Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shiny Happy: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There was a post over on the mtbr.com singlespeed board that piqued my interest; one of the forumites was making chainrings and tensioners on the side as "Home Brewed Components". The pictures looked nice and the prices were inline with what you'd pay for something from the Far East, so I thought "Why Not?".

Paypal'd him $35 for the Chainring, $20 for the tensioners (he actually took 10% off those prices at the time), and $4.95 for priority mail shipping. I requested gold for the tensioners to match my skewers and seatpost collar Dan warned me he didn't think his gold was as deep as others, but I said that it would be fine ( my seatpost collar and skewers are the same brand they don't match).

2 weeks from when I went clicky clicky, I had a envelope full of GOLD!

Everything was beautifully precise. Precise and tight. The chainring had zero slop to the bolt holes. They don't really need any either, because it is one of the roundest rings I've ever bolted on.

Color was deep and rich. Ultra Pimp! Nice tall unramped teeth too.

Roundness is particularly important with the singlespeed. If a ring is out of round you have to run your chain too tight to make sure at it's loosest it's not going to jump off, at least that's been my experience. Salsa rings used to be pretty good, but since they shifted production overseas, the roundness, fit, and finish have suffered.

I definitely recommend these chainrings.

The tensioner I had my reservations about. The supplied tension screws use a 2mm hex to tighten, and a 7 mm lock nut. My multi-tool doesn't have a 7mm open end wrench on it, and 2mm is a little dainty.

I figured I'd give them a shot, and if they didn't work, I'd find some sort of replacement screws and lock nuts, but didn't get that far.

On my first really climb, the lock nut backed out and my axle slipped. Re-tightened. Next short steep hill this happened:

Now, this design might be fine elsewhere, but for the Northeast, with our short steep power climbs, I think the design might be too minimal. Also Dan has them machined to fit snuggly in the dropout, which is rather ingenious, but also robs you of some adjustment.
If I had used both tensioners it might have worked better, but I need something easy and quick in case I have to change a flat during a race.
So take that for what it's worth; if you use two tensioners you're probably fine, but for my needs, not quite up to snuff.

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