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60cm touring bike - tandem bike brake cable and 118L chain length?

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60cm touring bike - tandem bike brake cable and 118L chain length?

Old 06-20-18, 11:21 AM
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60cm touring bike - tandem bike brake cable and 118L chain length?

I have a 60cm Surly Disc Trucker, and I've been confused about the number of links that should be in the chain. I also just went to replace the rear brake cable and found that the one I bought was not long enough, and I had to buy an extra long one meant for a tandem bike. Unfortunately, I had the chain replaced for the first time at a shop, so I don't have the original chain. It looks like they had to add 4 links to the new chain, which I'm guessing makes it 118 links. I haven't taken it off yet to verify, but I'll be redoing the chain and cassette within the next few months.

Do any of you with larger touring bikes find that the chainstay is so long that you have to add links to the chain or buy special cables? I do almost all of my own maintenance, so I would like to be prepared, especially if I have to replace the chain or cables on tour. Do I need to buy a spare chain to take links from every time I replace it?
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Old 06-20-18, 11:29 AM
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Simple chain sizing: wrap chain around largest ring and largest cog, routed through derailleurs as normal, pull tight so that all slack removed, then add 1 additional link (an inner and outer, which some consider two links).

It's normal for proper touring bikes (chainstay 440-470mm) to require two chains - one plus a partial. Use quick links to make chain maintenance easier. Check chain stretch at regular intervals to determine when to replace. Here's a simple, accurate, no-cost method to measure chain stretch:

Chain Life?

Last edited by seeker333; 06-20-18 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 06-20-18, 11:35 AM
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One could size down the biggest chainring or biggest rear cassette cog so only one chain is needed. I only ride XL bikes, regular chains have always worked for me.
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Old 06-20-18, 11:45 AM
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you got 460mm stays, i got 450mm. i buy the standard 116L and remove a few links. depends on the rings and cogs.

hg53/93 can be had in 118L.

as to brake line, how much loose housing do you have? can you cut off a few inches?
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Old 06-20-18, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
you got 460mm stays, i got 450mm. i buy the standard 116L and remove a few links. depends on the rings and cogs.

hg53/93 can be had in 118L.

as to brake line, how much loose housing do you have? can you cut off a few inches?
It's a Shimano HG50 10 speed cassette in the back, 11-36T, and the chainrings are 48/36/26. It doesn't look like there's much slack in the housing. Maybe it's the combination of the fact that I have cross levers and it's a disc brake. If it was a rim brake, it would be a much shorter path. The cable has to run through the cross lever, down the downtube, to the end of the chainstay. There's a picture of the handlebars in my post here.

Good to know that it's not unheard of for people to need to add links. I mentioned it at a few bike shops and got some weird looks about it. I guess I will get 2 chainz to replace it once the current chain stretches too much then. I wonder if I could replace the granny chainring in the front with a smaller one and replace the cassette with something that has less teeth on the biggest cog. That way I wouldn't lose a low or a high gear. Is there a way to tell how much slack my derailleur is capable of picking up in the small-small combo without putting the actual parts on? It's a Shimano Deore XT.
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Old 06-20-18, 07:17 PM
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I needed a tandem cable on my Co-Motion but only because of new Jagwire Elite Link Housing kit which was the road version and so the cable was just too short for disc brakes. As far as chain, I would maybe find your quick link (if you have one) and count your links. If I am not mistaken I used a 116 link chain but mine is a 56 and shorter chainstays than a DT. I certainly couldn't have fit the 114 ScRAM chain I had purchased without shifting issues,.

I probably wouldn't take a chain on tour with me but maybe a brake cable and a tandem one isn't generally a ton more expensive from your local shop and isn't bad to have longer.
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Old 06-20-18, 07:50 PM
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It is a touring bike, has longer chainstays than a normal bike, larger sprockets on the cassette, thus it will need more links than a standard chain. My two derailleur touring bikes only have a 32 for largest sprocket in back yet they still need a chain slightly longer than a typical road bike. If yours is larger than 32, that adds more links.

Being a touring bike does not mean that it should need a tandem shift cable, but if there is something unusual about the cable routing then I would not be surprised. On my two derailleur touring bikes I run bar end shifters and instead of running the cables like most people do, I run the shifter cables under the tape for the entire length of the taped part of the handlebars, that makes my cable run a bit longer than typical and I need a tandem length shifter cable on a couple of my bikes.

I think my brake cable lengths are normal, not tandem.

I carry a spare rear brake cable and spare rear shifter cable on tour, a few chain links and a spare quick link. But you will find many people do not carry any such spares. But I used to work as a bike mechanic so I think having spares is the logical thing to do.

If you buy your chain at a local bike shop, ask them if they can give you a few spare links. They might have cut some chains shorter on road bikes and might have a bucket of spare chain bits.

Originally Posted by DIY masochist
.... I wonder if I could replace the granny chainring in the front with a smaller one and replace the cassette with something that has less teeth on the biggest cog. That way I wouldn't lose a low or a high gear. Is there a way to tell how much slack my derailleur is capable of picking up in the small-small combo without putting the actual parts on? It's a Shimano Deore XT.
I think you should keep your gears and just get a few extra links. If you on one occasion have to buy an extra chain to rob some links for it, that is a one off expense.

If the mechanics could not figure out why a touring bike with a big cassette and long chainstays needs a longer chain, then they have not worked on many touring bikes before.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 06-20-18 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 06-21-18, 01:40 AM
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from the photo, looks like your rear brake cable housing could be shortened a tad, but then easier to just buy some longer cables. may not need a tandem cable. seems to be some difference in cable length between manufacturers.

hg53 9spd 118 links.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-cha...G/223016303075

kmc 11spd
https://www.ebay.com/itm/KMC-X11-93-...o/142836399799

shimano 10spd
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-CN-...U/292288685417

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Old 06-21-18, 11:02 AM
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Or buy 2 new chains , one can be used for extra links ,
and save it to use a few links on the next new chain..


I have to do this with my old, long chainstay, MTB...

I got a few links from the LBS, saved from someone needing a shorter chain.
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Old 06-21-18, 11:07 AM
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Yep. I have a 60 cm Surly LHT. One day, when it was locked up outside my office, some inattentive hipster with a Harry Havnoonian custom frame converted to a SS put his lock around one of my rear cables. (Cannot remember if it was the brake or shifter cable.) Fortunately, I had my allen wrenches with me and was able to free the bike and walk to a LBS. Cable was replaced, but it needed a tandem cable.
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