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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 07-21-08, 09:59 PM   #1
lee_rimar
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Chain noise - what's normal?

I have abnormally sharp hearing, so I can hear every bit of noise my bike makes -- and often the noises of bikes riding past me.

But I'm not a bike mechanic -- so sometimes when I identify a sound I don't know if it's a problem, or falls into the category of "yeah, they all sound like that."

For example, I can hear the noise of my chain engaging the rear cog. It's a slightly metallic, almost grinding noise, just slightly louder than the hum of my tires against the pavement. I'm pretty sure the chain is neither too tight nor too loose, no stuck links, and the chainline seems as straight as I can make it.

Okay... so other than taking this to one or more LBS and asking them to listen, or borrowing/test riding a bunch of other bikes for sound comparisons -- how do I know what a normal and healthy FG chain should sound like?
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Old 07-21-08, 10:11 PM   #2
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Post a wav.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:14 PM   #3
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Let the chain and cog wear into each other for awhile. Then the noise should get a little quieter.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:22 PM   #4
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no drivetrain is perfectly silent.
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Old 07-21-08, 10:22 PM   #5
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I'm the same way, it sucks. Have you measured your chainline? Is your chain 3/32 or 1/8? Are your rings fresh or worn in already? is everything tight?
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Old 07-22-08, 10:54 AM   #6
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i am running a 1/8 chain on a 3/32 cog so there is some noise but it doesn't bother me, if i have just lubed the chain i can hardly hear it
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Old 07-22-08, 07:43 PM   #7
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Good stuff, all. Thanks.

I'll take the wait and see (or hear) approach. It's a new bike and I just flipped it from freewheel to the fixed side a couple weeks ago -- so I guess it does make sense to let the cog wear in for a bit.
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Old 07-22-08, 07:52 PM   #8
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Make sure your chain tension is good. It shouldn't be so tight that it binds at a certain point - this will greatly increase noise.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:49 PM   #9
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I have been having the exact same problem. I took it back to the shop where I bought it and they said it was normal for fixies to have some chain noise. I didnt buy that so I went for a second opinion at the shop where I go if I do need work done to my other bikes. They told me that the #1 thing I could do was change the chain for a better quality one. The chain that came on the bike from the factory was about a $10 chain. I paid $40 for a Dura Ace chain and that quieted it down greatly.

It still has a slight amount of sound. Nothing like it did before. I will ride it for a month or so now and see where it is then.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:49 PM   #10
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I've had chain noise and it was caused by links binding. I've shortened my chain several times at different links using a chain breaker and the pins I've pushed were binding. I lubricated each pin a couple days ago and it's quiet now...
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Old 07-22-08, 11:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdesjar View Post
i am running a 1/8 chain on a 3/32 cog so there is some noise but it doesn't bother me, if i have just lubed the chain i can hardly hear it
I've heard running a 1/8 chain with a 3/32 cog is "bad". I have a spare colored 1/8 chain lying around and I'd like to toss it on my bike but it has a 3/32 cog. Should I just go for it? Haha..
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Old 07-23-08, 01:18 AM   #12
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1/8 on 3/32 is fine, but not the other way.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:49 AM   #13
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1/8" chain on 3/32" parts is most likely louder, but doesnt effect anything mechanically.

However, I only use 3/32" chains on 3/32" parts.. and dont care for colored chains..
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Old 07-23-08, 09:00 AM   #14
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is there a 3/32 half link chain out there? can some recommend a strong 3/32 chain?
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Old 07-23-08, 09:32 AM   #15
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is there a 3/32 half link chain out there? can some recommend a strong 3/32 chain?
My LBS had a 3/32" half-link. The cheapest KMC "Z" chain will work just fine.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:34 AM   #16
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thanks mr jive
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