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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 09-22-11, 11:35 PM   #1
zonatandem
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UNchained!

Climbing a local hilll the other day, we snapped our drivechain. You know how hard some of our stokers pedal uphill!
Managed to fix things up in about 25 minutes by the roadside utiltizing a rock, mini- chaintool that worked half@ssed, shortening the chain by 3 links and re-using the quicklink.
All that in 100 degree temps and as usual . . . no shade!
When in trouble: improvise!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-23-11, 09:58 AM   #2
specbill
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....Rudy, I know how well you take care of your stuff so I'm curious about that Chain, how many miles? brand?

Bill J.
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Old 09-23-11, 12:06 PM   #3
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Sounds like you were lucky that quicklink was in close proximaty of break. Just curious, did the chain fail while shifting under load?

Just to cover those roadside chain issues, seems that one needs both a chaintool and a quicklink or two to cover the difference between timing and drive chain sizes (if any). Have never really worried about carrying a chaintool except in more remote areas where I was wanting to cover what if scenarios.

Just curious, in all the miles that zonatandem has ridden, how many chain mishaps have you experienced. Is there any evidence that the smaller chains used today (9+ speed) that they are more vulnerable to failure. Gone are the days that you can break a chain with your chaintool wherever and put it back together without worrying about compromising the integrity of the chain.
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Old 09-23-11, 04:12 PM   #4
waynesulak
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Originally Posted by cartogeezer View Post
Sounds like you were lucky that quicklink was in close proximaty of break. Just curious, did the chain fail while shifting under load?

Just to cover those roadside chain issues, seems that one needs both a chaintool and a quicklink or two to cover the difference between timing and drive chain sizes (if any). Have never really worried about carrying a chaintool except in more remote areas where I was wanting to cover what if scenarios.

Just curious, in all the miles that zonatandem has ridden, how many chain mishaps have you experienced. Is there any evidence that the smaller chains used today (9+ speed) that they are more vulnerable to failure. Gone are the days that you can break a chain with your chaintool wherever and put it back together without worrying about compromising the integrity of the chain.
We good unless we loose quite a lot of drive chain. We carry small chain tool, a few links of chain, and an extra couple of wipperman quick links. I can cut off part of the chain and splice it without weakening the chain. Not much weight for a few links. Unless you have a really strong stoker it is also important to be able to patch the sync chain.

Wayne
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Old 09-23-11, 11:40 PM   #5
zonatandem
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Chain was a SRAM PC991 with 6,000+ miles on it.
Had thought about replacing chain and cassette just the day before the breakage, but found out I did not have a spare cassette in my supply closet.
Got cassette on order now and when I got home replaced the shortened SRAM with a KMC 9SL chain.
We had just shifted again before the crest of the hill, but not under load.
Yes, we feel that newer narrower chains are more likely to suffer breakage.
In the old days (1970s/80/90s) we had broken exactly one chain and it was a crossover chain.
Since utilizing 9 speed chains, have broken a couple crossovers and and only one other driveside chain.
One time we broke crossover a few miles from home, so had stoker Kay pedal us home while pilot just sat with feet on the pedals and steered (a rather weird feeling!)
However on my single bike, have broken 9 speed chains at least half dozen times while in all the years before I only broken one chain ever on my single.
I don't think that our age we are getting any stronger . . . conversely the narrower chains must be weaker!
Not very scientific but anecdotal.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Chain was a SRAM PC991 with 6,000+ miles on it.
Whew that's a LOT of miles.

I replace the drive chain on both tandem+single at no MORE than 1,200 miles or so. Partly for wear, partly for lateral flex - the shifting is always cleaner+tighter with a new chain. $20 seems like very cheap insurance for a very highly-stressed part. I let the timing chain (between capt+stoker cranks) go 5,000 miles cuz it rides on 42T rings- it carries the full load of capt's pedalling, but that load is spread out on 21 teeth on both the front and back rings, so it seems to see far less of a problem. And, it obviously doesn't have to work thru a derailleur. I'm not saying that 1,200 miles is right --- just noticing that that's way different than 6,000.

How bout other folks- how long do you use a chain? Do you replace it as a preventative step, even if you're not seeing having poor shifting, or evidence of wear, or of an imminent problem; and if so, how many miles or what other indicator do you look for to indicate time to replace?

Last edited by chris ss; 09-25-11 at 02:48 PM. Reason: clarify
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Old 09-25-11, 04:24 PM   #7
diabloridr
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I'm not saying that 1,200 miles is right --- just noticing that that's way different than 6,000.

How bout other folks- how long do you use a chain? Do you replace it as a preventative step, even if you're not seeing having poor shifting, or evidence of wear, or of an imminent problem; and if so, how many miles or what other indicator do you look for to indicate time to replace?
IIRC, the zonatandem team is exceptionally light, and ride almost exclusively in dry conditions. The combination of the two likely give them longer than average chain life.

I rely on a Park chain checker and generally replace chains when they hit the 0.75 mark, not the 1.0 replacement mark.

I don't keep records, but I would say my replacement interval is longer than 1200 miles and shorter than 6000.
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Old 09-25-11, 04:57 PM   #8
zonatandem
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diabloridr is correct.
We live and ride primarily in southern AZ; also ride in northern Utah (in the summer) so we seldom ride in inclement weather.
We are a rather light team (under 250 lbs) and keep equipment clean. Do not use wet lubricants on chain; we utilize the old fashioned hot wax system (parrafin/canning wax) and that has worked extremely well for us in the past 225,000+ miles/36+ years of tandeming.
Yes also have a Park tool chain checker; when chain starts getting finicky/skipping it is ususally time replace cassette/chain. At the slightest 'squeak' from chain it's time to re-wax. The hot wax method is inexpensive; wax is re-usable several times and is eco-friendly. It's worked for us for decades!
Again, keeping components from accumulating crud/dirt/grit extends their life considerably.

chriss ss: 1200 miles for a drivechain seems short; however, it's your tandem and living in Ohio is not the same as weather conditions in Arizona.
Have ridden in Ohio/midwest: TOSRV, Red Flannel Metric, Hancock Horizontal 100, Maumee Valley, Trotwood Bridge Tour among others, mostly in the 1970s/80s. And yes, weather is a bit more unpredictable!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it . . . and yes, that chain broke! Gonna have to tell my stoker to take it easy on the equipment!

Peddal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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