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Modern Chain recommendations?

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Modern Chain recommendations?

Old 04-21-22, 06:53 PM
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Modern Chain recommendations?

Hi folks, I am sure this has been asked before, but I could not really find much data. I typically get my chains from Mike up the road here in Boulder, because he has NOS Regina or Sedisport, but has anyone found a favorite "modern" chain that will work with a vintage 5 or 6 speed (classic spacing, not ultra)? I think Jim Merz recommended an 8 speed Campy chain for a lightweight option, but I cannot even find one of those?


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Old 04-21-22, 07:03 PM
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I usually run Wipperman Connex 8-speed chains. They usually do well in longevity tests...e.g. https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au

Note that the ZFC tests are not on 8-speed chains, but on the narrower versions of the same model chains.
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Old 04-21-22, 07:11 PM
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I tend to run on a tight budget. With that in mind, for six, seven and eight speed set-ups, I use an inexpensive eight speed chain - SRAM PC 830. It is lighter than Old School chain and joins with a master link, which is included in the box. Sometimes, if the vintage bike I am building has long chain stays, the box does not supply quite enough chain...
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Old 04-21-22, 07:14 PM
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+1 on the SRAM PC-830, usually available for around 11 USD.
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Old 04-21-22, 07:15 PM
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I use KMC's on my vintage 6spd FW's with a missing link connection for ease of removal and waxing. Shifting is smooth-never been a problem and they're relatively cheap online. (or were, anyway)
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Old 04-21-22, 07:35 PM
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FWIW, I recently bought a KMC chain and love it. The nickel color I think looks good. I am an old man and ride my vintage bikes like an old man and they work well on the 40 year old chain rings and freewheel. My bikes also while "vintage", are not what most would call classic so there is also that.
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Old 04-21-22, 07:46 PM
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Another vote for Sram 8 speed chains. They have a pc830, 850, and 870. The local rei to me stocks the pc850 for $15. I've purchased a few from them over the last couple of years.
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Old 04-21-22, 09:08 PM
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Old 04-21-22, 09:28 PM
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I use Sedis/Sachs chains for my 7 speed rear clusters, as they were designed for narrower cog spacing., compared to the regular Sedisports. They have slight bevels (Not present on the older Sedisports) on their side plates to promote shifting.....
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Old 04-21-22, 10:10 PM
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I’ve had good luck for 5 speed freewheel bikes using the KMC Z8.1 chain, not expensive at $13 retail, 116 links plus appropriate Missing Link connector included. I can run a 52T front/34T rear cog using a Campagnolo Nuovo Record rear derailleur with Rally cage modification using the full length. The beveled Z side plates aid in shifting and while not super smooth in my drivetrain, does have a satisfying “clunk” shift. Comes in Gray and nickel-plate gray. Formerly the Z51 chain.

Probably would shift better if I used a Suntour slant parallelogram derailleur like the VGT-Luxe.
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Old 04-21-22, 10:51 PM
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Another vote for the SRAM PC 800 series. I got the 870 for $18 on Ebay.
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Old 04-22-22, 06:36 AM
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Old 04-22-22, 04:59 PM
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Read a few times that sram 830 does not have chrome plated hardened pins. Can anyone else confirm this? On this advice, I bought a couple 850s recently. Here is post from another member recently where this is discussed.

Recommendations for an 8-speed chain

Last edited by Slowride79; 04-22-22 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 04-22-22, 05:14 PM
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Been using the KMC Z8, but lately pretty happy with this one from Amazon.

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Old 04-22-22, 05:23 PM
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Chains for a vintage bike are a problem. The big problem is that all derailleur chains made today are optimized for indexed shifting systems. They are far more laterally flexible than we’re the vintage chains. Older non indexed rear derailleurs often had a design where idler pulley was positioned some distance from the cogs. Indexed systems are the opposite. This was great for quick and easy wheel removal, but not so great for shifting with a flexible chain. The old Regina chains were very stiff and even the old Sedisport was stiff by today’s standards. I use SRAM 8 speed chains sometimes, but find that the Wippermann Connex chains are a little stiffer and work better. For the most part, I have gravitated away from 7 speed freewheels to 6 speed as they are far easier to shift with a modern chains. I find that it is also helpful to exaggerate the “ overshift and back off “ method of shifting as well
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Old 04-22-22, 06:10 PM
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@El Chaba, the varying experiences I read regarding modern chains on vintage drivetrains are interesting.

My experience has been the opposite. I have a bike that is set up with a Campy NR, a Sunrace 14-24 6-speed, and a modern KMC chain.
It is, without question, the smoothest shifting friction drivetrain I have ever used. That includes various Suntour and Shimano builds. Not even close. That includes front shifting as well.

I just put a Sram 830 and a NOS Sachs 6-speed on my Colnago with vintage Super Record. It is incredibly slick.

Perhaps the chain/freewheel combos I choose have more to do with it? Don't know for sure.
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Old 04-23-22, 09:11 AM
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Thanks everyone for the guidance. One bit of information I have gleaned is that apparently modern chains still retain both the length of each link as well as the inner width. The main dimension that has changed is the outer width of the chain. I was concerned that a modern chain might not accommodate a wider cog on an older freewheel, but that is apparently not the case. I got a Campy 9 speed chain to try out on my Raleigh Team and it seems to work great, YMMV.

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