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Surly Singleator


4.1 Stars 15 Reviews




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Customer Ratings

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4.1 out of 5 (15 ratings)

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Surly Singleator works Great!

Very nice product, well made, works as advertised. It is slightly more noisey than I had hoped, but that is getting picky and could be more a combination of my chain--a K710SL. I have it on a road frame converted to single speed and it works great. Replaced a Gusset Bachelor, which worked but did not have the adjustment necessary with my dropouts and frame.

Long term durability remains to be seen, but I don't forsee a problem with my normal road usage.

Pros: Good looks, spring tension, ease of setup

Cons: Not as quiet as I hoped and I'd prefer silver cog cage with silver arm rather than black cage with silver arm (these are nit-picky Cons, for sure)

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: April 23, 2014
Reviewed by: JC

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SIngleator+++

you can get a crappy chain tensioner and it will work for a while. once it gets shredded from normal wear and tear, smelt it down and by a singleator. this thing is way more durable than any of the cheap-o tensioners and you can dial in tension with a cone wrench which is pretty f'in cool. not hype.

Pros: adjustability, durability

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: May 07, 2013
Reviewed by: Adams C.

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Its made by Surly so its good to go. Worked great for my application. comes with springs to either push or pull, though chainstay interference is almost certain with anything smaller than a 22t cog. Seems like a high quality part, tons of inboard/putboard adjustment.

My only gripe is it takes an 18mm cone wrench to adjust and it is sold separately. Most people wouldnt have a cone wrench this size, or at least I didn't after many years of bike wrenching.

Pros: Surly blingy

Cons: Wrench sold separately.

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: April 07, 2013
Reviewed by: brandon

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This product is alright. I think it's a little pricy and heavy for such a simple part. Plus, it requires an 18mm cone wrench to tighten, which I didn't have. Beware - if you put too much tension on the chain it will pop while pedalling. Also, the Singleator isn't any quieter than a drivetrain with a derailleur. Boo. Once I got over the sticker shock, adjustment learning curve, and heart burn caused by buying an otherwise useless cone wrench' the Singleator has performed pretty well. On the other hand, the quality of the Singleator is excellent. It is a tough and long lasting part that doesn't require any attention once it's set up correctly.

Pros: Durable
Reliable

Cons: Requires special tools
Heavy
No quiter than a derailleur
Setup takes some trial and error

Would Buy Again: No
Would Recommend: No

Reviewed on: February 13, 2013
Reviewed by: Paul P.

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Does the Job

Does the job its intended to do.
I have seen others at a lower price point, but they didn't come close to Surly's quality and construction. Gets the job done in a very stable and straight forward method

Pros: Build Quality is better than most I've seen. Easy to setup

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: July 16, 2012
Reviewed by: Tony B.

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Excellent tensioner

I have been using this tensioner for a year on a single speed commuter bike. It is durable and easily adjusted, and works well with a 1/8" chain. In my case, I set it up so that it presses upwards. With this setup and a half-link in the chain, I never have any skips, even mashing up hills.

Pros: Durable and adjustable.

Cons: Heavy

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: April 02, 2012
Reviewed by: Geoff G.

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Not a fan

Put this on a recent SS commuter build. On my way home from second commute, my drive-train was getting unusually noisy. Got home and noticed the chain tension was looser than I had set it to. No big deal I thought, probably the spring setting in.

I loosened it, and then got to retensioning. A few seconds later I heard an odd sound and lost all tension. I knew it was fubar.

Took it apart to see what happened. Hard to explain, but basically the spring was slowly working itself out from the small hole in the body in which it fits. It also rounded out the tiny hole in the body such that I can guarantee you there's no way any new spring will ever sit in there correctly.

I promptly returned this.

Everything else about it was fine. I thought it was built well up until I saw what the spring did to the body. I think the spring is a monster :) Too much for the body!

BTW, you don't need their fancy wrench. Any cone wrench of the correct size will work fine.

Pros: Installs well, good quality (excluding my issue). Versatile in how you can to push or pull install and swap the pulley guides for 3/32 or 1/8.

Cons: It could have been operator error, but I just don't trust this device anymore. I think it's extremely fugly, personal opinion of course.

Would Buy Again: No
Would Recommend: No

Reviewed on: November 25, 2011
Reviewed by: Trevor A.

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Easy set up with the special tool (but not necessary). Adjustable to any chainline but the jockey wheels could be lost for a minimum weight loss.

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: October 24, 2011
Reviewed by: Ranier D.

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This is not the least expensive tensioner on the market, but none are better. And this is a place where having a quality component is very important. A chain malfunction can destroy the chainring or cog and cause injury. When riding single speed, you have to be able to mash with confidence and Surley delivers the product to give you the confidence needed.

Pros: Best function.
Cool design.
Converts to over or under design.

Cons: Expensive

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: June 13, 2011
Reviewed by: Alan H.

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Works OK

It is probably one of the uglier chain tensioning solutions out there. If you like retro, it might suit you. It works great and is adjustable. I think the chain guide is larger than it needs to be and the whole thing is too heavy for what it does. I made it very difficult to remove my rear wheel. I just remove the Singulator everytime I have a flat.

Pros: Does what it is supposed to do.

Cons: 18mm spanner required for proper adjustment. Makes rear wheel removal difficult for some bikes.

Would Buy Again: No
Would Recommend: No

Reviewed on: February 06, 2011
Reviewed by: Advocate

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Looks nice

I haven't used this yet. I went with the shimano alfine tensioner after talking with a mechanic. Long chain cycles like my xtracycle need a stronger spring than the surly ofers.

Pros: Looks nice

Cons: Easy to kill the spring

Would Buy Again: No
Would Recommend: No

Reviewed on: October 18, 2010
Reviewed by: Nick L.

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Genius

Surly has really thought this baby through, from the redesigned guide pulley that goes from 1/8" to 3/32", to the floating bar that allows you to adjust to the chainline. My favorite part of this bad boy though is the ability to push up or down on the chain to achieve your tension, particularly the pushing up action. It's a little tricky to set it up because it comes set up to push down, but it's not impossible with a little patience and some delicate maneuvering. I love the pushing up action because it means I have that much more chain wrapped around my rear cog, giving me peace of mind when the hills get high because there's no chance of it skipping or falling off. Genius

Pros: Well thought out

Cons: Probably not the lightest chain tensioner of this variety out there, but well worth the weight.

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: October 10, 2010
Reviewed by: tyler b.

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Turn your old FS bike into a plush singlespeed

Surly products rock, and this is no exception. If your bike doesn't have horizontal dropouts or an EBB, this is the way to go into turning your bike into a single speed. Bought it to turn my old Stumpjumper into a plush single speed and it worked like a charm. Add a King cog (they have a wider base so as to not chew up your hub cassette body) and a Rennen coupler set for the extra bling and a clean look. Boy howdy.

Pros: Can be configured to push the chain up or down.

Cons: None that I have seen.

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: October 05, 2010
Reviewed by: Paul S.

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Just the ticket.

If you are converting a geared bike to singlespeed (and congrats to you; welcome to the club), odds are good that you won't magically get ideal chain tension. Enter the intelligently engineered Singleator. Jockey wheel is adjustable side to side to match YOUR bike's chainline. It has options for springs that either push up or pull down (pushing chain up maximizes chain wrap around the rear cog - give you more tooth engagement). Only slightly fiddly to install. Keeper wheels on sides of jockey wheel nice idea, but unnecessary in my experience (and ugly).

Pros: Does one thing supremely well. The standard by which all other chain tensioners are measured. Uses a ubiquitous 17mm cone wrench and 5mm? hex to tension spring. Surly makes a stubby 17mm wrench/bottle opener for field maintainence - might be worth it to carry on your epic rides.

Cons: Springs have a definite life span. Buy a spare when you buy your singleator and carry it with you when you ride. Cuz walking out sucks.

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: October 01, 2010
Reviewed by: Todd S.

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I purchased this for an old steel hardtail frame that I hadn't ridden since I went to a full suspension rig. The singleator was simple and easy to put on the frame (Might want to think about purchasing the wrench for this that surly makes). And it has worked flawlessly for a year. Definitely a cheap way to convert a multi-geared bike to a SS bike with little cost. I would definitely recommend this to someone who is thinking about a SS conversion, or first time SS rider.

Pros: Price $$$, works like it is supposed to.

Cons: No bling, when compared to others

Would Buy Again: Yes
Would Recommend: Yes

Reviewed on: September 21, 2010
Reviewed by: Dave M.

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