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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 02-21-08, 10:14 AM   #1
mic2377
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Chain has died - I am peeved...

So, I have been doing my usual winter training on the fixie. I keep it fairly well-maintained, lube every couple days (pedro's syn lube), clean once every 150 miles.

Well, I pull out a ruler to check my chain. It is around 1000 miles, so I am expecting to replace it. Lo and behold, it stretched a HALF-INCH, over 12-inches. AHHH!!! Cog and chainring are totally shagged.

I am peeved. Cog was an EAI, chainring is Salsa. and they are totally trashed. Chain was an Izumi BMX chain which I was told by LBS was decent, but I am no longer deceived. I noticed the tension went down every ride (average distance - 40 miles) but thought that something was slipping. NO - it was the chain wearing!!!!

Now, I ride it in nasty, wet conditions. I guess I deserve it, but I feel that undue wear was caused to cog/chainring by the terrible chain.

So, I am getting a quick link, and running it till it breaks....

BMX chain users, BEWARE!!!!
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Old 02-21-08, 10:40 AM   #2
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I'd look at the lube. Pedro's Syn Lube is a dirt and sand magnet. It's the worst lube I've ever used in terms of fouling up a chain really quickly.
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Old 02-21-08, 10:45 AM   #3
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I feel your pain, but I'm not surprised at all. You probably wouldn't get much more mileage out of chains that cost 3 times as much. If you want to get more miles out of your chains, don't lube your chain between cleanings. If you are riding it in the rain your chain is accumulating grit that you can't easily wipe off with a rag. If you lube the chain in that condition, you'll wash the grit into the chain and greatly accelerate its wear. Only lube it following a thorough cleaning and be very stingy with the lube..only a tiny drop per roller, and even then you should wipe most of it off immediately following application.
I usually get 1500-2000 miles out of chains on my nice dry weather track bike and a little less on my conversion, which I ride in the rain. I'm lucky to get 500-600 miles out of my fixed mountain bike, which gets ridden in absolute ****.

Also, your cog or chainring might have been worn in the first place, which accelerates chain wear.

Last edited by mihlbach; 02-21-08 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 02-21-08, 11:21 AM   #4
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Normal chain stretch is on the order of 1/16". I sort of doubt that you stretched your's 1/2" and it is (was) still working reasonably well.
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Old 02-21-08, 11:23 AM   #5
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half inch? and you only just noticed despite weekly lubing?

I had fixed chain last 7500mi ($12 3/32" Shimano, wet and dry condition), one last 600mi ($21 1/8" Izumi ECO, dry conditions) and my current ($17 1/8" Connex, dry/wet conditions) has over 5000mi.

The Izumi was a dud chain it wore past stretch limits very quickly.

Al
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Old 02-21-08, 12:38 PM   #6
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It sounds to me like you measured an extra link.

Wear can be accelerated greatly if your chain tension is too taught. Make sure that you can wiggle the chain up and down at every point on the crank's rotation without feeling like you're stretching it.. there should be a noticeable point on the up and down wiggle where it goes from slack to taught. Now, 1/2" of wear might make sense if you tightened your chain too much after every ride or something.
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Old 02-21-08, 12:49 PM   #7
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Can a chain even wear 1/2" longer over 12" without breaking or becoming so weak as to break during use?
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Old 02-21-08, 01:05 PM   #8
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Post a photo with the chain and a ruler. I think you measured wrong.
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Old 02-21-08, 01:16 PM   #9
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KMC K710 "Kool" chain is the best I've ever used. $17 at any shop that carries BMX parts.

Second best was a japanese D.I.D. single speed chain. Kind of hard to find.
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Old 02-21-08, 03:22 PM   #10
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Can a chain even wear 1/2" longer over 12" without breaking or becoming so weak as to break during use?
The higher the wear the easier it will be to break. I don't think there would be a hard limit on how long it has to wear. Maybe if someone rode it reaaaaaaaaaaaly gently it wouldn't break.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:02 PM   #11
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Well, I'll eliminate some of the obvious.
1. Chain was not too tight. Slack was adjusted properly.
2. It ran OK because the cog and chainring became super worn, too. Cog is worn to an impressive degree.
3. It was lubed only when it was really needed, ie the chain had no lube left on it (DRY).
4. As for lube, I used to run finish line wet, but it gunks up really bad. Syn lube is a little lighter, and the detergents in it don't gunk up so bad.
5. Bike is ridden VERY hard. Winter training is up and down monster rollers in south/central WI.
6. Upon measuring again, it worn more toward the 1/4" range. I apologize for what seemed to be a gross exaggeration. Still bad, though.

Note: I have been riding in WI winter, so imagine running a chain in an abrasive salt slush, with lots of sand mixed in. Makes a sound like gravel crunching the whole time. It is total abuse.

I am trying a Wipperman SS chain next. Wish me luck. You guys will hear if it is worth the $25. I guess 500-600 miles will be the new chain change interval!

Cheers~
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Old 02-21-08, 07:13 PM   #12
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Yeap, winter training is hard on everything.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:24 PM   #13
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I agree, I am learning that winter training is indeed expensive. So much for swearing off the trainer this year. It's breaking the bank to ride outside!

It's good for "character" though. You should check out a site called "Belgian Knee Warmers."

Cheers~
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Old 02-21-08, 07:56 PM   #14
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I am trying a Wipperman SS chain next. Wish me luck. You guys will hear if it is worth the $25. I guess 500-600 miles will be the new chain change interval!
I'd go the other way with chains. Buy the $6 BMX type, run em for a week or two then toss em. You might find they actually hold up a lot better than the more expensive ones.

You might want to look at using the wax dip method for lubrication, zero dirt attraction.
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Old 02-21-08, 08:25 PM   #15
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I agree, I am learning that winter training is indeed expensive. So much for swearing off the trainer this year. It's breaking the bank to ride outside!

It's good for "character" though. You should check out a site called "Belgian Knee Warmers."

Cheers~
Well the good news is that you can buy **** chains for $5-$15. These you can literally wear into the ground before a toss.
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Old 02-21-08, 10:13 PM   #16
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Winter riding kills drive trains. My winter bike gets a cheap chain, and a cheap freewheel every year. Steel chainrings are the way to go for winter bikes. Cheap, and they don't wear as fast as aluminum.
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Old 02-22-08, 02:09 AM   #17
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4. As for lube, I used to run finish line wet, but it gunks up really bad. Syn lube is a little lighter, and the detergents in it don't gunk up so bad.
Strangely, I've had the exact opposite experience with these two lubes.

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I am trying a Wipperman SS chain next. Wish me luck. You guys will hear if it is worth the $25. I guess 500-600 miles will be the new chain change interval!
Does SS stand for Single Speed or Stainless Steel? If it's Stainless Steel, spend your money on something else. I tried one for a winter and the damn pins in the chain rusted extremely quickly. Wear on it was pretty rapid too.

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Winter riding kills drive trains. My winter bike gets a cheap chain, and a cheap freewheel every year. Steel chainrings are the way to go for winter bikes. Cheap, and they don't wear as fast as aluminum.
Very true. Against my wishes the wrench I go to put an El Cheapo chain on my winter bike. It has been problem free all winter, and cost about $6. Once again, he was right......
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Old 02-22-08, 05:58 AM   #18
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I use the $10 KMC410 chain, as good as any other chain I've used and the RustBuster model is great for nasty conditions. I use them on my MTBs and my road fixed.

Changing the chain before it wrecks the cog and chainring will be cheaper in the long run, just keep a closer eye on it now. It's still better than riding the trainer.
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Old 02-22-08, 06:54 PM   #19
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Does SS stand for Single Speed or Stainless Steel? If it's Stainless Steel, spend your money on something else. I tried one for a winter and the damn pins in the chain rusted extremely quickly. Wear on it was pretty rapid too.
We've had messengers that ride in daily slopt that don't get rust on their stainless chains, fwiw.
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Old 02-23-08, 01:54 AM   #20
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We've had messengers that ride in daily slopt that don't get rust on their stainless chains, fwiw.
The plates didn't rust, only the pins. It might have something to do with the fact that they don't actually plow the streets in Riga, they just dump and bunch of salt, chemicals, and sand on the roads to melt the snow and ice. It make a nasty brine.
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Old 02-23-08, 04:31 AM   #21
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People who ***** about KMC chains being cheap **** need to understand that KMC makes a huge variety of chains, some of them very high quality. I just got a heavy box in the mail today filled with a bunch of KMC Z510HX (1/8") and Z610HX (3/32") chains. Miles per dollar, these are the best SSFG-specific chains you can get...$11 from Niagara Cycle works!
Plus, theres nothing more reassuring than having a big stockpile of chains in your closet.

Last edited by mihlbach; 02-23-08 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 02-23-08, 08:49 AM   #22
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BMX chain users, BEWARE!!!!
lol
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