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  1. #1
    Scallywag
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    Does Chain Length Really Matter?

    I use a Med-Cage rear derailleur and when in the largest cog on the cassette the derailleur is angled forward, about 45 degrees. It seems other bikes I look at, when the derailleur is in the same position the derailleur is strait down. Novice mechanic so I may have jacked it up. The shifting is smooth but is there any disadvantage to having such a short chain? I know, I know... Let the jokes begin, I should have used an alias.
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  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDubKC View Post
    I use a Med-Cage rear derailleur and when in the largest cog on the cassette the derailleur is angled forward, about 45 degrees. It seems other bikes I look at, when the derailleur is in the same position the derailleur is strait down. Novice mechanic so I may have jacked it up. The shifting is smooth but is there any disadvantage to having such a short chain? I know, I know... Let the jokes begin, I should have used an alias.
    Yes, it does. You need to be able to shift onto and off of the big-big combo (even though you should not use it). If this is a suspension bike you need a bit more length.
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  3. #3
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    On the big-big combo, 45 degrees forward is fine. It's about the chain length I run (also on a med cage). The advantages to a shorter chain (as long as it can still do the big-big combo) are less chainslap and less weight, with some also claiming better shifting.

  4. #4
    NWS
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    It's not the length, it's how you use it.

  5. #5
    NWS
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    But seriously... put the chain on your biggest front ring and biggest rear ring, and work the rear suspension all the way up and down. Disconnecting the shock (or letting all the air out) will make that chore easier. You don't want to ever get into a mode where the chain becomes the only thing limiting your suspension travel.

  6. #6
    Scallywag
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS View Post
    But seriously... put the chain on your biggest front ring and biggest rear ring, and work the rear suspension all the way up and down. Disconnecting the shock (or letting all the air out) will make that chore easier. You don't want to ever get into a mode where the chain becomes the only thing limiting your suspension travel.
    I think this is the helpfull info I was looking for. Cheers
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  7. #7
    Tool
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    In my experience, the shortest chain you can safely run (per the guidelines above) is best.
    I can barely get my mouth around it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalphile View Post
    In my experience, the shortest chain you can safely run (per the guidelines above) is best.
    I second that, too much chain lets the RD move too much and you end up picking up branches that can do very bad things:

    1. Break the derailleur
    2. Break the hanger
    3. Break spokes

  9. #9
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    Does having a chain that is on the shorter side cause extra cross-chain friction when using the big big combo? On my 2x10 Epic 29er I shortened the chain because the chain dragged the chain stay in the small-small. I used the SRAM guide, big-big plus a link plus powerlink and now it seems like there is more friction in the big-big.

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