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Is there a big difference in chain quality?

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Is there a big difference in chain quality?

Old 12-10-02, 12:23 PM
  #1  
mike
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Is there a big difference in chain quality?

The answer seems obvious, but what is the big difference in chain quality. I mean, you have cheap chain on one hand, expensive chain on the other. The more expensive looks better, feels better, but can cost ten times more than it's cheaper alternative.

Does anybody notice a great deal of difference in chain quality?

How is the difference noticed?
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Old 12-10-02, 12:57 PM
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I've found the better chains
tend to last longer, they don't stretch
as much as easily.
I do know that some really expensive
chains (Campy 10 speed early version)
didn't last as long as a sram or wipperman.
The better chains also don't seem to bind
and the pins are generally better quality
(I can reuse them as opposed to having
to replace em when I break the chain).

Marty
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Old 12-10-02, 12:58 PM
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I notice that I would regularly snap the cheeper chains. Pin/plate material, coated/ non-coated and the rollers used make a big diff.
I also notice that shifting is crisper with the higher end chains.

Slainte
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Old 12-10-02, 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by mike
The answer seems obvious, but what is the big difference in chain quality. I mean, you have cheap chain on one hand, expensive chain on the other. The more expensive looks better, feels better, but can cost ten times more than it's cheaper alternative.
I'd chalk it up to the law of diminishing returns.

[Does anybody notice a great deal of difference in chain quality?
Inexpensive chains work fine for me so that's what I use. If someone does a controlled experiment which shows how and why a chain which costs $60 is a better value than one which costs $15 I might reconsider. If it really was that important to me that my bicycle chains last and last, I'd clean them far more often than I do now.

How is the difference noticed?
Expensive chains are shinier!
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Old 12-10-02, 07:08 PM
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Strenght...I stretch / break chains relatively often. Since switching to sashs it has been awesome...not to mention easier to take on and off...
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Old 12-10-02, 09:46 PM
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I clean my chains bi-weekly which means I'm always taking it off. The SRAM chain is so much easier and less painful to take off than a shimano.
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Old 12-10-02, 11:09 PM
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This might be off subject, but I've heard of people putting the chain in the oven and heating it up to realy get it oiled well, is this worth it and what is the process?
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Old 12-10-02, 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by Kev
This might be off subject, but I've heard of people putting the chain in the oven and heating it up to realy get it oiled well, is this worth it and what is the process?
It's not worth it for me if I tried it my girlfriend would KILL me. (or at least ensure that my father won't be a grandpa)
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Old 12-10-02, 11:53 PM
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I bought a cheap $12 SRAM chain, and it's skipping already. I say already cuz I've only put 200 miles on that chain. The last chain I had(more expensive SRAM chain) lasted 1000.
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Old 12-11-02, 01:15 AM
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I use the SRAM PC89-R on my 9s road bike. It is the older style - not the hollow pin type - and I love it. They are actually Sedis - the ones who made the chains for Campa originally (and may still do) - who were bought by SRAM some time back. The PowerLink Gold (for 9s) is great. Very easy to use, and has not been any issue at all re overall quality in use. I bought a bunch of them at under $19 from PricePoint several months ago on sale.

As for lubrication, I have been converted to the melted paraffin method. It is a little messy, but OTOH has a little of the "old time tradition" to it. I use a double boiler, not the oven - much safer. Here in North Holland, the wet makes this a less than optimal method to use, but still not bad if I am careful when I ride. In France, it will not be an issue at all.

The big problem was finding an additive. I finally used fairly easily found graphite powder. I wanted to use teflon microspheres, but even my spies in the U.S. could not come up with a small amount.

Cheers...Gary
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Old 12-11-02, 05:40 AM
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Originally posted by fubar5
I bought a cheap $12 SRAM chain, and it's skipping already. I say already cuz I've only put 200 miles on that chain. The last chain I had(more expensive SRAM chain) lasted 1000.
Even 1,000 on the expensive chain seems like low mileage for a chain.
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Old 12-11-02, 06:29 AM
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I ride a loaded commuter most of the time, I've tried most chains available through the years, here are my experiances. I have tried all of the SRAM chains, they are easy to deal with and shift well, I have not been able to feel the difference in quality from the least to the most expensive, they have all broken while climbing hills. The snap link tears at the hole, I think the link is thinner there. The Wipperman chains are ok but they don't seem to last long no matter haow much care you give them. I always end up back to the Shimano D.A. chain, the CN-7700. It shifts better and tends to give me less trouble then the others. I hear that they break, but I have never had one break on me, I do know that you have to make sure you put the pin in correctly and make sure it's centered in the link. I get between 3000 and 5000 miles out of a chain, I clean them and lube them once a week. I also ride in poor conditions all the time, Here in New England the road salt, sand and crappy weather in general in upon us for a better part of the year, so the life of a bike chain here is not pleasant. I want to try one of those IRD teflon coated chains next. Has anyone tried one? If so, How did it fare?
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Old 12-11-02, 07:42 AM
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I bought a cheap $12 SRAM chain, and it's skipping already. I say already cuz I've only put 200 miles on that chain. The last chain I had(more expensive SRAM chain) lasted 1000.
That's because you wore out your cogs. A new chain will still skip if the cogs are worn.
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Old 12-11-02, 07:57 AM
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Originally posted by Kev
This might be off subject, but I've heard of people putting the chain in the oven and heating it up to realy get it oiled well, is this worth it and what is the process?
People clean chains by washing in degreaser with water.The oven routine is to dry the chain before lubing.Although, the oven deal may have something to do with using parafine wax as a lube too.

Last edited by pokey; 12-11-02 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 12-11-02, 08:01 AM
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Originally posted by fubar5
I bought a cheap $12 SRAM chain, and it's skipping already. I say already cuz I've only put 200 miles on that chain. The last chain I had(more expensive SRAM chain) lasted 1000.
Unless you ride in some kind of extreme conditions and are exeptionally hard on equipment, it's other issues,not chains.
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Old 12-11-02, 08:27 AM
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Originally posted by fubar5
I bought a cheap $12 SRAM chain, and it's skipping already. I say already cuz I've only put 200 miles on that chain. The last chain I had(more expensive SRAM chain) lasted 1000.
Fubar,
I can't imagine that the skipping is being caused by the chain. All SRAM chains are the made functionally the same from the same materials to the same quality standards. Basically only colors and features change from model to model. PC-59 is black/silver, PC-69 is all silver, PC-89 is a little heavier duty for off road, and PC99 has perforated side plates for weight saving, but inside they are the same. The inexpensive PC-59 is as good functionally as the most expensive.

Actually, I thought Mike was talking more about the differences between something like a $5 chain from Wal-Mart and a good quality chain like an SRAM, pretty much any of the models, or maybe a Wipperman. SRAMs for instance are almost certainly made from better materials, finished better, and made to higher quality control standards, resulting in a smoother running, longer lasting chain. Wippermans are also probably quite good, but rust is not a problem on a regularly-used, reasonably well-maintained chain so I haven't seen the need to spend the money for stainless
FWIW,
Raymond
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Last edited by RainmanP; 12-11-02 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 12-11-02, 08:53 AM
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PC-89 is a little heavier duty for off road, and PC99 has perforated side plates for weight saving
Well, the 89R is for road use, and has perforated plates as well. The new version of the 89R also has hollow pins.

Cheers...Gary
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Old 12-11-02, 11:13 AM
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Originally posted by mike
Does anybody notice a great deal of difference in chain quality?
I never have. In my experience, the clean/re-lube schedule has a lot more to do with chain life than price tag or materials. My choice is usually based on appearance... nickel plated, so it'll look good after a shampoo. The SRAM chains w/perferated plates are cool, too. Kind of a retro look, IMO.
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