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Chain replacement from much older bike to modern one

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Chain replacement from much older bike to modern one

Old 01-30-10, 05:32 AM
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Chain replacement from much older bike to modern one

I have a Claud Butler Ravana, 21-speed, bought new in roughly 2002-3. I'm pretty much a novice in bike maintenance but am trying it out to save money and enjoying it so far.

I am going to replace the chain, and just wondered whether I could use a chain from an early 80s bike that we have in the family, bought in the USA. I'm afraid I don't know the make until I can see it next week. I believe the chain would have to at least be a 7speed, or 5-8speed, which again I am not completely sure of until I see the cassette/freewheel on the old bike. The old chain is unlikely to be particularly worn as it only saw light use.

I have already bought a replacement Shimano freewheel for the Claud Butler, and the Park PR-1 freewheel removal tool arrived today.

I have 5 main questions:-
1) Will the 80s era chain fit on the new bike?
2) Will both chains be compatible with a modern chain tool?
3) What is the situation regarding master links or their modern equivalents? Posts #2 and #3 here: https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hain+join+link
seem to suggest I might need to add a joining 'master-like' (my own words) link - do I then need to remove an ordinary one to keep the chain the right length? Will a modern joining link even fit an old chain?
4) If the old chain turns out not to be 7s, can I still put it on the Claud Butler?
5) In any case, is it wise to use such an old chain which may have a different design on a much newer bike? What might any adverse consequences be?

I understand I may have left a lot of variables, such as what is the precise width of the older chain, and I'm sorry I can't specify the make/model of the older bike, but any help will be gratefully received.
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Old 01-30-10, 07:19 AM
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(1) The 80's had many chains, as does the current decade. If your new freewheel is 7 speed, you need a 6/7/8 speed chain.

(2) Chain tools are pretty standard and should work for most chains.

(3) Check you chain to see if it has a special joining link, it'll look different from the rest. Joining links can be used again and again. If you dont have a joining link, when you break the chain push the pin all the way out, and use a joining pin when fitting it again. Joining pins are avaible fo 6/7/8 speed 9 speed and 10 speed chains. To getthe correct chain length, lay the old chain and new chain side by side on the floor to see how many links to remove.

(4) Basically the more gears on the freewheel, the narrower the chain. A chain too narrow will not allow the teeth inside it, and a chain too fat will not fit between the gears on the freewheel. All new chains measure 1 inch lenghtwise per link, this doesn't vary.

(5) Be warned that used/new chains and freewheels do not mix well. This is because as a chain wears it gets longer, and the teeth on the freewheel wear to match. You may need new chainrings, but they don't wear so fast.

If your objective is to save money, bear in mind how much time you are spending on this. Does the amount of money saved exceed what you could have earnt at work in this time? Maintaining bikes gives one a great satisfaction and deeper knowledge of bike technology.
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Old 01-30-10, 09:58 AM
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A new cheap chain would be a better idea. Get one with a masterlink so you can remove it for cleaning. Here is some good general info. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/chain-care.html
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Old 01-30-10, 10:54 AM
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It is possible it might work, but chains are cheap and disposable. A new chain would likely give better performance than an old, worn chain in any case.
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Old 01-30-10, 01:30 PM
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SRAM 8spd. chain. These are marked 8-speed, but are the right chain for 5-speed up to 8-speed. If this replacement causes poor performance, you likely need to replace the freewheel on the bike as well.

Your chain-tool will fit the SRAM-chain fine. The SRAM comes with an easy to use master-link. You would only need to remove links to make it the same length as the old chain.
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Old 01-30-10, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
It is possible it might work, but chains are cheap and disposable. A new chain would likely give better performance than an old, worn chain in any case.
+1

Way too much thinking. Most of those questions are largely irrelevant. A new 6,7,8 speed chain is approx $10-$20, if not cheaper. That's a SRAM one with a masterlink for easy un/installation.
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Old 01-30-10, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007
SRAM 8spd. chain. These are marked 8-speed, but are the right chain for 5-speed up to 8-speed. If this replacement causes poor performance, you likely need to replace the freewheel on the bike as well.

Your chain-tool will fit the SRAM-chain fine. The SRAM comes with an easy to use master-link. You would only need to remove links to make it the same length as the old chain.
+1.

And remember that a badly worn freewheel or cassette (the gears in the back) will not mesh well with a new chain - you will know within the first mile if it is good.
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Old 02-01-10, 05:48 AM
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Thanks!

Thanks for everyone's helpful and fast posts. Guess I did overthink it a bit.
My old chain is without a joining link, but I'm going to buy a new one with a master link and match the size.
Problem solved bar the work.
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