Surly 1x1 Singleator Derailleur

3.03/5 (40 Reviews)
MSRP : $50.00


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Product Description

Heads up, singlespeeders! If youreTryingTo convert any recent model bike into a singlespeed, youve probably realized by nowThat sinceThe dropouts are vertical,There isnt any wayTo properlyTensionThe chain. Surly comesToThe rescue withThe Singleator.This handy device mountsToThe derailleur hanger and provides proper chainTension in a simple, lightweight package. Tensioner allows use of 1-speed drivetrain on vertical drop frame MountsTo derailleur hanger, self aligning floating pulley


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Reviews 1 - 15 (40 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by SpotTab a Weekend Warrior from Riverside, CA

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2011

Strengths:    It looks like it should work well

Weaknesses:    It doesn't

Bottom Line:   
I rode my SS hard for 4 years, and it was time to replace the wheelset and the drivetrain components. I said what the H, the Nashbar tensioner was always a bit wimpy in terms of lateral stiffness, and the Surly's tension can be adjusted. So I popped the $37 for the Surly. Mistake. There are several problems here. First, there is no registration pin to fit against the flat spot on the derailleur hanger (the Nashbar does). So, only wrench tension prevents the thing from rotating. Second, the spring is just too wimpy to provide much in the way of tension.

Surly's instructions say to adjust the chain and take out all of the slack, then install the tensioner. But if I was going to do that, I might as well use a half-link. The advantage of a tensioner is that you can monkey around with different combinations of chainrings and cogs, without adjusting the chain length. Much like a derailleur, the tensioner also can minimize chain slap against the chainstay. The Surly approach seems to be to press down, or up, against the chain with the tensioner MOL parallel to the chainstay. But with my (an probably many) frame, there is no room to run it that way -- the chainstay is in the way, and the tensioner needs to be at a 20-30 degree angle to the chainstay.

In the end, the only useful thing on the Surly was the plastic pulley, a $3 part at most. The Nasbar version (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175492_-1) is surprisingly good, and can be had for as little as $25. I put the original back on the bike, and this has cured all of the chain-skip problems I was having with the Surly.

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Favorite Trail:   Sycamore Canyon

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $37.00

Purchased At:   Jenson USA

Similar Products Used:   Bike Nashbar Single-Speed Kit

Bike Setup:   KHS Alite Team hardtail; Rock Shox Judy SL; Juicy 3s; Kenda Small Block 8s, 26 x 1.95. Gear ratio: 32:17

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by BrandonNorCal a Weekend Warrior from Santa Rosa, CA

Date Reviewed: February 10, 2010

Strengths:    If you can get it set up without breaking it it works well and is pretty quiet

Weaknesses:    So easy to break.
It's essentially a weakness in the fact that it exists. If you go singlespeed, do it without a tensioner. Getting rid of this crap is the reason you're riding singlespeed.


Bottom Line:   
It works well if you can get it set up right. The problem is that it's gonna be hard not to break it while setting it up. I'm no gorilla but I easily snapped the spring setting it up the third time. I follow directions for a living so I know I was doing it right. I just needed a leeeeeetle bit more tension and pop damn spring broke. Now I can't ride until I build myself a new rear wheel with an eccentric hub. This thing is crap. I'm giving it low ratings because it shouldn't really exist. It probably is one of the better tensioners though. Tensioners just suck.

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Favorite Trail:   Anything in Annadel

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $45.00

Purchased At:   Cambria

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   EWR ORB 29er

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by analoguekid a Cross Country Rider from Single Speed, Nirvana

Date Reviewed: August 20, 2008

Strengths:    simple design, lots of users out there that have opinions, good documentation on surly website

Weaknesses:    cone wrench does not ship with the product...

Bottom Line:   
I sought out a little advice, read the directions and got my chain as short and straight as possible...this thing works great...smooth and quiet...I'm even using it in push down mode which gives less chain wrap on the cog. I haven't had any problems with this thing and I've got about 1000 miles on it...I would use this again! High value for the low cost, rates great because it's trouble free...You must follow their directions to make it work!

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Favorite Trail:   the one I'm on

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $30.00

Purchased At:   e-bay

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   trek frame, surly cogs and chain rings

Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:1
Submitted by silkybeaver a Weekend Warrior from Cato, WI

Date Reviewed: July 28, 2008

Strengths:    Quiet Preformance
Good Design Idea


Weaknesses:    Weak Tension
Weak Components


Bottom Line:   
I had bought a SS conversion kit for my bike, it worked out fine except for the chain wizz when I pedaled. So I decided to use the Surly Singulator. Big mistake. I put it on in the puch down set-up. No chain Wizz, but whenever I tried to climb up a hill the chain would jump teeth. So I tightened the tension in hope that this would work. It didn't help it still jumped. So I tried the push up set-up with the tension at its max, it was a little better, but when I was really cranking to get up a hill the chain would jump teeth. Now I was pissed so I really tightened the spring and it seemed to work for a couple of minutes, then as I was climbing up a hill the chain jumped completly off the cog, and I wailed my nuts on my frame, I screwed around with the Singulator and discovered that the spring had stripped out and messed up the housing it was in and the Singuilator was broke. Long story short The Singulator broke, I went back and put on the no-name tensioner, and have had no problems since. Do not buy this product.

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Favorite Trail:   Winter Park Kewaunee

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $37.00

Purchased At:   Jenson USA

Similar Products Used:   No-name tensioner that came with my SS conversion kit.


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Pile a Cross Country Rider from Sydney, Australia

Date Reviewed: March 19, 2008

Strengths:    It works. I get to ride my old frame that fits me beautifully and has lots of sentimental value as a SS, rather than fork out silly dollars for some boutique bling.

Weaknesses:    What is it with the instructions? Is there a uni course you can do to learn to write verbose and non-sequentially so as to make every instruction more ambiguous than the last? It was also pricier than I expected.

Bottom Line:   
It is well worth the effort. I am not the sharpest tool in the shed (sometimes I struggle walking and breathing at the same time) and my idea of bike maintenance is pushing my thumb into a tyre and saying loudly 'that feels about right'. The installation, once you navigate the poorly written instructions, is easy. Dead easy in fact. 90min and the old girl was stripped down and a single-speed was born. It is smooth, it hasn't jumped, slipped or lost tension in 400ks of paths, roads, gutters and stairs navigated by an unskilled and unsympatheic pilot. Set yourself up a nice straight chain line when you align your spacers and Robert is a sibling of your parents. Its not noisy, its not heavy, its not as good as a horizontal drop-out SS specific frame (but if you had one of those you wouldn't be shopping for one of these, would you?). I love it. I'd marry it if the law allowed it.

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Favorite Trail:   Condoo Rd, Nowra

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   Cheeky Monkey

Similar Products Used:   Nil

Bike Setup:   2002 Kona Caldera. 42-16 set up for urban riding. Floral basket on the front, spokey-dokies.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dave Wright a Cross Country Rider from Greenville, SC, USA

Date Reviewed: January 18, 2008

Strengths:    Inexpensive way to get into single speeding. It works.

Weaknesses:    Noise and extra friction compared to other tensioning methods.

Bottom Line:   
This is a follow-up to my 12/13/06 review. I ended up keeping the Singleator a bit more than a year. It was never a perfect solution. Slightly twisted, a bit noisy, bumped by my heel every now and then, a little drag on the system. After my most recent chain change the drivetrain started skipping. This was my fault because I let it go too long + I ran aluminum cogs. Enough is enough.

As predicted, I changed to a White Industries Eccentric ENO Hub laced to a Mavic 717 and driven by a 17/19 WI freewheel. The bike is 4 oz. lighter now and the drivetrain feels much more solid and a bit more snappy. It's looking like a good addition.

I still award the Singleator 4 chilis, because it's still a great way to get into the single speed world. Readers will note that I ultimately went with a two speed drivetrain. Before each ride, and sometimes during breaks, I switch between the 36/17 and 34/19 depending on the terrain.

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Favorite Trail:   Full ride @ Paris Mountain SP

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   2000 Marin Eldridge Grade + FW: Mavic SL Disk w/ BB5; RW: ENO Eccentric w/ Mavic 717 & White Industries 17/19 FW; Pedals: Crank SL; Rings: Salsa 34/36

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Kirk a Racer from San Jose, Ca, USA

Date Reviewed: June 27, 2007

Strengths:    If set up properly, it works. Yesterday was my first day singlespeeding ever since my boyhood BMX days and I loved it.

Weaknesses:    LBS installed it for me, because I'm clueless. It took the LBS two attempts to set it up properly. After the first attempt, I had a lot of skipping. It felt like the gear teeth in either the ring or the cog would slip from one chain link to another during climbing. That really sucked. See "The Bottom Line" for the happy ending.

Bottom Line:   
After the skipping or slipping (are these problems synonymous?) I took it back to LBS and they adjusted the tensioner. They said only turn it clock-wise, never counter clockwise, or else you break the spring. They also realigned the singleator to get the chain on a better line. After the adjustment, I cranked that beast up some steeps and it was flawless.

For entry level singlespeeders, this seems like the right way to go.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   50

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   1995 Bianchi Ibex. 32x18. Bonty cranks, Shimano PD-M324 pedals.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Dave Wright a Weekend Warrior from Greenville, SC, USA

Date Reviewed: December 13, 2006

Strengths:    Does the job, reasonable price, well made, works very well in push mode.

Weaknesses:    Important instructions not included (by are online), does not work well in pull mode, possible heel overlap, spring action stiffens below freezing.

Bottom Line:   
Let me get one thing out of the way: Using a tensioner to take out chain slack is not as simple, quiet, or efficient as horizontal dropouts or EBB. It's a great way to get into single speeding though. I predict that within a year my bike will have a White Industries ENO hub instead.

This thing works if you install it correctly. Visit the Surley website and check their blog page for a thorough rundown on how the installation can be screwed up. They ship the device with the pull mode spring preinstalled, which is odd because you get less cog wrap and pressure that way. I gave that orientation a good try over the course of several rides. It just plain doesn't work, especially when the weather is cold, grades are steep, and the gearset is chipping an unusually heavy load of brush and leaves.

Change out the spring to push mode and it's a whole new tool! Skipping problem solved. It is possible for my heel to touch the Singleator body, but this hasn't yet resulted in any damage to the device or hassle to my riding.

Notes particular to my install: I had to get my hanger straightened for smoothest operation. You need an 18mm cone wrench, which is an uncommon size. I used a Dremel to make one, being too lazy and cheap to go to the store. I run 36/20, slightly lower than the standard 2:1 offroad ratio due to steep grades around here. Some folks around here run 32/18, which is about the same ratio but a tad less secure, efficient, and durable.

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Favorite Trail:   Paris Mountain State Park Network

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $50.00

Purchased At:   Sunshine Cyclery

Similar Products Used:   None

Bike Setup:   00 Marin Eldridge Grade, Maxxis Larsen TT 2.35, gel grips, Cane Creek bar ends, converted to single speed with Endless 20t freehub cog and 36t Salsa chainring.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Ed a Weekend Warrior from Denver

Date Reviewed: November 27, 2006

Strengths:    none

Weaknesses:    skips

Bottom Line:   
I had my LBS set this up after I failed. It worked for two rides then all hell broke loose. The chain was constantly skipping, took it back to LBS, they said they didn't know what the problem was. I probably spent about 10 hours of my time trying to get this thing to work correctly with no luck, finally I said screw it.

I cut my losses and sold it on craigslist for $20.00 and bought the eno hub from White Industries. All is right with the world now.

Step up and buy the eno hub!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   buff creek

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Klein attitude comp

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian from Saint Louis, Mo

Date Reviewed: August 29, 2006

Strengths:    Converts a useless frame into a cool SS

Weaknesses:    None for the newer model

Bottom Line:   
I run mine in the push up position, use a 9 speed chain and a BMX cog on a 9 speed hub. All is alligned and running sweet. The tensioner has not failed as of yet. Easy to me to install and set up. This is the NEWER model. I have no experience with the original model of a few years ago.

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $30.00

Purchased At:   online

Bike Setup:   Cannondale

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by J Patridge a Cross Country Rider from Clarkdale

Date Reviewed: April 26, 2006

Strengths:    new design works well. Best in the push-down position. Chain alignment rings on both sides are very functional. The new design is the key!!!

Weaknesses:    Have not found any.


Bottom Line:   
It does the job well, but make sure it is the new design.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   any place w/o cars

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $32.00

Purchased At:   ebay

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Moots YBB that loves being single. V-brakes and old school non-tubeless tires.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by Jamie a Cross Country Rider from Monterey, CA

Date Reviewed: March 5, 2006

Strengths:    Not much

Weaknesses:    The bolt holding the pulley etc fell apart. The spring broke.

Bottom Line:   
The item has failed on me twice on two good rides. Now it is broken and it will remained that way. I hate unreliable equipment, especially the drive train. The component is known to fail and yet they still sell it. I should have read more about it. I am nervous to buy another tensioner but I will, as I love single speeding.

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Duration Product Used:   3 months

Bike Setup:   Ibis Ripley

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by beerorkid a Weekend Warrior from lincoln ne

Date Reviewed: January 9, 2006

Strengths:    works good

Weaknesses:    none yet

Bottom Line:   
I had this set up by my LBS and I have not had a single problem with it. I am sure it all comes down to being properly set up. I have never had a single problem with it yet. Around 300 miles including a lot of dirt.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   dirt

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   GF 05 tassajara disc

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Jon a Cross Country Rider from Auckland

Date Reviewed: January 9, 2006

Strengths:    It works fine to me, do'es what it is supposed to do, simple piece of equipment

Weaknesses:    pulley alignment bolt was stripped.

Bottom Line:   
the pulley bolt was stripped, but I fixed that with an 8mm bolt and some washers to allign the chain, stronger I think but I couldnt use the little chain retaining hoop. I use it in the push down position, over rough ground , uphill out of seat grinds and has NEVER come off! adjustment of the spring is piss easy, no need for a cone wrench, I bolt it on so it is pionting to the back of the bike, swing it forward and hook the chain over it! EASY! I cannot for the life of me understand why all you guys cant figure this simple device out, and I got NO instrustions with mine, most of you people are just dumb! use your friggin brain instead of complaining , it aint perfect, but it sure as hell is nowhere as bad as you dumbasses claim! Install, ride and enjoy!

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $35.00

Purchased At:   second hand

Similar Products Used:   old shimano derailer

Bike Setup:   KHS cro mo frame, Bomber z5 fork, cheap shimano cable discs, shimano BMX 16tooth cog, KMC chain,and what ever was laying around the garage to finish the bike.

Overall Rating:1
Value Rating:1
Submitted by matt a Cross Country Rider from WI

Date Reviewed: December 2, 2005

Strengths:    nothing

Weaknesses:    Design, function, reliability, basically everything, PRICE (I'm sure this costs no more than a few bucks to manufacture)

Bottom Line:   
CRAP! When pedal goign over a log or large bump the chain comes off. This is the chain tensioners fault because instead of having a second pulley to keep the chain close to the sprocket it just lets the chain jump around. Get a Kore lockable tensioner, or try to eliminate chain tensioners all together by expirementing with different chain rings and cogs. I'm currently using this chain tensioner without the spring and with the chain running over top of the pulley and lashed to the chainstay with zip-ties. It works very well that way as the chain wraps around 65% of the rear cog and has doesn't jump at all. I just make sure to bring extra zip-ties with me on rides.

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $30.00

Purchased At:   lbs clearance

Similar Products Used:   Derailleurs! Kore lockable chain tensioner.

Bike Setup:   Litech magnesium frame on xtr/517 wheels, Thompson, Easton carbon bar, Race Face Next carbon LP crankset with Synacros Ti bottom bracket using 22-tooth chainring and 12 in the rear, Kenda Klimax Lite and Kozmik Lite 2 tires. Avid brakes, Avocet Ti saddle... 16-17lbs

Reviews 1 - 15 (40 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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