SS conversion question

Jim & Val

Active Member
I was thinking about converting my hardtail into a singlespeed and was wondering if a single ring chainguide and bashring would work instead of a tensioner to take up chain slack. Anyone have an opinion if this would work?
 

clarkenstein

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I was thinking about converting my hardtail into a singlespeed and was wondering if a single ring chainguide and bashring would work instead of a tensioner to take up chain slack. Anyone have an opinion if this would work?

i think it would work... i think it would be a little heavier, and maybe not as easy to adjust tension. it will give you good wrap on the chainring, provided it can stay tight enough. if it is loose and doesn't hold the chain tight, you'll either have chain slip or the chain will fall off. i think the best way to go is to have the magic gear ratio, use a half link to get the right set up, or use a rear tensioner.

when i built up my SS, i thought i pulled in enough slack without a tensioner - i found out in the middle of my first climb on the bike that i didn't. the chain would pop every stomp i put in. i ended up getting a surly singulator and it worked great. or you could use an old dérailleur if you have one lying around. just pull the cable tight and lock it off as tight as you can get it. just make sure you have good wrap around both the rear cog and front chain ring to avoid slip.
 

clarkenstein

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this is how i had mine set up... i know its not the best pic, but you can see how i had my tensioner. i also had a bash ring on it.

bikenandsingletrack2.jpg
 

Jim & Val

Active Member
Does the tensioner do a good job of keeping the chain tight? I read on another forum that the chain can still bounce around with a spring loaded tensioner. I figured that wouln't be a problem with a chainguide
 

clarkenstein

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Does the tensioner do a good job of keeping the chain tight? I read on another forum that the chain can still bounce around with a spring loaded tensioner. I figured that wouln't be a problem with a chainguide

my tensioner held real well. i had the spring totally cranked, and the tensioner was literally almost stuck in place. some folks like to run the tensioner on top of the chainstay, upside down to make sure its tight. what i ended up doing was putting the tensioner on in such a way that when there was no chain on, it was practically pointing itself away from the fork. when i put the chain on, it would end up pointing toward the fork - so it was really cranked tight. once i had it set up like this, the chain never popped off - and i took that bike (crappy little fork and all) to the sourlands, chimney rock, ramapo, and skyline drive.

i think if you just put the tensioner on as-is and leave the spring loose, you'll have the thing bounce all over and the chain will pop. i also cut some old tubes up and wrapped them around the chainstay to make a bumper of sorts. that way the tensioner wouldn't hit the chainstay directly, and also couldn't 'bounce' in too much. once i did that, the chain never popped. you can see the tubes in the pic - the little black patch on the chainstay. i kept the tube wrap on with some cable ties.
 
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clarkenstein

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now that's a bargain! that's a nice tensioner too.


another thing i didnt think of before - kinda stupid, but worth mentioning - the chain guide will be noisy in comparison to the rear tensioner... at least the chain guide i have on my DJ bike is pretty noisy. my old SS was a pretty quiet ride. i know its not performance based or anything - but its something to consider.
 

Frank

Sasquatch
I was thinking about converting my hardtail into a singlespeed and was wondering if a single ring chainguide and bashring would work instead of a tensioner to take up chain slack. Anyone have an opinion if this would work?

Jim&Val, I have a tensioner you can use.:) What kind of guide are you refering to? A dh style?
 
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Gregg

Member
Keep it tight.....

For what is worth I've been running a Surly Singulator for 5 years now and it has worked perfectly. It's lighter than a chain guide and easy to set up and adjust. Good luck and welcome to the ss world. Keep rolling.
 

FFT

Gay & Stuffy
A few thoughts:

This can be done cheap with a ss coversion and a chain tool, if:

You are slightly mechanical (not like robo-cop)?
Do you have vert or horozontile drop outs?
 

Jim & Val

Active Member
Wow! Thanks everyone for all the replies. Yes I was thinking of using a dh style guide, but I don't have any experience using one. One of my goals was to make the bike as quiet and smooth as possible, so maybe a dh guide isn't such a good idea.
 

clarkenstein

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i'd say go with the rear tensioner then - grab a couple sixers of some good beer and get in touch with G.Aft to take him up on that offer... then rip off all the geared crap you dont need and have some fun!

once you build it up (i always think SS bikes are actually built 'down') you'll probably start obsessing with gear ratios and gear inches, and all sorts of other good stuff. i used to run a 32:16 set up on that 26er pictured. it was great for a lot of NJ parks. it was a little stiff of a gearing for some of the more northern NJ spots, so if i was so moved, i would swap out to a 32:18 gearing. my bro-in-law is a monster and runs a 34:16 down in pisgah. ridiculous.

FFT has some good pts too - horizontal drop out will change the way you can set up the bike, and you dont have to drop tons of scratch into a SS conversion - it can/should be done on the cheap.

SS bikes are great fun.

post up some pics when you build it up (down).
 

Jim & Val

Active Member
Definately not looking to spend alot of $$- the bike is a 15 year old Cannonale that has served me very well over the years. It has vertical dropouts so a tensioner looks like the way to go. Can I use a standard 8 spd chain or is there a ss specific chain?
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
For what is worth I've been running a Surly Singulator for 5 years now and it has worked perfectly. It's lighter than a chain guide and easy to set up and adjust. Good luck and welcome to the ss world. Keep rolling.

I am running this on my SS roadie. I just set it up yesterday. It could be that it needs some tweaking yet, however on a test run last night I really got on it attempting to see if I could get the chain to jump up. Sure enough it did and I almost ate a face full of pavement.

I have it so the chain is being pushed up towards the chainstay. The spring tension seems to be good as well. I have seem some others zip tie the singulator to the frame.

Just looking for some more tips.

Although much of this might not matter bc I should have a brandy new wheel.
 

clarkenstein

JORBA Money Launderer
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Definately not looking to spend alot of $$- the bike is a 15 year old Cannonale that has served me very well over the years. It has vertical dropouts so a tensioner looks like the way to go. Can I use a standard 8 spd chain or is there a ss specific chain?

try the PC-68 by SRAM - i had a real good experience with it.
 

Frank

Sasquatch
Definately not looking to spend alot of $$- the bike is a 15 year old Cannonale that has served me very well over the years. It has vertical dropouts so a tensioner looks like the way to go. Can I use a standard 8 spd chain or is there a ss specific chain?

If Jim* is converting then I would recomend a SS chain. If the lighter half :D Val is converting I would think that an 8sp chain will work. With a tensioner (that replaces the rear der.)you can use a standard hub, use one SS gear with a bunch of cassette spacers, and you should be good to go. SS gears will hold the chain better because they have slightly longer teeth that are not ramped( or shaped) for easier shifting.

* I've seen him mash some hills.;)
 
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clarkenstein

JORBA Money Launderer
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I am running this on my SS roadie. I just set it up yesterday. It could be that it needs some tweaking yet, however on a test run last night I really got on it attempting to see if I could get the chain to jump up. Sure enough it did and I almost ate a face full of pavement.

Just looking for some more tips.

did you throw the chain, or did it just skip (like the pedals just gave way, but then you had tension again and the chain stayed on)?

i love being slow at work... i'm posting like sixteen year-old on the phone :blah:

when i was setting my SS up i went through every issue in the book, so i have some first hand experience in getting out the bugs.
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
chain dropped. I also thought of taking one more link out. Not sure if that will help. Its tight but not too tight.
 

clarkenstein

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chain dropped. I also thought of taking one more link out. Not sure if that will help. Its tight but not too tight.

it could probably be tighter if it popped off. if you think you can take out another full link - go for it. a real snug chain with a good straight chainline shouldn't throw.
 
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