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  1. #1
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    Chain tensioners

    Hi all. I am not new to mountain biking, but am coming back after being gone for about 3 years. I have a Santa Cruz Chameleon that I have had set up as a single speed for years.

    I tried it at first without a chain tensioner because it did have the horizontal dropouts. However, no matter what I did, I could not keep the damn rear wheel from slipping forward.

    I next tried some generic BMX chain tugs and they worked better, but not 100%. The chain was still slipping like crazy.

    Then I put back the derailleur hanger and mounted a Surly Singleator. This works fairly well, but last week when I went for a ride, the chain was skipping again. I am not sure if the problem was my Paul rear hub, the Shimano BMX freewheel I had or the tensioner.

    Anyways, I cannot help but think that a tensioner that pushes the chain up and provides more chain around the freewheel would be better than my current setup that puches the chain down.

    I have searched and only found the DMR tensioner that pushes up instead of down. I don't think any of the chainstay mounted tnesioners would work because of the massive chainstays on the bike.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks fellas and gals.

  2. #2
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    My dad had the same problem with his converted single speed. He did not have a Surley Singleator but an Axiom one. He had the same problems and ended up pulling it off flipping it upside down and using a kinda bungie cord to keep the tension going up on the bottom of the chain, it works great. Not the best looking solution but it works.

  3. #3
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    If you have horizontal dropouts, the best route is to use "chain-tugs".

    I think the BMX one you used had the wrong length adjusting bolts. Most designs have two bolts for each tug. You can use only one on the drive side, but I have DMR tugs on now and Surly and Redlines on others bikes.

    I use two since I'm running a disc in the back. Also check your axle width. I think most SS are 3/8ths. Make sure you have about a quarter inch of wiggle room to loosen the chain when you take the wheel off.

  4. #4
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    I've got my old style Singelator pushing up, and it works great. Never skips. Does the new one not allow this? BTW, if you're using a 1/8" 'single speed' chain, don't. Most SS stuff works better with a 3/32" chain, such as a SRAM PC870. That could be a factor with the skipping.

  5. #5
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    I have an old school Singleator and was searching last night and found that I can get a different spring to push up instead of pull down. I will have to look into that. I do believe I am using a KMC BMX chain. I will think about swapping out for a 3/32" chain.

  6. #6
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    the push up bra version of the spring is $4.20 on Jensonusa...

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...nt+Spring.aspx

    I've run my singleator using it as both push up and push down...I prefer push down as it's 10X easier to get the wheel off when I want to...with push up, I had to remove the QR to get the wheel off the frame...your mileage may vary...
    fwiw...I've been running the surly on my commuter over 2000 miles since May and I have yet to have a single problem...no skips, no spring problems, nothing....just get and follow the directions from their homepage. this thing gets a bad rap in the reviews here, but I have yet to have the same experience...

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
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    I use a SoulCraft Convert pushed up and I have no problems (you can run it up or down). However, if I had a bike with the horizontal drop outs I would try to figure a way to go without a tensioner. It just looks cooler

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by redclayrambler
    I use a SoulCraft Convert pushed up and I have no problems (you can run it up or down). However, if I had a bike with the horizontal drop outs I would try to figure a way to go without a tensioner. It just looks cooler
    I absolutely agree, but ultimately I needed function instead of form. Maybe one day I will try it again.

  9. #9
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    what happens to your magic gear when you stretch out the chain? do you just pick up another one?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by analoguekid
    what happens to your magic gear when you stretch out the chain? do you just pick up another one?
    I am not sure what your question means. It could just be sarcasm, in which case right on. Love it. If you are serious, my only guess is that you are asking that if I stretch the chain without the tensioner, do I pick up another skip. The answer is yes, because I never could get the damn wheel to quit slipping forward.

  11. #11
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    I absolutely agree, but ultimately I needed function instead of form. Maybe one day I will try it again.
    Well in that case like I said I have had good results with the SoulCraft and I have also heard good things about the set up Rennon has. Hope you get it sorted out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryo108
    I am not sure what your question means. It could just be sarcasm, in which case right on. Love it. If you are serious, my only guess is that you are asking that if I stretch the chain without the tensioner, do I pick up another skip. The answer is yes, because I never could get the damn wheel to quit slipping forward.
    not sarcastic (really..) my thought is that once you start torquing on that drive train, your chain WILL stretch. The perfect gear ratio gets hosed, and your chain could easily introduce your nards to the TT...I would spend the C-note or so to make sure that every time I stand up to crank, I know without fail that I'm not going to skip or jump the tracks...

  13. #13
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    Right on analogue. I am with you know. I understand that chains stretch, in fact, my bike could probably do with a new chain. I have to pick up some other parts, so I may just try to get the push up spring for the singleator before I pony up a Ben Franklin for a Soulcraft. Although the qr on the soulcraft sounds like money. I'll let you know what I find. Thanks guys.

  14. #14
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    Not to be mean, but I think you are really wasting your money if you are spending it on those tensioners. Horizontal dropouts have been used for decades in track bikes, bmx bikes and mountain bikes by millions of people, and they are generally considered the most reliable way to tension a chain.

    If you have a good chaintug that is set up properly then the drive side of the rear wheel should not be able to move forward, period. First, buy a new chain. Then try it again with the chaintug, make sure the chain tension is tight enough, make sure the screw in the chaintug isn't moving on its own, make sure the wheel is bolted in tight enough, and if that doesn't work just ask a friend or a bike shop for some tips. There really is no reason it shouldn't work.

    Again, not trying to be mean, I just want to encourage you to give it a proper chance

  15. #15
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    I can't for the life of me conceive of someone who can't torque down a 15mm nut on a horizontal chainstay...
    I was dropping mine down stairs and it never budged, I also huffed a QR'd hub in horiz's on a cyclo bike made with a roadie rear wheel in a mountain frame... that got pounded up the nastiest hills I've ever conquered, jumped as well (though not down stairs!)

    If my 2 bills and change landing rear wheel first can't budge the wheel significantly, or huffing a simple qr (not even a bolt-on) hub... what are you doing?

    IMO: get a better wrench!

  16. #16
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    I had the same problem with my Chameleon, so I converted the axle to 10mm bolt-on axle and use a surly tugnutt. The thing does not budge, and using BMX chain makes it really solid.



    put a tugnutt on the rightside, the chain holds it from going back and the tugnutt keeps it from slipping forward, and the left side just stays solid. works great on all kinds of trails.

  17. #17
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    Well you have all convinced me. I pulled the chain tensioner off last night. Took a link out of the chain. and torqued down my Paul hub. My Paul hub does not have the 10mm axle. Instead it has the 6mm hex bolts that thread into the hub. I have it torqued down pretty friggin' good, so maybe I was doing something wrong before. I will try it.

    What would be the best chain tug for the Paul's hub wiith the 6mm hex bolts. Also, the top and bottom of the dropouts are not flush with each other. Would the Surly be the best tug or would a tug that uses 2 separate bolts be better?

  18. #18
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    agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by remember1453
    I had the same problem with my Chameleon, so I converted the axle to 10mm bolt-on axle and use a surly tugnutt. The thing does not budge, and using BMX chain makes it really solid.



    put a tugnutt on the rightside, the chain holds it from going back and the tugnutt keeps it from slipping forward, and the left side just stays solid. works great on all kinds of trails.
    This bike has old 120mm spacing, and forward pointing semi horizontal drops. I can use a Surly tensioner no problem.
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  19. #19
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    ... and if we just ... Chain tensioners

    Using a Pauls hub and the Surly chain tensioner should do the trick. I have used bolt on hubs and quick release hubs with the Surly chain tensioner and the wheel stays in place.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryo108
    Hi all. I am not new to mountain biking, but am coming back after being gone for about 3 years. I have a Santa Cruz Chameleon that I have had set up as a single speed for years.

    I tried it at first without a chain tensioner because it did have the horizontal dropouts. However, no matter what I did, I could not keep the damn rear wheel from slipping forward.

    I next tried some generic BMX chain tugs and they worked better, but not 100%. The chain was still slipping like crazy.

    Then I put back the derailleur hanger and mounted a Surly Singleator. This works fairly well, but last week when I went for a ride, the chain was skipping again. I am not sure if the problem was my Paul rear hub, the Shimano BMX freewheel I had or the tensioner.

    Anyways, I cannot help but think that a tensioner that pushes the chain up and provides more chain around the freewheel would be better than my current setup that puches the chain down.

    I have searched and only found the DMR tensioner that pushes up instead of down. I don't think any of the chainstay mounted tnesioners would work because of the massive chainstays on the bike.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks fellas and gals.
    I use a Surley tugnut and a quick release, so far so good, no problems with it.

  21. #21
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    Surly Singleator

    The singleator can be used both ways. You just need to get a different springs.

  22. #22
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    If you are having problems when using the tug nuts, then it's something else, not the tug nuts. I have done a 24 hour race using tug nuts with a QR axle and it didn't move. Using a pull up or push down tensioner when you can use a tug nut seems totally wrong to me.

    If your chainline is ok, then I suspect the real problem lies with your sprockets or chain. Either they are worn or not single speed specific items. Stuff designed for geared use is deliberately designed to allow the chain to slide off the rings easily. Don't use geared stuff on a single speed if you can help it.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  23. #23
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    i'd like to ask if anybody here experienced using chain guides (truvativ or syncros) as tensioner for SS?

    i'd like to have a clean-looking rear... no rd look... thanks!!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymzbrm
    i'd like to ask if anybody here experienced using chain guides (truvativ or syncros) as tensioner for SS?

    i'd like to have a clean-looking rear... no rd look... thanks!!!
    if for a hard tail, why not just a simple chainguide arm?

    like this one:

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/152...hain-Guide.htm

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaymzbrm
    i'd like to ask if anybody here experienced using chain guides (truvativ or syncros) as tensioner for SS?

    i'd like to have a clean-looking rear... no rd look... thanks!!!
    http://yess.myshopify.com/products/e...hain-tensionerhttp://yess.myshopify.com/products/e...hain-tensioner
    This one is actually designed to be a tensioner.

    Chain guides will be harder to adjust for proper chain tension.

  26. #26
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    guys,

    sorry for the late reply... i'm based in manila, philippines. getting my hands on the yess bb tensioner is a wee bit problematic.
    i just thought a syncros or a truvativ chain guide would do the trick...

    come to think of it... might as well set-up my build with a normal chain tensioner for the meantime... and wait for my ordered yess bb tensioner to arrive.

    thanks & more power!!!

  27. #27
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    update: last month, yess bb tensioner arrived!


    thanks guys!!!

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