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Thread: Chain width

  1. #1
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    Chain width

    I am curious if anyone knows the corresponding chain widths for different speed drive trains.
    According to Sheldon Browns site, 1/8 inch for 1-3 speeds and 3/32 for multiple speeds.

    I am pretty sure a 9 speed chain is skinnier than a 7 speed chain, but I cannot find specific measurements. Thanks for the help.

    I guess the reason for my question is that I have a 9 speed chain that I am wondering if it will work on a 7 speed drive train.

    Thank you.
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  2. #2
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    You're correct that a 9 speed chain is narrower than a 7/8 speed. It means that you can use a 9 speed chain on 7/8 speed cassette, but the wider 7/8 speed chain will not work on a 9 speed cassette as the cassette sprockets are too close together.
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    Thank you.

    But still out of curiosity does anyone know where I might find actual measurements?
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    Up to 8 speed is around 7.1mm or 7.2mm. 9 speed is up to 6.8mm and 10 speed up to 6.2mm. There are small differences between models and manufacturers.

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    That makes sense, what does the 3/32 and 1/8 th actually measure? Is it the inside width of the skinnier half of the link?
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    It's the internal width, between the link plates. As I understand it, 3/32" is typical for derailleur drivetrains, 1/8" for single-speed/BMX drivetrains.

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    Thank you Steve UK you are awsome.

    So if I understand correctly:
    A seven speed and a nine speed have a 3/32in (2.38mm) inner diameter, but a nine speed would use thinner plates? than a 7 or 8 speed and thus have a narrower outside diameter?
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  8. #8
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    "A seven speed and a nine speed have a 3/32in (2.38mm) inner diameter, but a nine speed would use thinner plates? than a 7 or 8 speed and thus have a narrower outside diameter?"

    That's pretty much how I understand it, yes.

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