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  1. #1
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    Why not Surly Singulator ?

    I'm in the process of buiding a frame and can't justify an EBB nor Sliding dropouts.
    I don't like EBB's because every time I need to adjust them I need to adjust my saddle position too - height & fore/aft position other wise my knees remind me to do so (had an EBB bike in the past).
    Sliding dropouts are a great idea but need some fine tuning to get the rear wheel centered perfectly. Also, 6 bols, etc... They are expensive too.
    The Surly Singulator seems like a cool option. It's not too expensive, easy to maintain, does not affect position nor frame geometry. Yes, it's not the cleanest single speed look, and it is a little vulnarable like a rear der. , but other than that, performance wise, is there a reason not going this route ?
    Thanks
    PM.

  2. #2
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    As someone who gave up the complexity of geared drivetrains long ago, I would say there are definite disadvantages to tensioners such as the Singulator. The design is solid, and many people run them successfully... but many will tell you about modifications such as heavier springs, zip-ties, etc.

    There is a definite, measurable decrease in efficiency any time you add additional components to a drivetrain. Not so much that it will make it harder to climb hills, but it is noticeable in the 'feel'. Add in the ride-ending possibility of component failure.

    This idea has never made much sense to me... why run SS if you are going to have a derailleur, or a device that functions just like a derailleur anyways? I like the idea of the YESS ETR-B quite a bit more, but even that has many of the same drawbacks.

    If you are building a frame for SS, build it right from the start. Don't build a frame designed for gears, and then kludge it afterwards to make it SS. First suggestion: horizontal dropouts.

  3. #3
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    +1 on the horizontal dropouts. Lots of frames to choose from.

  4. #4
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    To throw a different perspective in the loop, I actually prefer having vertical dropouts due to the wider variety of frames I have to choose from, despite the above praise of horizontal dropout frames. I don't believe I will ever venture to horizontal dropout frames, but one day I may. I think if anything, dealing with a tensioner is less cumbersome than having to re-set the rear brake. I swap between 2 cogs a lot, depending upon trail riding vs urban riding, and the whole idea of having to re-position my rear brake is enough to be skitzy in that department.

    However, at the same token, I too haven't had the best luck with chain tensioners. The singulator was on my list as one to try, but I bypassed it and tried others. I had a basic tensioner, the kind you see in conversion kits for SS bikes, etc, and that one failed on me. I didn't even have to stand up and it would skip like crazy - and yes, the chain was in perfect line. I also tried a fixed tensioner with a roller (a cheaper knock off of the Rollenlager), but if the slightest amount of up-pressure (rocks, tree stumps, etc) bump the lower chain, it'll insta-give you slack, forcing you to get off the bike, loosen the tensioner, pull it back, lock it back down, etc. Fk that ****.

    I recently got the Yess ETR-V tensioner. It's pure genius. I absolutely love the thing. It was pricey, yes, but I'm glad I spent the money on it now rather than dicking around with other tensioners that are sub-par and eventually come to the ETR-V down the road anyways. It's a fixed tensioner with a spring, which supports the derailleur hanger and also mounts to the axle. It has 2 positions - a roller, which is fixed, swinging up under the cog to ensure the maximum chain wrap, and the jockey wheel, which is on a decently tensioned cantilever spring. It has a lot of tension options too, with holes circling around the entire gizmo for the cantilever spring to lock into. It does, however, have a plastic roller - which makes for a noisier ride than normal. I put a loop of gorilla tape on the roller and it made a pretty decent improvement, noise wise.

    It's strong.
    Hasn't skipped once.
    Hanger + Axle mounted.
    Pricey (70 dollars), but worth it in my opinion. (got mine from pricepoint)

    And speaking from first hand experience, what they say is true - even the best chainrings and cogs aren't perfectly round. I can see that when I spin my cranks, because the tensioner slightly bobs as I spin the cranks - and I've only put about 50 miles on my new chainring and cog set. Granted, with horizontal dropouts with no tensioner, you could just leave a little slack in the chain... enough so tight spots don't lock up the cranks, but simply enough to still provide smooth sailing. However, I'm definitely a fan of the ETR-V. Spring loaded for perfect tension at all times, great chain wrap, solidly built.

    If you're going to keep your frame with vertical dropouts, look into it. It's worth strongly considering. If you're going to look into another frame, well, horizontal dropout frames might be up your alley.

    There's a wide variety of options out there, and none of them are wrong. But there'll always be a "this works best for me" option. Hope you find it!

  5. #5
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    Ok, as for the switching between two cogs, or chainrings, brake alignment with disc brakes works well-ish. I had a dingle on my KM for several months, though in one spot it wasn't as strong as the other. There also manufacturers, like with the Crosscheck and Rawland's Olaf that move the wheel in a way that keeps the rim in alignment with the brake... rumor is, anyway. I don't have any practical knowledge, having not owned a bike with that sort of drop out.

  6. #6
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    performance wise, is there a reason not going this route ?
    bounces all over the place, is noisy, it can allow the chain to come off on rough terrain.

  7. #7
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    IME, a rear disc on a SS specific frame is always going to be slightly more of a hassle. Think about it, though, a SS specific frame has to have some way of tensioning the chain by increasing the effective chainstay length. whether that's sliders, horizontal drops, or an EBB.

    If we're talking about vertical dropouts, we aren't talking about a SS specific frame. (I may be confused here, as the OP said he was 'building a frame')

    With horizontal drops, it is true, you will have to re-align the brake caliper as the chain stretches and the wheel moves back. But I wouldn't think it would be an ongoing process, just a once-in-a-great-while type of thing. I'd rather have to do that than deal with extraneous fiddly bits.

    Roasted, good info on the ETR-V, btw. I have heard nothing but good things about YESS tensioners, and if I was stuck with a frame that had vertical dropouts, I would probably run one.

  8. #8
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    I like the current version of the Singulator (there was a previous generation). Compared to a geared drivetrain, it feels very efficient. I have never dropped my chain and have never experienced any kind of chain slip or chain slap. Removing the rear wheel is easy and it does not interact negatively with brakes. That said, I'm not a very extreme rider in terms of technical terrain or downhill though I really like getting out of the saddle to mash up hard climbs. I think some people have problems with the Singulator because they don't dial it in properly (see http://www.surlybikes.com/spew3.html). I have a flawless chainline and I put a lot of tension into the spring. I use the "push down" configuration.

    Not much experience with other methods of chain tension for MTB applications (I do for singlespeed road use). If the Singulator wasn't meeting my needs, I would look at high end sliders (e.g. Paragon) that have disc caliper mounts that automatically keep the caliper positioned with respect to the axle. The YESS ETR-V looks interesting too.

  9. #9
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    I've had good pereformance with the Singulator used in the "up" position. The one time that the spring tab was dislodged and the spring tension subsided, I zip tied the unit to the chain stay and rode home, then fixed it. No problems since. That said, I wouldn't look for a SS with vertical dropouts if I were ordering a new frame. I have one bike with a Paragon-type system and THINK that it is preferable to any other.

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