (simplifies wheel removal). Works well unless it slips. If it needs proprietary tools can be a PITA (most only need a 2 pin wrench and 4mm or 5mm Allen keys though). It *looks* heavier but I don't know if it is. Limited range of movement. Shifts the pedals up or down slightly too. Requires a special frame for it. Can be difficult to tension.
Horizontal: Slightly complicates wheel removal. Can be even more complicated on some frames, e.g. Soma Juice and the old Karate Monkey frames used to require loosening the disk brake mounts to move the wheel. Most common solution available & lightest option. Tensioning the chain evenly can be troublesome, and must be done every time the wheel is removed. Most of this just involves having a technique to it but most people don't learn the technique. Costs the least. If you pedal hard and don't have good QR skewers and/or tighten everything enough, the wheel will slip forward. Fork ends cannot be made out of Aluminum; must be stamped steel or Titanium as clamping force won't be high enough (I had a Kona Bike and with Al fork ends; very, very sucky experience compared to a Major Jake with steel plated fork ends.)
Sliding: Can squeak if done wrong. Allows all the benefits of eccentric without any of the downsides. Typically more expensive, but is easier to adjust. On some frames, allows the addition of disk brakes or gears if the right sliding dropouts are purchased; this can complicate adding a rack (as the rack may have to "reach around" the disk brakes. Rim brakes can require frequent readjustment
Rockers: Very similar to sliding. Limited range of movement, as with eccentric BB's, but doesn't adjust the angles between your back, hips and legs. I prefer rockers to eccentric, as they're simpler.
Personally, I want to get sliding dropouts on the next bike I buy. It'll be more expensive but more convenient.
What frames for off road touring, MTB'ing, on road touring with sliding dropouts would you recommend?
That is such a difficult question to answer, I don't know where to begin.
Originally Posted by aBicycle
As a general statement, I'd go find some on-off road touring bikes and look at what makes those great (bottle cages, fender mounts, rack mounts, clearance for wide tires, etc). Figure out what is important to you and what isn't, and the chance that you'll change your mind later and regret not having that feature (e.g. rack mounts are no good if you never intend to mount a rack, but racks are useful for touring...). Once you're at that point, find a frame that meets those requirements. Keep in mind everything will be a compromise - for example, a hardtail might not MTB as well, but will probably be better for on-road touring as it will be lighter & not have pedal power sucked up by rear suspension. If you live in an area where off road touring consists of bumps that make Genghis Khan attacking your gonads look pleasant, maybe full suspension is in your future.
Just rattling off ones that come to mind, I'd have to top my list with the Salsa El Mariachi / titanium variant (rocker dropouts with disk brakes). A custom variant of that bike with a modified top tube won the Ride the Divide race one year. Soma Juice comes to mind as one I was looking at a while back, other Soma bikes might also have them. Vassago have a few bikes with them. Voodoo Soukri and Bokor 29'ers both have sliding dropouts. If you start looking at custom builders, it's a very long list for builders that specifically use Paragon sliding dropouts. Again, the list changes if you go for something in 26" wheels, which might be more useful for you depending on where you live.
Of course, if none of these frames fit your specific body geometry and fit requirements, none of these bikes will make you a happy person. The same applies to whether you like the geometry produced by that particular manufacturer or not. I personally hated the Salsa Fargo as I thought it handled like a boat, but I know so many people that are happy with them and love them to bits.
In order of challenge I rate the uses you want to put the bike to as follows:
Originally Posted by aBicycle
- offroad touring
- on road touring
You can outfit any hardtail MTB with luggage so I would figure out what kind of MTB you need for the trails you plan to ride and go from there. Smooth buff rolling terrain demands a different ride then steep chunky techy terrain.
Once you've found some appropriate bikes you need to figure out what off road touring means to you. If you are taking about smooth dirt rail trails racks and panniers work fine. As you try and ride rougher more technical terrain they are a liability and I would only recommend soft frame bags.
Any bike can take a rack braze-ons or not so there is no requirement to look for a "touring" mountain bike. Any mountain bike that works for your trails and you take camping is a touring mountain bike.
Here is a list I made a while back of IGH friendly 29er frames.
29er Hardtail IGH MTBs? | The Lazy Rando Blog...
That list hasn't been updated to reflect new bikes like the Krampus and ECR from Surly.
If you are going to use an IGH with a QR than I'd get something with sliding dropouts or an EBB. If you get an IGH with a bolt on axle horizontal dropouts work well, are reliable and are easy to use.
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