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Chain Link Count

Old 10-02-11, 12:48 PM
  #1  
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Chain Link Count

Can I assume when you count the links in the chain, you count the outer and inner links? My Madone has 108 links counting both or 54, just counter the outer big links.

I want to buy and extra chain, and keep it cleaned and lubed, and swap them at times, or if nothing else, have a spare ready to go. I broke one on my G Fisher once and it was not a fun time on a Sunday.

Also, this is an SRAM 10-Spd chain. I like the way the link comes out by squeezing it. Makes an easy change with the park tool.

Can someone recommend a replacement? There are lots or the SRAM 10-Spd chains, and I don't know what model is on the bike. I don't mind spending a little for a quality chain.
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Old 10-02-11, 12:58 PM
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Most people and chain makers count all the links inner and outer, so a 114 link chain measures 57". In some contexts a link might mean the pair (inner and outer) but this is rare, and you'll know by the context.

It might be easier if we were clear and counted pitches. Since chain has 1/2" pitch, 114 pitches would clearly mean 57" without possibility of error.
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Old 10-02-11, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by gforeman View Post
Also, this is an SRAM 10-Spd chain. I like the way the link comes out by squeezing it. Makes an easy change with the park tool.

Can someone recommend a replacement? There are lots or the SRAM 10-Spd chains, and I don't know what model is on the bike. I don't mind spending a little for a quality chain.
Note, that although you can remove the 10 speed master link on SRAM chains (called Power Lock), SRAM says you cannot reuse the link. However, many have done so and reported no problems. (The SRAM 8- and 9- speed master links were reusable, called Power Link).

I've used SRAM exclusively on my road and mountain bikes for the past 12 years. However, I installed a KMC X10 SL chain on my road bike about 1,000 miles ago and all is very good; it plays well with the Shimano chainrings and SRAM cassette. And, the KMC master link is reusable.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:53 AM
  #4  
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1031 = Apex
1051 = Rival
1071 = Force
1091 = Red

I don't have any 10 speed chains but all of my SRAM 8 and 9 speed chains have the model stamped on the outer plates.
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Old 12-25-11, 06:52 AM
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^^^No that's not how it works

1031 = basic chain, solid pins
1051 = basic chain with nickel plating, solid pins
1071 = basic chain with hollow pins (saves 20 grams) and nickel plated outer plates
1091 = basic chain with hollow pins (saves 20 grams) and nickel plated inner and outer plates
1091R = basic chain with hollow pins (saves 20 grams) and nickel plated inner and outer plates and perforated outer plates (saves a few more grams)

They should all perform equally well.
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Old 12-25-11, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gforeman View Post
Can someone recommend a replacement? There are lots or the SRAM 10-Spd chains, and I don't know what model is on the bike. I don't mind spending a little for a quality chain.
As already mentioned, SRAM chains have the model engraved / stamped on them, just look at your chain to see what you have. for replacement, how much do you want to spend, KMC X10 SL in Gold or silver are very good, but at a cost.
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Old 12-25-11, 07:24 AM
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Doesn't matter.

I never count chain links. For a single diamond frame bike, any new chain that you buy is going to be too long. Lay out the chain that you take off next to it and break the new chain at the appropriate place.
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Old 12-25-11, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Doesn't matter.

I never count chain links. For a single diamond frame bike, any new chain that you buy is going to be too long. Lay out the chain that you take off next to it and break the new chain at the appropriate place.
This can result in making the new chain too long if the old one is badly worn. Assuming 110 "pitches" in a typical chain, the worn chain could be 1/2" longer than new if worn to the 1% mark and 1" longer than new if really bad at 2% wear.

I use the Sheldon Brown's/Park Tool's sizing technique of big-big+1" even when replacing a chain on the same bike with the same gearing.
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Old 12-25-11, 09:25 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
This can result in making the new chain too long if the old one is badly worn. Assuming 110 "pitches" in a typical chain, the worn chain could be 1/2" longer than new if worn to the 1% mark and 1" longer than new if really bad at 2% wear.
It's pretty hard to make a chain that's 1/2" longer. If the old chain had elongated by a full inch you're likely to have more problems than just a too-long chain.
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Old 12-25-11, 09:44 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
It's pretty hard to make a chain that's 1/2" longer. If the old chain had elongated by a full inch you're likely to have more problems than just a too-long chain.
Yeah, I understand that but if the old chain had "stretched" 1/2", the new chain would be have to be cut 1" longer to keep the mating links oriented properly. Next time the now old chain is used as a length guide, it is also 1/2" longer and you again round the new one off at 1", etc. See where I'm going with this?
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Old 12-25-11, 12:01 PM
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Right. You can only vary chain length in one inch increments, not 1/2" increments. If the ends mate up and you take out the next pin to to shorten the chain 1/2", the ends won't mate anymore and you'll have to take out another pin to get the ends to mate again.

Another way to look at is that a chain has to have an even number of 1/2 links. It's gotta have one inner for every outer. This includes the master link if you're using one.
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Old 12-25-11, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Right. You can only vary chain length in one inch increments, not 1/2" increments. If the ends mate up and you take out the next pin to to shorten the chain 1/2", the ends won't mate anymore and you'll have to take out another pin to get the ends to mate again.

Another way to look at is that a chain has to have an even number of 1/2 links. It's gotta have one inner for every outer. This includes the master link if you're using one.
unless you get a half link chain.
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Old 12-25-11, 12:16 PM
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If an old chain had elongated by 1/2", then the ends would not match up with a new chain. You have to be smart enough, not to cut a chain so the ends won't mate together. If using an old chain as a guide, lay it side by side with the new one. It's easy to see if the old one is so much longer that it's far out of sync with the new one. If changed at .5% elongation, then the old chain would only be about 1/4" longer than a new one.

Just measuring the overall length with a tape measure will always work, if you record how many inches of chain are needed for a bike.

Use the little/little method to get the longest possible chain and get the maximum RD wrap capacity. The big/big plus 1 inch method certainly works, but suggests the shortest possible chain. That's OK if you never plan to put a different cassette on the bike with a larger cog.

Counting links is a complete waste of time.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-25-11 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 12-25-11, 12:58 PM
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Counting links is a complete waste of time.
Old chain take it off , lay it down, could compare it with new , but thats unwieldy..

take new chain put it on , remove extra links,
with your chain tool. , hook up quick link , ride away..

My old stumpie has long chainstays , I need new chain + a few links.

Madone, a road racer bike has short chainstays , so you would have plenty length.
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Old 12-25-11, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
unless you get a half link chain.

Yeah. That's relevant.....
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Old 12-26-11, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Doesn't matter.

I never count chain links. For a single diamond frame bike, any new chain that you buy is going to be too long. Lay out the chain that you take off next to it and break the new chain at the appropriate place.
Though this will work, I don't do it this way. By using the old chain as a standard, you are relying that the person who cut the last chain to have done it correctly. I'd rather do the measuring myself to ensure proper chain length.
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Old 12-26-11, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
This can result in making the new chain too long if the old one is badly worn. Assuming 110 "pitches" in a typical chain, the worn chain could be 1/2" longer than new if worn to the 1% mark and 1" longer than new if really bad at 2% wear.

I use the Sheldon Brown's/Park Tool's sizing technique of big-big+1" even when replacing a chain on the same bike with the same gearing.
Yeah, but the stretch really doesn't matter. When you lay the chains on the bench, you can move the chain to keep the links aligned.
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Old 12-26-11, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
Though this will work, I don't do it this way. By using the old chain as a standard, you are relying that the person who cut the last chain to have done it correctly. I'd rather do the measuring myself to ensure proper chain length.
Assuming it's your own bike, it still doesn't matter. The objective of the measuring procedure is to keep your bike working properly. If it was functioning properly before, it'll function properly again.

If I sound a little retro grouchy about this it's because I'm making a one man crusade to convert the world away from digital thinking and back to analog.
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Old 12-26-11, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Yeah, I understand that but if the old chain had "stretched" 1/2", the new chain would be have to be cut 1" longer to keep the mating links oriented properly. Next time the now old chain is used as a length guide, it is also 1/2" longer and you again round the new one off at 1", etc. See where I'm going with this?
Uh - Wouldn't an averagely smart person realize what's happening and simply round down?
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Old 12-26-11, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Assuming it's your own bike, it still doesn't matter. The objective of the measuring procedure is to keep your bike working properly. If it was functioning properly before, it'll function properly again.

If I sound a little retro grouchy about this it's because I'm making a one man crusade to convert the world away from digital thinking and back to analog.
You are correct. I was thinking as a shop mechanic and not someone working on their own bike.
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Old 12-26-11, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Uh - Wouldn't an averagely smart person realize what's happening and simply round down?
That's an oxymoron. But, yes a perceptive mechanic would if they knew the chain's history.
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Old 12-26-11, 10:03 PM
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I've read another method(seen it twice now) recently that seems easier. Use enough links so that the small+small combo has just enough tension and the chain doesn't not rub the rear derailleur cage. Then there should be plenty of length for the big big or your RD doesn't have enough capacity. This method resulted in one more link than the previous method I used and seems to be working well.
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