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  1. #1
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    Anyone else break chains?

    I purchased a Jamis Komodo a few months back and have probably put a couple hundred dirt miles on it. This week I started riding again after a month or two of down time and in the past 3 rides/30 miles I broke the chain that was on there twice, and after replacing it, I broke another one. The new chain is the 40$ Sram one from the LBS, the old one was no-name that came on the bike.

    Anyone got any tips, as I'd much prefer to ride the bike than walk it.

  2. #2
    local trails rider
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    Are your gears adjusted properly: shifting OK, not jumping or making noices, etc?
    Anything bent in the drivetrain?
    Did the chains break at a normal pin or a joint that you made?

  3. #3
    Captain Underpants
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    How did it break, exactly? What gear, seated or standing, flat or uphill . . .

  4. #4
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    the first time, it broke in the chain, not at a joint. It was a pretty flat trail seated when it came apart, the second time, i believe it broke at the master link that was installed by the LBS, but I'm unsure as I threw the chain away. I don't recall the terrain.

    The new chain broke at the master link installed by the LBS, This one broke standing, trying to clear a very short but steep hill.

  5. #5
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    Sorry, additionally, all gears were adjusted and functioning well during the rides. I think my 34t chainring may have a slight bend in it. Could this cause it? I have had a tremendous problem keeping driveline pieces on this bike. I'm on the second cassette in 5 months, and I've already taco'd a 22t ring. I don't get it.

  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    A twisted chainring or cog could well catch on a chain.

    Failure at the master link could suggest that there is something wrong there too, especially as you had two of those.

    I have had a Shimano chain break (new) at a joint that the LBS made. In my case it seems that a damaged chain tool was the ultimate cause.

    Maybe a bash ring to protect your chainrings? Or is it impacts or just pedaling that damages them?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Maybe a bash ring to protect your chainrings? Or is it impacts or just pedaling that damages them?
    That is an excellent question. I have a bashring on there, and there aren't a bunch of broken teeth on the chainrings, they just bend. I dunno on that one.

  8. #8
    local trails rider
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    Maybe the chainrings or pedals are loose?
    Do you shift under power?

  9. #9
    Spring! Spring! Spring!
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    People may say "spin an easier gear" but what they don't understand is that as a clyde sometimes there ARE no easier gears.

    ;^(

    Suggestions ...

    - use only stainless-steel granny-gear (22t) on the front. The aluminum ones are for people under 175 IMO.

    - use "DH" or "singlespeed" middle rings on the front, they tend to be built stronger, of thicker material, and hold up a LOT better. BlackSpire Mono Veloce is my favorite, you can get steel ones made by Surly. "But what about shfiting?" you say - it'll be fine. Trust me.

    - for the rear cassette, only use those that put the phycically bigger cogs on a carrier, so that the outermost part of the cog is better supported for stress. Shimano XT/XTR, SRAM 980 / 990. Yes, they are more expensive, but they tend to last longer too.

    - for Chains, doesn't matter. Use a 9spd chan, change if frequently if you are riding regularly. As a Clyde you're going to wear the chain a lot faster than others, particularly riding low-cadence high-torque. If you ride 3-4 times a week I would not think it unacceptable to replace the chain every 4-8 weeks. Replacing a chain is a lot cheaper than the rest. Which chain is your shop hitting you for 40/chain on (and where are you)? I would think that you should be able to get a LX-level Shimano or (better yet IMO) a SRAM PC-59 or -69 type for closer to 20/25.

    To answer, I've broken my number of chains too. All makes I've tried have broken at some point, it doesn't matter. I've seen pins pulled out of side plates, master links give out, and side-plates crack and fail. All types. No panacea cure.

    I've mostly stopped breaking chains, but it's taken a couple years.

    Pay attention to what gear combinations give you the most straight chain line from front to rear, particularly for climbing hard. Sometimes this means a harder gear is necessary as a striaghter line can be got with the middle ring - just depends upon the bike. Ideally there would be zero deflection of the chain when torquing it the most.

    Don't shift under load, ever. Period. Recipe for disaster. This means shifting before you need the gear, and just stopping and chainging the gear and restarting if you have to. But you probably already know this.

    Also, thank your stars it's only the chain. I went through a period in '01 when I kept shattering freehub bodies on really steep climbs. Blech. Four times in six weeks. My shop thought I was fooling with them, but it was for real.

    Lastly, just carry the extra chain along. More fun to ride than walk, and as a Clyde the weight of the extra chain is not a big deal in a camelbak.

  10. #10
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    I agree with bear for the most part, but will also recommend going for a steel middle ring if you're having driveline life issues. Also Shimano chains are typically tougher than SRAM ones, if assembled correctly with the special pin.

  11. #11
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    * I always use a SRAM gold link, regardless of shimano or sram chain, as I like to regularly take the chain off the bike for cleaning purposes and don't want harsh chemicals on the bike. Never a problem.

  12. #12
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    I appreciate the advice guys. I just picked up a new 32t ring, got the new chain put back together, and I'll get the cassette replaced to eliminate another variable shortly. I'm just tired of breaking junk.

  13. #13
    Double-metric mtb man
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    Make sure the driveline is in good shape and then run a good chain....or two. I like to have two chains and rotate between them regularly to keep the wear on my driveline down.

    I'm only 240-ish, but I have yet to break a chain. I personally use Shimano chains and I do my own breaks in them. I know what condition my chain tool is in and am a real stickler for getting the new joint right. Just remember to *never* break a shimano chain in the same place twice...that will kill a shimano chain in no time.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  14. #14
    Double-metric mtb man
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    Dang....I jinxed myself on this one!

    Blew up my first chain tonight in a big way....sheared a pin and it caught the rear der at the first idler wheel, ripped apart the replaceable dropout/hanger and sent the rear der into the spokes for a once around the cassette.

    The chain is toast, the hanger/dropout is toast (thank goodness they are replaceable), der looks okay other than a few new scratches and the wheel looks okay (no obvious killed spokes, nothing taco'd)...only bad part is I've got carbon seatstays so the bike will have to go into the shop to have those inspected (and maybe replaced, depending).

    Sheesh, you think I'll know better for next time? Maybe I need to change my signature to "The guy with his foot in his mouth"
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  15. #15
    Captain Underpants
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear
    * I always use a SRAM gold link, regardless of shimano or sram chain, as I like to regularly take the chain off the bike for cleaning purposes and don't want harsh chemicals on the bike. Never a problem.
    I have had the exact same results, and never had a problem with either brand of chain. I do clean my chains fairly frequently as well.

  16. #16
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    I just shredded a SRAM chain (991 I think) on a short steep climb today in the Blue Hills Reservation in Boston. I could not have had more than 100 miles on it. I was about 40 ft up the hill when I got a loud ghost shift (at which point I knew that things could not be good) and then immediately after the chain snapped. It was near the SRAM gold link, so I could chuck a few links and re-attach the chain, but I had a bad enough bend in a link (pretty far from the break, so I figure it got crimped once the break happened) that I could not use my smaller 3-4 cogs without skipping teeth (the bigger ones had enough contact with the chain to get me home). I keep hearing that Shimano chains are tougher (I ordered a few DA/XTR 9 speed) and I plan to use the SRAM gold link with the Shimano chain to avoid the master link.

  17. #17
    Slow climbin' clyde
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    I have not broken a chain in a LOOONNG time. I have been using XT-level SRAM chains and cassettes for a few years now and have not had any major problems. They've been very reliable.
    “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” - H.G. Wells

  18. #18
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    I buy Sram everything....except chains......

    I broke them at a rate of 1 every month or about 300 trail miles. I had issues with shifting. I put one on my wifes ride....991...thought her cassette was toast, then thought it was the dérailleur, then looked closely and seen it was the chain the whole time.

    Next time you buy a new Sram chain, lay it out on a flat surface where you are looking at the bearings and not the plates- you will likely see variances of width in the links, and in worse cases slight but too much play between the bearings allowing a lot of lateral movement of the chain....not good for shifting....not good for strength.

    I really like Sram for every other piece of component, I want to make it clear I am not bashing them as a whole- but they really need to perform better quality control before they package those things....

    I have been running Shimmy XT's for well over a year now. I clean it and lube it between rides and have not had one issue...well, just one.....I let it the first one stretch way too far and had to replace cassette and rings.....but two chains a year as opposed to 12? And in the same price category? No Brainer.....

  19. #19
    Shortcutting Hikabiker
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    I was running SRAM chains, but blowing off Powerlinks (gold and stock) pretty regularly. Ever looked for a masterlink that flew off the bike in the woods, not fun. Luckily the guy behind me saw where it went the time that happened, because I had no spare. The other time I had spares. I will have to say that there were some slight burrs on my small chainring, not sure if that had anything to do with the breakage, they were really small.

    Now running XT cahin with KMC masterlink. No problems yet and this chain shifts better than the Sram did. FWIW I think that Shimano chains shift slightly better on Shimano cassettes than Sram chains, some will argue that though.

    I DO think that the Wipperman masterlink is the best though, and I would have been using one if we had one in stock at work.

  20. #20
    Double-metric mtb man
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    Anyone had experience with with the SRAM PC951 chains? That's what the LBS put on after my little "accident" and it's what they prefer.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  21. #21
    anyone else smell that?
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    i just blew a pc951 apart today on a short but steep and rooty uphill. broke about 5 links away from the master link.

    now....i run a 1x9 but it was shifting perfectly. i'm also a clyde....at about 230 nekkid. i wasn't standing but i was 'walking' it up the hill.....push and pull...push and pull. i know...not realy smoothe. but us fatboys gotta do what we gotta do!

    i guess i'll order up a shimano chain and see if it does any better for me.

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