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  1. #1
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    how long is your chain?

    I know most guidelines call for the chain to be wrapped around the big/big and then add two links, but do any of you have your own reasoning for determining chain lenght?

    Is the big/big/+2 a safeguard for newbies so they don't start snapping off derailleurs and chains when they accidentally shift to the big/big? Does having a chain that is a wee bit shorter help with shifting crispness (yes, along with proper maintenance), or is it all pretty much the same?

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't go so far at to restrict the big-big method to newbies only, but your assumptions are correct: if you're willing to take the risk of running a shorter chain, then you will realize better shifting performance (and all the more reason to use a shorter derailleur cage length).

    I would still go with a "system" rather than randomly shortening the chain. If the traditional "big-big" (44x34) is out, then determine your new "big-big". Both (32x34) and (44x20) yield approximately the same chain wrap (I picked 44x20 because the 20T cog is 1/2 way through the cassette, approximately the limit of the useable cassette range while you're running from the big ring) and then I'd add 3 or 4 links just to keep the derailleur from being too strectched out -- somewhere in there you've got a working scenario.

    But then again, what experienced rider hasn't cross-chained to big-big after topping a climb and trasitioning immediately into a descent? Just make sure you're aware of your limitations before unexpectedly setting yourself up for a trailside SS conversion.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by danK
    Is the big/big/+2 a safeguard for newbies so they don't start snapping off derailleurs and chains when they accidentally shift to the big/big?

    Well I guess the term "newbies" is extremely relative isn't it? I bought the third mtb in the city (1883) and have been riding one ever since but you won't find me with less chain than it takes to span the large/large.

    When the going gets tough and I get forgetful I *still* shift into the no-no gear once in a while. As I hate wrecking XO derailers, I insist on having enough chain. Maybe when I get out of the newby category I'll shorten my chain.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  4. #4
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    Well I guess the term "newbies" is extremely relative isn't it? I bought the third mtb in the city (1883) and have been riding one ever since but you won't find me with less chain than it takes to span the large/large.

    When the going gets tough and I get forgetful I *still* shift into the no-no gear once in a while. As I hate wrecking XO derailers, I insist on having enough chain. Maybe when I get out of the newby category I'll shorten my chain.
    1883? That bike must be worth a lot of $$$. Wooden rims and single speed, right?
    Seriously, guys, I was not saying anyone who shifts into the large/large is a newbie... *rereading original post.... nope, I didn't say that. I was trying to ask if it was a guideline to prevent new riders from damaging drivetrains and hurting themselves but sacrificed performance (you know how lawyers are).
    The intent was to see if my shortened chain was giving up anything in performance because I went to a single pivot bike for the first time in my life AND shortened my chain without realizing chain length was not apples-to-apples with my previous 4-bar Horst frame. Then I stuck on a medium cage x.9 (came from long xt)... and doubt crept in, thus the post.
    As for me, I've only shifted into the large/large combo once in over 15 years *running and searching for flame-retardant suit*

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by danK
    1883?

    Oh $hit I inserted my year of birth instead. My first mtb came much later - in 1983.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  6. #6
    KDK
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    Does the big-big + 2 method works for full suspension bikes as well ?? Should I leave more in order to take account for any movement ?? I am about to install a new chain so any hints will be helpful.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDK
    Does the big-big + 2 method works for full suspension bikes as well ?? Should I leave more in order to take account for any movement ?? I am about to install a new chain so any hints will be helpful.

    Operate the suspension through its full range of motion, if the derailer arm moves then you must size the chain at the point of most movement.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

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