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  1. #1
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    Does anyone else snap the chain on their fatbike a lot?

    I break chains all the time on my Pugsley. This is my second Pugsley and both were affected. It is always when I shift too hard under load going up an incline, yes I know this is my fault, but the weird thing is it never happens on other bikes I own. It's just when I get caught offguard and need to shift, always on technical terrain.

    Again, I know this is my fault, I just find it weird that it's only on my Pugsley. I have like 6 quick links on my chain Anyone else?
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  2. #2
    Nuts
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    I break them often and pretty much while taking off hard.
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  3. #3
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    How would you respond to someone bringing a Subaru back because of transmission problems? (The only thing they do differently is that they push the gas pedal all the way to the floor, allowing for max rpm, before releasing the clutch quickly.)

  4. #4
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    Erm, I did say that it was my fault. It's just that I only find myself doing this on my fatbike. Not my other trail bikes. Or any other bike for that matter.

    Not looking for any sort of compensation from Surly, lol. I just don't get why I do it. The first few were, yes, under hard load, but the one earlier this week I was like "oh come on I wasn't even pedalling that hard"
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  5. #5
    will rant for food
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    What chain are you using?

    One of my experienced-with-breaking-things clyde buddies is smitten with Wipperman chains. I like 'em too but I run IGH so my input is otherwise irrelevant here.
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  6. #6
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    I was having a run of chain breaking on my SS a few years ago.

    I was modestly ascribing this to the power of my mighty thighs, but the breakages were causing my manly parts to swell to the size of footballs, and my toptube was cringing away every time I got on the bike.

    After noticing that all the broken chains were SRAM and changing to KMC I haven't had any more problems.

    So either my leg muscles have atrophied or a certain product was made of cheese.

    (Of course, there may be no longer a problem)
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  7. #7
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    It's the stock chain, I thiiiiink it's a SRAM. I'm like a borderline big boy, I weigh 195-200 before gear. Perhaps I should try out a Wipperman
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  8. #8
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    KMC chains have worked for me.


    I don't mean to sound like a total a$$, but stop being a douche and shifting under power.


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  9. #9
    ouch....
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    Same as above. Kmc chains great, zero issues and they are cheap.
    Only broken ones were sram.
    Riding.....

  10. #10
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    Never broken a chain. Not even on our tandem. I don't think I am a sissy because I do ride fairly fast (usually top ten or higher in every race I have done). I am very careful and considerate to my equipment. Never shift under full load. I also shift a lot, up and down. I believe this helps by keeping less angle on the chain thus reducing stress.

  11. #11
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    The tension in the chain is inversely proportional to the chainring size. Just think of your crank and your chainring as levers, crank length stays the same but chainring gets smaller .... More leverage.
    So, if you use a larger chainring you can reduce the tension.
    Which I guess means using bigger cogs in the back to compensate.

    Just an idea.

    Being weak for your weight also leads to increased maximum tension on your chain.
    Because of this logic: you choose your (low) chainring size based on getting a gear ratio that let's you climb for a period of time. Your favorite long climb and your anaerobic threshold and your weight will determine this. So the weaker you are (or heavier you are for the same strength), the smaller a chainring you will choose. Which increases the leverage, and since the maximum stress in your chain will happen when you stand up to pedal and put your body weight into it, that force on the pedal won't change because of your strength, it will be basically your body weight. So, when you've chosen a smaller chainring because you are weaker and thus increased the leverage, that max stress in the chain is higher, it's your body weight times the leverage ratio.

    This shows that if you're overweight, the effect on your chain is more than double your overweightness, e.g. if you are 20% overweight this will increase the max tension your chain has to face by more than 40%, actually 44% (1.2x1.2=1.44), because you've increased your body weight and the leverage ratio, and the max stress in the chain is one times the other.

    Did I make that confusing enough?

    The only advice this really gives is to maybe get a bigger biggest cog in the rear, which will let you use slightly bigger chainrings.

    But it sounds like a KMC chain is the the best action to take.
    Last edited by Godlikedog; 09-28-2013 at 10:23 PM.

  12. #12
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    I buy the cheapest SRAM chains at my LBS for ~$16 each and abuse them in my Pugs with no issues, but it runs an IGH which puts no side to side load on the chain so they are fairly invulnerable to the awesome power of my chicken legs!

    I had to splurge for a $35 SRAM chain on my 10 spd MTB. No issues on that either.

    I would look at the chainline in the gear that causes you the issues and see how bad the chain is bent sideways. My guess is that it's the geometry of the chain during those shifts that is breaking them. You might be able to adjust your chain line to solve the problem.

    It's worth finding the root cause of the problem.
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  13. #13
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    Thank you, those of you who had good suggestions about leverage ratio and chainline, that actually helped a lot. More than the douchey "stop shifting under load" post
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    More than the douchey "stop shifting under load" post
    C'mon man! You admit to shifting under load then wonder why your chain breaks. Pretty elementary bike principle.

    It was a douche-esc post on my behalf, and for that I am sorry. But that post will stick in your head every time you shift under power. Just you wait and see.

  15. #15
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    I have never broken a chain. I am as light as a feather but I do load my bikes with lots of gear. Even though I have chicken legs they are pretty strong. I think it has do with hating the sound of mashed gears while shifting under load so I never do it. I even use SRAM chains.

  16. #16
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    I've broken plenty of chains.

    I remember years back when shimano chains sucked and the SRAM chains were Sachs chains (they even were stamped as such). I broke quite a few of the Shimano chains, and a few of the SRAM(Sachs)...which were more reliable. Shimano figured out how to make chains a few years later by indenting the pins, creating a "mushroom" shape. This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the link to slide off the pin, as was the case way back in the day. The only caveat is that you're supposed to connect it with the "special" shimano pin, but many people use quick/power-links with no problems. I've never broken one of these chains, which is like the last 11 years or so out of 20, except due to it getting jammed in my BB area one time, which was not the chain's fault. This when I decided to get rid of granny gears and ride my 47lb freeride bike up all kinds of trails, in addition to my 29er with the road-cassette. Shimano brought this technology to all of their mountain chains eventually. The equivalent SRAM technology is "crosstep", but as far as I know, it hasn't trickled down to all of their chains.

    KMC makes SRAM and Shimano chains these days.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    I buy the cheapest SRAM chains at my LBS for ~$16 each and abuse them in my Pugs with no issues, but it runs an IGH which puts no side to side load on the chain so they are fairly invulnerable to the awesome power of my chicken legs! ...
    My SRAM chains were all broken on a singlespeed. Straight chainline.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    C'mon man! You admit to shifting under load then wonder why your chain breaks. Pretty elementary bike principle.

    It was a douche-esc post on my behalf, and for that I am sorry. But that post will stick in your head every time you shift under power. Just you wait and see.
    I guess I took his post to mean that he shifts under pressure on all his bikes at times, but only on the Pugs has he had continuing breakage problems.

    The chainline on the Pugs should be as spot on as any other bike. The possible exception would be if you are running a funky crank or bb setup and then your chainline could be off, possibly causing problems. More than likely, like others have said you are just having bad luck with whatever brand chain you are using.
    When I was getting into mtbing 13 years ago, SRAM / Sachs chains were considered pretty good. People would ditch their Shimano (made by KMC) chains for the SRAMS.
    I've always run mostly SRAM just because they tend to be cheaper and I like the quicklink. I swear they have had a few bad runs of chains though and I bet getting a new chain would solve your problems. Maybe even getting a higher model SRAM chain.

    I donít think itís as clear cut as saying one brand is better than the other. I have good and bad experiences with both and probably so have most people that have experimented with multiple types of drivetrains.

    Of course you want to make sure you replace cassette and chain rings if there is any significant wear before putting on the new chain or you will have a whole new set of problems.

  19. #19
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    I'm on my 3rd chain in 8 months and 1300 miles on my pugsley. I do find myself on occasion grannying up hills and mashing on the pedals when I should have been spinning or hikeabiking. a lot of the trails I ride have either steps, big roots and/or log overs on the climbs and not having enough momentum and being a super-clyde, certainly factors into my chain breakage and recent free hub detonation. One of my chains was lost due to the rear hub slipping in those stupid SS dropouts and the crappy XT QR that Surly put on the bike (that doesn't fit in the dropouts), creating a massively misaligned chainline. FWIW, I'm having less breakage on my pugsley than on my 29er that preceded it.

    Another factor that may or may not be related, is the less than stellar quality of the driveline componentry. The derailleurs in particular aren't the best spec and I have struggled with shifting efficiency despite numerous tuneups. The front, in particular seems to operate on a shift and wish method. A downshift may occur at any point within 30 seconds of flipping the lever, if it happens at all.
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  20. #20
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    I broke 2 Shimano xt chains and one Sram last summer mashing on it from a dead stop on pavement. I guess I just attributed it to trying to get the big arse wheels rotating as I've never had a problem on my skinny tires. Hmmmmm dunno.....
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  21. #21
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    Besides the extra weight of the Pugs, the greater inertia, increased traction and much greater rotational weight, it only seems logical that it would be harder on chains.

  22. #22
    Location: SouthPole of MN
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    Re: Does anyone else snap the chain on their fatbike a lot?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Same as above. Kmc chains great, zero issues and they are cheap.
    Only broken ones were sram.
    I'll x3 this I've always had SRAM mid to upper grade chains and always brake them sooner or later. I put one of the higher up KMC chains (the gold one, I forget the model) on my Moonlander and that thing has been dang durable for how much crap it has been covered in.

  23. #23
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    No offense taken, I do suppose if I admit to shifting under load I deserve some heckling.

    It just tends to happen if I am going fast then find myself on a steep uphill. So I drop from big ring to small and I guess that cross chaining suddenly while trying to pedal uphill is where I go wrong.
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  24. #24
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    I'd say I break a moderate number of chains. I've wondered (aloud at times) if running Gripshift causes more broken chains because of the ability to shift across so many cogs in a single twist. Seems like it would put some serious sideways load on the chain.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    No offense taken, I do suppose if I admit to shifting under load I deserve some heckling.

    It just tends to happen if I am going fast then find myself on a steep uphill. So I drop from big ring to small and I guess that cross chaining suddenly while trying to pedal uphill is where I go wrong.
    Shifting the front derailleur, especially under load, is hardest on chains.
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