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Chain for 12 speed

Old 03-19-18, 10:12 PM
  #1  
WGB
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Chain for 12 speed

I bet this has been asked a hundred times but when I searched I didn't find an answer.

The only times I ever recall buying a chain were for 10 speed bikes - that's bikes with five gears in the rear and two on the front. I never asked for a 5 speed chain because that was what was on the rear.

I knew all along that there were bikes like I had that totaled - front and back - 10 speeds and bikes that had a 10 speed rear, not counting what they had up front, I just never had to buy a chain for any of the bikes with a 1-0 speed rear and every chain I bought worked fine.

Now I have a 12 speed and I'm stumped. Do I look for a 12 speed chain (because it's got six gears in the rear and two on the front) or is it a 6 speed chain (because it's got six gears in the rear).

Based on internet searches I found

This one from Niagara Cycle is an SRAM PC 870 P-Link Bicycle Chain (8-Speed) but ad says "6,7,8-Speed Chains"
https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...n-8-speed-grey

This one from Harris Cyclery is an SRAM PC-870 5,6,7,8 Speed Chain and ad says 'Works with all 5 thru 8 speed derailleur systems, including Shimano HG and IG. Master link included"
https://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=2581

The only difference I can see is one says P-Link and doesn't mention it would work for a 5 speed and the other doesn't call itself a "P-Link" and says it does work for a 5 speed as well. they each weigh 318 grams, they each are 7.1mm wide and each has 114 links.

What do I need??
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Old 03-19-18, 11:47 PM
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Either chain will work fine.
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Old 03-20-18, 02:34 AM
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As more gears get packed onto the rear wheel, chains get narrower. The original chains that were on 5-speed freewheels (on "10 speed bikes) are too wide to fit on 6-speed freewheels or any gearing since then.

Terminology: nowadays the "speed" of chains refers to the number of gears on the rear wheel. So a 10-speed chain could be a 20 or 30-speed bike (depending on whether there are 2 or 3 chainrings up front).

6/7/8 speed chains are now all served by the same outer width chain. This is what you want. As Bill Kapaun says, either of the chains you linked are fine. Also the cheapest.
9 speed chains are a bit narrower
10 speed chains a bit narrower still
11 speed chains are even more narrower

Note that all of these chains have the same *internal* width of 3/32". It's just the external width that is getting narrower.
The risk of using a chain that is too narrow on the outside is that it might shift poorly or sometimes get stuck between gears.
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Old 03-20-18, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by TallRider View Post
6/7/8 speed chains are now all served by the same outer width chain. This is what you want. As Bill Kapaun says, either of the chains you linked are fine. Also the cheapest.
For a full disclosure:

The number of "speeds" a chain is marketed for gives info on the highest number of rear sprocets that chain is narrow enough to work with. It will work with fewer sprockets without any problems. Especially for up to -2 sprockets.

So some manufacturers make one (basically an 8 speed chain) for 6, 7 and 8 speed bikes.
Others, or even the same manufacturer, but with different chain models, make 6, 7, or 6-7 speed chains.

Wrote in a bit more detail about chain mix-maching here:

1) Bicycle chains compatibility - Bike Gremlin - Bicycles
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Old 03-20-18, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by WGB View Post
.......................
Based on internet searches I found

This one from Niagara Cycle is an SRAM PC 870 P-Link Bicycle Chain (8-Speed) but ad says "6,7,8-Speed Chains"
https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...n-8-speed-grey

This one from Harris Cyclery is an SRAM PC-870 5,6,7,8 Speed Chain and ad says 'Works with all 5 thru 8 speed derailleur systems, including Shimano HG and IG. Master link included"
https://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=2581.......................
They're actually the same chain.

The picture on the Niagara link is different because it's actually a picture of the SRAM 971 9-speed chain. (I zoomed in )

Also the KMC Z-51 works well on old 5- and 6-speed setups. (what we used to call 10 and 12-speeds)
These can be found in almost any bike shop for ~$15.
I rarely buy chains online (at least for the 6-7 speed bikes) unless they're less than $10, and i need to make a minimum to get free shipping, or something like that.

The current designation for chains and drivetrains is by the number of gears on the rear cassette. A bike with a 2x9 or a 3x9 would be refered to a '9-speed' even though one has 18 'speeds' and the other 27.
Also an older 3x6 also has 18 speeds but would be refered to as a '6-speed' for the sake of drivetrain components.
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Old 03-20-18, 09:20 AM
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(Brand neutral) chain for less than 9v will be fine- 5,6,7,8.
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Old 03-20-18, 09:40 AM
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That Niagara Cycle price is a good one. Buy a couple so you spread out the shipping cost.
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Old 03-20-18, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I assumed the rears were what was counted but didn't want to order for a 10spd and find I was stuck after opening the package with a chain I'd never use. I will buy two or three at Niagara as free pickup on local orders.
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