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Old 08-22-07, 12:01 AM   #1
dai
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Replacing a 7-speed chain

Hi, this is my first post - I've been lurking for a while now, but here goes!

I'm replacing the chain on a 80's Fuji Roubaix for the first time, and after removing the old chain, I counted 108 links. The new chain I have has 116 links. Should I just remove 8 links from the new chain, or should I leave it? Is it normal to have to remove that many? Should I just leave all 116, would that cause problems?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-22-07, 03:06 AM   #2
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remove 8 links...I never count the links...I just compare the length of the old chain to the new chain and make them the same, unless there is an issue with the chain length on the bike.

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Old 08-22-07, 06:29 AM   #3
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If you could shift on the old chain without problems, then make the new chain the same length. The only problem might be using the big chainring and the big sprocket. Of course, you're not really supposed to use that combo, but if you accidentally shift into that combo, it'd be nice to not suddenly have your derailler wedge into the spokes, or the crank stop turning, or whatever happens.

The replacement chain is probably long enough to go around a 52 tooth chainring and a 34 tooth sprocket on a touring frame with long chainstays built for someone 6'8" tall, so for most bikes you'll have to remove some. If you have smaller chainring, compact frame, etc, you'll have to remove more.
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Old 08-22-07, 06:39 AM   #4
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Chains always come in a nice long length. They're meant to be shortened. The manufacturer makes them long enough to accommodate any bike.

Now, do you have a chain tool to break the chain?
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Old 08-22-07, 06:47 AM   #5
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Depending on the make of chain you have, be careful how you shorten it.

Shimano chains have a special pin partially inserted in one end that's used to complete the initial installation. Be sure you don't shorten the chain by cutting off that end. Also you need to have a "male" and a "female" end to match up.

SRAM, KMC and Wipperman chains come with a master link to connect the ends so they have to be shortened so that both ends are "male" to take the master link.
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Old 08-22-07, 07:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dai View Post
Hi, this is my first post - I've been lurking for a while now, but here goes!

I'm replacing the chain on a 80's Fuji Roubaix for the first time, and after removing the old chain, I counted 108 links. The new chain I have has 116 links. Should I just remove 8 links from the new chain, or should I leave it? Is it normal to have to remove that many? Should I just leave all 116, would that cause problems?

Thanks in advance!
I learned the hard way that you have to shorten chains after listening to the guy at the LBS tell me how the width of the chain is what counts, and now have 2 masterlinks in the new Z 7 speed chain on my mountainbike after shortening the new chain to match the length of the old Sram chain. It still wont shift right, and shifts like Sheldon Brown writes about when he says that it's common for beginners to put too much tension in the shift cables. It shifted fine before the chain wore enough to need changing, and even with the adjusters set for the least amount of tension it still wont shift smoothly. There is more tension in the rear deraillieur cable then the front, leading me to think that I need to loosen the cable. How do I know how to set the correct amount of tension? Trial and error? Match the tension for the front deraillieur cable?
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Old 08-22-07, 11:04 AM   #7
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Unless you know for sure the original chain is the correct length, see-
http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html#chain
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Old 08-22-07, 11:14 AM   #8
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Actually, my KMC Z chain did not come with a master link. It came with a pin on one end driven most of the way out. I just drove out a pin at the appropriate length and drove that pin in to close the chain. The Nashbar KMC chains do have a master link. I then flexed the chain sideways a bit to loosen the link.
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Old 08-22-07, 01:47 PM   #9
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Unless you know for sure the original chain is the correct length, see-
http://sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html#chain
I thought about that, but didn't want to change too many things at once. Reducing the tension on the cable in the rear allowed me to use the adjusters to dial in the correct amount of tension, and it's shifting much much better now.
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Old 08-22-07, 01:55 PM   #10
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Just how does chain length interact with DER cable tension?
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Old 08-22-07, 04:35 PM   #11
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Just how does chain length interact with DER cable tension?
It really doesn't, but it ads another variable to the mix. I've always preferred to deal with one problem/variable at a time and went under the assumption that since length wasn't a problem before, it shouldn't be now. I avoided adjusting the limit screws and the front derailleur for the same reason.
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Old 08-22-07, 09:26 PM   #12
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Which again, doesn't interact with chain length.
My point is, that if you have to shorten the chain anyway, you might as well get it correct. Or at least check it and see how far it's off if not correct, for future reference.
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Old 08-23-07, 03:18 PM   #13
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Which again, doesn't interact with chain length.
My point is, that if you have to shorten the chain anyway, you might as well get it correct. Or at least check it and see how far it's off if not correct, for future reference.
Correct. And since the cassette is worn, I should check that too. But having arrived at the information on checking the chain length after shortening it and with the a priori knowledge that it had shifted correctly previously, it seemed likely that some of the factors I had changed were the more likely suspects. Which was the case here.
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Old 09-03-07, 10:00 PM   #14
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Which again, doesn't interact with chain length.
My point is, that if you have to shorten the chain anyway, you might as well get it correct. Or at least check it and see how far it's off if not correct, for future reference.
You were right, I was way too trusting here. I'm going to check the length next in the process, after having the cassette replaced. Part of my shifting problems were due to a worn cassette, and part were due to the cassette being loose - the guy who removed it to replace a spoke for me a few months ago must not have tightened it up all the way when he reinstalled it. Time to check everything else before I can actually use the bicycle for exercise again, and it's time to start buying the tools I need to do my own work. This sure makes me wonder how my old 10 speed I had in high school ever worked as well as it did. That thing never had much maintenance, but lasted for years and years.
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