Surly Singleator review

The Surly Singleator is primarily designed for converting ordinary vertical dropout geared bikes to singlespeed without the need for horizontal sliding dropouts or an EBB. Most of the time it isn’t hard to get the chain length right and ride without a chain tensioner on a hardtail...especially with the use of a half link chain. However I was planning to put an internal gear hub on my Giant Trance full suspension bike and needed a chain tensioner to deal with the chain growth that occurs when the suspension compresses. Partly, the point of going for a SS or IGH setup is to make the bike as simple, reliable and easy to maintain as possible through the winter. Putting a chain tensioner on the bike somewhat defeats the purpose of that by adding another moving part to break or wear out. I’m very pleased to say that I didn’t so much as touch or even think about this tensioner from the moment I put it on to the moment I took it off. Nine months of doing nothing but occasionally cleaning the dirt off.
Spring tension and chain line adjustments are easily done and the floating pulley keeps the chainline perfect. The Singleator accommodates both 1/8in and 3/32in chains with an 11T pulley. Chain guides either side of the pulley stop the chain from dropping off which it never did in nine months of riding. The spring is triple-sealed and the pulley can easily be stripped apart and serviced, I did that but mine didn’t need so much as a greasing. The amount of spring tension is just right to stop the chain slapping and keep it tight. Whether pedalling quickly, slowly or whilst going over rough sections it was never anything but smooth and silent.
For £34.99 it’s getting close to the price of some pretty good derailleurs but I think it’s well worth it. Performance, reliability and looks are all excellent!


uzisuicide said...

Thank you for the elaborated review.
After researching and reading more about chain tensioners, I can see clear and draw conclusions about them.

Just like compare the Kore Chain Reactor to Surley Singleator. Different approach and quality.

Anonymous said...

Like your review on the Surly do you think that chain tensioner would work on my 2009 Anthem X(singlespeed conversion) or go with the yess tensioner.
I like the looks of the surly better thanks...

LordOnOne said...

Yep, it would definitely work with the Anthem X. Both the Surly and Yess tensioners are very good.