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Questions about single speed chains , do they wear faster ?

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Questions about single speed chains , do they wear faster ?

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Old 11-20-15, 05:15 AM
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jambon
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Questions about single speed chains , do they wear faster ?

Hi all ,

Just a quick question or two . I noticed the new chain I put on my single speed has seemed to stretch a bit already after not so much use . The tension is fine , even on the loose side . Is it because I'm putting so much power into the chain when taking the single speed up the steep hills in my city ? I really need to get out of the saddle and put my whole weight on the pedals to climb on my single speed . So should I expect to go through chains faster than I would on a geared bike ?

Second Question , should I change out the chain when its overstretched just as I would on a geared bike . The idea I have is that I can get more mileage out of a stretched chain on a single speed as their wont be the shifting /slipping issues that the same chain would have on a geared bike , correct ?

Thanks ,

J
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Old 11-20-15, 05:31 AM
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Are there seasonal differences to your SS vs geared bike choices? That could certainly affect chain wear.

How expensive is your SS/FG rear sprocket? Undoubtedly you will still get wear, and it will be 100% on that one sprocket rather than being spread across the cassette.
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Old 11-20-15, 07:58 AM
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Your SS chain has fewer links..there is less material to wear. Each link cycles around your drivetrain more frequently. Of course it will wear faster.
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Old 11-20-15, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jambon View Post
should I change out the chain when its overstretched just as I would on a geared bike . The idea I have is that I can get more mileage out of a stretched chain on a single speed
A stretched chain is done.

Worn parts needs to be replaced. What type of bike its on doesn't matter.
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Old 11-20-15, 11:00 AM
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my ss drivetrain lasts about 3 times longer than my road bike drivetrain , not to forget the cost of repalcement !
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Old 11-20-15, 11:17 AM
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What are you doing to determine if your chain is stretched?

If you're using the Park CC-3.2, that thing is useless.
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Old 11-20-15, 11:25 AM
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Did you ensure the chain never went tight as you pedaled several full cycles of chain rotation (say a dozen or so pedal revolutions? If it goes tight because of crankset or cog/FW eccentricity (very common with lower cost equipment - that's one reason track gear costs so much) you are putting very high loads on the chain, possibly far more than you could ever do with your legs. I see to it that I can always wiggle the chain up and down a half inch. With lesser equipment, it sometimes takes me a few minutes to get the hub set so I always have that 1/2" but won't drop the chain when it is at its loosest.

And on chain stretch - there is only one really good way to measure it. With an accurate ruler or tape measure. (Between the 1 foot and 2 feet marks on a steel tape measure is as good as anything.) Measure from the forward edge of a chain rivet to the forward edge of the rivet one foot away (12 pairs of links). On a new chain this is 12" exactly. Worn but rideable - 12 1/16". 12 3/32"? That chain is shot.

Your cogs will wear to match the chain AND you chain will stretch to match the cogs. Put a new chain on old cogs and very quickly the chain will be stretched and be an old chain.

So, is this a new chain over an old cog? If so, the stretch you see is completely expected. Does this chain run smoothly over the cog now? (It might have been a little rough when you put it on.) If it runs smoothly and you have 1/16" or less stretch, all is good. Just ride it until you hit 3/32" of stretch or it feels funky. That could be quite a long time. But the time will come when a new chain will not work at all. At that point, you can keep riding what you have but to upgrade will require a new cog, chain and probably chainring.

Ben
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Old 11-20-15, 11:32 AM
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Slightly off topic but a guy came into the shop a few weeks ago to get a new chain and he got mad when I told him his chainring was worn and should also be replaced.

His response to me showing him the shark-finned teeth was, "That thing is made of METAL. It should last FOREVER". I'm not quite sure what he though his old chain was made of.
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Old 11-20-15, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
Your SS chain has fewer links..there is less material to wear. Each link cycles around your drivetrain more frequently. Of course it will wear faster.
Yes, completely true. Shorter SS speed chains will wear faster IF you only ride the geared bike with a straight chainline all the time. And you put cogs as thick as SS cogs on your geared bike. (And rotate the cogs on your cassette so that you share the load between those cogs while keeping that perfect chainline. "Let's see, feels like a good day to run my 12 and 28. They haven't been getting much use. I'll take my 12-28 10-speed and go 13-14-15-17-12-28-19-21-23-25. Tomorrow I'll ride the 13 and the 25.")

Sorry, this is a little unkind, but many of us run SS/FG BECAUSE the drive trains last so bloody long.

Ben
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Old 11-20-15, 11:48 AM
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Old 11-20-15, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Yes, completely true. Shorter SS speed chains will wear faster IF you only ride the geared bike with a straight chainline all the time. And you put cogs as thick as SS cogs on your geared bike. (And rotate the cogs on your cassette so that you share the load between those cogs while keeping that perfect chainline. "Let's see, feels like a good day to run my 12 and 28. They haven't been getting much use. I'll take my 12-28 10-speed and go 13-14-15-17-12-28-19-21-23-25. Tomorrow I'll ride the 13 and the 25.")

Sorry, this is a little unkind, but many of us run SS/FG BECAUSE the drive trains last so bloody long.

Ben
That is wrong. An "SS speed chain" will always wear slower, not faster, than your geared chain if you ride the geared bike all the time. It doesn't matter if you only use gears that maintain a straight chainline or not, obviously, your SS chain is not gonna wear unless you ride it.
Why limit yourself to certain gear ratios? If you've got gears, use them and replace your chain when it needs it.

Last edited by mihlbach; 11-20-15 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 11-20-15, 03:05 PM
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Ride your bikes
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Old 11-20-15, 03:09 PM
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What did you Buy? there is a difference in material qualities between cheap and something you pay $20+ for.

And there is a difference between full bushing and bushingless chains too..
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Old 11-20-15, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
Slightly off topic but a guy came into the shop a few weeks ago to get a new chain and he got mad when I told him his chainring was worn and should also be replaced.

His response to me showing him the shark-finned teeth was, "That thing is made of METAL. It should last FOREVER". I'm not quite sure what he though his old chain was made of.
If I'm "building", I'll try to use good parts.

But, I'm planning on riding my regular bike until I just have a few nubs left. No need to replace if asymptomatic. Just keep an eye on it.

There are several different alloys used. I believe that the basic steel rings just use high carbon steel, and may wear just as fast as the aluminum alloy rings. I have one aluminum ring that is wearing FAST. Reports seem to indicate that 6061 aluminum wears faster than 7xxx alloys.

Anyway, if the bike is riding fine, bring attention to the worn rings, but don't replace them unless it is needed. The owner may well get 10,000 more miles out of his config, depending on how bad it really is.
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Old 11-20-15, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
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Old 11-20-15, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
Slightly off topic but a guy came into the shop a few weeks ago to get a new chain and he got mad when I told him his chainring was worn and should also be replaced.

His response to me showing him the shark-finned teeth was, "That thing is made of METAL. It should last FOREVER". I'm not quite sure what he though his old chain was made of.
Ahhhh, I miss the days of people like that coming into the shop. I remember the one dude who had a flat in addition to a worn out chain, freewheel, no brake pads front or rear (material had worn off), frayed cables and probably a whole host of other problems, just wanted us to fix the flat. We refused because the bike was unsafe and told him when we could get all the work done or at least replace the brake pads and he said he couldn't wait and proceeded to argue with us for 1/2 hour about it all when I could have easily slapped on some brake pads and a new tube and set him up for our next available date.
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Old 11-20-15, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If I'm "building", I'll try to use good parts.

But, I'm planning on riding my regular bike until I just have a few nubs left. No need to replace if asymptomatic. Just keep an eye on it.

There are several different alloys used. I believe that the basic steel rings just use high carbon steel, and may wear just as fast as the aluminum alloy rings. I have one aluminum ring that is wearing FAST. Reports seem to indicate that 6061 aluminum wears faster than 7xxx alloys.

Anyway, if the bike is riding fine, bring attention to the worn rings, but don't replace them unless it is needed. The owner may well get 10,000 more miles out of his config, depending on how bad it really is.
I couldn't agree less with this post.
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Old 11-21-15, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by nripin View Post
my ss drivetrain lasts about 3 times longer than my road bike drivetrain , not to forget the cost of repalcement !
That's been my experience too. But I'll admit that I'm not sure why. To me it Intuitively seems like the opposite would be true as there's a lot more tension being put on my SS chain while starting to move and going up hill.
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Old 11-21-15, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by roka View Post
That's been my experience too. But I'll admit that I'm not sure why. To me it Intuitively seems like the opposite would be true as there's a lot more tension being put on my SS chain while starting to move and going up hill.
An 1/8" cog is a hair less than 3mm wide. An 11 speed cog is 1.3mm wide.

The psi exerted by the chain onto the cogs is less than half.

Assuming an equally clean and lubricated situation with similar quality components, it should last at least twice as long.
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Old 11-22-15, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
An 1/8" cog is a hair less than 3mm wide. An 11 speed cog is 1.3mm wide.

The psi exerted by the chain onto the cogs is less than half.

Assuming an equally clean and lubricated situation with similar quality components, it should last at least twice as long.
Makes sense - thanks!
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Old 11-23-15, 01:49 PM
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I dunno about singlespeeds but I stretch fixed gear chains like stretch armstrong every couple months. Sigh... This feels like bragging but then I remember I have to drop another $25 on another "stretch proof" KMC 710sl now.
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Old 11-23-15, 02:25 PM
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Izumi Super Toughness FTW.
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Old 11-23-15, 02:59 PM
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I couldn't find the original "ask a quick question" thread so figure I'll ask it here.

Is it easier to add links to more expensive chains vs cheaper chains?

Whenever I try to add links, that new section always seems to bind a little. I use a chain tool and pop the pin almost out (just enough to insert a new section) but soon as I push the pin back in, that section always sticks a bit and never feels totally smooth.

Not sure if it's because I suck or it's a bit more difficult with $8 KMC chains vs higher quality chains.
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Old 11-23-15, 03:07 PM
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This.

Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
Izumi Super Toughness FTW.
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Old 11-23-15, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ufbeans View Post
I dunno about singlespeeds but I stretch fixed gear chains like stretch armstrong every couple months. Sigh... This feels like bragging but then I remember I have to drop another $25 on another "stretch proof" KMC 710sl now.
Those are sexy as hell with their hollow pins and plates. But my experience has been that the super cheap ones like the (1/8) Z410 NP or Gold, and the (3/32)Z610 HX seem to last forever. And the plating seems to hold up really well too. i hope they never discontinue them.
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