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Chain size

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Night Train, 6 May 2008.

  1. Night Train

    Night Train Guest

    Hi, just a quick one.

    When I was a kid, bikes with hub gears had a wider chain then bikes with derailleur gears and so it wasn't possible to mix and match.
    Is this still the case or are all chains the same size now?

    I am collecting information for my recumbent design and was thinking of a hub gear with a triple on the crank and a chain tensioner as the basis of the drivetrain.

    Thank you.
     
  2. If you are just having it hub geared a single speed chain will be fine but If you are having say? a 7speed on as well you will need a 7speed chain, 8 = 8, 9 = 9 and so on. Why they had such big chains was so thay would last a very long time not like now where your looking at 6 / 7 months MAX.
     
  3. eevvee

    eevvee Well-Known Member

    Would it be the case that chain longevity would be based on distance travelled rather than time....if so what would it be based on distance?
     
  4. mrandmrspoves

    mrandmrspoves Veteran

    Location:
    Narfuk
    Chain longevity is a huge variable. Depending more on the cyclist and how they ride and maintain their bike than on the miles covered. A dry weather cyclist who doesn't ride through mud, changes gear gently and cleans and oils the chsin regularly could easily keep a chain for a year or two. Someone who crashes through the gears, rides cross country in the wet and doesn't maintain their bike could wreck a chain in weeks...
     
  5. mrandmrspoves

    mrandmrspoves Veteran

    Location:
    Narfuk
    Not all chains are equal either, and a chain on a single speed or hub geared bike will be exposed to less wear than a deraileur chain....also worth mentioning that you can keep a chain for way longer than is recommended without any problems.....just that when it is very worn it will chew through your sprockets and chain rings much quicker.
     
  6. eevvee

    eevvee Well-Known Member

    Thank you mrandmrspoves,

    Being very new to cycling and slowly working my way through the 500 plus topics on this forum
    I may have subjected my chain to bad gear changing and have on my last cycle had to refit the chain three times at various times with probably using gears that put the chain under too much stress. However this forum and the links contributors add is very helpful.

    On chains ..... From an earlier post when replacing the existing chain with new the size is dictated by the number gears/speed - is there other considerations, quality....etc?
     
  7. mrandmrspoves

    mrandmrspoves Veteran

    Location:
    Narfuk
    Considerations on chain choice.....
    Most people seem to recommend KMC over Shimano.....stating that they're more reliable. A recent test in one of the cycling magazines actually had a Shimano chain coming tops for wear and longevity - but (and it's a big but) Shimano insist on using a somewhat old fashioned method of joining the chain using a special rivet that needs pushing into place and then snapping, whereas KMC use a quick link which is dead easy to use.
    Some chains are sold shorter than others - so worth checking that you are getting the right length by counting your existing chain links (and ensure that you replace the exact same length)
    Apart from the above, it really comes down to availability and price, unless you want to start spending a lot of money on chains that are engineered to be lighter, change gear more smoothly etc.
    Whatever chain you choose, it will give reasonable service so long as you clean it regularly oil it regularly and don't abuse it by riding in the wrong gear (Such as biggest chain ring on the front and biggest sprocket at the back - which bends the chain due to the amount it is deflected)
     
  8. HovR

    HovR Über Member

    Location:
    Plymouth
    The wider chains you are thinking of are 1/8" chains (if I remember correctly). These were, and still are, used on single speeds and hub geared bikes with 1/8" sprockets and chain rings.

    Modern derailleur bikes (up to 8 speed if I remember correctly),and some SS/hub geared bikes use 3/32" chains with 3/32" sprockets and chainrings.

    This means you should be able to get a 3/32" sprocket and chain for your hub gear, and then use it with a chain tensioner and your triple up front, so your idea should work. :smile:

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. Smurfy

    Smurfy Naturist Smurf

    Not all chains are suitable for derailleur use. A certain amount of lateral flexibility is required to manoeuvre a chain over a triple chainset. If you want to have a front mech as well as a hub gear, I strongly recommend using only chains designed and manufactured for derailleur systems, or you may find the chain is too rigid, and the derailleur cannot shift it from one ring to the next. Some of the 3/32" and 1/8" chains marketed for single-speed, fixed-wheel and BMX are probably distinctly unsuitable for any kind of derailleur application, and they may also have pins that protrude further than derailleur chains.

    If you want to compare chains for flexibility, lay them on a table and form an arc (i.e. with pins horizontal). Different chain designs and different manufacturers will exhibit different flexibility, and the flexibilty will increase with chain wear as the sideplates and pins wear out.
     
  10. Smurfy

    Smurfy Naturist Smurf

    Just realised this thread is over 4 years old! :wacko:
     
    Kins likes this.
  11. HovR

    HovR Über Member

    Location:
    Plymouth
    Doh! :blush:
     
  12. Night Train

    Night Train Guest

    Yebbut, have chains changed much in that time?:scratch:
    :giggle:
     
  13. mrandmrspoves

    mrandmrspoves Veteran

    Location:
    Narfuk
    The thread was resurrected by Eevee - a new member, so the advice is still relevant and timely.
     
  14. eevvee

    eevvee Well-Known Member

    And I am thankful to all who have taken the time to respond.

    from my reading on the subject of chains would I be right in saying that with (again my bike spec)

    A 50 : 34 chain set and a 11 - 28 cassette giving me a 20 speed system

    good care of chain would be not to use the extremes - so a 20 speed system would be better treated as say a maximum of 16 (or less)

    And

    When changing from high to low the best position on the cassette would be somewhere I the middle of the chain set
     
  15. mrandmrspoves

    mrandmrspoves Veteran

    Location:
    Narfuk
    If you have a double on the front and 10 gears on the back you have a "20 speed". You are quite correct in recognising that not all these will be usable gears.
    The more gears you have the greater the range between high and low gears you will have - but some of the gears will overlap in the middle. As a general rule try and keep the chain line as straight as you can - so when on the large crank at the front use the smaller 5 gears at the rear, and when on the small crank on the front use the large 5 on the rear. You can reasonably extend this either way to say 6/7 if that achieves the right gear - but more than this will flex the chain too much accelerating the wear on the whole chainset.