What tubing are your frames made from?
Singulars use Taiwan made custom drawn double and triple butted (for main tubes) 4130 chrome-moly steel. While not a ‘name brand’ tube-set – they are made by the same folks as make many of the names you might recognise. Using this tubing provides the flexibility to define exactly what tube profiles are used for each frame and each size – rather than being restricted to what the major brands offer. It also helps keep our frames keenly priced.
Which size frame do I need?
Some sizing guidelines on the basis of height are offered on the tech & sizing page, which should put you in the right ball park. However it is virtually impossible to correctly size someone for a frame without having detailed knowledge of that person’s riding preferences and a whole host of physical attributes. This process is one best achieved by consulting either a Singular dealer or an experienced bike-fitter in your area. Similarly for ‘what stem length/bar width/crank length etc do I need?’ - this is best determined as part of the fitting process.
Where are your frames made?
Our frames are designed in the UK and made by a family owned and operated factory in Taiwan of over 30 years standing. They are specialists in the production of steel frames only and produce high end frames for many well known brands.
Similarly, our titanium frames are designed here in the UK and fabricated by a small specialist titanium builder in Taiwan.
What length bottom bracket axle do I need?
Most of our production frames use a British threaded bottom bracket shell in a width of either 68 or 73mm (100mm for the Puffin). Required bottom bracket axle length is dependent on crank type and required chain line. You should consult with the manufacturer or supplier of your cranks to determine what is correct. As a general rule you will not be able to fit road cranks to any of our frames designed for off-road use with the exception of the Peregrine and Kite cyclocross/gravel frames.
Are any other colours available?
All frames offered in one standard colour scheme only.
Replacement downtube decals and headbadges are also available should you wish to arrange your own re-finishing. Please contact us for further details.
What were the reasons for the Swift fork length change
The Swift was originally designed to try to give as close as possible steering response between an early 80mm Reba and the stock rigid fork. Two things have changed since that time; first that suspension forks have got longer and have increased offset, second that my thinking about handling between rigid and suspended setups has changed a little. I’ve come to think that more neutral feeling handling with a suspension fork is not such a bad thing – gives more confidence when going hard at rough terrain as you are tempted to do when having suspension up front. When rigid a quick steering response to pick a tight line is necessary.
The earlier forks at 485mm long/48mm rake meant that when a Reba at 80mm/39mm offset was fitted the front end actually drops (accounting for sag – any designs which assume a suspension fork allow for 20% sag) keeping trail fairly constant. The current forks at 470/45 mean that once a 100mm fork with ~45mm offset is fitted trail increases a bit and just takes the edge off the steering quickness.
In any case, there is more to how a bike rides than just trail and steering response, though it is a very important part of the overall package. I like to think that for folks who tend to like their steering on the quicker side of things the bikes ride very well.
What length suspension fork should I use on a Swift?
80mm forks will give much the same handling as with the rigid fork, though I’ve come to prefer a 100mm to give slightly more neutral handling with the higher speeds that a suspension fork tends to encourage. With a rigid fork you want quick steering response to steer around obstacles, with a suspension fork you want something which holds its line a little better as you blat over stuff.
Will I get toe overlap on a ……..?
Toe overlap is the result of many factors – crank length & type, pedal type, cleat position, shoe size & type, ebb position, tyre size and more. It’s virtually impossible to say for sure one way or the other whether you will get overlap. However I always feel the dangers of toe overlap are overstated – above walking speed it is practically impossible to make it happen under normal road use. And at slow speeds you quickly get used to it and deal with it. In most cases it’s not worth compromising fit and handling to avoid it.
Can any of your frames run belt-drive?
I’m afraid I’m something of a belt-drive naysayer – in my opinion it creates far many more problems than it solves. In order to satisfy the belt’s need to stay on track there are specific requirements for the lateral stiffness of the frame in the rear triangle which do not accord with how I like my frames to ride. It also adds weight and complexity. What belts give in return is a quieter, cleaner drivetrain – though I don’t find single cog drives especially noisy, and modern stainless chains and wax lubes need not be that messy… Long term belt reliability in adverse off road conditions is not great, and the cost of the belts and cogs is high. I think there is a very limited range of applications in which belt drive makes sense; riding in an urban environment and when a bike is being stored where greasy marks are a great concern. Fundamentally – not situations for which Singulars are primarily designed.
How does the EBB work?
The Eccentric Bottom Bracket (EBB) is a fairly simple device, long used in tandems to tension the timing chain connecting the front and rear sets of cranks. It makes sense to employ the same idea to a derailleur-less bicycle, especially so where a disc brake is use and thus it’s beneficial to keep the rear wheel in one fixed position. Whether fixed-gear, singlespeed, or with an internally geared hub – the EBB is a neat, elegant and hassle free solution. The frame’s bottom bracket shell is oversized and fitted with an insert which has the bottom bracket thread milled off centre. Therefore rotating the insert allows you to tension the chain.
Aren't EBB's known for having issues?
As above, EBB’s have long been used in tandems and have proven to be a functional and reliable system. Our EBB inserts are CNC milled to our specifications in Taiwan. Singulars have used them in over 1500 frames now and rarely have any issues been encountered. Where they have they are easily solved with correct assembly and/or a bit of cleaning and greasing. Like any metal on metal part over time grease can become displaced and creaks can develop. This is easily solved by removing a crank arm, sliding the whole EBB unit out, cleaning, greasing and popping it back in – a 5 minute job, see below for details.
How do I adjust the EBB?
The EBB uses the British threaded 68mm wide bottom bracket standard. It will accept any bottom bracket and crank made to that specification. Correct initial installation of the EBB is essential to its reliable long term function. The inside of the EBB shell should be given a thin layer of heavy grease. The insert should rotate by hand to allow correct tensioning of the chain. If it is a little snug then a 5mm allen key can be inserted in the hole in the insert, then the cranks turned to lever against the allen key and rotate the whole assembly. The set screws on the bottom of the shell should then be torqued to between 4 and 6 NM – do not over-tighten as it can deform the shell.
What do I need to do to maintain the EBB?
As with any metal on metal component, it is necessary to perform some regular maintenance to ensure continuing smooth and reliable function. We recommend periodically removing the ebb from the frame to clean and lubricate. This can be done by removing one crank-arm (and also a cup if external type bb) and sliding it out – if it’s a bit stuck, rotating, spraying some penetrating lube and a few taps with a rubber mallet may be required to get it out. Thoroughly clean the ebb and inside the shell. Remove the ebb bolts completely and clean and grease. Then cover the interior of the shell and the ebb with a thin layer of grease and re-assemble. Tension the chain (or just put the ebb in the desired position if using a derailleur) and torque the bolts to 4-6nm. The regularity with which this should need doing depends very much on the conditions you ride in. The first step is to just try to rotate the ebb in the frame. If it moves easily and smoothly it is fine – if it is rough or a bit stuck it’s time to give it a clean.