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Chain Quality

Old 12-09-04, 11:17 AM
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Chain Quality

I haven't seen this asked before. Maybe it has been. IS there a performance difference between a $9 dull looking new chain and a $25 shiney silver looking chain? My LBS says the only difference is that one costs about $20 more and is more shiney.

Is this correct?
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Old 12-09-04, 11:34 AM
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Some chains are more corrosion resistant than others. Some have hollow pins and weight a little bit less. All will turn a cog about the same.
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Old 12-09-04, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
I haven't seen this asked before. Maybe it has been. IS there a performance difference between a $9 dull looking new chain and a $25 shiney silver looking chain? My LBS says the only difference is that one costs about $20 more and is more shiney.

Is this correct?
It's probably more correct than most are willing to admit. The big difference is the material, as the previous poster said, some are more corrosion resistant. Weight is also a parameter, but the weight difference is pretty small.

There are probably performance differences between brands, say Shimano vs SRAM. Personally, SRAM works better for me.

However, within the brand, I doubt there is a performance difference. For example, I doubt there is much of a performance difference between the SRAM PC 59 and PC 69.

We tend to equate cost with quality, and that is true to an extent. However, prices are determined by marketing folks to distinguish items. For example, a PC69 may cost $20, the PC 59 may cost $14. I highly doubt the PC 69 cost $6 more to produce. It may cost $1 more but if they sold them for $14 and $15, no one would buy the $14 one since for a buck more, you're getting slightly better material.

My own opinion and edoooocated guess at best.
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Old 12-10-04, 12:49 AM
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I think the higher end chains must be more wear resistant and last longer or people would have seen through the marketing stuff by now, surely?
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Old 12-10-04, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Astra
I think the higher end chains must be more wear resistant and last longer or people would have seen through the marketing stuff by now, surely?
Actually for chains, I really haven't found this to be true. I find that the more expensive chains are however more corrosion resistant, stronger and shift nicer but don't really last much longer than a properly cared for lower-end chain. I have also found that SRAM and Wippermann chains tend to be stronger and of course more convenient to use than Shimano chains. Shimano chains seem to shift nicer on Shimano drivetrains than SRAM chains but the difference is barely noticable. I'll take SRAM over Shimano for strength and maintainability regardless of the slightly extra superficial scuffing. However, Wippermann seems to shift as nice as Shimano. I haven't any long term experience with Campy chains though. Other chains I have tried but didn't like were the TaYa and KMC chains.
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Old 12-10-04, 04:06 AM
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I had this same question also.....Hmmmm.

I thought the PC-69 chain I was using was the cheapest.

Anyway, I was thinking it was better to buy cheaper chains and just change them more frequently.

It is easier to throw away a $15 chain that is beginning to stretch than a $30 one. I'd rather have fresh cheap chains on my bike than trying to force the more expensive ones to go more miles.
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Old 12-10-04, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by khuon
Shimano chains seem to shift nicer on Shimano drivetrains than SRAM chains but the difference is barely noticable. I'll take SRAM over Shimano for strength and maintainability regardless of the slightly extra superficial scuffing.
Not my experience, but still. I like SRAM stuff, but it's availability is suspect here at the moment. FWIW, I get around6,000km consistently out of a P49 SRAM chain which is somewhere down the list from you guys, obvously.

Rust is not an issue here. No snow and ice, no salt. Any corrosion is superficial and irrelavent. What counts is lubrication between the rollers and chainplates, and keeping abrasive out. The weakest point in most chains is where they are joined and that comes back to human intervention.
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Old 12-10-04, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
Not my experience, but still.
I think I should probably preface what I typed earlier by stating that I really only notice the difference when comparing top-of-the-line chains from both manufacturers. That is to say that it seemed like the CN7703 shifted slightly smoother and cleaner than the PC89R under ideal conditions. I really only noticed it while on rollers or the trainer. In the real world I probably couldn't tell. The extra scuffing on the cassette from the SRAM chain does sort of hint that its design probably doesn't match up as perfectly on a Shimano drivetrain as a Shimano chain.
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Old 12-10-04, 05:26 AM
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It has a lot to do with how you take care of them and how you ride.

My touring bike chain, and, 7 speed cassette (I know, I know, replace the chain etc. etc.) have 7,750 miles on them now. It's Shimano RSX drive train all original and a Sram chain. My light racer has about 6,000 on chain and cassette ...Dura-Ace both parts. My older mountain bike has about 4,000 miles on the Alivio freewheel and a Sram chain (it never really gets too dirty). My 1976 Gitane Beater bike has about 6,000 miles on the Sram chain and a Shimano 6 speed freewheel. I keep my drive trains clean and properly lubed. The bad weather bikes have fenders. The fenders keep the chain clean longer.

I believe the side play between the plates is greater on the Sram chains than the Shimano chains. This is why the Shimano chain shifts faster, it's stiffer sideways. Yet the Sram is quieter, it tends to align better with the cogs because it has more side play. If you have access to each when new bend them straight sideways and see if it seems like this is so.
At the shop one time the owner switched the chains on a customers bike just so he could see this, it was very important to this person, I think he was a racer and wanted faster shifting.
The overall width of the chain will affect both shifting and quiet running too.
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Old 12-10-04, 07:38 AM
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The more expensive chains are better protected (via exterior plating, I think) against rusting. Cheap chains rust like crazy after washing or a rain ride, if you don't dry them off. A Dura Ace Chain or SRAM PC-89R are much more resistant . . . initially. As the chains wear the exterior plating wears off and they begin to be more prone to rusting. Though rusting isn't a huge problem as some new lube and a short ride will take care of it, rusting is unsightly, can cause links to stick if left untreated and can make a dry chain very noisy. If you ride when it's wet, the better chains are a better choice, IMO.
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Old 12-10-04, 08:36 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by 53-11 alltheway
I had this same question also.....Hmmmm.

I thought the PC-69 chain I was using was the cheapest.

Anyway, I was thinking it was better to buy cheaper chains and just change them more frequently.

It is easier to throw away a $15 chain that is beginning to stretch than a $30 one. I'd rather have fresh cheap chains on my bike than trying to force the more expensive ones to go more miles.
Chains don't stretch they wear.

Consider This:

http://www.yarchive.net/bike/chain_wear.html
 
Old 12-10-04, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by wildjim
Chains don't stretch they wear.

Consider This:

http://www.yarchive.net/bike/chain_wear.html
Whatever......In use they elongate. Excessive elongation trashes other stuff.Learn to measure a chain(A ruler works.) and toss it at the proper time.

Last edited by sydney; 12-10-04 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 12-10-04, 08:48 AM
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Intuitively, one would imagine that at the very least a chain with a smoother finish will roll more smoothly, ie, slightly less resistance, than a more roughly finished chain. So I am not an advocate of $5 chains. On the other hand I actually picked up the phone and called SRAM tech assistance once to ask about the difference between PC-59 and PC-99. The rep told me that all of the chains are functionally identical, that the only differences revolve around cosmetics and weight trimming. PC-59 is black and silver, PC-69 all silver, PC-89 a little lighter for racing, PC-99 hollow pins and perforated links for even lighter weight. But the fit and finish are all the same. I use PC-59, usually about $15 on my commuters and PC-69 on my road bikes, just because I like the look. The cost $4-5 more, but then they don't get used as much so I don't have to replace them as often.
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Old 12-10-04, 08:48 AM
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Stop the cycle of ignorance. READ. . .

http://www.yarchive.net/bike/chain_wear.html
 
Old 12-10-04, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by wildjim
Stop the cycle of ignorance. READ. . .

http://www.yarchive.net/bike/chain_wear.html
Try reading Sheldon Brown. No rocket science here.
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Old 12-10-04, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sydney
Try reading Sheldon Brown. No rocket science here.
I don't believe that bicycles are complicated or rocket science.

Sheldon Brown is very knowledgable yet he is sometimes biased by his need to sell parts.

Jobst Brandt is educated, knowledgable, practicle and experienced. I find no faults in his advice yet.
 
Old 12-10-04, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by wildjim
I don't believe that bicycles are complicated or rocket science.

Sheldon Brown is very knowledgable yet he is sometimes biased by his need to sell parts.

Jobst Brandt is educated, knowledgable, practicle and experienced. I find no faults in his advice yet.
Well, Josh is highly opiniated,and plenty of other people find good reason to disagree with him.Besides, as I read it both say use a ruler and measure 1/16".So what's the beef? I won't waste time arguing with anyone over how or why that 1/16" gets there.

Last edited by sydney; 12-10-04 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 12-10-04, 10:59 AM
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My Ultegra chain and cassette outlasted my DA chain and cassette.
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Old 12-10-04, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by shokhead
My Ultegra chain and cassette outlasted my DA chain and cassette.
Ohhhhh....
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Old 12-10-04, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sydney
Well, Josh is highly opiniated,and plenty of other people find good reason to disagree with him.Besides, as I read it both say use a ruler and measure 1/16".So what's the beef? I won't waste time arguing with anyone over how or why that 1/16" gets there.
I am not attempting to argrue with you nor are my posts directed to you.

I am just trying share what I know and stop the misconceptions about bicycle parts. Such as the fact that chains wear and lengthen and do not stretch to length.

Can we agree that Sheldon and Jobst are both reliable sources of information?

Perhaps you do not intend to be confrontational but that is how you seem to be?
 
Old 12-10-04, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by wildjim
I am just trying share what I know and stop the misconceptions about bicycle parts. Such as the fact that chains wear and lengthen and do not stretch to length.
Yeah......I understand they truly do not "stretch". I'm was just using that slang term in refering to a "worn" chain.
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Old 12-10-04, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wildjim
I am not attempting to argrue with you nor are my posts directed to you.



Perhaps you do not intend to be confrontational but that is how you seem to be?
OK...and on my part,some days the prune juice just doesn't work.Peace.
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Old 12-10-04, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
I haven't seen this asked before. Maybe it has been. IS there a performance difference between a $9 dull looking new chain and a $25 shiney silver looking chain? My LBS says the only difference is that one costs about $20 more and is more shiney.

Is this correct?
Great question! Why don't you perform a 9 dollar experiment and let us know the results. I would love to start buying 9 dollar chains!
Tom
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Old 12-10-04, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wildjim
Chains don't stretch they wear.
If you want to get technical. Chains DO stretch. Individual links, specifically pins, wear. The material that the chain is made out of does not elongate a measurable amount. But the chain as a whole gets longer.

stretch ( P ) Pronunciation Key (strch)
v. stretched, stretch·ing, stretch·es
v. tr.
To lengthen, widen, or distend.

The chain as a unit gets longer. Therefore, by definition, it stretches.
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Old 12-10-04, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Avalanche325
If you want to get technical. Chains DO stretch. Individual links, specifically pins, wear. The material that the chain is made out of does not elongate a measurable amount. But the chain as a whole gets longer.

stretch ( P ) Pronunciation Key (strch)
v. stretched, stretch·ing, stretch·es
v. tr.
To lengthen, widen, or distend.

The chain as a unit gets longer. Therefore, by definition, it stretches.
Moronic ignorant fool you may be. Please feel free to consult the dictionary.
 

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