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Shimano or KMC

Old 02-24-21, 12:57 AM
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Spellscape
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Shimano or KMC

Hi all

Is it better to get Shimano UG30 5-6 speed road chain 3-32 from 1978 or new KMC Z7 for 5 speed Shimano Altus ST ?
This is more about durability.
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Old 02-24-21, 01:54 AM
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all i can say is shimano usually uses a pin that needs a chain tool , and kmc and sram use a quick link that can sometimes be broken by hand or paracord , which why i always have some strands in my flat kit in case i need to take the chain off as well as the small triangular chain breaker from parktool in emergencies , you might want to research if your drive train is compatible sometimes kmc doesn't mesh well
as for durability, there is no chain that will truly wear out , you can run most chains for decades , the pins might fail and i have snapped a few , but thats more from force and the chain could easily be repaired , but again shimano chains seem to be made to be repaired with actual pins that will just go in , where sram or kmc seem to be harder to replace a damaged pin requiring you to use multiple quick links if you do need to mend a break especially on the road !

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Old 02-24-21, 02:06 AM
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On bike I've got was Shimano BUT it was so worn that my Chain Measure could not reach both "measuring links" so it was at least 1.5 worn
So in general should I look for 5-6 speed chain or 7 speed is fine too?

Last edited by Spellscape; 02-24-21 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 02-24-21, 08:03 AM
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I've had no issues running modern chains on older gear clusters.
With that much wear on the chain, I'd anticipate your cog seat being worn as well.
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Old 02-24-21, 12:38 PM
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There really are no good, modern chains having the old ~8mm width. TaYa made one that looked modern but didn't shift that great and was not of very good quality.

The old 8mm Uniglide chains seemed to wear out very fast when I used them in the 80's.
By 1987 or so Shimano replaced their older-width chains with their new, bushingless UG NARROW chain for all applications from 5-8speeds. It was a superior chain and is seemingly identical to today's HG 7-8sp chain.

The older, wide, bushed chains do often shift more responsively on setups where the chain gap is big. They have much less lateral flexibility to them but this does also impose much greater frictional losses as the cross-chaining angle increases, which further requires more copious lubrication to be maintained.

Newer chain is also lighter and is more forgiving of exact lever position to achieve quiet running.
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Old 02-24-21, 05:33 PM
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Speaking only on durability between those two, Shimano is the way to go.
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Old 02-24-21, 11:53 PM
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I no longer use the Old School chains, opting for SRAM with a master or connecting link. They are much lighter, readily available and easier to install or remove (not a good idea to reuse the connecting link too many times, two being enough in my mind...
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Old 02-25-21, 08:22 AM
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Need some old school chain? Picked this up back in 1972.
P1000578 on Flickr
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Old 02-25-21, 11:05 AM
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I've never had a Shimano chain I liked or kept. The first thing any new acquisition gets is the Shimano chain in the bin. I used Sedis chains since they were new in the market and until my last NIB went on a bike. I've been using KMC on everything from 6 to 9 speeds in the last 3 yrs or so and have been just way happy with them and have absolutely no issues with their master links.
JMO of course YMMV
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Old 02-25-21, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Spellscape View Post
in general should I look for 5-6 speed chain or 7 speed is fine too?
5-8sp chain is all the same size, so you can use whatever. I like KMC Z-51 for older 5-6sp drivetrains.

If your chain is as worn out as you say, you will probably need a new freewheel, as a worn freewheel will quickly wear out a new chain.
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Old 02-25-21, 01:42 PM
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Interesting thread

Iíve been following this, as I have just swapped out a couple chains, and have been in the learning process for a couple years. I just restored an old Schwinn super sport with all stock parts including a very nice stock chain; Sedis I think. It shifted the front poorly, but I also know that a bit of attention to the front derailleur inner plate can help. I put on a modern SRAM 850 and all good.

On my old 64 Frejus that I am running a shimano uniglide 5 speed freewheel on, I had a more modern KMC with flat side plates and protruding rivets. It did okay, but I then changed to the SRAM again and had improved shifting again. Hmmm, I like that SRAM. I did put a modern shimano on my Ironman with a new uniglide freewheel and it seems to act like the SRAM but lacks the quick link. SRAM for me now.
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