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Conversion to single front ring

delete_my_accountdelete_my_account Posts: 192
edited October 2012 in MTB buying advice
Hello, thinking of changing to a single ring on the front of my hardtail XC/trail bike.

I was wondering which single front rings are any good - I'd like a 36t one for around £30. Would a used one work? I know used triple chainrings generally work if you just fit them to your bike and that used cassettes generally don't - are single rings with taller teeth any different?

Also which single ring chainset would people recommend? Is it even worth getting a specific single ring one or should I just use a triple XT for example with shorter chainring bolts? Is there any weight saving to be had by using a specific one with nowhere to fit a granny ring?

Finally a chainguide. I know almost nothing about chainguides. Would I want one which has the guide at the top, bottom, or top and bottom?

Thanks in advance for any helps.
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  • What problems are you trying to solve?
  • I have a single ring set-up on my hardtail. I just took the big and little rings off the LX cranks that were already on and used short bolts. There might be some weight saving to getting specific cranks but I'm not made of money. It's not a specific single ring ring but if I replace it with a slightly larger one (it's 32 tooth; I might go for 34) then I'd consider getting a specific ring.

    I use an e*13 chainguide that only has a chain-guide at the top and it seems to work just fine for general xc/trail riding. The chain can come off the at the bottom if you back pedal, but puts itself back on when you pedal forwards.

    Hope this helps.

    (Incidentally when I was looking into doing this I was surprised by the price of chain guides. Even the simplest ones seem to be way more expensive than front mechs.)
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 5,151
    I think front chainrings wear slower than the rear ones because they are bigger, which is why you can get away with using 'used' ones more often. A really worn chainring won't work very well with a new chain.

    You could just take the big and granny ring off your current chainset :wink: (That's how I did it on my commute bike)
  • Oh, and one other thing, if/when the reach mech needs replacing I'll use a mid-cage one but the long cage one that's on at the moment works fine.

    And when I said LX cranks I meant SLX. Not that it makes any real difference.
  • Amount of teeth depends on what & where you ride and what sort of shape your in I guess.

    I've got a 34t on my fun bike but I'm in the Alps and any bigger than that I wouldn't be able to get 'round town very easily. A single-specific ring should in theory help keep the chain in place better

    I have a Blackspire Mono Veloce 34t ring http://thehairyrider.com/2012/06/13/first-custom-build-part-1/


    ...and use the Superstar Plasma Chain Device http://thehairyrider.com/2012/06/22/first-custom-build-part-2/
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  • What problems are you trying to solve?

    The fact that on every ride on this bike I carry with me a front mech, front shifter, granny ring and outer chainring which aren't used.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=82922

    Does anyone know if this is for singlespeed chains (which I assume it is) or able to be used with a 9-speed chain?

    I forgot to say that the chain guide needs to be a BB mount one. Which ones are any good?
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  • warpcowwarpcow Posts: 1,448
    Would a used one work?

    Is it even worth getting a specific single ring one or should I just use a triple XT for example with shorter chainring bolts? Is there any weight saving to be had by using a specific one with nowhere to fit a granny ring?

    Finally a chainguide. I know almost nothing about chainguides. Would I want one which has the guide at the top, bottom, or top and bottom?

    Thanks in advance for any helps.

    No to a used one. Get a cheap FSA or Blackspire.

    No to getting an SS-specific chainset. Pointless, with no gains to be made.

    Chainguides depend on what you need. A top guide will work perfectly well in most situations, but there's always a small chance of losing the chain off the bottom. A full guide weighs about 2-3x more but should give total security. I personally like Gamut devices. They're light, simple but effective, pricy though unless you get them on sale. Most guides will either be BB-mount or come with an adapter for it (e.13 use adapters, which are included with the guides).
  • Just changed my winter bike from SS to 1X9 (a bit more social and easier on the knees).. running 32t Hope DH chainring with a BB SuperStar XC chain device.. with 11-34t out back it's perfect for my local Peak District trails and I'm yet to drop the chain.
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    I use 1x10 on both bikes, on the HD I use a E-13 LG1+, which is a full guide with a bottom guide as well as top, and I rate it very highly. On my 456c I use an E-13 XCX, very similar to the superstar one, it mounts to the bb and is great, very light and does a good job at keeping the chain on over xc stuff, the HD sees some light DH use so I went for the full guide.

    As for chainrings again I use E-13, their guiderings are superb and well priced

  • Fitted the Superstar Plasma guide yesterday to my On-One 456 Carbon.

    Only problem is that the ISCG adapter which comes with is doesn't actually fit the frame without a BB spacer. You're meant to replace the spacer with the adapter but the bottom bracket area on the frame is so chunky that the adapter can't fit flush with the BB shell without leaving the BB spacer in there. This means that I have a censored chainline and the chain rubs on the inside of the top guide in gears 1-5, and in 9th (it's a 9-speed cassette) it's only in the middle of the top guide.

    What I'd like to know is whether anyone knows of an ISCG adapter which is flat like a BB spacer, other than the three holes which obviously have to have some depth to them as they're threaded.

    I hope this makes sense.
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  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    afaik you need a guide which is bb mount, as the iscg adapter wont fit and I don't know of one that fits the 456.

  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    I'm thinking of going to 1X & have very little idea about chain devices and such: my question would be - how effectively does a double bashguard keep the chain on? The only experience I have of that is Bompette's Islabike
    which has never slipped its chain despite being ridden quite hooliganly, and of course entirely unsprung, down quite a few quite bumpy red runs. Where I should point out that my cheapo 3X8 tends to lose the chain in many and various ways, culminating, on the last visit to Wolftrax, in a devastating chain wrap & rear mech / spoke interface crisis.

    The widgit would appear to be just a fancy double bash. So do people think this kind of setup would do for the mainly XC stuff I do?
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    cyd190468 wrote:
    Same question, same answer Beginner
    Good, I'm glad I've helped you feel superior :roll:
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    I've heard the Widgit is really censored , certainly over priced, I'd not bother!
  • warpcowwarpcow Posts: 1,448
    njee20 wrote:
    I've heard the Widgit is really censored , certainly over priced, I'd not bother!

    And I seem to remember you get a free helping of abuse from them for suggesting as much. Where do I send my credit card details?

    An n-gear Jump-Stop will do a similar job for less money and result in less chain-rub. There are even 'inner bashguards' you can buy from other companies, which will do exactly the same as the widgit, without being tied to one, very, very, very expensive, kind of chainring. The only benefit of the widgit seems to be that they do more unusual sizes.
  • leafliteleaflite Posts: 1,651
    How about a seat tube mounted top guide such as what e13 or superstar sell?

    Im using a renthal sr4 chainring atm, cost just over £30 iirc. With this chainring, standard triple bolts will fit as it is very thick(but still suprisingly light).
    I am using a bb mounted superstar top guide with this. Initially, I had some issues with chain retention, but I have since rotated the guide forwards slightly and adjusted the angle. I havent had a chain drop since.
  • Can't comment on the widget or any chain guide. Run a double bash for the last 3000miles (see SIG). Works brilliant, never dropped the chain once.....but I am now refitting the granny!!
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    I would have thought the main advantage of the widgit is that they bolt straight on to any crankset with the supplied hardware so the whole conversion to single ring takes like 15mins.

    As opposed to spending half the money, having more ratios available (28t single, really?!), and it taking 20 minutes. I'll stick with that!

    Virtually all the 'benefits' on their website are generic single ring benefits, I really don't see what the Widgit achieves, other than being expensive.
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    njee20 wrote:
    I would have thought the main advantage of the widgit is that they bolt straight on to any crankset with the supplied hardware so the whole conversion to single ring takes like 15mins.

    As opposed to spending half the money, having more ratios available (28t single, really?!), and it taking 20 minutes. I'll stick with that!

    Virtually all the 'benefits' on their website are generic single ring benefits, I really don't see what the Widgit achieves, other than being expensive.

    This, why the hell you would a 28t single ring is beyond me, clearly not fit enough to run it and you're literally just buying a status symbol to say you run single ring like all the kool kids :roll:

    On my 456c I run a BB mount E-thirteen XCX guide and a 33t Guidering, and it works perfectly, in fact for the cost of a widget you could probably get a similar guide, a chain ring, and a clutch mech for the same money, and then it really would!

  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Do you mean Downhill?
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  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    cyd190468 wrote:
    You run a 28t for ground clearence with a road cassette on the back when racing AM. Do you guys do AM racing over there? I can get widgits for 50 bucks here so for us they're the cheap option.

    I have never, ever seen any one who "races" Am or enduro ride a 28t chainring, and even with a road cassette you're still left with a tiny gear with a 28-11 gear, its just completely pointless, literally the stupidest thing I've ever come across, its for fat, un-fit people who need to jump on the latest band-wagon :roll:

  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    You run a 28t for ground clearence with a road cassette on the back when racing AM.

    What is AM racing? Enduro? Or Red Bull Rampage-esque stuff? If you really must pigeon hole everything then AM was never a competitive discipline...

    Either way, no one runs 28t single rings.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Sounds like Enduro, most people will do that on a 32T-34T, you simply couldn't be fast enough on a 28T where you loose (effectively) 2 gears, although running 29er wheels will claw one back versus a 26 I guess.
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    Still a stupid idea, if you can't push a 32t chainring, why the hell are you racing?! :shock:

  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    ^^ this
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    It's ruddy expensive for what it is (list price AU $139)

    The logic would be a normal bash and someone to produce a thin 'guide ring' that mounts on inner tabs but is just under bash diameter....CF would be ideal material for that.
  • njee20njee20 Posts: 9,613
    That isn't really high enough for anything but the most twitchy twisty course, if people want to race Enduros on XC bikes then so be it, I'd stick with a gear I could use!

    You seem to spout a lot of censored about things you don't really know much about, whilst lambasting everyone for not really knowing much. :roll:
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    njee20 wrote:
    You seem to spout a lot of censored about things you don't really know much about, whilst lambasting everyone for not really knowing much. :roll:
    = Australian (no national stereotypes at all being used here, honest, and I didn't even mention criminals)
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