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Shimano IG Chain Question

Old 05-01-16, 05:47 PM
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Shimano IG Chain Question

Hello Forum,

I'm replacing worn chain and 8-speed cassette on my 1996 Cannondale M800. I estimate it had over 3000 miles.

The original configuration with upgraded crankset:

Shimano XT FC-m737 triple 42/32/22

Shimano Deore LX 8-speed cassette 11-28

Sedis SC-CH-5 chain

Shimano XT m738 front and XT m737 rear derailleurs.

I've just replaced the Shimano Deore LX cassette with a Shimano HG51 8-speed 11-28 cassette.

And, I've replaced the chain with a KMC X-Series x8.99, 8-speed chain.

The Shimano chainrings indicate to use IG chain only.

I don't see any Shimano IG chain availability. I've read where Shimano IG chain was 7.1mm width. I think the KMC x8.99 is 7.3mm width. It's my understanding that Shimano started the IG chain spec with the change from 7-speed to 8-speed. I think that previous to the Shimano IG chain standard, Shimano used an HG designation for their 7-speed chain spec and used the HG designation again for the 9-speed chain spec. Now it appears most Shimano chain uses an HG designation; even the 8-speed chains.

With a Shimano HG51 8-speed cassette, Shimano XT triple chainrings that call for IG chain, and Shimano XT m738 front and m737 rear derailleurs, is the KMC x8.99 8-speed chain the best choice?

I can hear some drivetrain noise with the new cassette and chain and I'm not sure if it's an indication of a needed adjustment or poor chain choice.

Initially, I just replaced the chain, but it was skipping on the worn cassette under high torque. Replacing the cassette resolved the chain skipping issue.

Are all 8-speed chains Shimano IG chain compatible?

Thank you for the assistance.

Regards
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Old 05-01-16, 06:15 PM
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HG and IG were both options for 7-speed (and apparently 8-speed, too.) IG used slightly wider cogs with sculpting on both faces to improve shifting, hence the reminder to use chains with sufficient inner width. Your chain should be wide enough, and replacing both chain and cassette points to the noise being an adjustment issue.
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Old 05-01-16, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for that information. I was looking at the IG chain issue differently. I was concerned about the chain being too wide as opposed to the inner width being too narrow.

Some of the 8-speed KMC chains take a master link with a 7.1mm pin and some take master link with a 7.3mm pin. My KMC x8.99 uses the 7.3mm pin master link.

I've read somewhere that the Shimano IG chains used a 7.1mm pin, so I was thinking that my KMC chain was too wide.

I would think that the 7.3mm pin chains would have sufficient inner width to properly fit the cogs since they are wider. However, that may have been the case back when the Shimano IG spec was current. I have no idea if the Shimano 8-speed HG-51 cassette has IG spec cogs. I know that my chainrings apparently do.

I'd like to find an IG chain spec to compare it to the KMC chain spec.

Regards

Last edited by tgolden; 05-01-16 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 05-01-16, 09:48 PM
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Any cassette marked "HG" won't have the extra-wide IG cogs. Don't worry about the outer width, any 8-speed chain will be fine.

Oh, and don't worry about the chainrings, either. On complete systems utilizing IG cassettes, Shimano just used the chainrings for the "IG chain only" marking because they're nice and visible.
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Old 05-01-16, 10:30 PM
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Thanks again for that information. It clears up any concern about a too wide chain making drivetrain noise.

With chain width eliminated, I can focus on derailleur adjustments.

Regards
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Old 05-01-16, 10:44 PM
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Most likely, a new cassette will require a small amount of "tweaking" on the barrel adjuster.
Try 1/4 turn at a time and keep track of what you've done. You might have to go the opposite direction.
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Old 05-02-16, 11:58 AM
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Thanks, I need to replace my control cables, because the rear derailleur shift cable housing is starting to crack. So, I'll setup the rear derailleur from initial install and make all the adjustments per the installation instructions. Presently, my barrel adjuster is all the way in and I don't have any adjustment in one direction.
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Old 05-02-16, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Any cassette marked "HG" won't have the extra-wide IG cogs. Don't worry about the outer width, any 8-speed chain will be fine.

Oh, and don't worry about the chainrings, either. On complete systems utilizing IG cassettes, Shimano just used the chainrings for the "IG chain only" marking because they're nice and visible.
Is this information about "IG chain only" published anywhere? I'd really like to be able to determine from measurements whether or not a cassette, cog, or chainring is or isn't IG chain spec. The only information I can find discussing IG chain issues is in bike forums. From what I can read, the IG chain compatibility issue pops up pretty frequently when guys are trying to determine the right choice to replace worn components.
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Old 05-02-16, 09:25 PM
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Sheldon Brown has a decent overview of IG here: Shimano Cassettes & Freehubs and a cribsheet of sprocket and spacer thicknesses here: Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet

IG was a nice idea, and probably worked great, but in the push to cram more sprockets into a limited amount of space, it had to go or else the sprockets would just get too thin in places.
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Old 05-02-16, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Sheldon Brown has a decent overview of IG here: Shimano Cassettes & Freehubs and a cribsheet of sprocket and spacer thicknesses here: Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet

IG was a nice idea, and probably worked great, but in the push to cram more sprockets into a limited amount of space, it had to go or else the sprockets would just get too thin in places.
Thanks for the links.

Interestingly, the IG/HG issue only appears to be applicable to 7-speed Shimano cassettes. Perhaps it started to become obsolete with the introduction of 8-speed cassettes or Sheldon Brown didn't have the 8-speed Shimano IG information.

Whatever the case, there's enough information there to answer the IG chain questions. I've seen the Sheldon Brown webpages before, but I've never seen that Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet or I didn't notice it.

Thanks again for those links.

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Old 05-03-16, 04:17 AM
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For the record, I don't think I have a Shimano IG spec system.

My original outer or large 42-teeth chainring on my Shimano FC-m737 crankset is labeled: Shimano Hyperdrive-C. There is no IG Chain only label.

I've purchased several NOS 5-bolt 94-bcd 42 & 44-teeth Shimano m739 chainrings and they are labeled Shimano IG Chain only.

Both the m737 and m739 chainrings have a 2.0mm thickness at the base of the teeth. So, the m737 and m739 chainrings are dimensionally the same. The KMC x8.99 chain has about 2.5mm width between the inner plates and that is a similar dimension to my original chain. The chainrings fit the chain very well.

Both the m737 and m739 chainrings are made of aluminum per the bikepro.com website which has a Shimano Front Chainwheel comparison chart for XTR, Deore XT (m737 & m739), Deore LX, STX-RC, and STX. Although, this chart indicates just about everything is IG spec with the exception of Shimano XTR FC-m950-HG. If my Shimano Deore LX 8-speed cassette was truly IG spec, I would expect it to have thicker steel cogs per the Sheldon Brown Cassette Crib Sheet for 7-speed IG specs.

Shimano Crankset Specification Table

My original Shimano Deore LX 8-speed cassette has a cog width of 1.8mm. That width corresponds to the Shimano HG system 7 & 8-speed per Sheldon Brown's Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet.

An IG spec chain may be the best choice, but I don't see them commercially available other than eBay out of China. Those chains may be fakes if those eBay sellers are claiming they are Shimano chains.

If you base your research on third party websites such as bikepro and Sheldon Brown, then there's still some conflicting information about the IG/HG issue. It would be nice if Shimano cleared all this up, but I don't that it's very likely since the IG spec is now obsolete.

Regards
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Old 05-03-16, 01:11 PM
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I agree it would be nice if there were more official info out there, but since there are plenty of chains out there that can run happily on HG or IG systems (SRAM PC-850 is my favorite and easy to find), it's kind of a moot point. In fact, it may be hard to find a 6/7/8-speed chain that won't work with either system these days.
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Last edited by ThermionicScott; 05-03-16 at 01:15 PM.
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