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  1. #1
    Member midwest44's Avatar
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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......
    Medici touring, GT Tequesta single speed conversion

  2. #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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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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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    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!

  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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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.

  6. #6
    cab horn
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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.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #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.

  8. #8
    Member midwest44's Avatar
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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....
    Medici touring, GT Tequesta single speed conversion

  9. #9
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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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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