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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 07-13-09, 10:52 AM   #1
JayB
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SuperLink III in green packet with 10-speed

I have been using these SuperLink III quick links with Ultegra 10 speed chains for a few years now and have never had any problems. (Use on timing chain as well as drive chain so that I can cannibalise the former if I have a breakdown somewhere remote.)

I replace my drive chain fairly frequently, about every 1600 miles. Usually I just replace the chain but use the same SuperLink III. Questions:

1 Is this wise?

2 If so, when should I eventually replace the SuperLink III?

Thanks, Jay
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Old 07-13-09, 11:30 AM   #2
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1 Is this wise?

That depends on your definition of wise. Forster says to replace the link with every new chain... But, then again, Shimano says you need to replace your cassette with a new chain too....

My definition of wise incorporates the use of my eyes, a few measurements and subjective performance assessments.

2 If so, when should I eventually replace the SuperLink III?

Although Forster says to replace their link with a chain and notes that chains last between 1,000 and 2,000 miles, it also provides to other tidbits of information printed right on the back of the little colorful card that comes with each link that the savvy bike geek can leverage to obtain a lot more service life out of their pricey SuperLinks:

1. First off, Forster has made the links in such a way that they'll start to 'click' when they're placed under load and worn out. Obviously, this works pretty well on single bikes since it's easy to hear when your chain is making some unusual noises, such as a rhythmic clicking sound. However, since the chain is in a different zip code on tandems, this either requires exceptional hearing, an attentive stoker or a regular riding partner who isn't bashful about pointing out when your drivetrain is making weird noises.

2. What I find more useful is the second wear indicator which is, well, worn pins on the link. Again, Foster provides a nice little illustration of a worn pin and notes that the links should be replaced when the pins have a diameter of less than .135" (or the metric equivalent, .343mm or something like that). This is what I use with my MA-1 eyeball, sometimes confirmed with with an inexpensive, durable Vernier dial caliper that can accurately measure critical dimensions like this, headsets, seatposts, etc... Seriously, you can usually see when the pins have started to wear and that's when it's time to replace the link.

Having used method #2, I've gotten several chain lives out of a SuperLink and once the link is spent I usually stick it in my seat pack as give away / quick fix for broken chains out on the road, noting that I can't remember the last time I had a broken chain on the road given that I've used the Forster SuperLinks since, well... since they were Craig SuperLinks.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 07-13-09 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
Again, Foster provides a nice little illustration of a worn pin and notes that the links should be replaced when the pins have a diameter of less than .135" (or the metric equivalent, .343mm or something like that).
That would be 3.43 mm or .343 cm.
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Old 07-13-09, 12:20 PM   #4
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If you live/ride in extreme conditions then every 1,600 miles to replace a drivetrain MAY be desirable.
However, we take good care of our chains and keep 'em clean/lubed (the hot wax method) plus live in a dry hi-desert climate (not much rain/mud riding but lots of wind driven sand) and our drive chain easily lasts 5,000 miles; crossover chain lasts much longer yet.
Consequently we use a new quick link each time we replace the chain. It is desirable to carry a couple spare chainlinks plus a quick link (new or used) for a 'just in case' or even carry a small chainpunch.
Have only broken a couple crossover chains on tandems in over 225,000 of riding TWOgether.
Just our input.
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 07-14-09, 07:50 AM   #5
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I have been using Sram chains for a while because I like their quick link. Makes it much easier to remove & clean. I usually re-use the link until the chain gets replaced - maybe 3,000 miles or so.

I think their recommendation to not re-use the link is based on conservative estimates or testing and liability avoidance. Never had one fail.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:04 PM   #6
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My expieience using a Rohlhoff chain tool for measurement indicates that aftermarket masterlinks of all brands tend to ware out about twice as fast as the chain they are part of.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:35 PM   #7
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My expieience using a Rohlhoff chain tool for measurement indicates that aftermarket masterlinks of all brands tend to ware out about twice as fast as the chain they are part of.
interesting. Thanks for the observations!
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Old 07-14-09, 02:16 PM   #8
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My expieience using a Rohlhoff chain tool for measurement indicates that aftermarket masterlinks of all brands tend to ware out about twice as fast as the chain they are part of.
Please elaborate....

If memory serves, the Rohloff chain checker is essentially a 6" ruler; were your chains with and without the links uniformly 'more stretched' along the sections with re-useable links in line whereas the other segments checked were not? Was the wear also visible on the two pins or were the links / sideplates somehow elongating or the link's pins causing the adjacent chain link openings to wear more quickly vs. the actual link?

Which links are you including in "all", 9 or 10 speed and which models:
  • SRAM PowerLink II
  • Wipperman ConneX Link Master Link
  • KMC Missing Link - single use connecting link
  • YBN Quick Release Link
  • Forster SuperLink - reuseable chain link

Last edited by TandemGeek; 07-14-09 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 07-14-09, 03:50 PM   #9
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Please elaborate....

If memory serves, the Rohloff chain checker is essentially a 6" ruler; were your chains with and without the links uniformly 'more stretched' along the sections with re-useable links in line whereas the other segments checked were not?

The section of chain which contained the reusable link was longer only the master link was affected.

Was the wear also visible on the two pins or were the links / sideplates somehow elongating or the link's pins causing the adjacent chain link openings to wear more quickly vs. the actual link?

It must be the pins in the master link wearing, when I replace the master link chain length is back to normal

Which links are you including in "all", 9 or 10 speed and which models:
  • SRAM PowerLink II
  • Wipperman ConneX Link Master Link
  • KMC Missing Link - single use connecting link
  • YBN Quick Release Link
  • Forster SuperLink - reuseable chain link
My use has been with both 9 and 10 speed chains, road and mountain. Mtn bike chains normally used are shimano not sure which (model# whatever the shop gives me) Road bike chain has been campy record or chorus on both 9 and 10 speed drive drains.

I have used Wipperman, YBN & Superlink.

For what it is worth a chain typically lasts me 1500 -2000 miles on my single. I have gotten the best mileage when using Campy spray lubricant. I have given up on the Campy lubricant because it was to messy to maintain.
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Old 07-14-09, 05:34 PM   #10
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I have used Wipperman, YBN & Superlink. It must be the pins in the master link wearing, when I replace the master link chain length is back to normal
Thanks for the additional details chichi....

I've only used the Sachs PowerLink (blew one apart), the SRAM PowerLink II's (only because the came gratis with the chains) and the SuperLinks. However, and I'm not sure why, we've had excellent durability with the SuperLinks using my lowly, old-school hot-melt chain wax method.

In fact, after the thread was running I found myself cleaning the residue of Amish horse-drawn buggy manure off our Calfee after riding for three days at the Eastern Tandem Rally in Lancaster, PA and made a point of checking the various SuperLinks I had on our Calfee, attached to spare chains and sitting in tool boxes for wear with my MA-1 eyeball and the Vernier Calipers. I didn't see a one that needed replacement but, then again, I didn't use my Park chain checker to evaluate the net effect on a link held in suspension by a tensioned chain.

I may need to do that to baseline the sync chain anyway as I also broke down and installed a half-link to move the eccentric to a more neutral position (never specify an even numbered stoker compartment; always go with the 1/2" increments, e.g., 28.5, 29.5, 30.5, etc...).

Perhaps the link on our Ventana will show some more aggressive wear...

Last edited by TandemGeek; 07-14-09 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 07-15-09, 08:37 AM   #11
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I may need to do that to baseline the sync chain anyway as I also broke down and installed a half-link to move the eccentric to a more neutral position (never specify an even numbered stoker compartment; always go with the 1/2" increments, e.g., 28.5, 29.5, 30.5, etc...).
Interesting that you should mention this, I had the same expierience on my Calfee this past week, it is spec'd at 28.5. I can't think of anything particular to a Calffe that would make this an issue, maybe it is the number of teeth on the tomiming chainrings?

I seem to recall you changed your eccetric to the new Bushnell....? I have the Calfee version on bike which I was thinking of changing out as there might be a creak oh well I think I am getting off on another thread.
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Old 07-15-09, 09:58 AM   #12
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Interesting that you should mention this, I had the same expierience on my Calfee this past week, it is spec'd at 28.5. I can't think of anything particular to a Calffe that would make this an issue, maybe it is the number of teeth on the tomiming chainrings?
It shouldn't be unique to a Calfee or chain rings, as it relates to the length of full chainlink @ 1".

Staying away from the 27", 28", 29", 30" and other whole numbers should logically leave the front axle sitting more or less in the middle of the eccentric bottom bracket once the chain is properly tensioned. Sitting at 30" with even or odd number timing rings simply biases the axle to fall fairly well foward or backward in the eccentric UNLESS you stick in a 1/2 link. I can get everything adjusted even without the 1/2 link, it just makes it easier with the 1/2 link.
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Old 07-16-09, 03:51 AM   #13
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I started this thread & want to thank all for the help on quick links

As usual I got lots of prompt and useful advice on this forum. Thanks especially to TandemGeek who convinced me to get SuperLinks a few years ago. I've had very good experience, as mentioned above, but am particularly careful as my wife and I have cycle toured in lots of places where getting replacement 10 speed chains might be a problem eg Poland, Sardinia, Vietnam, Sicily, Romania, rural Portugal, Slovenia, Laos, Northern Cyprus, Albania (just back from there: great!) and northern Thailand (next Christmas). Today off to the French Alps so I needn't worry; Grenoble is bound to be well stocked.
Thanks again to all, not only for this time but for all the help in the past,
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