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Chain size confusion

Old 10-29-11, 08:41 AM
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thebird55
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Chain size confusion

I'm riding a Gravity Dutch with a Shimano 14-34T SIS Mega-Range Cassette (7 speed Hyper Glide) and SRAM Gripshift MRX 21 Speed. Nothing fancy, but it will do. Anyway, I need to replace the chain. But before I gave up on this one I did some work on it, and noticed that the link I inserted seemed to have a slightly longer pin. (Which kept catching on the cassette, riding up, then suddenly releasing, causing an annoying and dangerous jerk). And while looking around I've seen specs on different chains that say .5", .6", 7.3m, and 7.4m. Adding to my confusion is that, although it has a 7 speed cassette, my bicycle had a "thin" chain (may not have been original).

Are there really differences in the standard size?

Do I even need to be concerned about the apparent difference?

Pitfalls?

Recommendations? (Tight budget).
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Old 10-29-11, 08:53 AM
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Buy a KMC 8 speed chain and call it done.

Can't quite understand what you did with your chain but sounds like you used a quick link (?) that was a touch wider than the chain and wider than the spacing between the cogs.

Depending on mileage, you may also need to replace the freewheel / cassette although these can usually last through 2-3 chains if you do not run the chain past it's wear limit.
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Old 10-29-11, 11:59 AM
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Actually, I tried to use bits from an old chain from my 24 speed Raleigh C 40. But I may have gotten them mixed up. I used a pin from one to repair the other. They seemed identical, until the problems started. There is only about a millimeter's difference. Anyway, this situation just got me to thinking that I should research the matter before buying the new chain. If there are variations on the standard, I'm concerned how that might affect my (indexed) shifting. This bike shifts much cleaner than my Raleigh, and I want to keep it that way.

That raises another subject. I miss having 24 speeds. I wonder if my old wheels are compatible with the newer Bike? If so, I would gladly spring for a new derailleur (the old one is kaput). But then I'd have to use my old shifters.

Back to my topic: I see chains for 7 speed, 8 speed, 6-7-or 8 speed, etc. Most with the same specs (except for that millimeter). I can't figure out which is best.

I'm leaning toward this one: https://www.amazon.com/Action-Multi-C...HNTBB8P3NGFMCX.

This one is specifically for a 7 speed:https://www.amazon.com/Action-Multi-C...HNTBB8P3NGFMCX. Although it claims to be HG compatible, the sides look flat.

Just FYI, here's one that says .6": https://www.amazon.com/SRAM-P-Link-Bi...ef=pd_sbs_sg_7


By the way, my cassette is Shimano and my shifters are SRAM. Is that normal?
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Old 10-29-11, 12:27 PM
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SRAM 8 speed chain is also fine... it costs a few pennies more than KMC and that small difference in width on the outer plates can make a huge difference.

I use 8 speed chain on 6-7-8 speed drives and it works very well as the differences in spacing between drives is small and you can use a higher numbered chain on a lower numbered freewheel / cassette.

With older drives, and I have some 4-5 speeds... an 8 speed chain can often work well although a 5-6 speed chain works best due to the wider cog spacing that might cause the chain to skate a little when it shifts.
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Old 10-29-11, 12:28 PM
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If your wheels are the same size and the dropout spacing is the same you should be able to swap wheelsets... you will have to use the shifter that matches the drive to allow for proper indexing.
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Old 10-29-11, 11:01 PM
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Thanks. I'll go with the SRAM. After thinking about it, the wider chain makes sense. I don't know where my head was.

On a related note, how does one determine if the chain should be shortened? What effect does shortening it have?

Despite being a regular casual rider for almost ten years, I've never given chains much thought.
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Old 10-31-11, 09:24 AM
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There are several ways to determine correct chain length and parktools shows them in detail.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
There are several ways to determine correct chain length and parktools shows them in detail.
I bookmarked that site. Thanks.

I hope that the evolving nature of this topic isn't violating any protocols here. I ordered the SRAM chain, and I know it can be installed without tools. But there is still the problem of the old chain. The chain tool I've been using is really torn up, and I'm not sure if I'll get any more use out of it. Any tips for removing the old chain without a proper tool?

I'm anxious for the new chain to get here. I'm waiting until I get it installed before I tune up the derailleurs. I know from experience that, once cold weather sets in, I tend to put those things off.

Last edited by thebird55; 11-03-11 at 01:29 AM.
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