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Old 03-29-11, 04:05 PM   #1
dave_mac
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Chain too short - can't get into top chain ring

Hey folks, First off I ride a 2008 Specialized Hardrock. Last summer I was out on a long ride and messed up a few links on my chain. Since I was in the middle of nowhere I had to remove the damaged links and reattach the chain. I didn't notice it recently - now I'm having trouble getting into my top chain ring because the chain is too short.

I know I shouldn't replace the chain because it will likely mess up my drive train so I'm wondering about maybe just adding a couple links back into the chain. If so I'd need to buy the same type of chain that I already have but I'm not sure how to identify the make/model of the chain.

I need some advice here, I really don't want to have to replace my entire drive train because I'm a couple of links short in my chain. HELP!!!
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Old 03-29-11, 04:15 PM   #2
FastJake
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You really shouldn't ride your bike with a too-short chain. It's a big liability, because trying to shift into a large-large combination can cause a catastrophic failure of your drivetrain.

Unless your sprockets are worn, you can replace your chain without replacing anything else. This will help to identify sprocket wear: http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#wear Worst case you have to replace your cassette and chainrings, but chainrings last a long time. So a chain, and maybe cassette, probably not crankset/rings.
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Old 03-29-11, 05:25 PM   #3
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Suggest you set your limit screw on the FD to prevent you from even trying to shift over till you get your chain worked out.

I can understand that you might not want to buy a new chain just for a couple links, but unless the chain is almost new - thats really the best course of action.

For maximum drivetrain life you might want to be rotating chains anyway.
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Old 03-29-11, 06:55 PM   #4
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I know I shouldn't replace the chain because it will likely mess up my drive train...
That's crazy talk. Replace the chain. They're not that expensive.
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Old 03-29-11, 08:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by dave_mac View Post
I know I shouldn't replace the chain because it will likely mess up my drive train ....

I need some advice here, I really don't want to have to replace my entire drive train because I'm a couple of links short in my chain. HELP!!!
I just don't understand this. Unless your cogs and chainrings are worn out.

Go get a chain for the same number of speeds as the rear cog.
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Old 03-29-11, 10:29 PM   #6
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You're very lucky that it wouldn't shift into a too short combination. The chain is vastly stronger than any other part of your bike, and if it succeeds in looping two sprockets it isn't long enough (or even tries) you could face expensive consequences.

If you're lucky you'll bend an axle as the chain tries to pull the cassette forward. It might also rip off the derailleur if the cage cannot come above the straight line lower loop, beyond those minor annoyances, it could tear off the right dropout, or buckle your chainrings or bend the right crank.

In summary a too-short chain can destroy your bike.

You have a simple way to avoid this. Replace the chain now, today, before you ride this bike again. It probably isn't as urgent as I make it sound, but consider the potential expense if your luck turns sour.

Also don't let misplaced concern about chain/cassette issues deter you from doing what needs to be done. Chains are replaced every day, and most of us can go through 3-5 chains before the cassette needs replacing. if it turns out your cassette is worn, you'll need to replace that, but a worn cassette would need replacing soon enough anyway.
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Old 03-30-11, 10:34 AM   #7
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Ok, first off I haven't been riding it, I'm just getting everything tuned up before I start riding again (we still have snow on the ground here in Toronto and I'm a bit of a cold weather wimp). I'm still on my first cassette/chain so it sounds like it's safe to just replace the chain. Thanks very much for the advice.

Last edited by dave_mac; 03-30-11 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 03-30-11, 11:51 AM   #8
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You're past due to replace the chain, expect replacing the cassette,
and maybe the chainrings too .

all are drivetrain consumables.. they wear with use.
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Old 03-30-11, 11:56 AM   #9
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I don't understand -- why wouldn't you just replace the chain? It won't mess up anything...
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