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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #1 

I'm starting to transition my riding to mostly single speed. Currently I'm riding my Brooks Edition Warbird converted to SS. I really love riding gravel SS, but I want to buy a SS specific build, not a converted SS. It's hard as heck to find a Nature Boy 853 for sale anywhere. So I'm looking for input on the topic. I have my thoughts on carbon since I ride two carbon bikes. Some thoughts on aluminum from my rigid days.

Aluminum:

Pros: Decent weight, takes some vibration out of the ride
Cons: 

Steel:

Pros:
Cons:

Carbon:

Pros: Lighter and stiffer in some cases
Cons: Stiffness brings a lot body beating in some cases

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reubenc

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Reply with quote  #2 
I thought that aluminum was supposed to be stiffer and beat you up, but carbon was generally able to soak up road buzz the best?
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #3 
I will say this, my aluminum Stans are much smoother over a road than my carbon wheels. It's been years since I rode an aluminum anything, but I do remember my Trek aluminum frame being smoother. It's give and take. 
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ridemagnetic

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Reply with quote  #4 
Your Stan's are "smoother" because they tout the softest builds across the entire industry. How deep are your carbon rims you're comparing to? Deeper the rim the stiffer the ride. Aluminum frames generally are stiffer when new then after about 3-4 years start to get softer. Steel is still king when it comes to vibration dampening, then carbon.
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A great set of wheels will make an average frame ride better. It doesn't work the other way around.  ~ridemagnetic
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #5 

I say put up a list of possible frames/bikes that you might consider and see if others have some 1st hand info.
I’d be interested in how many you come up with.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #6 
First - an apology - my hackles rise whenever material - carbon, steel, aluminum, Ti, even wood, enter the discussion of what " is the best". IMHO, these discussions always miss the point -- in considering any choice of component. frame, or bike, the design, and intended use, and buyer budget. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, which skillful manufacturers and engineers  can optimize. It isn't the specific material that matters; but rather how well specific product meets your needs and budget.
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #7 
Bobknh, I believe what you say is true, I also believe you would make a lousy bicycle salesperson.

Edit: just kidding
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #8 
The intent wasn't to start the debate over. I do like the question posed to me for comparison.

Currently I have my Brooks Edition Warbird setup single speed. Option B in my stable is a 2016 Felt FX. Wheels are 38mm carbon disc.

Options I'm looking into:

Nature Boy 853

Raleigh SSCX

I'll be honest, I love my Warbird setup SS, but I want to have a SS specific ride. So when I want to ride some gears, I just jump on it. Right now if I want to ride my Warbird geared, I have to connect the wires and install the cassette. Not a huge deal, but it gets old!
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #9 
RoOsTer, are you using a derailleur-hanger mounted chain tensioner on the warbird/ss setup?
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #10 
I'm running a Q-Ring and a slightly worn chain and NO tensioner. It's a little tight in 2 spots, but nothing noticeable while riding. It's temporary until my Raceface arrives. Then I'll be running a Surly tensioner. It has to do with the oval and higher cadence. 
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #11 
Just realized the Trek Checkpoint has adjustable(15mm) stranglehold dropouts as does the Boone CX.
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #12 
The Boone can be an option for sure!
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRo0sTer
The Boone can be an option for sure!

It’s the aluminum Crockett with adjustable dropouts, not the Boone apparently.
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #14 
PF30/BB30 bottom bracket frames can take an eccentric BB, like Niner RLT for example- Niner recommends this only for their steel and aluminum frames, not carbon.
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #15 
Skidmark, you asked about the tensioner earlier and I stated I would let you know. Today I put my Raceface chainring on with a 40T / 16T cog and no tensioner is needed. I'm changing the gearing for the Epic 150 next sat to a 20T cog, I'll find out Wednesday night if I need to run a tensioner with that gearing. 11000+ feet of climbing over 150 miles... this why I'm going to run 2:1. Of course, someone here has experience with more climbing than flats???
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #16 
Took a look @ Epic 150, 11,080 feet of climbing should sort it out. Don’t forget a little bottle of chain lube.
Good luck.
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skldmark
Took a look @ Epic 150, 11,080 feet of climbing should sort it out. Don’t forget a little bottle of chain lube. Good luck.


That's a note I have not heard. I am now planning on bringing a bottle with me.
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dangle

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Reply with quote  #18 
I haven't looked at any of the other replies, but I don't think frame materials matters a whole lot here. My N=1 is having two Raleighs that are essentially identical other than frame material. One is the 2016 carbon fiber RXC and the other is an aluminum 2017 RXS. Same 3T handlebars, same bar tape, same Power saddle, similar carbon fiber seatpost, and similar Stans Crest wheelsets during CX season (or an American Classic set with gravel tires that's been swapped between the bikes).

I absolutely could never tell a difference in ride 'quality' between the two. I raced Cat 3 CX at 195lbs on both with no weaknesses in 'stiffness' or anything related. My longest ride on the RXS is 3 hours while I have nearly doubled that on the RXC and neither one has ever left me feeling more beat up than the other. Once you get your tires (and subsequent pressures) and contact points dialed in, the rest is very minor details. Just find the one that fits your budget.

While I'm sure many others have written about it, I appreciated the recent James Huang article on the matter over at https://cyclingtips.com/2018/04/jra-with-the-angry-asian-does-frame-compliance-still-matter/.
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangle
I haven't looked at any of the other replies, but I don't think frame materials matters a whole lot here. My N=1 is having two Raleighs that are essentially identical other than frame material. One is the 2016 carbon fiber RXC and the other is an aluminum 2017 RXS. Same 3T handlebars, same bar tape, same Power saddle, similar carbon fiber seatpost, and similar Stans Crest wheelsets during CX season (or an American Classic set with gravel tires that's been swapped between the bikes).

I absolutely could never tell a difference in ride 'quality' between the two. I raced Cat 3 CX at 195lbs on both with no weaknesses in 'stiffness' or anything related. My longest ride on the RXS is 3 hours while I have nearly doubled that on the RXC and neither one has ever left me feeling more beat up than the other. Once you get your tires (and subsequent pressures) and contact points dialed in, the rest is very minor details. Just find the one that fits your budget.

While I'm sure many others have written about it, I appreciated the recent James Huang article on the matter over at https://cyclingtips.com/2018/04/jra-with-the-angry-asian-does-frame-compliance-still-matter/.

Dangle, have you setup your RXS as a single speed or thought about doing so.
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dangle

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skldmark
Dangle, have you setup your RXS as a single speed or thought about doing so.


It came as a single speed and has always been run that way. I dumped the eccentric bottom bracket, added a hanger from the RXC and have been using a Surly tensioner instead though.
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangle


It came as a single speed and has always been run that way. I dumped the eccentric bottom bracket, added a hanger from the RXC and have been using a Surly tensioner instead though.

Thanks, so you feel the Surly tensioner is good as a long-term single-speed solution/setup? So most any frame could be used with this setup...👍
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dangle

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skldmark
Thanks, so you feel the Surly tensioner is good as a long-term single-speed solution/setup? So most any frame could be used with this setup...👍


*Sorry, I understand this is far from the original topic*

I hate eccentric bottom brackets, so I think so. I don't quite have 'long-term' experience with that setup as I haven't owned it for years and rotate between a few bikes. I was switching out rear cog sizes somewhat often for CX and adjusting the EBB was a pain since it required a little 'encouragement' after the bolt was loosened. Plus I swear I could tell the difference in effective seat height. The EBB had to be in the rearmost (closest to the rear cog) position for a 19 and even in the most forward position (furthest from rear cog) It was still too loose for a 17 cog that was used quite often. A 16 cog for general road use was a joke, even with perfect chainline. 18t cog with the EBB in the lowest position was perfect, but I often needed higher gearing. The weight difference was a wash between a PF30 BB + tensioner vs the EBB shell + threaded BB. The Surly handles anything in that 4 tooth range (16-19) without complaining. Getting wheels in and out is a little more tricky, but that's really it. It might be easier if it is set up to press down instead of up, but that's just a guess. The setup was dead easy as long as you have an 18mm cone wrench. I was lucky that the hanger used for the rest of the recent Raleigh thru axle bikes fit just fine on the RXS. You're looking at ~$75 for the Surly Singleator and the new hanger though. Another $40 for a basic PF30 bottom bracket. When the original topic seemed to discuss budget builds, these are things to keep in mind. I had an extra PF30 BB and BB30 cranks, so it made sense to try and it's been going great.

To further muddy the waters on aluminum being a good choice for these bikes, I recently listed the RXS for sale so I could try and do a lightweight build with a new frame since the only stock parts are the frame, fork and Hylex brakes. I just need to find a new pair of Hylex brakes.....or go flat bar.
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #23 
This all great information, so I'm not bothered by it. If you are going to use an eccentric BB, you should measure your effective seat height then you get your height dialed. Save the info for future moves when changing rear cogs. 

The eccentric BB was the way I was told to go, but I got luck that the 40T / 16C just happened to line up just right for chain tension. I do have the Surly tensioner and my teammate says he's been riding with one for a year or so. I can't imagine it would only be a temp fix. There are some killer tensioners on the market. I like the dual cog design since it keeps your chain line more in line like a rear derailleur.
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #24 
The original topic said: single speed specific frame, not converted ss. I thought that ruled out chain tensioners. Also could only come up with steel and aluminum frames with built-in adjustment capability, so that seemed to pretty much rule out carbon frames as a choice. I thought RoOsTer(OP) was looking for good options and not too much worried about cost necessarily. For myself, I was thinking eccentric bb mainly because of disc brakes complicating adjustment of rear wheel. But pf30(46mm shell)style ebb gives about only~ 15mm of adj.- less than regular 54mm Busnell style ebb. So chain length and gear changes don’t always work out.
Which makes me reconsider Surly style tensioner- used on any frame you wish.
I have never used any chain tensioner.I have 2 ebb, 2 rear face fork end, 1 slider, 1 rocker/slider?[trek rig]
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TheRo0sTer

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Reply with quote  #25 
I guess I didn't mention that on my Warbird I have a 40T & 16T and no tensioner. The chain length is spot on. When I was running the QRing it would get a little tight at the high point, but nothing you could feel at your legs. I swapped out for a 40T Raceface chainring and it just about perfect. Now when I swap to the 20T for the Epic, I might have to run a tensioner. Until I decide on a dedicated SS, I'm not swapping the bottom bracket out. I appreciate all the information you guys have shared.
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