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Old 08-01-08, 08:28 AM   #1
ISaacG
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Tell me something about chains

Hi

My chain snapped yesterday. Its an older chain, but I think it was in decent shape. Not that I'd know how to check...

Do I bother repair the chain? Or replace it? If I do replace it, what are the different types of chains out there? What are the options? What do I look for? I know about zero about chains...

Thanks!
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Old 08-01-08, 08:46 AM   #2
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I would replace the chain. If it snapped that would seem to be a sign that is either worn to the point of metal fatigue or has not been adequately maintained. The peace of mind is well worth the small cost of replacement. One thing to consider is your cassette and chainrings. You should check these, or have them checked if you're not sure how, to ensure that you're not putting a new chain on worn our drivetrain parts. Worn cassettes and chainrings will shorten the life of a new chain and lead to other problems.

As for the chain itself, you will need to get one that is made for the number of cogs (speeds if you will) that you have in your cassette. You may have 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 depending on your bike and each of these will require a different chain widtch due to the spacing between the cogs. Your bike shop can get a chain for you but they will need to know how many cogs you have in your cassette. They can also recommend makes/models depending on the type of riding you're doing.

Mike
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Old 08-01-08, 08:54 AM   #3
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Previous poster pretty much nailed it.

One small deviation (although I guess some may differ). Chains for 8 speeds and less are pretty much the same (unless you are riding a single speed/fixie), so if you have a 7 speed, you don't need a 7 speed specific chain.

This isn't to say that all 8 speed chains are the same, there are different qualities of chain.

From my experience, based on my LBS recommendation, SRAM chains have worked real well for me. I ride Shimano drivetrains, mostly 8 speed, and one 10 speed.

For my vintage 5 speeds (the "old" 10 speeds) I sometimes use the cheap chains from K-mart... but shifting performance on those bikes are sub-optimal anyway, so I don't sweat the chain at all.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:14 AM   #4
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I'm pretty sure my cassette/chainrings aren't worn. They look rectangular and not at all "shark-tooth" shape.
My cassette got 5 cogs (with the largest out of commission). It doesn't look like 5 speed chains are very popular...
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Old 08-01-08, 09:35 AM   #5
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I use 8 speed chains for everything with less than 9 speeds, including single speed, fixed gear and 3 speed.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:42 AM   #6
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5-7 speed freewheels and cassettes use the same chain.

KMC and SRAM make good quality chain.
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Old 08-01-08, 10:26 AM   #7
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probably not enough WD-40..................
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Old 08-01-08, 11:27 AM   #8
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If your largest cog is "out of commission" it's time for a new set of cogs anyway. bk
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Old 08-01-08, 11:42 AM   #9
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Chains are disposable.
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Old 08-01-08, 11:46 AM   #10
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The metal plate that keeps the chain from hitting the spokes is a bit bent so the chain was rubbing it, so I moved the limiter screw to reduce it to 4 gears. I'm not interested in spending the money to replace the cassette to regain a cog. Or maybe I should take it apart and remove/replace the guard...
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Old 08-01-08, 11:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISaacG View Post
The metal plate that keeps the chain from hitting the spokes is a bit bent so the chain was rubbing it, so I moved the limiter screw to reduce it to 4 gears. I'm not interested in spending the money to replace the cassette to regain a cog. Or maybe I should take it apart and remove/replace the guard...
If the rear derailleur is properly adjusted you don't need a plate to protect the spokes, cut it off.

Al
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Old 08-01-08, 12:05 PM   #12
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One more thing to consider on chains -- I would get a powerlink. Many chains have master link which can be manually removed -- Sram's version is called a powerlink, but you can get other brands too. This makes it much easier to remove the chain for regular maintenance.

Otherwise, you have to have a pin removal tool to 'break' the chain to get it off the bike. Then a hammer to get it back onto the bike.
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Old 08-01-08, 12:08 PM   #13
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Boys, u guys make it sound like CHAIN requires a degree.

It's a metal thingy, connects two wheels, it pulls! Done. And buy the one compatible with your cluster for best performance.
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Old 08-01-08, 01:00 PM   #14
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OK. Just went out and bought a chain. I went to Urbane Cyclist.
The guy there said they only got one 5-speed chain ($10). Based on what DirtDrop said, I asked him if a 6-7-8 speed chain would work. He looked up the numbers and said it is slightly thinner but ought to work. He brought out 3 or 4 chains. ($20, $22, ~$40 and ?) But only one had a powerlink. And only cost $22. So I got it. Nickel plated... Now I need a chain tool... Their cheapest was $20 while MEC got a chain tool for $7.75.

$22 vs $16.50 at MEC for an SRAM powerlink.
$22 for Z92S vs $7.25 for Z51 at MEC.

Why am I paying triple for the Z52S over the Z51? How much is value and how much is store profit?
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Old 08-01-08, 01:06 PM   #15
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why do you need a tool??? if your old chain broke....and your new chain has a powerlink; unless you need to shorten the chain; you're good to go........
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Old 08-01-08, 04:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
5-7 speed freewheels and cassettes use the same chain.

KMC and SRAM make good quality chain.
Only nine and ten speed require special narrow chains. An eight speed chain works fine on a five speed freewheel. Eight speed chain is as meaningless as eight speed derailer.
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Old 08-01-08, 04:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
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why do you need a tool??? if your old chain broke....and your new chain has a powerlink; unless you need to shorten the chain; you're good to go........
In my experience, you always need to shorten the chain.
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Old 08-01-08, 05:00 PM   #18
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+1. I don't think I've ever just popped an entire chain on. And, in my opinion, it's not worth spending high zoot on a chain. I stick with KMC cheapies for anything other than my road bike.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:50 AM   #19
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While you're at it, ask your LBS what they charge to size & install a new chain. When I did a few years ago, I found my LBS in Olympia, WA only charged $2 & there was generally no wait.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:39 AM   #20
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Now that you have your new chain be sure to maintain it properly. Do this once a week.
http://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html:
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