Help me buy SS parts for my SS project!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help me buy SS parts for my SS project!

    I'm a complete a noob to the SS world. I'm doing some shopping and realize some new decisions that I've not come across before.

    Chains:Must I get an SS chain (1/8) or can I use a 3/32 chain? Reason I ask is that I read somewhere that you can get away with using a 7-spd or 8-spd chain for SS. My current project bike comes with a 7-spd chain (Taya brand with some weird master link). If I can use it, then I'd like to do that if I don't end up mangling the chain trying to remove tghe master link. I also have a barely used SRAM 9-spd chain. I take it that these two geared chains are 3/32. I will be using an SS cog and most likely an SS chainring. If I have to buy a new chain, does it have to be an SS 1/8 chain?

    Should I buy a half-link? Jenson has a KMC half-link for 3/32 chains. What gives? I thought it should be 1/8?

    Do I need a tensioner? Prefer not to since it takes away the clean look of an SS. Read that putting a half-link will temporarily let you do away with a tensioner.

    SS conversion kit:
    I'm looking at the Nashbar kit that comes with 14, 15, and 16t cogs, spacers, and a tensioner for a cheap price of $21. This looks almost like the Forte kit that Performance sells for $30. Second option is Wheels Mfg. SSK-2 w/o tensioner and includes only a 16t cog for around $21-24. Which kit?

  2. #2
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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Help me buy SS parts for my SS project!-ss-faq.jpg  


  3. #3
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    The faq didn't say much about chains or about which conversion kit I should get :P Great resource though. Funny that it says 3/32 half-links are rare, but PricePoint and Jenson both carry a KMC 3/32 half-link! Wonder if it's a mistake.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by djork View Post
    The faq didn't say much about chains or about which conversion kit I should get :P Great resource though. Funny that it says 3/32 half-links are rare, but PricePoint and Jenson both carry a KMC 3/32 half-link! Wonder if it's a mistake.
    The FAQ won't tell you specifically what to do since every bike/situation is different. It does list a variety of different things you can try to tension the chain. The point is, no one here is going to be able to tell you exactly how to do it because we aren't laying hands on your bike and you'll probably have to fiddle around with it for hours until you get the tension right.

    As far as conversion kits- the Nashbar does look like the best bang for the buck. But the 16t cog might be too high given the questions below:
    What size chain ring are you going to run in front? Where do you live? Are the trails vertical/hilly or are you going to be riding over flat ground?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by djork View Post
    I'm a complete a noob to the SS world. I'm doing some shopping and realize some new decisions that I've not come across before.

    Chains:Must I get an SS chain (1/8) or can I use a 3/32 chain? Reason I ask is that I read somewhere that you can get away with using a 7-spd or 8-spd chain for SS. My current project bike comes with a 7-spd chain (Taya brand with some weird master link). If I can use it, then I'd like to do that if I don't end up mangling the chain trying to remove tghe master link. I also have a barely used SRAM 9-spd chain. I take it that these two geared chains are 3/32. I will be using an SS cog and most likely an SS chainring. If I have to buy a new chain, does it have to be an SS 1/8 chain?

    Should I buy a half-link? Jenson has a KMC half-link for 3/32 chains. What gives? I thought it should be 1/8?

    Do I need a tensioner? Prefer not to since it takes away the clean look of an SS. Read that putting a half-link will temporarily let you do away with a tensioner.

    SS conversion kit:
    I'm looking at the Nashbar kit that comes with 14, 15, and 16t cogs, spacers, and a tensioner for a cheap price of $21. This looks almost like the Forte kit that Performance sells for $30. Second option is Wheels Mfg. SSK-2 w/o tensioner and includes only a 16t cog for around $21-24. Which kit?
    Use the 9 speed 3/32" chain if you can. But if you have a true SS cog and chainring, then its probably going to require an 1/8" chain but you will have to have that verified. I run a 3/32" 9 speed chain and it works great. But I use a 3/32" chainring and cog.

    Wether or not to get a half-link depends on how you are going to adjust your chain when you change cogs and how often you will change cogs. I don't have one cause I don't change cogs much. I run a frame with an Eccentric Bottom Bracket.

    You will need a tensioner if your frame does not have a way to adjust the tension in the chain. All chains are going to stretch. Even if you can find that magic gear combo, that chain will stretch and you will have to take up the slack somehow...either with an Eccentric Bottom Bracket or sliding dropouts or tensioner. When that chain gets slack it will come off and more than likely, due to Murphy's Law, right when you least expect it to!

    Cheap is Cheap! Don't make that mistake. Cheap means Cheap! If you are serious, get a good set of spacers, chain, and tensioner if needed. You won't regret it later.

    As for cog size...geez...14, 15, and 16....really? That's pretty tall unless you live in a dead flat area or have legs the size of tree trunks. I would say the better combo of cogs is a 20, 18, and 16. Then again, I don't know your terrain or your abilities. So that's just my opinion and what works best for me.

    I use Surly cogs and Surly spacers. They work, are durable, and I put it on and forget about it. I don't trust cheap stuff but I also don't by XTR parts. There's a happy balance between quality and cost that I try to keep.

    Hope all this helps.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGrant View Post
    you will have to take up the slack somehow...either with an Eccentric Bottom Bracket or sliding dropouts..
    eccentric bottom bracket, are you thinking of a frame retrofit or something like forward components? looks like forward components is out of the business so the only option for ebb is exzentriker. too much money for first time conversion imho, plus you have to buy an outboard bearing cranks to make it work.

    sliding dropouts? also not an option for conversion.

    usually if someone wants to try SS and decides to convert their current bike, they use derailleur mounted tensioner like surly, forte, yess etr-v.. lots of options for spring loaded tensioners as well as rigid tensioners like dmr sts to name a few.

    there is a bottom bracket mounted tensioners too, the yess etr-b, but i only seen them used in outboard bearing cranks too.

    if you want a cleaner look, go magic gear, its not forever magical though and half link is usually not necessary for a conversion. if you have money to spend, go white industries eno hub, its the pimp if you have a matching white industries freewheel.

    we can talk forever on how can we tension your chain, lots of products out there. but in the end its you who will decide what to use, budget you have and your commitment. parts aren't cheap so choose wisely.

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  7. #7
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    Last night I was going to order the Nashbar SS kit for $21, but when I added it to my cart the price jumped to $29.99! That that's the same price as the Forte kit, which I'm now leaning towards because I can get a 10% discount, plus the cogs come in 16, 18, and 20t. I like the fact it comes with a tensioner. It's either the Forte kit or the Wheels Mfg. SSK-2 kit, which only comes with a 16t cog and no tensioner. It looks nicer though. What to get?

    AGrant, I plan to use this SS bike mainly for city with some moderate slopes (not really hills). But I want the bike to be trail worthy too. No big hill climbs or anything like that. I was thinking 36 front and 16 rear. Does this make sense?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by djork View Post
    AGrant, I plan to use this SS bike mainly for city with some moderate slopes (not really hills). But I want the bike to be trail worthy too. No big hill climbs or anything like that. I was thinking 36 front and 16 rear. Does this make sense?
    You'll be walking the bike up moderate hills with that but give it a try.

    You're not going to get it right the first time unless you've ridden a SS before and know what you can handle. Get a kit with a bunch of different cogs and be prepared to switch stuff out to suit your fitness/needs.

  9. #9
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    I had a SS mtb several years ago that was a conversion from an ebay frame. That was a harsh-riding SOB (I set it up rigid - I'll never ride a rigid aluminum frame again).

    I tensioned the chain with a Surly tensioner and used old cassette spacers to set my chainline. I ran a 32/16 ratio that worked well enough on pretty flat ground. It was too tall for many hills, though. A 32/18 would have been a bit more versatile, but not as fast on the flats.

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