Friday, August 13, 2010

More Thoughts On Single Speed Tensioning Systems

I got a great response to yesterday's post regarding single speed chain tensioning systems, (You can hit that post here), and I wanted to expand and clarify a couple of points.

First off, I love the basic reliability of a good horizontal drop out/track end. The one seen here is from the Origin 8 Scout, and as you can see, it has a built in tensioner. I do not expect it to shift, creak, or be an issue while riding. The issue with these comes up when you have to remove the rear wheel. That is where I have a big problem with this sort of system, and I outlined most of that in the other post. One final thing I wanted to add was in regards to "usable axle placements"
Most companies will tell you the shortest axle setting is smack dab against the front of the horizontal drop, (ie: all the way forward). In reality, this is a very difficult place to tension your chain to. (This isn't even touching getting the wheel out). In reality, you probably are not going to get that axle smacked up against the front of the drop out and achieve the "shortest chain stay" measurement. I know a lot of companies don't list the chain stay measurement this way, but many do. Also, you will find that many times the chain stay clearance will not allow a fatter tire that far forward. I'd like to see companies list chain stay length specifying a certain width tire and give "real world" chain stay adjustment measurements. C'mon company guys! Do this. Shoot straight with us. (This goes for sliding drop out bikes as well)

<=== Jason Boucher of Salsa Cycles pointing out the details on their swinging drop out for the new El Mariachi.

My good buddy MG commented yesterday on Salsa Cycles new swinging drop out as seen on the new Ala Carte and El Mariachi frames. I have not "lived with" one of these set ups yet, so I didn't put it on my "favorites list", but judging from my limited test ride and my looking into this closely, I think it may rise to the top of the heap alongside the split shell EBB.

You have vertical drop out simplicity, alignment issues solved, and as long as the swing is putting a real world tire, (2.0-2.4"), in usable space in the chain stays throughout its travel, I will sign on as a endorser of this system.

As for EBB's, I have used Phil Wood, Bushnell, and split shell types, but I haven't had any issues with noise or anything at all but nice quiet operation. I know the "haters" of EBB's will denounce any mention of these systems as being good, but hey......they are. At least for me!

Finally, I think sliders "could be" done well. I have seen newer takes on sliders, (not Paragon), that seem to have promise, but again- without "real world" time on these, I can not say. Too many times I see Paragon type sliders welded on unevenly, and also with usable axle placement that conflicts with the chain stay clearances. One slider system that I have never had issue with, that I thought was something I could have lived with, was on the Misfit Psycles diSSent frame. Those had usable range that did not conflict with clearances and were reliable, simple to set, and could be trusted not to slip. 

Okay folks, that's all I have on this subject today. Ride that single speed, or whatever bike you own, and have a great weekend!!


mw said...

thinking my next 29er will have swinging drops with an option for a der or not a der

the blue bike was almost going to be born with a karatemonkey style drop, der hanger below the horizontal, but it wouldn't have been as clean as it is now.

grannygear said...

My diSSent had horrible dropouts in that, if the QR was tight, they would not slide without hammering on them. Then, if the QR was loose, the wheel would flop around making it too hard to know when it was aligned. The worst of both worlds. The track-ends on the Jabberwocky have been trouble free and easy, even for wheel removal, although you do have to screw the tensioners out (or in depending how you look at it) to do that.

Light, too. Perfect? No. None of them get it just right...not yet anyway. I don't think there is a best solution that has been shown yet, but the expanding Ti frame was kinda cool...Blacksheep, I think.

MG said...

good stuff... i don't have enough time on the new salsa frame to say it's conclusively my favorite either, but i do think it's a strong contender, and for the guys up in mpls. to make the switch says a lot for their faith in the system's virtues, because the bushnell EBB on the older el mariachi frames was pretty darn good.

give me 90 days and i'll give you a conclusive answer on it (well, my take on it, at least). i have one of the new steel el mariachi frames coming...

Unknown said...

I've put a little over 200 hard miles on my 2010 Salsa El Mar (that has the new swinging drop outs) since I got it in early August. After the set screws seated and the chain stretched in the first few rides, the set-up has been hassle free and noise free. I get about 1/4 inch clearance between the tire and the chainstay with Conti Mountain King 2.4s with the slider all the way forward.

I wrote up a review here