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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 09-15-05, 12:37 PM   #1
LuisB
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Broken Chain

HELP!

We've broken two drivetrain chains in 500 of tandem riding. We have a Shimano 9-speed set up and broke a Sunrace and a SRAM chain. Is this a bike setup or rider problem? Our team weight is about 300 lbs.
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Old 09-15-05, 01:11 PM   #2
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Sunrace chains aren't the best in the world but SRAM are usually pretty good, even the cheap ones are strong... just not light. Which model of SRAM chain?

Where did the chain come apart? At the master link, perhaps a rivet that was pressed in with a chain tool, or was it a random rivet that came apart?

What chain ring combination were you in at the time and what type of terrain was it, e.g., climbing a steep hill in 42 x 30. Did it just break or did it break in conjuction with a front or rear derailleur shift?
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Old 09-15-05, 01:44 PM   #3
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I agree that the Sunrace chain is suspect and the people at the LBS confirmed that. They replaced the broken Sunrace with a SRAM 970 chain.

The chain broke at the master link but the people at the LBS said they've never seen one come apart from that section.

We were in the granny gear using a 30 x 17 combination. We haven't been able to stand up together that's why I used the granny combination. The front derailleur shifted fine (I did NOT shift under load) but the chain came apart at the crest of the climb when we put the final stomp on the pedals. My stoker is a little weary now about riding because we almost fell. When the chain broke, it wrapped around the rear cogs and pulled the rear derailleur forward locking the rear wheel. It's a good thing I was able to unclip from our SPD pedals and put my left foot on the ground.

I've never had problems in the past using a Shimano chain riding the same climb. Is SRAM just as durable with its master link or should I switch to a fixed link chain like Shimano?
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Old 09-15-05, 01:56 PM   #4
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This will upset some SRAM users on this forum, or any other for that matter, But the only time I used a SRAM chain with my Shimano set up, I had problems. Did not break it, but as all my experience has always been with Shimano chains, I went back to XT chain and did not have problems. Mind you the only chain I have ever broken was a Shimano Durace chain, and that happened within 200 miles of fitting, so the problem may not only be with SRAM. As I have said, I have always used shimano XT chains, and they do not cause me any problems.
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Old 09-15-05, 02:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuisB
I've never had problems in the past using a Shimano chain riding the same climb. Is SRAM just as durable with its master link or should I switch to a fixed link chain like Shimano?
Freaky. Did the masterlink break or did the thing just come un-done? I've heard of a few brand new ones that "popped open" when the chain went slack but it's a very rare occurance. Once they get a little grimey they actually become a PIA to get open: a blast of WD-40 usually makes removal easier.

Anyway, we broke a first generation SACHs PowerLink back in Nov. 1997... but none since. However, while we still use them (hey, they come with the chains), the PowerLinks are not my favorite re-useable chain link. Instead, my preference are the Forester SuperLinks sold by Lickton Bikes (Lickbike.com). The Superlinks seem to be more robust and easier to use than the PowerLinks or any of the other re-useable links. The best thing about the Superlinks is that you can use them on Shimano's chains, which eliminates the use of their dubious one-time use only rivets. You can find the SuperLinks here: http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.aspx?PART_NUM_SUB='0338-10'. The "Pink Card" models are what you use with 9 speed chains. Yellow card / SuperLink I although not listed, are for 8 speed and Green Card / SuperLink III are for 10 speed. You can also find these things at Branford Bike, but they cost nearly 30% higher. But, it's worth visiting Branford's SuperLink page just to review the additional technical information they provide: http://www.branfordbike.com/chains/chains4.html#item5

As for which chain is better... it's anybody's guess and there are as many fans and detractors ready to line up and fight to the death over the merits and flaws of either one. I use SRAM, Campy, and Shimano chains and find that the only real difference is that the Shimano chains are a bit more narrow than SRAM (better for running hybrid Campy 9 shifters & RD with Shimano 9 cassettes), and the Campy chains are not as good as they were when Wipperman was making them; lots of noise. In general, I try to find the better Shimano chains on sale and stock up; these I use as drive chains. The SRAM chains that I really like, such as the 89R are usually too expensive and rarely go on sale, and the lower grade (formerly PC-69) chains work just fine as timing chains.
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Old 09-15-05, 02:35 PM   #6
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UPDATE!

Besides the broken chain, the LBS just informed me that the derailleur hanger bent and cannot be fixed. They have ordered a new one from Burley, and hopefully, it comes soon. Thank goodness for replaceable derailleur hangers.
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Old 09-15-05, 02:49 PM   #7
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The pin on the master link popped out, which as you have said happens rarely and which the LBS confirmed.

I may pay Lickton's a visit since I'm located in the Chicago area if the LBS does not cover the costs of the parts.
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Old 09-15-05, 03:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by LuisB
Besides the broken chain, the LBS just informed me that the derailleur hanger bent and cannot be fixed. They have ordered a new one from Burley, and hopefully, it comes soon. Thank goodness for replaceable derailleur hangers.
Tell them to order two... so you'll have a spare "just in case". I find that the more things I have on hand, the less I need them: Murphy's Law, don't you know.
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Old 09-15-05, 03:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LuisB
I may pay Lickton's a visit since I'm located in the Chicago area if the LBS does not cover the costs of the parts.
I keep at least one and usually two of the re-useable links in my tire patch kit... again, just in case.
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Old 09-15-05, 05:01 PM   #10
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Luckily we have never broken a tandem drivechain, but did break 2 crossover chains in 30+ years of stomping on the pedals TWOgether!

Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-16-05, 04:28 AM   #11
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I've raced on several chain brands but have gone back to SHimano chains for Shimnao drivetrains. I would not save money on a chain- buy DuraAce.
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