It seems like everyone wants to be on the singlespeed bandwagon these days. The prospect of a silent drivetrain and the simplicity of a handlebar unadorned with shifters has many tossing their faithful derailleurs in the bin, without a thought for the accelerated knee degeneration this may cause. Most people build their singlespeed with a hardtail frame. It’s simple and cheap, and nothing says “I’m more indie than you’ll ever be” quite like a converted steel frame. For those with a full suspension bike, creating a singlespeed is more difficult. For most fullys, the distance from the bottom bracket to the rear axle increases as the suspension compresses, causing chain growth. There are a lot of chain tensioners available on the market, but not many of them are built with suspension induced chain growth in mind. Yess manufactures a range of chain tensioners for different frame configurations, and the ETR/D is the model designed for full suspension bikes. Looking like a cross between a simple tensioner and a derailleur, it’s got a jockey wheel with metal retention guides, and a plastic roller. Spring tension is adjustable to stop your chain from flopping around, and the whole unit is stiff and solidly built. The ETR/D wraps around the standard derailleur hanger, which it is bolted onto. Set screws at the back of the hanger provide an extra strong grip. I mounted an ETR/D onto my Turner 5 Spot for the Single Speed World Champs at the end of 2010. Following the philosophy that practising is cheating, I had never ridden a singlespeed before, and converted the bike in a holiday camp the night before the race. The ETR/D was easy to fit, although I needed to file the back off the derailleur hanger (Turners have quite large hangers) to make it fit. On the bike, the ETR/D was excellent. It kept the chain on without fuss (I had an MRP 1X guide over the chain ring), and the chain never dropped or jammed. It was silent and efficient, and pulling the wheel off the bike with the tensioner in place was easy. The same couldn’t be said for my ability to tighten chain ring bolts; with six kilometres left in the race, the chain ring fell off and I had to run and coast the rest of the race. JONO BADDILEY
Afton are another newcomer in what seems a flood of new shoe brands, but the stylish look and comfort have got everyone talking. Want to be the snazziest dude among your mates? Look no further.
The Flat pedal shoe market has thickened recently, and one brand leading the charge is Ride Concepts. We did some skids this summer in a long term test, and are stoked there is a new player in the mix.
The Orbea Rallon is a hot topic. Good looking and extremely well put together, this pedigree machine gets the carpark talking. We got to spend a few days aboard the Spanish rig and collated some thoughts inside.
We got to spend some of our summer thrashing around on this beast. A user friendly 180mm do it all park bike, that’ll pop jumps and rip turns till the cows come home. Get in.
Two bikes for the price of one? Canyon’s new Strive enters with 29” wheels and a revised shapeshifter giving you a 135mm trail bike and a 150mm enduro weapon at the press of a button. Does it live up to the hype?
We take a look at Whyte’s short travel 130mm 27.5 trail which has all the hallmarks of their bigger rigs. This bike questions the big travel trends and makes us take a look at what we actually require out of a bike. Is big actually better?