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Help me understand chainline and crankset compatibility

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Help me understand chainline and crankset compatibility

Old 02-15-24, 02:00 AM
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Help me understand chainline and crankset compatibility

Hoping someone can clarify something for me. Assuming the chainring and single-speed freewheel are both 1/8" or 3/32", is the compatibility for a singlespeed build or conversion simply a matter of making sure the chainlines for the crankset and the freewheel are identical? Let's say I have a wheel with one of the Surly flip-flop hubs with a chainline of 53.5mm can I just use any crankset that has a similar chainline?
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Old 02-16-24, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by polygon1
Hoping someone can clarify something for me. Assuming the chainring and single-speed freewheel are both 1/8" or 3/32", is the compatibility for a singlespeed build or conversion simply a matter of making sure the chainlines for the crankset and the freewheel are identical? Let's say I have a wheel with one of the Surly flip-flop hubs with a chainline of 53.5mm can I just use any crankset that has a similar chainline?
That's all there is to it!

Keep in mind it doesn't have to be exactly the same. I've run 3/32" drivetrains with 4-5mm of mismatch in chainline and never had any issues. 1/8" or dedicated singlespeed 3/32" chains are going to be a little less tolerant since they don't flex as much laterally but I've only ever used regular 3/32" multispeed chains with no issues. You can have a pretty large mismatch - just think about how much chain deflection modern mountain bike drivetrains have to deal with, but the straighter the chain the better. Straight chains make a quiet drivetrain
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Old 02-17-24, 03:08 PM
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Thanks! Appreciate it.
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