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  1. #1
    Rocky Mountain High
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    Spring tensioner stigma

    So I've been scrolling through various threads on this forum researching the "right" way to convert my 29er hardtail to SS. More than once I've come across references to spring tensioners such as the Singleator as, "not suitable for an MTB application." I have vertical dropouts and a standard BB shell - I'm not aware of another method of accomplishing the conversion.

    Is this stigma to spring tensioners just opinion or is there some weight behind this? Thanks for the help.
    What have I told you about thinking?

  2. #2
    i call it a kaiser blade
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    a good spring tensioner is well inboard of the chain stays. the singleator juts out and strikes your feet if you have big shoes and 180mm cranks like i do.

    that and the springs on them aren't that tough and they bounce and wobble.

    if you can get a decent tension with a half-link, i'd go down that road, first. i had to play with gear rations before i found a 'magic' 33-17 number that gives a tight chain and handles the local trails.

  3. #3
    Rocky Mountain High
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    Quote Originally Posted by eat_dirt
    a good spring tensioner is well inboard of the chain stays. the singleator juts out and strikes your feet if you have big shoes and 180mm cranks like i do.
    Could you recommend a quality tensioner?
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  4. #4
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    It;s better to find a static tensioner like the rennen rollenlager on-one otherdoofer or something similar.

    Altough a bit more of a PITA when changing wheels these static tensioners are far better than any dynamic (spring loaded) tensioner.

  5. #5
    Rocky Mountain High
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiDaDunlop
    It;s better to find a static tensioner like the rennen rollenlager on-one otherdoofer or something similar.

    Altough a bit more of a PITA when changing wheels these static tensioners are far better than any dynamic (spring loaded) tensioner.
    Thanks...was thinking the same thing. The Soulcraft tensioner seems pretty interesting - fixed placement and QR button.
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  6. #6
    human dehumidifier
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    Another thing I've noticed is that not all spring tensioners will work in the pushing up direction. Keep that in mind if that's what you want to do, and you choose to use a lower-priced alternative.
    I may or may not be laughing at you.

  7. #7
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    I used a fixed tensioner and it worked well. I was satisfied with just that until I found a deal on an slot dropout On One that I couldn't pass up. Sold the geared frame and my parts bin geared stuff and came out even.

    If I still had a vert. dropout frame I would use one of these. All the reviews sounded good to me and it actually appears to be simpler than an EBB, sliders or slot dropouts. It still has consistent wheel and brake placement and easy wheel removal like an EBB but without the other hassles of an EBB

  8. #8
    Linoleum Knife
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint John
    Could you recommend a quality tensioner?
    I thought you had a Singlie speed already Matt...



    The DMR STS is the one I'd go for. I had a spring-loaded jobbie for a while, and it annoyed me.

    Most recently I built up a wheel with the Eno ECC hub. If you ever want to check that out - lemme know. It's the way to go.... but kinda spendy.

  9. #9
    meatier showers
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    Vote yes for the Yess

    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    ... If I still had a vert. dropout frame I would use one of these. ..
    +1 for the Yess under-BB tensioner. Although I have not actually used one, it looks clean, doesn't get in the way of rear wheel removal, appears relatively out of the way (unlike a rear der style unit) plus somehow it seems less "SS converted" looking than rear der style tensioners do to me.

    I'd give one a try if I didn't already have a couple dedicated-SS frames.

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  10. #10
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    I'm having the same dilemma. I was wondering if the Blackspire Stinger would work. http://www.blackspire.com/qs/product/83/5947/263221/0/0

    I'd prefer using something like this. The derailleur tensioner keeps getting knocked around and the chain ends up coming off even with the chain bing as short as possible. I want to keep my 32:16 gears as it feels the best with my riding conditions. I've tried many combinations.

    The Stinger is relatively inexpensive and i like the clean look of not having something hanging off the back. People keep asking me what kind of derailleur is that? And I keep answering that it's not a derailleur cuz it's an SS. Although looks like I'd have to use and ISCG type with the adapter so that I can adjust the tension of the roller.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spok75
    I'm having the same dilemma. I was wondering if the Blackspire Stinger would work. http://www.blackspire.com/qs/product/83/5947/263221/0/0

    I'd prefer using something like this. The derailleur tensioner keeps getting knocked around and the chain ends up coming off even with the chain bing as short as possible. I want to keep my 32:16 gears as it feels the best with my riding conditions. I've tried many combinations.

    The Stinger is relatively inexpensive and i like the clean look of not having something hanging off the back. People keep asking me what kind of derailleur is that? And I keep answering that it's not a derailleur cuz it's an SS. Although looks like I'd have to use and ISCG type with the adapter so that I can adjust the tension of the roller.
    Either way I think you would have to remove you crank to move the Stinger, which of course makes it hard to set the right tension

  12. #12
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    What if I use the ISCG adapter? I could use the three set screw to adjust the tension

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spok75
    What if I use the ISCG adapter? I could use the three set screw to adjust the tension
    I don't have experience with ISCG bolts, but it looks frustrating to me to access that with the crank in place

  14. #14
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    i would try this tool: http://eehouse.org/fixin/fixmeup.php to see if you can find a gear ratio that fits perfectly with your chainstay length. i am about to go 32-17 because the 32-18 i have is too tight with a new chain. since you don't have a lot of latitude with chain tension, you have to just replace your chain when it gets stretched, but chains ought to be replaced from time to time anyways. having a fixed chainstay length is kinda like having one of those toothbrushes that has the blue indicator that fades when your toothbrush is old.

  15. #15
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    Can't believe nobody in this thread has yet mentioned the White Industries eccentric hub, so I will. IMO, that's the way to go, if you've got vertical dropouts. That said, I've got an old Surly Singleator on my SS, and it works so well I've yet to come up with a good enough excuse to drop the $200 it'd cost to build up a new wheel with the WI hub...but I'm workin' on it.

  16. #16
    Rocky Mountain High
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    Hey everyone...this has been a great help. I appreciate it. I ordered the Soulcraft Convert and I'll see how that works. Seems pretty functional and minimal. The BB shell-mount jobbies look pretty sweet as well. I'll keep those in the bullpen should the Soulcraft not work. Thanks.
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  17. #17
    Rocky Mountain High
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    Quote Originally Posted by forkboy
    I thought you had a Singlie speed already Matt...



    The DMR STS is the one I'd go for. I had a spring-loaded jobbie for a while, and it annoyed me.

    Most recently I built up a wheel with the Eno ECC hub. If you ever want to check that out - lemme know. It's the way to go.... but kinda spendy.
    I do, but I converted the Karate Monkey into a badass townie. I never really liked the geometry on that bike.

    I'm converting my Niner EMD 9 and I'll see how it goes. This is my last stop before I break down and buy a dream SS rig.
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  18. #18
    SSolo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint John
    Hey everyone...this has been a great help. I appreciate it. I ordered the Soulcraft Convert and I'll see how that works. Seems pretty functional and minimal. The BB shell-mount jobbies look pretty sweet as well. I'll keep those in the bullpen should the Soulcraft not work. Thanks.
    That one looks pretty nice. Pics when you get your bike done.
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    Can't believe nobody in this thread has yet mentioned the White Industries eccentric hub, so I will. IMO, that's the way to go, if you've got vertical dropouts. That said, I've got an old Surly Singleator on my SS, and it works so well I've yet to come up with a good enough excuse to drop the $200 it'd cost to build up a new wheel with the WI hub...but I'm workin' on it.
    Same here on the Singleator, been flawless for me, in the push up position. Push down might be more problematic, less tooth engagement which can throw the chain off the cog. The derailleur hanger mount has not bothered me at all, does not stick out too far IMO. Happy camper so far, will check out other options if I decide to race my ol' burnished Zaskar.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint John
    So I've been scrolling through various threads on this forum researching the "right" way to convert my 29er hardtail to SS. More than once I've come across references to spring tensioners such as the Singleator as, "not suitable for an MTB application." I have vertical dropouts and a standard BB shell - I'm not aware of another method of accomplishing the conversion.

    Is this stigma to spring tensioners just opinion or is there some weight behind this? Thanks for the help.
    There are alot of tensioners being referred to here as Singleators, that name is specific I think to Surly's product which does not stick out near as much as a derailleur on the smallest cog, and uses the same hanger mount. There's no way that could hit ones shoe, short of Shaq's shoe size, sounds like he was talking about a Kore brand "chain reactor" .



    I initially tried one of the cheapo singulators that came in a kit for $20 Forte brand but it's OEM'd all over the place and those indeed suck. My Surly is good enough for MTB use and has an internal sealed spring with adjustable spring tension works push up or down.

  21. #21
    MONKEYMAN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    Can't believe nobody in this thread has yet mentioned the White Industries eccentric hub, so I will. IMO, that's the way to go, if you've got vertical dropouts.
    SECONDED!

    and you can flip it to the fixie side and become one of the über-cool fixie glitterati! Y'know the ones with the urban-chic hats rakishly slanted off to the side? here's one:


    ink- check
    dreads- check
    cool hat- check
    fixie- (not pictured but yea) check
    surly attitude- check

    This guy has it all and you could too.
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  22. #22
    human dehumidifier
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    He's so cool he has to take his own picture because everyone else is afraid to
    I may or may not be laughing at you.

  23. #23
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    I've been pretty happy with a cheapy spring tensioner I bought off ebay. I don't even know the name, but it's the same thing you get in the Performance single speed kit. Perhaps it's not blingy enough, but it works fine. Then again, I ran a homemade tensioner made of cabinet hardware for a year before it finally self destructed, so what do I know?

    I also have an ENO wheel, and I'm not completely sold on it. I don't like the way it changes the rim position for the brakes if you use it for a flip flop hub. And, it's a bit of a PITA to install. Nice for running fixed, though.

    Eric

  24. #24
    human dehumidifier
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    Another point - at least in my case, the two piece spacer cog kits won't put the cog where the wheel on my tensioner could reach it. I had to buy one of those multi-piece multi-size kits to get everything to line up.

    Other than a soft attaching bolt that I've managed to round the socket head out of, I've got no complaints with my DMR tensioner. It's a cheapie, but it's designed to push up or down, and it's been doing it's job for several months now. But I'm starting to think a frame with track ends would be the bees knees, and save me from buying another tensioner after I cut the one I've got off the next time I have to remove it.
    I may or may not be laughing at you.

  25. #25
    Rocky Mountain High
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    follow up...

    OK, so the project is complete. A few pix:







    Overall I'm super happy with the solution. As you can probably see, the mount bolt is easy to slip, so be sure to have the wrench fully seated. Thankfully I didn't ruin it. I'd like to have the mechanism engage a few mm's tighter, but it seems to be at its max. There is slightly too much slop in the chain for my taste, but nothing that is causing any chain slap or noise.

    A shorter stem mated to a laid back seatpost and it'll be all set!
    What have I told you about thinking?

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