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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-22-08, 05:00 AM   #1
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First it was the spokes and now the chain...

I hope this is not an omen for things to come. On the way to work today, I broke my chain. Just fell off as I was starting from a dead stop, at a traffic light with a bunch of cars behind me! I went back to grabbed the chain and carried my bike to work, and then made the walk of shame home tonight. Was not a happy camper. Of course, I had emptied out my saddle bag last weekend and neglected to put my chain tool back in there, so I had little choice (other than a Taxi).

I'm not really sure what happened. Aside from the outer plates being bent to hell and an indentation on the inner plates, the link looks fine to my untrained eye.





I am also posting this in the mechanics forum, but I am curious if any of you clydes have seen this before? I am a bit concerned if my chain is failing for no apparent reason.
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Old 10-22-08, 05:06 AM   #2
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Which bike were you riding?
Have you had any miss shifts?
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Old 10-22-08, 05:12 AM   #3
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Was riding the LHT. I put my rear shifter into friction mode last week because it was acting up a bit. It took a few days to get used to it.
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Old 10-22-08, 05:15 AM   #4
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I now carry a spare spoke and spoke wrench, and these.

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Old 10-22-08, 05:18 AM   #5
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Yep, I am usually carrying that same tool. Just didn't have it with me! Don't have any extra links though, I will have to pick some up. Will just about any 9sp link do? Chain is SRAM PC-971.
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Old 10-22-08, 05:19 AM   #6
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I have the same chain (Spram) and spare link.
Get a good link, if you do much riding.
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Old 10-22-08, 05:21 AM   #7
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How many miles did you have on it? Did you measure the chain to determine wear? Did last week's problem shifting have anything to do with it?
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Old 10-22-08, 05:22 AM   #8
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Also, when you buy a new chain to replace that one you will get a few extra links that you can save. On the road you don't need to use them, just shorten it by 1 link, and don't use the big big combo.
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Old 10-22-08, 05:32 AM   #9
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I think the shifting problems were due to cable pull. I just didn't want to be arsed with adjusting them, so I went to friction. I had been wanting to try out friction anyway, so it was a convenient excuse.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:23 AM   #10
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total guess.
From the ding, it looks like maybe the chain sucked a rock or got bumped on something hard which weakend the plate/pin connection. Did you drop off a curb or anything hard that had your rear derallieur bouncing? Did you hear your chain slap hard while cranking over curbs/gravel/potholes?

To me, it looks like a rock got sucked in a bit, weakend the chain, then finally the chain gave out...

total guess.

Hope the Mechs are more helpful.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:32 AM   #11
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With that powerlink, SRAM chains are crazy easy to fix. Have your LBS show you how, but basically, it's easy as pie.

My LHT's stock chain lasted about 2,000 miles before it busted, and it still wasn't very stretched out. All the Shimano chains I've had seem to go at about the 1k-1500 mark, or just get so loose they are horridly sloppy. Had I not shortened it by two links instead of one, I'd probably still be riding the stock chain, to be honest, but I had a spare already and figured I'd just throw the old one in my saddlebag on long rides as a spare.

Anyway, 10 wheels has it right. Get a spare powerlink, and learn how to use it, you'll never again have a problem.
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Old 10-22-08, 07:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by mesasone View Post
I hope this is not an omen for things to come. On the way to work today, I broke my chain. Just fell off as I was starting from a dead stop, at a traffic light with a bunch of cars behind me! I went back to grabbed the chain and carried my bike to work, and then made the walk of shame home tonight. Was not a happy camper. Of course, I had emptied out my saddle bag last weekend and neglected to put my chain tool back in there, so I had little choice (other than a Taxi).

I'm not really sure what happened. Aside from the outer plates being bent to hell and an indentation on the inner plates, the link looks fine to my untrained eye.


I am also posting this in the mechanics forum, but I am curious if any of you clydes have seen this before? I am a bit concerned if my chain is failing for no apparent reason.
You didn't happen to take the chain apart and put it together with a chain tool did you? Modern pins are peened when the chain is put together and can't just simple be pressed out and back in like old chains could. The pin won't hold. That's why you use a quick link or Shimano's goofy replacement pin.

Alternatively, chains do just break sometimes. Nothing you can do about it but carry repair tools and parts.

To avoid "The Walk", carry a chain tool (I never use the chain tool from the bike in the shop) and a couple of extra quick links that are the proper size for your chain.
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Old 10-22-08, 12:05 PM   #13
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Yep, I am usually carrying that same tool. Just didn't have it with me! Don't have any extra links though, I will have to pick some up. Will just about any 9sp link do? Chain is SRAM PC-971.
Any 9-speed link should work, but I'm a big fan of the SRAM master links; they're very easy to install. Most of my local shops have them in stock for around $5. I always ride with either a Park CT-5 chain tool or a multi-tool that includes a chain tool (e.g. Crank Brothers Multi-17) in my seat bag... just in case.
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Old 10-24-08, 03:25 PM   #14
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That chain looks thrashed.Look at all of the pitting on the pin,looks like water damage to me.Looks like that chain needed more looking after than it got or you clean it with a water based cleaner and didn't get the water out.I change the chain on my bike every 5000 miles or so and they look better than that when they come off.

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Old 10-25-08, 04:33 PM   #15
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With that powerlink, SRAM chains are crazy easy to fix. Have your LBS show you how, but basically, it's easy as pie.

My LHT's stock chain lasted about 2,000 miles before it busted, and it still wasn't very stretched out. All the Shimano chains I've had seem to go at about the 1k-1500 mark, or just get so loose they are horridly sloppy. Had I not shortened it by two links instead of one, I'd probably still be riding the stock chain, to be honest, but I had a spare already and figured I'd just throw the old one in my saddlebag on long rides as a spare.

Anyway, 10 wheels has it right. Get a spare powerlink, and learn how to use it, you'll never again have a problem.
I'm not sure I follow you. I know how to use the powerlink, but in either case I still would have to had used the chain tool to remove the broken link before I could install any kind of quick link. So I was SOL either way. If you have another method, feel free to share. Ultimately, I just took out the broken link and rode it short one link for the past few days until I could get down to the LBS, which worked out fine.

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You didn't happen to take the chain apart and put it together with a chain tool did you? Modern pins are peened when the chain is put together and can't just simple be pressed out and back in like old chains could. The pin won't hold. That's why you use a quick link or Shimano's goofy replacement pin.

Alternatively, chains do just break sometimes. Nothing you can do about it but carry repair tools and parts.

To avoid "The Walk", carry a chain tool (I never use the chain tool from the bike in the shop) and a couple of extra quick links that are the proper size for your chain.
No I didn't take the chain apart! Somebody in the mechanics forum suggested that too.

What am I supposed to do if I break a chain? Repair it on the road and replace it at my earliest convenience? If that is true, does somebody make a chain that can be repaired and used until it is properly worn out? I hate how "modern" has simply become a marketing term for disposable.

And of course, if I had put my chain tool back in my bag, the chain never would have broken. Nothing ever goes wrong until you don't have the tools to fix it


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That chain looks thrashed.Look at all of the pitting on the pin,looks like water damage to me.Looks like that chain needed more looking after than it got or you clean it with a water based cleaner and didn't get the water out.I change the chain on my bike every 5000 miles or so and they look better than that when they come off.
I try to clean my drive train every Sunday. Take the chain off and scrub it with a tooth brush, and scrub down my cassette and chain rings as well. I do sometimes skip a cleaning or two, but I at least clean it twice a month. I'm not sure what else I can do to maintain it.

I suspect that a pebble or some such became wedged between the links and bent the outer plate. It would be consistent with the damage on the inter-link. They weren't sure what caused the chain to fail at the LBS either.

Thanks for the help everyone. I ended up buying a new chain and have my old to canabalize for spare links.
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Old 10-26-08, 09:59 AM   #16
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No I didn't take the chain apart! Somebody in the mechanics forum suggested that too.

What am I supposed to do if I break a chain? Repair it on the road and replace it at my earliest convenience? If that is true, does somebody make a chain that can be repaired and used until it is properly worn out? I hate how "modern" has simply become a marketing term for disposable.

And of course, if I had put my chain tool back in my bag, the chain never would have broken. Nothing ever goes wrong until you don't have the tools to fix it
By taking it apart, I don't mean taking each link apart. Do you use a chain tool to break the chain so that you can remove it from the bike, i.e. a single link. If you do this on modern chains, it's detrimental to the health of the chain. That's what the goofy pin from Shimano is for and the (far better) quick links are for.

If you carry a couple of spare quick links, you can easily repair a chain on the road. Remove the damaged link and replace it with a quick link. Get a new chain when you get home. But that does mean you have to carry a chain tool at all times...thus negating the need for the quick links


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I try to clean my drive train every Sunday. Take the chain off and scrub it with a tooth brush, and scrub down my cassette and chain rings as well. I do sometimes skip a cleaning or two, but I at least clean it twice a month. I'm not sure what else I can do to maintain it.

I suspect that a pebble or some such became wedged between the links and bent the outer plate. It would be consistent with the damage on the inter-link. They weren't sure what caused the chain to fail at the LBS either.
If you are removing the chain weekly...way, way, way too often by the way...you are taking the chain apart every week. If you don't have a quick link in there already, how are you driving the pin out to remove the chain? Are you replacing the pin after every removal with a new pin that has been properly peened to keep it in place?

You shouldn't need to clean a chain very often at all. I clean mine when I install it, use a dry lube and never clean it again until I put on a new chain. That's for road bikes and mountain bikes. If you are using an wet lube, it will be dirtier but you still shouldn't need to clean it weekly.

I can't see any way that a pebble could be wedged into the chain with enough force to split the chain. Teeth of the gears on front and rear would have cleared any debris before it could do that kind of damage.

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Thanks for the help everyone. I ended up buying a new chain and have my old to canabalize for spare links.
This is exactly what you can not do on chains made now. Once the pin is pushed out, you cannot get it to reliably hold again. Pushing the pin out and back in takes off the little shoulder on the end of the pin that keeps the chain from pulling apart. 10 years ago, I'd say yes. But not now with the chains available.
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Old 10-26-08, 10:34 AM   #17
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Can a power link be used on a Shimano chain?

I broke my first chain a couple days ago. No links or chain break with me. Luckily I was only about 300 yards from the end of my ride. I did some research on how to fix the chain. I determined I had a sachs chain (now SRAM). I was ready to go purchase a chain break tool, then learned I only needed a power link. I must have detroyed the old power link as there two ends on the chain both were inner plates, there were no outside plates or pins left in the holes.

Using the power link was a 1 minute fix. This was on my MTB, my road bike has a newer Shimano chain. I would like to get a chain break and power link for it. The chain break would be to push a pin out if it breaks and then use the power link. Can I continue to ride with a power link?
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Old 10-26-08, 07:15 PM   #18
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Something jammed in there to cause it to break like that. If it were a bad installation, you'd have cracks around the outer plate at the pin.
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Old 10-26-08, 07:59 PM   #19
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Can a power link be used on a Shimano chain?

I broke my first chain a couple days ago. No links or chain break with me. Luckily I was only about 300 yards from the end of my ride. I did some research on how to fix the chain. I determined I had a sachs chain (now SRAM). I was ready to go purchase a chain break tool, then learned I only needed a power link. I must have detroyed the old power link as there two ends on the chain both were inner plates, there were no outside plates or pins left in the holes.

Using the power link was a 1 minute fix. This was on my MTB, my road bike has a newer Shimano chain. I would like to get a chain break and power link for it. The chain break would be to push a pin out if it breaks and then use the power link. Can I continue to ride with a power link?
According to this thread, "officially" you're not supposed to but many do with out issue.

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By taking it apart, I don't mean taking each link apart. Do you use a chain tool to break the chain so that you can remove it from the bike, i.e. a single link. If you do this on modern chains, it's detrimental to the health of the chain. That's what the goofy pin from Shimano is for and the (far better) quick links are for.
No, I am not taking the chain apart in any fashion what-so-ever! I do and always have used the powerlink that came on the chain. It is really disappointing that chains are designed to be disposable, however it is good to know for future reference. Hopefully this won't happen often.
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Old 10-26-08, 08:15 PM   #20
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By taking it apart, I don't mean taking each link apart. Do you use a chain tool to break the chain so that you can remove it from the bike, i.e. a single link. If you do this on modern chains, it's detrimental to the health of the chain. That's what the goofy pin from Shimano is for and the (far better) quick links are for.

If you carry a couple of spare quick links, you can easily repair a chain on the road. Remove the damaged link and replace it with a quick link. Get a new chain when you get home. But that does mean you have to carry a chain tool at all times...thus negating the need for the quick links



If you are removing the chain weekly...way, way, way too often by the way...you are taking the chain apart every week. If you don't have a quick link in there already, how are you driving the pin out to remove the chain? Are you replacing the pin after every removal with a new pin that has been properly peened to keep it in place?

You shouldn't need to clean a chain very often at all. I clean mine when I install it, use a dry lube and never clean it again until I put on a new chain. That's for road bikes and mountain bikes. If you are using an wet lube, it will be dirtier but you still shouldn't need to clean it weekly.

I can't see any way that a pebble could be wedged into the chain with enough force to split the chain. Teeth of the gears on front and rear would have cleared any debris before it could do that kind of damage.



This is exactly what you can not do on chains made now. Once the pin is pushed out, you cannot get it to reliably hold again. Pushing the pin out and back in takes off the little shoulder on the end of the pin that keeps the chain from pulling apart. 10 years ago, I'd say yes. But not now with the chains available.
I think it really depends on the chain, Shimano and Campy chains need special pins, some others do not, but you really need to know which you have. Chains have a standard length, bikes need various shorter lengths, so there are always links left over, putting those links in a bag with a few special pins if needed, makes sense as part of ones emergency road kit. There are mini chain tools that are quite small, so unless one is a roadie who is overly concerned about the extra 75g of weight,

When you get a new chain keep the extra links, and if you already have a few extra links from the last new chain, toss them in your tool box, so the spare links are always the most compatible. No reason why a chain that breaks due to damage and is repaired with spare links from the same chain, can't continue to be used until it wears out.
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Old 10-27-08, 04:22 PM   #21
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No, I am not taking the chain apart in any fashion what-so-ever! I do and always have used the powerlink that came on the chain. It is really disappointing that chains are designed to be disposable, however it is good to know for future reference. Hopefully this won't happen often.
Any moving part on a bicycle should be considered to be disposable. For that matter, any stationary part should be considered to be disposable I've never run across a part that couldn't be broken.
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Old 10-27-08, 06:19 PM   #22
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According to this thread, "officially" you're not supposed to but many do with out issue.



No, I am not taking the chain apart in any fashion what-so-ever! I do and always have used the powerlink that came on the chain. It is really disappointing that chains are designed to be disposable, however it is good to know for future reference. Hopefully this won't happen often.
I don't think disposable is quite the right term, in computers they use the term consumable for items that get consumed with use. Normally I would consider on a bicycle, brake pads, tires, tubes and yes chains are consumable parts. Although most of a chain could be recycled, I don't think they often are, If your removing a chain every week using a power link, your doing it too often though.

The way I clean a chain is to take a rag, spray on a little degreaser and give it a good wipe, measure for stretch, if it's within the acceptable range, then I lube, give it another wipe with a clean rag, and let it go. If it's not in the acceptable range, I get another one, and replace it. Unless you have a super expensive 10 speed chain, it's not worth the effort. I can get a replacement chain for under $15, at that price even if you replace the chain annually, it's still not unreasonable.
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