Single Speed frames have too many drawbacks- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Single Speed frames have too many drawbacks

    So what are the downsides for manufacturing a bike (rigid) that accommodates single speed use? I'm not saying exclusively designed for single speed use, just one that accommodates it.

    Background: A bike manufacturer just told me there are "too many drawbacks" to make a frame that accommodates single speed. This is for a carbon drop bar bike that has no suspension and uses a pressfit bottom bracket.

    Can anyone shed some light on what these drawbacks are?

  2. #2
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    I don't know that there is much interest in carbon road bikes that can be ss or geared, I think they tend to choose a geared road bike or a fixed gear/track bike. To accommodate both, there is the extra cost of being able to swap out the dropouts and they probably don't think the market is big enough to make it worthwhile.

    Santa Cruz Roadster had swappable dropouts, but it was aluminum.
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  3. #3
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    Sliding/ swinging dropouts are more complex and therefore more expensive to make. It might be even harder on a carbon fiber frame. Combine that with the fact that 99% of the market would have no interest in riding singlespeed and manufacturers have very few reasons to spend the time and effort on making such a thing for such a tiny sliver of the market.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Sliding/ swinging dropouts are more complex and therefore more expensive to make. It might be even harder on a carbon fiber frame. Combine that with the fact that 99% of the market would have no interest in riding singlespeed and manufacturers have very few reasons to spend the time and effort on making such a thing for such a tiny sliver of the market.
    This, right here.

    If they put a Bushnell shell into the bottom bracket, or a BB30, there are obviously eccentric options there that can work, creating an adjustable chain length. That said, if you're not going to ride fixed-gear, why not just use a chain tensioner?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    if you're not going to ride fixed-gear, why not just use a chain tensioner?
    Party foul. You are hereby banned from the singlespeed forum!

    If a tensioner that does not suck existed, I would be OK with that. I have tried a few (Surly, Blackspire, generic, etc) and they all sucked. Given the option for something designed into the frame, I'll go with a frame designed for it.

    I like the idea of more eccentric BB frames. I had a Ninner ROS9 for a little bit. While I didn't like other aspects of the bike, the EBB was great. Chain tension and BB position adjustment allowed me to make small changes to the BB height, effective chainstay length and seat tube angle.

    Can the carbon road bike in question take an EBB in it's press-fit BB she'll?

  6. #6
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    Ever tried a Melvin Mack?
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerLex View Post
    So what are the downsides for manufacturing a bike (rigid) that accommodates single speed use? I'm not saying exclusively designed for single speed use, just one that accommodates it.

    Background: A bike manufacturer just told me there are "too many drawbacks" to make a frame that accommodates single speed. This is for a carbon drop bar bike that has no suspension and uses a pressfit bottom bracket.

    Can anyone shed some light on what these drawbacks are?
    There a BB option to allow tensioning for PF BB (https://wheelsmfg.com/bottom-brackets/ebb.html), you would have to change your BB but you could then singlespeed all the bikes.

    This would work the best with Disc brakes, aside from probably creaking like a frog.
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  8. #8
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    Having used an alfine tensioner before, I won't say it sucked. It was perfectly effective at keeping the chain tensioned. Aesthetically, it's not my preference, and I plan to choose frames with EBB or slider/swinger dropouts for SS for that reason.

    I used the alfine back before narrow-wide rings were a thing, I imagine it's even more reliable with those.

    To the OP, we are a niche market, so most designs will not make even minor compromises to accommodate us.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbhammercycle View Post
    Ever tried a Melvin Mack?
    Why would I bother putting such a tumor on my bike when I can get a frame with track ends, sliders, etc? I think the Melvin or Rohloff tensioner seem like a decent solution, but that would be a last resort if I was really desperate. Otherwise the feel and aesthetics of a bouncy bit makes me gag.

    I snapped the spring on my Surly tensioner. I installed it exactly by Surly's instructions, ten years ago. It lasted 3-4 rides, then the spring shattered. Are the springs on other tensioners stronger?

  10. #10
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    I'm not disagreeing, I have a WI eno hub for aesthetic reasons. I was just wondering if you had tried the Melvin.... and yes I have a Melvin, but no other tensioners. Why? Because I bought into the 3 speed idea that Paul was selling.

    The reason I have these is that I am likely going to sell my MUSS. The grand plan being that I would end up with a Krampus.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  11. #11
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    It is sacrilegious to use a chain tensioner for single speeding! Might as well use a derailleur, 100x better at keeping the chain on.

    This frame has a BB386Evo bottom bracket. I'm know about EBB for PF30 bottom brackets but not aware of one for 386EVO.

  12. #12
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    To many draw back include every dollar of cost and minor complications.

    DMR tensioner works well for QR axles.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Party foul. You are hereby banned from the singlespeed forum!

    If a tensioner that does not suck existed, I would be OK with that. I have tried a few (Surly, Blackspire, generic, etc) and they all sucked. Given the option for something designed into the frame, I'll go with a frame designed for it.

    I like the idea of more eccentric BB frames. I had a Ninner ROS9 for a little bit. While I didn't like other aspects of the bike, the EBB was great. Chain tension and BB position adjustment allowed me to make small changes to the BB height, effective chainstay length and seat tube angle.

    Can the carbon road bike in question take an EBB in it's press-fit BB she'll?
    "I use a Ghost Chainring" It works and people are baffled so the question arise...LOL

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post

    I snapped the spring on my Surly tensioner. I installed it exactly by Surly's instructions, ten years ago. It lasted 3-4 rides, then the spring shattered. Are the springs on other tensioners stronger?
    Ahhh, you tried a spring loaded tensioner... LOVE my Soulcraft Converts. No spring. It's indexed into place and swings out of the way to allow rear wheel removal. I have them on both of my classic frames and have ZERO issue after five years with one and nearly three with the other.

    If my Homegrowns had horizontal drop outs, or could be retro fitted with sliders, I'd do it. Barring that, the convert works perfectly.
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  15. #15
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    I don't need one, but is the Concert still available? I only see spare bits available.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I don't need one, but is the Concert still available? I only see spare bits available.
    Good question, that tensioner really tucks in nicely looking at google images. I don't need it either atm, but ... does the n+1 rule apply to # of possible ways to SS a bike?
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I don't need one, but is the Concert still available? I only see spare bits available.
    Unfortunately no. Soulcraft discontinued the Convert for some reason. They do pop up from time to time and I was fortunate to have found one local to me on CL and the other on ebay (brand new in the box).
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  18. #18
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    @chuckha62 From the Soulcraft Convert web page:

    * Will work on mountain, cross, and road bikes, but not on fixed gear or FULL SUSPENSION BIKES, which are nonsense.

    Is the Convert what you use for the Sweet Spot?
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbhammercycle View Post
    @chuckha62 From the Soulcraft Convert web page:

    * Will work on mountain, cross, and road bikes, but not on fixed gear or FULL SUSPENSION BIKES, which are nonsense.

    Is the Convert what you use for the Sweet Spot?
    It is. The URT is the key for a non-sprung tensioner, as the chain length doesn't change.

    Single Speed frames have too many drawbacks-img_3224.jpg

    Single Speed frames have too many drawbacks-convert_up.jpg

    I had a bike shop mechanic tell me that I had way too much slack in my chain awhile back, but rolling resistance is less and I have never dropped a chain, so I prefer it this way.
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  20. #20
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Why would I bother putting such a tumor on my bike when I can get a frame with track ends, sliders, etc? I think the Melvin or Rohloff tensioner seem like a decent solution, but that would be a last resort if I was really desperate. Otherwise the feel and aesthetics of a bouncy bit makes me gag.

    I snapped the spring on my Surly tensioner. I installed it exactly by Surly's instructions, ten years ago. It lasted 3-4 rides, then the spring shattered. Are the springs on other tensioners stronger?
    I had one of the older surly tensions, from the first edition age, and I used that for 10 years and honestly the only time I dropped a chain was when it was either mechanically removed by a stick or when i bent a chainring on a rock. My wife had a newer one on her singlespeed and it was much harder to install. I think initially i installed the spring backwards and it broke like yours. Then when I got it installed the correct way we never had a problem with it, aside from having to ride with a 18mm flat wrench in our kit in the odd chance that we needed to maintain it in the field.

    Thankfully the transition to an EBB for me and the move away from singlespeed for my wife made things easier I guess. Still have the tensioners somewhere.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Party foul. You are hereby banned from the singlespeed forum!

    If a tensioner that does not suck existed, I would be OK with that. I have tried a few (Surly, Blackspire, generic, etc) and they all sucked. Given the option for something designed into the frame, I'll go with a frame designed for it.

    I like the idea of more eccentric BB frames. I had a Ninner ROS9 for a little bit. While I didn't like other aspects of the bike, the EBB was great. Chain tension and BB position adjustment allowed me to make small changes to the BB height, effective chainstay length and seat tube angle.

    Can the carbon road bike in question take an EBB in it's press-fit BB she'll?
    - have never had a problem with my godspeed tensioner.........never........
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  23. #23
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    The major drawback of what you describe is a pressfit bottom bracket. I hate them; only run one on a Scott Spark 930 full suspension geared 29er.

    After destroying the stock XTR external BB in ~6 months or less, I installed a Wheels Manufacturing BB86-OUT-AC with angular contact bearings and so far so good. Only threaded bottom bracket I've killed was a Phil Wood (crushed the bearings in <1 year). Other threaded BB's I have are still going strong with 10 years of churning on them.

    Nothing wrong with a steel frame- it will last forever. Call up Independent Fabrication, Quiring, Waltworks or other frame makers and you can get an awesome custom steel frame + fork built with EBB, or threaded BB with sliders or rockers in the rear. Doesn't get much simpler for SS and you can run gears if you want.

    My preference is a steel frame with carbon fork and running a 3.0" tire up front.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RacerLex View Post
    It is sacrilegious to use a chain tensioner for single speeding! Might as well use a derailleur, 100x better at keeping the chain on.
    i forget what year but when singlespeed worlds was in state college PA way back keith bontrager was using an old rear-d as a tensioner... i still wouldn't do it; but obviously it has been done by those far greater than me.

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