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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 10-20-09, 11:03 PM   #1
Ken Cox
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Chain Report

I recently had a new frame made and at the same time switched from 3/32 to 1/8.

A fellow forumite, knowing of my switch to 1/8, asked me in a PM which chain I chose and what I thought of it.

I've chosen to answer in a public thread.

For about four years I rode with either a KMC 610 or 810, depending on my interests at the time.

In the end I settled on the 610 as doing everything the 810 did but with a little less noise and weight.

I found with the proper attention to chain line and tension that the 610 gave me a dead silent drive train.

When it came time to choose a 1/8 chain, I definitely wanted a chain with a spring clip connector link.

I settled on Wipperman and tried to find out the difference between the $16.50 Wipperman White Star and the $29.50 Wipperman 1R8 Racing Chain.

For lack of information, I went with the 1R8.

I have a Phil bottom bracket, Phil hubs and sprocket, and a Sugino 75 crank set.

This combination gave me a perfectly even chain tension all the way around, and a perfect chain line.

Despite all this "perfection," I found the 1/8 Wipperman 1R8 noisy, or at least so compared to the 3/32 610 setup on my other bike.

I also noted that the 1/8 bushed chain weighed significantly more than the 3/32 bushingless chain.

I wanted to make a small change in my drive train that required another link in my chain, so I ordered another Wipperman 1R8.

My local bike shop got the order a little wrong, and I wound up with the Wipperman BMX chain, which I didn't even know existed.

Something about this super heavy-duty BMX chain interested me, and so I bought it anyway and put it on my bike.

I have to say that visually the BMX chain looks nice on my bike.

I mean, it looks REALLY nice.

However, I think it weighs twice as much as a 3/32 610, and it makes as much noise as the 1/8 1R8.

Now, let's put this "noise" into perspective.

Riding around on the noisy chain, I don't really hear it unless I go riding with my younger son and he rides my older bike with the 610 chain on it, and then my new bike with the 1/8 chain becomes noisy in comparison to the dead silent 610 bike.

Also, putting the new bike on the work stand in the garage and spinning the crank produces a lot of chain noise; whereas the old bike remains completely silent.

I attribute the noise to the bushings in the 1/8 chain.

Now that I've experimented with the 610, 810, 1R8 and BMX chains, I feel no difference in riding quality except for noise.

The 610 chain costs the least, weighs the least and makes the least noise (no noise at all).

If I build a new bike in two years, I'll go with a Dura Ace drive train in 3/32 and a 610 chain.

I'd like to know what kind of experience 510 (bushingless 1/8 chain) riders have had with their chain.
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Old 10-20-09, 11:19 PM   #2
psirue
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my opinion and experience leads me to believe that it is not the chain itself that creates sound but a combination of wear differences of the cog + chain + chainring as well as subtle differences in fabrication of those individual parts (and lubrication, of course).

Your silent 610 might sound like a chainsaw on someone else's drivetrain. Another example: I rode for a year on a KMC z510hx -- my ride was perfectly quiet. I replaced the chain with a brand-new z510hx but did not replace the cog nor the chainring. My ride was now loud -- at least for a month or so.

So, to say one particular brand or model of chain will be louder or quieter than other is not quite accurate -- there are many more variables at work.

Last edited by psirue; 10-20-09 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 10-20-09, 11:33 PM   #3
Sixty Fiver
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Just swapped a 1/8 cog into my bike so needed a 1/8 chain and pulled a spare off the shop wall... have no idea what it came off of or who made it except that it has little to no wear and my bike is dead silent with a mix of 3/32 and 1/8 parts.

If my 1/8 chains weren't back ordered I would have cracked open a new KMC Z710 which is my favourite 1/8 chain.
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Old 10-20-09, 11:35 PM   #4
hairnet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psirue View Post
my opinion and experience leads me to believe that it is not the chain itself that creates sound but a combination of wear differences of the cog + chain + chainring as well as subtle differences in fabrication of those individual parts.

Your silent 610 might sound like a chainsaw on someone else's drivetrain. Another example: I rode for a year on a KMC z510hx -- my ride was perfectly quiet. I replaced the chain with a brand-new z510hx but did not replace the cog nor the chainring. My ride was now loud -- at least for a month or so.

So, to say one particular brand or model of chain will be louder or quieter than other is not quite accurate -- there are many more variables at work.
I agree. My bike made no noise when I was using some old crankset. Then I switched out the cranks and found some random chainring at the co-op to fit the crank. In the beginning it made a bunch of noise but gradually quieted down. I later put a new cog on and a new chain(same kind) but there was no noise at all.
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