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  1. #1
    Senior Member word_nerd's Avatar
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    Old 10 speed chain replacement

    Hello all, I'm a bit confused about chain size. I want to replace a chain on an very old 10 speed, but when I look at chains in stores or online, i'm not sure what to look for. For example, many chains will say they are 6/7/8, 9, or 10 speed. Can someone tell me what that means? At first I though it meant number of rear cogs, but that wouldn't apply to the 10 speed model, would it?

    The bike in question for me has 5 in the rear and 2 in the front. Please help! I'm still a noob who's trying to learn as much as i can.

    Thanks!
    1984 Puch Classic, best $5 i ever spent!

  2. #2
    Senior Member flim's Avatar
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    By ten speed do you mean 10 chainrings in the casette or 5 in the rear and 2 in the front (like I have on my Gent's Touring). I bought a SRAM 830 for mine...

    Basicly you have to count the chainrings in the back and if that is 5,6,7,8 or 9 or 10 you should get a chain for so many gears. I find it rather confusing that you only count the rear chainrings...

  3. #3
    Senior Member word_nerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flim View Post
    Basicly you have to count the chainrings in the back and if that is 5,6,7,8 or 9 or 10 you should get a chain for so many gears. I find it rather confusing that you only count the rear chainrings...
    that's what i'm asking - do you count both sets of gears together when choosing a new chain? If so, my bike is a 10 speed (5 rear, 2 front). But, when I see a chain listed at 6/7/8 speed, that doesn't sound like a combination of front and rear. Maybe I'm just naive, but I've never heard of a 6, 7 or 8 speed bike.
    1984 Puch Classic, best $5 i ever spent!

  4. #4
    John Wayne Toilet Paper nhluhr's Avatar
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    an old "10 speed" bike has 5 cogs on the back and 2 chainrings on the front (the ten available speeds come from the possible gear choices... or, the product of front times rear... 2 x 5 = 10).

    However, modern chains are sized based on the number of rear cogs. a 10spd chain is narrower than a 9spd chain. You need a chain that will work for a 5spd rear end (assuming your bike does indeed have 5 rear cogs).

  5. #5
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    You count the rear cogs only.
    An older ten speed will probably work with a 6/7/8 speed chain, or just the cheapest available '3/32" multi speed chain'

    Different numbers of rear cogs have different spaces between them (10 cogs int he rear are closer together than 5 cogs in the rear) and you need a chain that will ride smoothly on one cog without without interferring with the cogs next to it.

  6. #6
    Senior Member word_nerd's Avatar
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    Danke, thank you, and merci!

    1984 Puch Classic, best $5 i ever spent!

  7. #7
    Mechanic/Tourist
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    I'm glad you got a clear answer - and to assure you, your very first post included all the information needed - 2 in front, 5 in the rear. As indicated any 3/32 chain will work, don't spend a lot of money, BUT if any of the rear 5 gears are worn the new chain may skip and you'll need to replace the "freewheel" (5 cogs) as well.

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