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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 06-17-09, 12:32 PM   #1
Ken Cox
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Quiet 1/8" chain

I plan to try a 1/8" drivetrain on my upcoming fixed gear.

I would like a quality bushed chain (although I won't reject a bushingless chain).

I have a totally silent 3/32 drivetrain, now, and I like quiet.

What experiences have the 1/8 riders on this forum had regarding the various chains and noise?

Please cite your chainring and cog when commenting on a specific chain, as the combination of components might have something to do with noise.

I presently plan on a Sugino 75 track ring and an EAI cog.

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-09, 12:34 PM   #2
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It will be silent when the chainline is completely straight.
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Old 06-17-09, 12:46 PM   #3
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oil can help. But a straight chainline will be the biggest factor.
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Old 06-17-09, 12:57 PM   #4
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FSA Pro Track Chainrings + Miche cogs + $8.00 KMC 1/8" BMX chain from LBS. Dead silent.
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Old 06-17-09, 01:34 PM   #5
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im running campy record chainring and EAI cog with a KMC chain, and it's been pretty quiet.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:03 PM   #6
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I've run Salsa, Truvativ, and Cycle Underground rings with Surly and EAI cogs with pretty similar results with all. But, it did seem like the Surly cog was noisier. KMC chains of various types all seem to be the same.

But, it's worth mention that pretty much any combo starts out a bit noisy and then quiets down as the chainring, chain, and cog all wear together a bit. I'm always surprised at how noisy my drivetrain is when I replace my chain.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:03 PM   #7
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I run SG75 ring and EAI cog and it isn't too quiet. Might be my chain though.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:29 PM   #8
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i use a Shimano oval chain from Ben's Cycle, and it is totally silent. looks cool too!
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Old 06-17-09, 03:03 PM   #9
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oil not only "can help" but is actually pretty important.

wipe down and re-oil your chain daily and you will have the quietest ride your chainline will allow.

i run/roll/palp a cheesy aluminum "rocket ring" and a surly cog with a line 2mm out and, until the was breaks down after 10 or 15 km, it's dead silent.

Last edited by frymaster; 06-17-09 at 03:05 PM. Reason: added chain name
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Old 06-17-09, 03:47 PM   #10
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why are you trying to go 1/8 inch? is it for the beefy chainrings?
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Old 06-17-09, 04:35 PM   #11
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1/8 is a ****ing waste of time. Stay with 3/32. 3/32 is faster, lighter and quieter. What more do you need?
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Old 06-17-09, 05:01 PM   #12
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strength. knowing that a 3/32 chain is thinner and therefore weaker is not cool when riding brakeless
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Old 06-17-09, 05:06 PM   #13
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strength. knowing that a 3/32 chain is thinner and therefore weaker is not cool when riding brakeless
is that sarcasm?
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Old 06-17-09, 05:19 PM   #14
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am i wrong? i wouldnt be surprised haha
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Old 06-17-09, 05:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adriano
why are you trying to go 1/8 inch? is it for the beefy chainrings?
I want to go to 1/8 in order to get access to the truer roundness of the Sugino 75 crank and chainwheels.

Since my original post I have gone ahead and ordered a black 170mm Sugino crank, a black 44 tooth Sugino Track chainwheel, a 19 tooth EAI cog, and a Wipperman 1R8 chain; all in 1/8".

A little history:

I started out with a Sugino RD crank, Sugino 130 BCD single-speed chainring, a no-name chain and a no-name cog.

I quickly discovered that the inner-or-outer position of the chainring on the RD crank REALLY mattered, as did having an EAI cog and a KMC 610 chain.

I then replaced the RD crank with a Stronglight crank and replaced the no-name bottom bracket with a Phil bottom bracket.

I found that if I "tunned" the Phil bottom bracket two threads to the right, and gave my 610 chain a daily wipe and oiling, this would give me a dead silent chain.

However, the Stronglight crank had a slight out of round condition, which I have since learned falls into the "normal" category, and this lack of roundness made it impossible to adjust my chain as tight as I would like it.

In trying to tune-out the out of roundness using Sheldon Brown's chainwheel adjusting method, I learned that the various imperfections of the drive train (cog, chainwheel, crank and rear-triangle-geometry) could all add up in a repeating cycle, sort of like a "perfect storm," so that a given combination might produce a particularly tight chain every third revolution of the crank, a particularly slack chain at other multiples of revolution, and at least two tight and two loose points in every cycle of spin.

Fascinating.

Talking to Kevin at Webcyclery, and John at Businesscycles, I further learned that the perfectly-round crankset and cog, and the perfectly-aligned rear triangle, don't exist.

However, as a general rule, as one spends more money, and especially on track components, the circle gets rounder...but never perfectly round.

Kevin, at Webcyclery, has very gently led me to the understanding that the pursuit of perfection will probably make one unhappy; whereas, one can have a lot of fun pursuing "pretty good."

However, I have another motive beyond "pretty good."

It looks more and more like I will not find a solution to the brake and sectioned-fork issue I raised in another thread, with the exception of a no-brake solution.

Given a no-brake solution, for safety reasons, I want to remove as many variables and potential unhappinesses as possible from my bike setup.

In my mind, having the safest possible drive-train (also stop-train) for riding with no brake means a taut chain that has minimal side-play.

By minimal side-play, I mean a laterally stiff chain.

People who review track chains sometimes measure the lateral stiffness of a chain in terms of how much or how little the chain will deflect sideways from straight when laid on a flat surface, and greater stiffness supposedly reduces the probability of throwing a chain.

Accordingly, bushed 1/8" chains demonstrate the greatest lateral stiffness.

All of the above said, John, at Businesscycles, told me I may or may not experience more drive train noise by going to a 1/8 drivetrain.

Anyway, since raising the original issue regarding chain noise, I have realized, with some help from adriano, that I want an EAI cog and a Sugino 75 crankset; and, that leaves only the selection of a chain.

From the experience of others, I know I want a chain with a spring clip master link.

I have found only three bushed 1/8" chains that come with a spring clip master link: the KMC D101 Silver/Gold; the Wipperman Whitestar; and, the Wipperman 1R8.

The $15-$18 Wipperman Whitestar represents the cheapest of the three chains, and the Wipperman 1R8 and KMC D101 both cost around $40.

Assuming one generally gets what he pays for, I have eliminated the Whitestar simply because at this point in my life I can afford to do so.

I can't find the D101 offered by an American distributor in silver, and so that leaves the 1R8.

There...I have my drivetrain.

Thanks.
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Old 06-17-09, 05:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
I want to go to 1/8 in order to get access to the truer roundness of the Sugino 75 crank and chainwheels.
have you considered ta specialties?
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Old 06-17-09, 07:08 PM   #17
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If you listen to an iPod while riding like the hipsters do, you won't have to worry.
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Old 06-17-09, 08:47 PM   #18
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the whitestar is a perfectly fine chain.
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Old 06-17-09, 09:28 PM   #19
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Achieving drivetrain silence is not always as simple as choosing the right components and/or achieving a perfect chainline. I've had junky drivetrains with messed up chainlines that were dead silent, and I've had other drivetrains with perfect chainline made up of quality track parts that were noisy as hell.
In my experience different brand name cogs and chains don't effect the drivetrain noise much. It has more to do with the amount and type of lube, chain tension, and the state of wear of the various components. You can always expect your drivetrain to make some noise and there are a lot of variables that will effect how effectively that noise is transmitted. For example, switching to a deeper aluminum rim on my track bike increased the apparent noise of my drivetrain pretty dramatically. I've given up trying to make it silent. I keep it clean, replace worn parts, and maintain a good chainline, and I've have learned to not worry about the noise.
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Old 06-17-09, 09:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihlbach
Achieving drivetrain silence is not always as simple as choosing the right components and/or achieving a perfect chainline. I've had junky drivetrains with messed up chainlines that were dead silent, and I've had other drivetrains with perfect chainline made up of quality track parts that were noisy as hell.
In my experience different brand name cogs and chains don't effect the drivetrain noise much. It has more to do with the amount and type of lube, chain tension, and the state of wear of the various components. You can always expect your drivetrain to make some noise and there are a lot of variables that will effect how effectively that noise is transmitted. For example, switching to a deeper aluminum rim on my track bike increased the apparent noise of my drivetrain pretty dramatically. I've given up trying to make it silent. I keep it clean, replace worn parts, and maintain a good chainline, and I've have learned to not worry about the noise.
Nice discussion.

Thanks.

I agree with everything mihlbach has written, and I'd like to add that in the past chainline has had a bearing on my drivetrain noise.

I think getting a Phil bottom bracket and having the ability to move the crankset a little more to the right made the biggest single difference in drivetrain noise.

I also discovered a blue liquid lube (I don't have the energy to go out in the garage and check the name) that seriously quieted down the drivetrain.

I really can't say why a quiet bike gives me so much satisfaction, but it does.

Funny: some guys want to go fast; some guys want to go fashionably; and I want to go minimally, precisely, safely and quietly (with a segmented fork).

=====

Deer don't seem able to recognize a person on a bicycle as a person on a bicycle, and so, if a person has a quiet enough bike, he or she can ride right into the middle of a family of deer without alarming them.

Not that I want to sneak up on deer...
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Old 06-18-09, 06:05 AM   #21
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i got sugino 75 cranks, a 45t sugino 'cubic' chainring, HKK Vertex GOLD Track Chain 1/2", and a sugion mash cog set running the 17t kog and all you can here is the tires rolling and the wind in your helmet...
at low speed it spooky...

a dead straight chain line helps alot i think and the 75 cranks are pretty slick with the 75 BB
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Old 06-18-09, 07:43 AM   #22
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I have had similar experience with my drivetrain as mihlbach and agree with what he says. Currently running, sealed shimano BB, 3/32 Suntour Cog, 3/32 Sugino Chainring, and 1/8 KMC 710sl with the only noise being the sound of the chain rotating on the cog.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:22 AM   #23
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the oval chain is sweet...i may pick one up...right now i am sporting the kmc kool chain on a messenger ring and surly cog...quiet enough for me, i have been using ice wax recently, does anyone else use this stuff?
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Old 06-18-09, 11:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox View Post
I want to go to 1/8 in order to get access to the truer roundness of the Sugino 75 crank and chainwheels.

Since my original post I have gone ahead and ordered a black 170mm Sugino crank, a black 44 tooth Sugino Track chainwheel, a 19 tooth EAI cog, and a Wipperman 1R8 chain; all in 1/8".

A little history:

I started out with a Sugino RD crank, Sugino 130 BCD single-speed chainring, a no-name chain and a no-name cog.

I quickly discovered that the inner-or-outer position of the chainring on the RD crank REALLY mattered, as did having an EAI cog and a KMC 610 chain.

I then replaced the RD crank with a Stronglight crank and replaced the no-name bottom bracket with a Phil bottom bracket.

I found that if I "tunned" the Phil bottom bracket two threads to the right, and gave my 610 chain a daily wipe and oiling, this would give me a dead silent chain.

However, the Stronglight crank had a slight out of round condition, which I have since learned falls into the "normal" category, and this lack of roundness made it impossible to adjust my chain as tight as I would like it.

In trying to tune-out the out of roundness using Sheldon Brown's chainwheel adjusting method, I learned that the various imperfections of the drive train (cog, chainwheel, crank and rear-triangle-geometry) could all add up in a repeating cycle, sort of like a "perfect storm," so that a given combination might produce a particularly tight chain every third revolution of the crank, a particularly slack chain at other multiples of revolution, and at least two tight and two loose points in every cycle of spin.

Fascinating.

Talking to Kevin at Webcyclery, and John at Businesscycles, I further learned that the perfectly-round crankset and cog, and the perfectly-aligned rear triangle, don't exist.

However, as a general rule, as one spends more money, and especially on track components, the circle gets rounder...but never perfectly round.

Kevin, at Webcyclery, has very gently led me to the understanding that the pursuit of perfection will probably make one unhappy; whereas, one can have a lot of fun pursuing "pretty good."

However, I have another motive beyond "pretty good."

It looks more and more like I will not find a solution to the brake and sectioned-fork issue I raised in another thread, with the exception of a no-brake solution.

Given a no-brake solution, for safety reasons, I want to remove as many variables and potential unhappinesses as possible from my bike setup.

In my mind, having the safest possible drive-train (also stop-train) for riding with no brake means a taut chain that has minimal side-play.

By minimal side-play, I mean a laterally stiff chain.

People who review track chains sometimes measure the lateral stiffness of a chain in terms of how much or how little the chain will deflect sideways from straight when laid on a flat surface, and greater stiffness supposedly reduces the probability of throwing a chain.

Accordingly, bushed 1/8" chains demonstrate the greatest lateral stiffness.

All of the above said, John, at Businesscycles, told me I may or may not experience more drive train noise by going to a 1/8 drivetrain.

Anyway, since raising the original issue regarding chain noise, I have realized, with some help from adriano, that I want an EAI cog and a Sugino 75 crankset; and, that leaves only the selection of a chain.

From the experience of others, I know I want a chain with a spring clip master link.

I have found only three bushed 1/8" chains that come with a spring clip master link: the KMC D101 Silver/Gold; the Wipperman Whitestar; and, the Wipperman 1R8.

The $15-$18 Wipperman Whitestar represents the cheapest of the three chains, and the Wipperman 1R8 and KMC D101 both cost around $40.

Assuming one generally gets what he pays for, I have eliminated the Whitestar simply because at this point in my life I can afford to do so.

I can't find the D101 offered by an American distributor in silver, and so that leaves the 1R8.

There...I have my drivetrain.

Thanks.
im just gonna quote this just so you feel like you didnt type all this for nothing.
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Old 06-18-09, 11:48 AM   #25
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my alum. framed rush hour pro has always been noisy - I think the big tubes just resonate more than skinny steel tubes, not sure.
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