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Old 11-12-02, 10:28 AM   #1
Bandit
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Chain skip reprise ... and other chain issues.

some may recall my request for advice on a chain that was skipping, despite the fact it had only 500 miles of use. with the board's indulgence, i'd like to refresh this issue with things i have learned and a couple of questions that have arisen.

first, the chain is NOT worn out. far from it. 12 links measure almost precisely 12 inches. the chain has many miles of life left. likewise the cogs and chainwheels.

second, i had removed the chain the week before it started skipping, and when i had reinstalled it the pin was not pressed far enough into the chain, allowing it to develop a gap between the plates. it was this gap, when it rolled across the cogs. that allowed the chain to skip. it's amazing the chain held together it all. when i discovered the damaged link it was just barely hanging in there. so i removed that section of chain and reinstalled it, taking great pains to ensure the pin was pressed in precisely right this time.

which brings me to my question: it's now my understanding, based on sheldon brown's web site, that modern chains are not designed to be parted. the pins are pressed in much more tightly than they were in years past, and pressing out a pin to remove it makes that link weaker. this was certainly not the case in my days as a racer, some 15 years ago, when we routinely removed and cleaned chains.

can someone comment on this? should i just clean the chain in place from now on? or is it still possible to safely remove and reinstall it once/month to maximize chain life? (i commute 120-150 miles/week).

thanks in advance.
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Old 11-12-02, 11:08 AM   #2
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Current shimano chains have replacement pins that are to be used when breaking a chain.Other makers may have similar recommendations. Don't want to be breaking the chain?, get one with a removable link, of use a correct width eemovable link with yours. A chain can be cleaned without removing it.It's just a bit moe work.

Last edited by pokey; 11-12-02 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 11-12-02, 11:12 AM   #3
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I'd get a SRAM Powerlink chain myself.

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Old 11-12-02, 11:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bandit
modern chains are not designed to be parted. the pins are pressed in much more tightly than they were in years past, and pressing out a pin to remove it makes that link weaker. this was certainly not the case in my days as a racer, some 15 years ago, when we routinely removed and cleaned chains.
15 years ago you were likely riding a 12 speed! Hyperglide chains are the price we pay for 18 speeds, and are the best thing that ever happened to Sedis (now sold as SRAM chains).

I'd qualify your first statement a little. Maybe not designed to be parted as much. That said, he is right. Shimano Hyperglide chains require a special replacement pin where you open the chain. And you should never open it twice in the same place, since the pins are sooo tight they push out a little ring of metal, and the second re-pinning will be loose (don't ask me how I know this).

Last edited by roadbuzz; 11-12-02 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 11-13-02, 10:23 PM   #5
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I NEVER break a chain (in either the deliberate nor accidental sense of the word). I install it once, leave it on the frame when cleaning it, and remove it only to replace it with it has elongated by 1/2 percent. I also use SRAM instead of Shimano for reliability.
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Old 11-14-02, 06:53 AM   #6
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Umm.....those SRAM powerlinks make removal extremely easy, and cleaning much more effective, too. The chain on my road bike has something over 6k miles on it right now, and hasn't even elongated 1/32". I pull the powerlink apart every month or 2, and clean it in a bottle with citrus cleaner. Those "on-the-bike" cleaners don't get into the links, and just make an awful mess of the floor, my hands, the chainstays, etc.
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Old 11-14-02, 01:20 PM   #7
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thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful inputs. i think i'll look into the SRAM powerlink.

let me ask one more question: do people use the citrus cleaner because it is environmentally friendly, or because it is effective as a chain solvent?
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Old 11-14-02, 09:20 PM   #8
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Environment. And if you're cleaning stuff all the time, too much exposure to petrochemicals is a bad thing.

Mineral spirits, kerosene, or diesel fuel work better and aren't so environmentally awful if you re-use them. The gunk settles out in the bottom, and stays there if you don't shake it up too much when you pour it. I've got a jar of mineral spirits I've used for cleaning parts for years. It has about 1/2" of sludge in the bottom. But I clean my chain often and use the bio-degradable stuff. Go figure. :confused:
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Old 11-14-02, 10:10 PM   #9
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Just curious, but has anyone used an ultrasonic parts cleaner to clean the chain or other hard-to-clean parts? Seems like this would be perfect for getting the chain clean if you're going to take it off the bike.
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Old 11-14-02, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard D
I'd get a SRAM Powerlink chain myself.

Richard
Double that. They are stronger and easier to change / fix / clean.
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