Does anyone make steel spacers?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    So I need some steel spacers to convert my geared bike to SS. I've found that if I use the cheap alloy spacers it causes my free hub to skip teeth due to flex. The same setup works great on my cog due to the steel frame. Can someone direct me to a company where I can purchase some.

  2. #2
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    alloy spacers are not causing your freehub to skip. that makes no sense.

  3. #3
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    No they aren't the free hub itself skips. Due to flex when there is only one gear on it and not a whole cassette. The question was though does anyone make steel spacers. I'm thinking the steel spacers would be just like having a whole supportive cassette on the hub making it not flex so much.

  4. #4
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    I couldn't even find 'cheap alloy spacers'

  5. #5
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    I've got one single speed set up with lots of the the thin plastic spacers from in-between cogs on some cassettes. No skipping.
    The rest of mine use the normal alloy spacers.

  6. #6
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    Well I started grind off the chain rings off some old 9spd cassettes that I have to just leave the grooved alloy part. I'm guessing it's just thick aluminum. I'm also ordering Skf bearings to hopefully stiffen up the free hub. This is going on a koozer hub. Yes it's Chinese. Lol.

  7. #7
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    Have you tried some spacers that are thicker? I have a spacer kit that supports way more of the cog, but you have to run a flat steel cog.

    I think it's a Spot brand kit, pretty sure I've seen another that was similar as well.

  8. #8
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    I do have a flat steel cog I'm running a surly

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breitness24 View Post
    I do have a flat steel cog I'm running a surly
    Doesn't a Surly cog taper from top to bottom on one or both sides?

  10. #10
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    Yes it does. Sorry I misunderstood it has a flat mounting surface to the free hub. Contact part is 4.5 mm thick. Are you suggesting just a cheap flat cog like this
    .

  11. #11
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    Check your hub bearings. Spacers will not flex enough to cause skipping. Had the same issue on my Hopes (old and trusty) and replacing the bearings fixed it. I too run Surly cogs and aluminum spacers.
    Vassago Cycles, Shadetree Bikes, Flat Tire Bikes, Galfer Brakes USA

  12. #12
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    Just purchased some Skf bearings for the free hub. It was recommended and the seller of the hubs have been very helpful and said if the bearings fix the issue they would reimburse for the cost. They admitted its hard for them to find a reliable bearing mfgr.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Breitness24;12498690]Yes it does. Sorry I misunderstood it has a flat mounting surface to the free hub. Contact part is 4.5 mm thick. Are you suggesting just a cheap flat cog like this

    It's hard to tell what cog that is from that picture, but a shimano MX stamped steel cog for example. A totally flat cog is the only way you would get any more support from the spacers, that sounded like what you are trying to accomplish.

    If you have an alloy freehub body it's a bad idea though.

  14. #14
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    Well I've created a monster. Technically it's like I have a whole cassette on I just cut off all the teeth. So it shouldn't skip.

  15. #15
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    I doubt that is doing to solve your problem but I would like to see how it turns out.

  16. #16
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    Hehe I was bored. I'm gonna clean it up if it works well. The hub never skipped with a full cassette on and on this same bike. Only when I attempted SS.

  17. #17
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    What exactly was skipping? The chain over the teeth, the hub pawls, or the cog on the freehub?

  18. #18
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    This is what I read. And when I run a cassette it help keeps everything stiff. At least that's the conclusion I've come to.
    .

  19. #19
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    It looks to me like you don't have enough wrap around your cog. I've run into this issue more than once. Switch your tensioner to the "push up" position and I all but guarantee that this issue will be resolved. Or at the very least just try shortening your chain.

    Sent from my LG-D850 using Tapatalk

  20. #20
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    ^^^ Ding Ding Ding

  21. #21
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    This is an interesting thread to me for a lot of reasons. What seems like a small problem has been extrapolated into documented fabrication and speculation.

    Related, I found some clamp cassette spacers for SS on the net and used them for my wife's second SS build a few years ago.

    These two aluminum clamp-spacers each had a little Allen bolt that cinched the split spacer similar to a seat post clamp. The concept was to clamp the cog between the two pieces on the cassette carrier. The idea I gathered was to eliminate the need for a whole full stack of spacers, be lighter weight, look interesting, and here's the reason I liked the idea at first: achievement of ideal chainline.

    Well the result was not good. Tight was not really tight. The clamps alone could not stiffly retain the wide based cog...

    (so I do still wonder if they would work okay with a flat stamped steel cog because the wide based cogs tend to have flaring sides, and offset for flipping for chainline tuning. So you see, I was probably using the wrong cog, and there was incompatibility (?),)

    ...can't remember if it is Surly or Endless. It seemed stout enough upon installation, but in practice the cog wobbled slightly enough to hear a nagging mystery bike noise on hard cranking, and it was going to eventually seriously pit the cassette carrier on the freehub.

    These weren't too expensive and I think they are a good idea that doesn't really work, and they aren't on any bike right now.

    A standard aluminum spacer kit snugged down by the cassette locking just works.

    Aside and somewhat OT, I think that SS is only ultimately satisfying when there is no chain tensioner in the equation. The cog and spring spoil it enough for me to make me not want to ride it. I hear and feel the contraption and the chain whips on the DH.

    And better yet, is to have a real single-speed hub. There is a difference.

    To conclude, the spacers I bought that snugged down with little bolts are only good as spacers next to the cog nested in by other normal spacers, snugged in by the lock ring. They are taller and will support the sides of the cog, and then the little bolts would only be properly snugged down after the stack was tested and satisfactory or perfect chainline is confirmed.

    I was looking for photos of that build, but I haven't found them.
    Last edited by Jack Burns; 02-29-2016 at 11:21 AM. Reason: clarity

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breitness24 View Post
    Well I've created a monster. Technically it's like I have a whole cassette on I just cut off all the teeth. So it shouldn't skip.
    The looks are not good here. The frame looks nice! How about "magic gear"? Magic gears are awesome.

  23. #23
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    Well it still skipped. Lol who makes a push up style tensioner? I was able to ride this weekend on my Cog but I really want to ride my big mama on SS. And what is a magic gear?

  24. #24
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    single speed magic gear

    is it possible to remove a link from that chain or is that as short at possible right now?

    Surly makes a tensioner that pushes up. I had one and didn't like it. I preferred the DMR tension seeker when I had one.

    are the dropouts on that frame replaceable with track ends?

    it is still important that you figure out exactly what is slipping. I have never heard of alu spacers flexing at all, let along enough to make the chain skip. I have even used plastic spacers with no issue. if they moved that much, the chain would pop off completely, not skip. I am guessing that's a fairly new chainring, chain, and cog?

    are you using a single-speed chainring on your cranks?

  25. #25
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    In that post I quoted it's really the bearings used in the free hub that are causing flex under load. I have some Skf bearing on the way. But the bearings cause the pawls not to catch properly and skip engagement. I'm pretty stupid when it comes to bike terms so bear with me. I don't even understand why how much chain wrap matters. I just like riding my SS so much I want it on my full suspension. So I appreciate you guys trying to help

    The alloy spacers were my thought as to why it makes the hub skip. It's not proven it's based off of trial an error of me riding and adjusting. I can ride this with a full cassette and that chain tensioner and it doesn't skip. Same chain wrap

  26. #26
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    Oh $#*t I didn't realize this was a full suspension SS. I didn't read the OP properly.

    Perhaps the rear triangle is wiggling enough to cause some of all of the issues?

    I have had pivots loosen enough to cause ghost shifting and bad chain grind.

    The frame twist on torque happens on some tandem as well. I have done a lot tandem riding and this one reason why the tandem frame must be stronger.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breitness24 View Post
    In that post I quoted it's really the bearings used in the free hub that are causing flex under load. I have some Skf bearing on the way. But the bearings cause the pawls not to catch properly and skip engagement. I'm pretty stupid when it comes to bike terms so bear with me. I don't even understand why how much chain wrap matters.
    that could be an important bit of info, didn't realize this is FS. when you start a technical thread like this, you need to include every bit of relevant information- in this case, frame, crankset, chainring, chain, hub, etc.

    if the hub and axle were the problem, the hub would skip the same way with a cassette or a SS cog with spacers. it's possible that you are putting a little more torque on the hub now that it's SS but that is unlikely.the same basic force is being put on the freehub body with a cassette or a SS cog. something else is going on there. if the freehub pawls NEVER skipped before and it's skipping now, it's either a coincidence that something wore out just now or it is entirely unrelated to the hub bearings.

    YOU HAVE TO BE SPECIFIC about what is going on, drivetrains can "skip" for a variety of reasons. so what exactly is happening, is the hub slipping internally? or is the chain skipping on the teeth, like jumping over the teeth?

    what chainring are you using?

    how many miles are on the chainring, cog, and chain?

    can you increase the spring tension on the tensioner? can you take a link out of the chain before it's too short? because the rear end of the frame moves, the effective length of the chainstay changes as the bike goes through it's travel. I am not sure if the CS length gets shorter or longer as the swingarm moves- can anyone clarify that?

    if it get longer, then perhaps sag alone is causing the chain to go so slack that it skips off the cog. you could fix this with a better tensioner like the Shimano Alfine (I think that would work...) or the Paul one. or just put a derailleur on it and lock out the high and low limit screws so they hold the chain in the right spot.

    if you can still find one, a Yess ETR-b tensioner might be worthwhile or some sort of BB-mounted system.

  28. #28
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    Well yea I think the frame twist is a big part of it but running a full cassette seems to be enough to prevent that. And the steel frame cog prevents an even stiffer mount for the hub when converted to single.

    I think I will take a break until my bearings come in. Should be here end of week. That fixes the problem on the thread regarding the hub itself. Maybe it will be my solution too

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    how many miles are on the chainring, cog, and chain?
    i want to know the answer to this. is one of the components older and the other two new?
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breitness24 View Post
    Well yea I think the frame twist is a big part of it but running a full cassette seems to be enough to prevent that. And the steel frame cog prevents an even stiffer mount for the hub when converted to single.
    no, this is simply not true. it makes no sense. the tension and stiffness of how the cog is sandwiched on the freehub body has nothing to do with the axle. they are entirely independent systems that do not effect one another. that's like saying, "I got some new shoes and now my glasses keep falling off my face. it might be the shoes!"

    like I said, some people use plastic spacers and they work. if this was a problem, it would cause the cog to twist and the chain would derail completely.

    you did not answer my questions, most importantly- is the chain skipping over the teeth on the cog or are the freehub pawls skipping in the hub?

    if the hub did not skip before, then going SS and the material of the spacers is irrelevant. if anything, a steel spacer would be more likely to warp and twist than aluminum.

    I am 99.8% certain, based on the information I have here, that the tensioner is not doing it's job because it's not set up correctly or it's just not up to the task because it's not the right tool for the job. it could be other things too, which I have explained, but I can't tell without seeing the bike in person.

  31. #31
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    I answered that it's the pawls skipping the internal teeth look at post 25. Also no chain skipping was never an issue it was an internal pawl skip

    However!!!! I tried my last variable. And by God it worked wesMAMyke told me to try a flat cog. So that's what I did. Just now I slapped on the single 19t cog from my 10spd cassette. Used the cheap spacers that I was intending on. And it didn't skip. So the only difference was th cog. Surly is the wide base cog and the one just used was totally flat. How does that make sense? What laws are in place here? Some kind of pressure distribution?

    So it seems I just have to find a 20t flat cog to run after all this headache?

  32. #32
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    if anything, that cog is going to cause a whole other category of problems down the road that will involve the chain derailing.

    you have a unicorn of a problem there. changing to a "flat" cog and the hub no longer skipping sounds like a coincidence, not a solution. there is something else going on in there. replacing a sturdy cog with a flimsy one has nothing to do with how the hub engages.

    do you have an aluminum freehub? if so, one of those narrow cogs is going to gouge the hell out of it.

  33. #33
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    Does anyone make steel spacers?

    Yes it's alum. And that's exactly why I had a surly to prevent that. So my next option is this origin8 cog. It has a wide base but is centered between two parts evenly.
    https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/391250296977

    I'm hoping that with it being centered it will still have he same effect as the flat cog without the gouging.

    Edit: ultimately I'm hoping the bearing will fix the issue. This is the most progress I've had since the start.

  34. #34
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    yeah, that Origin8 cog should work well, but if by some bizarre sorcery the Surly cog caused the hub pawls to not engage, the Origin8 cog will do the same thing. I think there is something else going on in there and switching the cogs and the subsequent elimination of the skipping is unrelated and you will waste time and money on another cog. cogs don't cause freehubs to twist and disengage pawls if they are spaced and installed correctly. like I said, some people use thin little alu spacers from discarded cassettes and others use plastic spacers and this is not a problem for them.

    have you pulled the hub apart and put it back together? is it possible that you didn't ffit an end cap on all the way, allowing the freehub to drift? then when you put the flat cog on, you tightened the end cap on the rest of the way, eliminating the slop in the process?

  35. #35
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    I've put everything back to the T. I have eliminated all slop in the spacers. Seriously it has something to do with the distribution of force on the surly cog that the only thing that makes. sense. I agree with you it shouldn't but I've tried every other option. I'm 280 with gear ride the same wheel sat morning that 10 min before test rode my full suspension with the same whee and it skipped. Popped it on the mono cog and rode it without a single issue. It's hard to believe that the mounting size of the cog itself caused the skip. Or I guess we can say the off centered angle of the cog.

  36. #36
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    placement of the cog is too close to one of the bearings, causing it to rock on that bearing? possible, but that will happen with any cog if that is the case, and would probably happen with a cassette too.

    you didn't mention your size. that's a factor. not to put too fine a point on it, but you outweigh most mountain bikers by a fair bit, so your bike parts probably flex and take forces that other bikes never see.

    maybe the Koozer is just not up to the task. you might just need to get a sturdier hub.

    curve ball suggestion, try posting this question, with more specifics about the factors involved up front, in the Clydesdale Forum.

  37. #37
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    Ehh ill pass on that. Thank for all the help, this at first was only a thread about spacers so I didn't think about getting into it all because I thought I had it figured out.

  38. #38
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    keep experimenting until you figure out what works. big guy on a FS bike converted to SS is uncharted waters for most of us. I think the Clydesdale forum might have a better idea of what works for skipping hubs in general, maybe not for your specific question about spacers.

  39. #39
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    Once I considered getting either a Lenz or a Dean FS frame to make a single speed because they have models with a concentric pivot around the bottom bracket, which facilitates SS by keeping the chain length constant as the suspension squats. I said to myself, no way, it will be a PITA!

    Chain growth sounds like science fiction, but it isn't. It just makes single speed full suspension an oxymoron

  40. #40
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    If I could afford a lenz I would love one. SS has become normal for me. My big butt gets a little sore on the hardtail. It keeps me struggling and I love seeing improvements. On Saturday I made a climb I haven't made in over half a year. My FS just sits as a spare for friends. I need to use it. I will not be getting the origin8 cog. I'm almost positive it would lead to the same issue. Who makes a flat cog in 20t for 3/32. eBay seems to not have any decent ones.

  41. #41
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    Some of the flat cogs have taller teeth.
    Try an Absolute Black NW cog

  42. #42
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    Breitness24, I am impressed!

    Happy trails to you. I think you are doing something worthwhile.

    So, how does it feel on FS SS climbing?

    I once was wondering about putting together an FSR type SS too once, with the right size chainring to prevent squat, using an Alfine tensioner. However I couldn't really figure it out.

    Enjoy your project bike.

    I wonder if other trail people notice it is single speed.

    Is there a "show us your full suspension single speed" thread. This is interesting.

    How about a belt drive full suspension SS?

    Ach, I would make a dingle FS. Nuts!

  43. #43
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    I'd use a Zee derailleur as a tensioner.

  44. #44
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    But that's a whole real derailleur at about 80 bucks makes no sense to me. Going SS in the FS is the same as just not changing gears. But I always do cuZ it makes life easier. This way it's ride or walk. I haven't trailed it yet. Will be taking it for a few more rides around the hood to check for skipping.

  45. #45
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    there are a few tensioners that will help your sitation. they have two pulleys so they look like a derailleur but they just hold the tension. because you have a FS frame, the chainstay length effectively changes as the frame moves, so you need a tensioner that moves with it.

    alfine tensioner- $20 online

    (not sure if chainline on Alfine is adjustable)

    Paul Melvin- $65 online


    q2- this one is new to me https://www.blueskycycling.com/produ...FYsCaQodopYJFQ

  46. #46
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    The Alfine chain line is adjustable, but only a couple of mm.
    I'll be using a Zee mech on mine because of the clutch.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Breitness24, I am impressed!

    Happy trails to you. I think you are doing something worthwhile.

    So, how does it feel on FS SS climbing?



    I wonder if other trail people notice it is single speed.
    I used to race on a Kona A which was a SS FS frame set, I would show up at the starting line and be told all the time that this is the SS Race and I need to get out of the field and wait my turn. It climbed just like their regular FS bike I had no issues with it
    "Never shall innocent blood be shed. Yet the blood of the wicked shall flow like a river. The three shall spread their blackened wings and be the vengeful striking hammer of god."

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breitness24 View Post
    I've put everything back to the T. I have eliminated all slop in the spacers. Seriously it has something to do with the distribution of force on the surly cog that the only thing that makes. sense. I agree with you it shouldn't but I've tried every other option. I'm 280 with gear ride the same wheel sat morning that 10 min before test rode my full suspension with the same whee and it skipped. Popped it on the mono cog and rode it without a single issue. It's hard to believe that the mounting size of the cog itself caused the skip. Or I guess we can say the off centered angle of the cog.
    So you are saying it skipped on the full suspension bike, but worked fine on a different bike? That, again, throws all of your theories out the window. It's really hard to figure out exactly what you are doing and experiencing, you keep throwing different variables into the mix.

  49. #49
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    It's the cog itself. Figured it out, can't explain it. I rode it for 3 hrs this weekend no issues

  50. #50
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    On which bike? Makes no sense to me, but if it works, it works!

  51. #51
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    On the full suspension. It works on the monocog with no issues using the surly cog. It will not work on the FS with the Shirley cog. On the FS it only works with a normal non widening base cog.

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