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Chain noise? Can I make it go away?

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Chain noise? Can I make it go away?

Old 01-17-11, 04:43 PM
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Chain noise? Can I make it go away?

I'm getting some chain noise from my Surly Steamroller pre-built. It's definitely the chain (or fixed cog or chainring), because when I remove the chain, I can spin the rear wheel or pedals without noise. I don't think it's alignment. The rear wheel is pointing straight ahead, and I haven't touched the chainring or cog. Tension doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. The chain was recently cleaned pretty thoroughly (removed, put in bottle with hot water and solvents, shaken vigorously) and the sprockets brushed clean, and chain re-lubed with some wax-based lubricant.

When I bought the bike, it was totally silent. After a few months it started to make noise so I cleaned and re-lubed the chain. That solved the problem. But the noise came back after a couple more months. So cleaned and re-lubed again. No good. So I had the shop do a more thorough job with the wax based lubricant and all. Still no change.

Can I get rid of the chain noise? Or is noise just a fact of life with chains? It wasn't noisy when new.
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Old 01-17-11, 04:46 PM
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Some cogs and chainrings will be very quiet in the beginning of their lives; it might get louder when it's more worn.

If not, just live with the noise.

Last edited by Squirrelli; 01-17-11 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 01-17-11, 04:49 PM
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How many miles do you have on the chain? Have you checked to see if it has stretched? Chains do wear out. Also, cogs wear and can become noisy as well.
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Old 01-17-11, 06:07 PM
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Vixtor, but the chain/sprockets started out quiet. It's taken it approximately a year to acquire this persistent noise.

Tejano, I estimate the chain/sprockets have no more than 500 miles on them. I just checked for wear after viewing a quick video tutorial. When measuring 1ft. of chain, there is between 1/16 and 1/8 in. of "stretch" (which I understand to actually be wear). According to Sheldon Brown I'm somewhere between the "replace the chain" mark and the "replace the chain and sprocket" mark.

Soooooo... that's the problem then, right?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-17-11, 06:12 PM
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lulz I had quiet and loud backward.
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Old 01-17-11, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Austinnh
Tejano, I estimate the chain/sprockets have no more than 500 miles on them. I just checked for wear after viewing a quick video tutorial. When measuring 1ft. of chain, there is between 1/16 and 1/8 in. of "stretch" (which I understand to actually be wear). According to Sheldon Brown I'm somewhere between the "replace the chain" mark and the "replace the chain and sprocket" mark.

Soooooo... that's the problem then, right?
Yepper. That would exceed my criteria for chain stretch (wear). I'd first just replace the chain, and if you get a lot of noise and grinding from the cog (sprocket), then replace it too. I'd recommend getting a SRAM branded chain.
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Old 01-17-11, 06:21 PM
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If you're on a budget, SRAM PC-1 is the perfect chain; if you can stretch a bit, get the PC-7X.
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Old 01-17-11, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Vixtor
If you're on a budget, SRAM PC-1 is the perfect chain; if you can stretch a bit, get the PC-7X.
Vix, if it's the stock Steamroller chain and cog / chainring, it'll be 3/32, so I'd recommend a SRAM PC-8xx series 8-speed chain, for example https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...2&category=684 which has the convenience of a tooless quick link.
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Old 01-17-11, 06:39 PM
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When I hear sram chains it makes me knees hurt. Snapped way too many of those. I tend to prefer my kmc stuff.
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Old 01-17-11, 08:01 PM
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^^ Really? Are sram's chains too weak for your horsepower?
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Old 01-17-11, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dannihilator
When I hear sram chains it makes me knees hurt. Snapped way too many of those. I tend to prefer my kmc stuff.
the PC-1 was also extremely unreliable in my experience. i never used it on the road, but broke 2 or 3 on my XC SS mtb before i decided that it wasn't my chain installation skills at fault. i now use a kmc stainless (s-10?) and have not had a single issue. do a couple searches and you will find *many* accounts of PC-1 breakage.
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Old 01-17-11, 08:47 PM
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to the OP - Are you sure your chain isn't too tight? I run like 3/4" slack. You will go faster and you won't destroy your chain/chain ring/cog. Will help with the noise too.

But in reality, is there really such a thing as a completely quiet drive train?
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Old 01-17-11, 08:53 PM
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^^^ PC-1, perhaps, but not any of the 7/8 speed 3/32 chains PC-8xx. I've used several extensively w/o any problems. Also, I've not heard anything bad about the higher end PC-7X 1/8 chain, although I have no personal experience. For track racing I don't mess around and use an Izumi ESH with the bolted master link.
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Old 01-17-11, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie
^^^ PC-1, perhaps, but not any of the 7/8 speed 3/32 chains PC-8xx. I've used several extensively w/o any problems. Also, I've not heard anything bad about the higher end PC-7X 1/8 chain, although I have no personal experience. For track racing I don't mess around and use an Izumi ESH with the bolted master link.

+1. I use an Izumi chain on the street. Over 1,500 miles later, not a single problem.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:02 PM
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I've had good experience with a PC-1 on my fixed gear with reasonably large drivetrain, I wouldn't use it my BMX though.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by erpdat
But in reality, is there really such a thing as a completely quiet drive train?
I have heard some that came pretty damn close.

Mine was quiet for a while, then I had it cleaned and serviced. My chainline is not completely straight, so I expect some chain noise. You become used to it after a while.

I will probably purchase a different cog and chain here soon, though.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:27 PM
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I personally don't mind some chain noise. I actually kind of like it.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:29 PM
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IME some cogs are louder than others. Surlys are loudest, Dura Aces are moderately noisy and Somas are quietest. I've heard people say that the more expensive EAIs are whisper quiet. The worst cog I ever had was the stock one that came on my Kilo WT, which was also not concentric. Loud, rough and very uneven chain tension. I tossed it.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by erpdat
I personally don't mind some chain noise. I actually kind of like it.
Yea, same here. My drive train doesn't even make much noise at all...my pedals squeak and that's probably the worst.

Origin8 was pretty quiet when I first started to use it, it still is.
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Old 01-17-11, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by erpdat
to the OP - Are you sure your chain isn't too tight? I run like 3/4" slack. You will go faster and you won't destroy your chain/chain ring/cog. Will help with the noise too.

But in reality, is there really such a thing as a completely quiet drive train?
When you say 3/4" slack (which I assume means three quarters, not three or four ), how is that measured? When I push my chain up and down, the total range of motion is approximately 1" with moderate pressure, whatever that means. I don't think I have it very tight.

Well when I got this bike, I couldn't hear a thing. The sound of the wind and the tires on the road overwhelmed any drive train noise as far as I could tell. It was pleasing.
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Old 01-17-11, 10:11 PM
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Yes, the measurement is the total up and down slack, and 1" is plenty if not excessive. I adjust my chain such that it has approximately " slack at its tightest point.
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Old 01-17-11, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by evilcryalotmore
^^ Really? Are sram's chains too weak for your horsepower?
Never had luck with them.
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Old 01-17-11, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Vixtor
Origin8 was pretty quiet when I first started to use it, it still is.
I used to swear by EAI but used a origin 8 on my last build and i'm liking it a lot.Great cog for 1/2 the price.
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Old 01-17-11, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Austinnh
I'm getting some chain noise from my Surly Steamroller pre-built. It's definitely the chain (or fixed cog or chainring), because when I remove the chain, I can spin the rear wheel or pedals without noise. I don't think it's alignment. The rear wheel is pointing straight ahead, and I haven't touched the chainring or cog. Tension doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. The chain was recently cleaned pretty thoroughly (removed, put in bottle with hot water and solvents, shaken vigorously) and the sprockets brushed clean, and chain re-lubed with some wax-based lubricant.

When I bought the bike, it was totally silent. After a few months it started to make noise so I cleaned and re-lubed the chain. That solved the problem. But the noise came back after a couple more months. So cleaned and re-lubed again. No good. So I had the shop do a more thorough job with the wax based lubricant and all. Still no change.

Can I get rid of the chain noise? Or is noise just a fact of life with chains? It wasn't noisy when new.
define totally silent....?
i never heard drivetrain so silent, even if it has totally perfect derailleur settings, nice, clean, re-lubed the chain with teflon coated lube.....

if you hate chain noise, try make noise harder from other part, such as your rear hub.....
or riding in the crowd, or you can always use your i pod....
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Old 01-18-11, 12:01 AM
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By totally silent I mean I could not detect any noise from it. I could hear the tires on the road. I could hear the wind. But I could not hear the drive train while I was riding the bike. Maybe my ears suck.
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