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Single Speed riders - do you use a chain tensioner?

Does anybody ride a single speed 'cross bike? If so, your thoughts on using a chain tensioner? Pros and cons?


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I went through three different chain tensioners last season racing B series here in CLE. The first was the 20$ performance tensioner, which hiccuped and dropped the chain over any large bump or shudder. The second was an old derailleur which was not much better than performance tensioner. Then there was a last ditch hybrid attempt combining both of these. These two lasted for about a month in total between racing and riding daily. The third was the DMR STS tensioner which lasted the rest of the season. This one lifted the chain up instead of pushing it down, which helped keep the chain in contact with more teeth and kept it from dropping. The draw back from this one was that it only fits 3/32 chains and it has a plastic mount bolt that stripped after two months of use. In a dream would I would drop the $$ and set up a white industries eno hub for my cx dreamboat, but until then the DMR sts will do.
Thanks for the tip. I watched a potential podium finish slip away yesterday when I dropped the chain - twice. Arggh.

I've been using the DMR and haven't had any problem. I did tweak the bend a little to make it line up better, and I widened the groove in the roller with a dremel tool. I use 3/32 single speed chain, so no issue there. I also only use single speed cassette cogs (longer teeth) I haven't dropped a chain or had any problem with slippage in a dozen races and a ton of offroad rides. I am concerned about the bolts stripping, I try not to tighten as well as I would like to.

hey joe - grab cyclocross magazine issue 2 - it had a lot of SS stuff in it - including comprehensive tensioner reviews. it explains when you want a spring and when you don't, as well as where that pivot for the spring should be.

are you riding without one now? have horizontal drops or track forks? or ecentric bb?

I use tensioners if I can't get the magic gear to work. but i've certainly spent way too much time using the 1996 tool: in attempt to avoid tensioners.
No tensioner now. Horizontal dropouts. Normal BB and the hub is a Bianchi flip-flop laced to DT Swiss rims.
I have ridden a lot of single speed frames and tensioners.

I have seen some people run their springs backwards in the Surly and Performance ones (so it pushes UP) and then zip-tie them to the frame. Inelegant yet effective.

The best that I have seen is the Soulcraft convert...fully rigid. Cannot bounce. Uses a button-release to loosen and remove wheel. It also uses a roller and not a pulley wheel for the chain.

But if you're serious and like your current frame, the only way to go is get a White Industries Eno eccentric rear hub. IMO this is the best solution...perhaps even better than horizontal drops. Just my opinion though. Full disclosure I'll be on a Raleigh Rainier with horizontal dropouts (but have the eno on a mtb).
I have horizontal dropouts and the chain line seems pretty straight 'n' true. Would I still need the eccentric hub?
Eccentric hubs are for making vertical drop out frames SS. My first question is do you have Horizontal wheel enters from the rear of the bike-aka track style-see picture) dropouts or simi-horizontal(wheel enters from the front like old road bikes)? I will assume you have track style drop outs, the only reason your chain will fall off is too little tension or improper chain line. I personally do not use a chain tensioner on my cross bike (Chris King SS hubs have a great securing bolt) however I do use one on my XC bike. I like the Surley Chain tug myself.

cannot say enough about the White ENO hub. Great hub on my MTB for the last 2 years with ZERO chain drop. Not ready to try SS in CX because that would be CRAZY!!!

My frame has track dropouts so don't need Eno hub, but i have heard good things about it.

I resolved my chain drop issue with a chain tug (not a tensioner - this pulls the hub back in the dropout, giving very precise tension control). It allows me to use quick release skewer (regular freehub with one cog and a bunch of spacers). I even use it on the bolt-on fixed gear hub.


I bought a chain tensioner from velosolo for a frame with vertical drop-outs, it lasted the racing season (with some nasty falls) without issue, the tensioner can be setup to lift or push the chain down


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