SoulCraft, Surly, or something else?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SoulCraft, Surly, or something else?

    I am wondering (from experience) which chain tensioner you'd all recommend and why?

  2. #2
    Baron of Gray Matter
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    I have a Surly and a Soulcraft. Both work well, but I prefer the Soulcraft. The Soulcraft does not use a spring for tension as does the Surly. So with the Surly I get a little chain slap as the tensioner moves a little, not a lot and since it's on my urban SS, it doesn't bother me. The Soulcraft locks into place and keeps constant tension on the chain. A lot of people don't like either one, but if properly set up both work well. Much better than a old derailleur.

    My pick would be the Soulcraft, about $57 from Bikeman.com. Bikeman.com has about 5 different types of tensioners, I just looked at their site. They've got a new one called a DMR Tension seeker II, I've never seen it before, looks kinda like a Surly.

    A lot of people like the Paul Melvin tensioner and there is one other that gets good reviews here, but I can't remember what it is called.

    No matter which one you choose, someone will have had bad luck with it and others will rave about it. Kinda makes it hard to decide doesn't it.
    "Oh Dear, I've been redorkulated."
    Prof. Frink.

  3. #3
    The man who fell to earth
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    I have the Soulcraft and have used it extensively. It's a fairly well built unit, has a clean and cool looking design, but it had several disadvantages over a traditonal derailleur arrangement (which I know isn't as cool looking and is somewhat more vulberable, but there you have it). The soulcraft, and nearly all single roller tensioners, provide precious little chainslack. This leaves very little room to swap out different cogs and/or front chainrings without either shortening the chain, lengthening the chain (using somewhat ill advised chain extensions and/or halflinks), or more realistically replacing it with a longer chain for each ratio you want (expensive and inconvenient). A standard derailleur provides enough slack to eliminate this hassle. Plus the Soulcraft's little knob that's used to release it fell off somewhere down the line (a spring roll clip deal). Now I have to use a small screwdriver or allen wrench to release it.

    Another issue is that all of the non-spring loaded single roller tensioners allow the chain to slacken as it wears. Your chain will wear quickly while SS-ing, especially if you're pretty big and/or you go up steep hills alot and/or you ride in mud or other abrasive environments extensively. I found that as my chain wore the Soulcraft did not allow fine increments of tensioning in between "clicks" which made it so that the chain was always fairly slack even if it was loosened and retightened into position. I ended up just using a zip tie to secure the tensioner arm to the chainstay to maintain proper tension, not the kind of solution I want in a $50+ single roller tensioner. I've heard of lots of people having problems with spring loaded single roller tensioners too (like the singleator), which I suspect is because the spring is not of sufficient strength and the single tensioner does not properly "wrap" the chain around the cog in a manner that a decent traditional derailleur does.

    Anyway, I would go with a standard derailleur or maybe the rolhoff dual idler derailleur or get an eno hub as long as you like a traditional FW (which I don't btw).

    Quote Originally Posted by mp29k
    I am wondering (from experience) which chain tensioner you'd all recommend and why?

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