Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
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Before "repairing" the stiff link you want to know what you're dealing with, and the actual cause.
There are 3 common causes of stiff links,
1- tight rivet, usually the one that was user closed, but sometimes (rarely) a factory error. Links don't magically get tighter so if the stiff link developed after riding a while you can rule this out. OTOH if it is a new chain the link can usually be freed with a bit of side flex with the stiff link as the fulcrum. Once it's decent enough not to skip, a bit of lube and riding will wear the binding areas and free it up. Like everything else, chains get looser with wear.
2- rust, corrosion, grit, or poor lube (or a combination). This is the most common cause of stiff links that appear after riding. Chains have tight clearances and rust swells the metal, or grit jams the space binding the link. Clean and work the link free, there's no need for the side flex method since the plates are already where they belong. Rust is soft and wears away quickly as you ride freeing the link. You can speed this up a bit by riding a mis-aligned combination which increases wear where the plates overlap.
3- nicked plate edge. This happens during a hard shift under power. The overlapping area of the plates strikes a tooth hard, peening some material to the side (imagine putting the chain on an anvil and using a hammer and chisel edgewise on the overlapping plates). The damage will be visible at the top side of the link on the lower loop, and when flexed the link won't be stiff as much as having a pronounced click as the peen marks pass each other. Eventually this resolves with wear, but the best option is to carefully grind the damage out until the link is free enough to ride.
An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.
“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin
“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions”
- Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN
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