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Old 09-25-08, 07:43 PM   #1
midwest44
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How to tell 3/32" vs. 1/8" components

Hi,

How can I tell if chainrings and freewheels are for 3/32" or 1/8" chain. I have a Shimano tandem captians side crank and chainring and I'm unsure. I also have a single speed freewheel of unknown chain size? Can you simply use a 1/8" chain on 3/32" components?

Your wisdom is needed!

Thanks from Cornland......
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Old 09-25-08, 08:35 PM   #2
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To tell the difference you can measure the thickness of one of the teeth with some calipers, or just see if you can fit a 3/32" chain on the chainring, if it fits there you go.

You will get some different opinions about using 1/8" chain on 3/32" cogs/chainrings, it is probably best to stick to using matched components. Having said that, I have used 1/8" chains with 3/32" parts many times (only on single speed or fixed gear of course) with no problems.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:39 PM   #3
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On my fixed, I had a 1/8" chain, 1/8" cog, and 3/32" chainring. It worked fine but the 3/32 up front made the chain move side to side and made more noise.
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Old 09-25-08, 09:46 PM   #4
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I run a 1/8" chain on a 3/32" drivetrain (double chainring, 5-speed freewheel). It works fine, but is a bit noisy. When the current chain wears out I'll go back to 3/32". I bought the 1/8" chain by mistake!
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Old 09-25-08, 09:51 PM   #5
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I use 1/8 with 3/32 drive parts and have had no problems... my new fixed gear has a 1/8th cog and a 3/32nd so it's 1/8th chain for that one.

She's a quiet bike.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwest44 View Post
Hi,

How can I tell if chainrings and freewheels are for 3/32" or 1/8" chain. I have a Shimano tandem captians side crank and chainring and I'm unsure. I also have a single speed freewheel of unknown chain size? Can you simply use a 1/8" chain on 3/32" components?

Your wisdom is needed!

Thanks from Cornland......
With experience you can easily distinguish between the noticeably fatter (wider) teeth of the 1/8th components. Otherwise you'll have to learn the hard way and try fitting a 3/32 chain on the components in question. If they don't fit properly, then it's 1/8.
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Old 09-26-08, 03:59 PM   #7
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i keep an old 3/32 chain around just to measure around different chainrings i may encounter. if the 3/32 chain can wrap around the chainring, proporly seat around every tooth and not ride above the ring, then a 3/32 chain will work. you can use 1/8 chain on components that use 1/8 and 3/32 chain, but is not recommended with mutlispeed cluster rear freewheels/cassettes as it will cause havoc with indexing, be a bit more noisy perhaps and isn'yt as tight on a 3/32 compatable chainring. 1/8th is what i run on my 86 murray monterey "5speed" cruiser. its a shimano rear end with the original front chainring and chainguard (which is why i havent swapped out for a narrow chainring and just put on a new 3/32 chain). works fine in friction mode and is quiet. shifts fine, but not optimally.
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Old 09-26-08, 06:50 PM   #8
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Thanks

Thanks for the info, as I'm running a SS MTB, looks pretty easy. I'll get my calipers out in the AM....
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Old 09-26-08, 06:53 PM   #9
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You could usually just tell the difference visually, although if you have nothing to compare it to it may be difficult. 1/8" teeth look noticeably beefier.
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