Singlespeed & Fixed Gear - Best Chain Tensioner for single speed conversion
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08-28-12, 11:09 AM
What the best Chain Tensioner out there for the money?
Soulcraft - http://www.soulcraftbikes.com/goods.php?category_id=5 $90.00
Misfit - http://www.psyclestore.com/products.php?product=Misfit-Psycles-*****-Singlespeed-Tensioner $33.00
Rohloff - http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=12058&category=2622 $85.00
Melvin - http://www.paulcomp.com/melvin.html $90.00
Rennen - http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=5422&zenid=9c7cb9e7b660bd54f3541c123abf75ca $49.00
08-28-12, 12:12 PM
Of those, I've used the Melvin, and a Rennen copy.
The dual pulley type (Melvin, Shimano Alfine, etc), those are best used for full suspension single speed mtbs (to account for chain growth during the travel of the rear suspension), or 2-by-1's or similar multiple chainring setups. They can certainly be used for normal SS's, and they'll work great, but they usually have a little more chainslap, which can be a little annoying.
The fixed type (Rennen, DMR STS, etc) are my favorite type, since you can set them to push-up mode (to increase chainwrap around the cog) and lock them in place to whichever chain tension you prefer. They can make it a little tougher to remove the rear wheel, but some have workarounds like the Soulcraft Convert's quick release lever. Even without a workaround, these are still my favorite types.
There are also the Surly Singleator types, which are single pulley sprung tensioners. Mixed results with these. I could never get my Singleator spring tight enough in push-up mode to avoid skipping. There are lots of people that can get these to work just fine though.
There are other types of non-standard chain tensioners that work really well too, like the Yess ETR-B. The ETR-B is my favorite, but it really only works with mtb's that use external cup cranksets. The max chainring size is around 40t I think.
08-28-12, 03:48 PM
Road or MTB use? Road usage can get by with less spring tension as the chain is not bouncing around like it would more with MTB use.
Don't know about best but I've had the Melvin on my bike for about 7 months and couldn't be happier. It can be had at Treefort (http://www.treefortbikes.com/product/333222338240/95/Paul-Components-Melvin-Chain.html?gclid=CJjW5L2Yi7ICFYhM4AodAWEA0A) for $65.
road use is pretty easy duty...i'd use a sprung design for convenience sake. if off-road, you absolutely want a fixed tensioner. i started with a surly and dropped the chain more than i liked. went to a rennen (push-up) and never looked back.
of course, they're all gone and there's an eno hub back there now...
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