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Thread: Chain Stretch

  1. #1
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    Chain Stretch

    Vertical drop-outs; no chain tensioner; no eccentric bottom bracket -- how long can I run this set up before I can expect chain stretch* to give me problems?

    *short hand for increase in distance between pins due to chain wear (so relax).
    Last edited by Canaan; 10-04-2010 at 10:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    depends on how loose it is to start. You might not have any problems at all if it was borderline tight when you started.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick reply -- that's what I was hoping to hear, and given the links in your signature block I have the feeling you know what you're talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    depends on how loose it is to start. You might not have any problems at all if it was borderline tight when you started.
    Also is somewhat dependent on your riding style and weight. Hammertime and fat ass = more chain stretch than putzing around town and waif.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markj2k4
    Also is somewhat dependent on your riding style and weight. Hammertime and fat ass = more chain stretch than putzing around town and waif.
    Thanks -- I'm somewhere between hammertime/fat ass and p.a.t/waif. I'm 6'0"-170 lbs and use this rigid SS to fool around on neighborhood single track with mild climbs when I get tired of riding my full-suspension xc bike.
    Last edited by Canaan; 10-01-2010 at 10:53 AM.

  6. #6
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    I'm in the same boat as you... I figure who cares? SS chains are pretty cheap $5 or $9 if you want a sweet color

  7. #7
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    Some chains dont stretch. Depends on your chain and other factors mentioned already in this post. You really shouldnt worry about chain stretch. Over time it will happen if your chain isnt stretch proof but if and when it does happen doesnt mean your drivetrain is going to be a problem.

  8. #8
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    Why does everyone hate tensioners so much?

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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Why does everyone hate tensioners so much?
    they were responsible for the black plauge and AIDS. If you have a tensioner, please use a condom.

    But in all reality, yea, never had a problem with mine. I actually had less issues with it than some singlespeed specific frames, to be honest.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Why does everyone hate tensioners so much?
    It's not so much that I hate them, but when I tweaked the one I had on the bike, I thought I'd try to get a "cleaner" look by setting the bike up without one. The Surly tensioner looks nice, but this is a budget build and I don't want to drop $35 - $40 on one.

  11. #11
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    Chain STRETCH is actually chain WEAR
    The standard way to measure chain wear is with a ruler or steel tape measure. This can be done without removing the chain from the bicycle. The normal technique is to measure a one-foot length, placing an inch mark of the ruler exactly in the middle of one rivet, then looking at the corresponding rivet 12 complete links away. On a new, unworn chain, this rivet will also line up exactly with an inch mark. With a worn chain, the rivet will be past the inch mark.
    This gives a direct measurement of the wear to the chain, and an indirect measurement of the wear to the sprockets:

    •If the rivet is less than 1/16" past the mark, all is well.
    •If the rivet is 1/16" past the mark, you should replace the chain, but the sprockets are probably undamaged.
    •If the rivet is 1/8" past the mark, you have left it too long, and the sprockets (at least the favorite ones) will be too badly worn. If you replace a chain at the 1/8" point, without replacing the sprockets, it may run OK and not skip, but the worn sprockets will cause the new chain to wear much faster than it should, until it catches up with the wear state of the sprockets.
    •If the rivet is past the 1/8" mark, a new chain will almost certainly skip on the worn sprockets, especially the smaller ones

    God Bless Sheldon Brown

  12. #12
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    Chains, as a single unit, do stretch. This stretch is caused by the wearing of individual components of the chain. To stretch is simply to elongate, and since it has become longer, a worn chain has stretched, by definition.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stretch

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Chains, as a single unit, do stretch. This stretch is caused by the wearing of individual components of the chain. To stretch is simply to elongate, and since it has become longer, a worn chain has stretched, by definition.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stretch
    The elongation is not from actually stretching the chain. It hasn't stretched at all, it has merely increased the play in the pins. You can still compress the chain back down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    The elongation is not from actually stretching the chain. It hasn't stretched at all, it has merely increased the play in the pins. You can still compress the chain back down.
    I'm with this guy. I hate the term chainstrech.
    Anyway, back on topic...I ran an Imperial with no tensioner, and my chain was tight with a new chain. I went thru 2-3 chains a summer, 3ish rides a week. Because I think chains wear and get longer, not actually strech, I think weight and leg strength have less to do with lifespan then keeping it clean and lubed. IMO.

  15. #15
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    In the shop we refer to this as wear. We don't say 'your chain stretched, you need a new one' we say 'you've worn out the chain you handsome sunnova***** with those tree trunks you call legs!'
    BBI certified, 12+ years as mechanic

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    The elongation is not from actually stretching the chain. It hasn't stretched at all, it has merely increased the play in the pins. You can still compress the chain back down.

    All 'stretch' means is that the object in question got longer. The chain itself, taken as one whole unit, has stretched when it is longer than it once was. The links of a chain don't stretch, and the individual pins and rollers don't either, they wear, but the combined effect of all those worn pins and rollers is, by definition, a stretched chain.

    A bungee cord can return to it's original length, despite being stretched.

  17. #17
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    and all this time i thought they actually stretched limos. boy do i feel quite the fool.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    All 'stretch' means is that the object in question got longer. The chain itself, taken as one whole unit, has stretched when it is longer than it once was. The links of a chain don't stretch, and the individual pins and rollers don't either, they wear, but the combined effect of all those worn pins and rollers is, by definition, a stretched chain.

    A bungee cord can return to it's original length, despite being stretched.
    Thank you for interjecting a little common sense. Everyone knows that "chain stretch" refers to a worn-out chain -- fortunately only a few need to demonstrate how clever they are with somewhat condescending posts.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    All 'stretch' means is that the object in question got longer. The chain itself, taken as one whole unit, has stretched when it is longer than it once was. The links of a chain don't stretch, and the individual pins and rollers don't either, they wear, but the combined effect of all those worn pins and rollers is, by definition, a stretched chain.

    A bungee cord can return to it's original length, despite being stretched.
    Those two things are nothing alike. A bungee cord stretches because the elastomers have been reoriented within the material to have that elongation, but they maintain their chemical binding. The material has actually deformed. A chain, however, "stretches" from moving the links further apart from the space available. You're just moving parts around. There is no deformation. What you're saying is that having to blocks next to each other, and then moving them apart, you've now stretched the blocks.

  20. #20
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    $10 KMC Z410s only last me about 10 hours before they get floppy. Then I put the Singleator on and squeeze out a few more rides. I think the Florida sand is the main culprit for the excessive wear.

    I switched to KMC Z610's which are lasting much longer but still require a tensioner after a few weeks. I am using a Surly stainless ring and cog which don't seem to affected by the chain wear.

  21. #21
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    as mentioned above ^^

    some chains wear faster than others....

    a SRAM PC1 is basically a nickle coated limp noodle...vs. the SRAM PC-7X which will last the better part of a hard riding season....
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Those two things are nothing alike. A bungee cord stretches because the elastomers have been reoriented within the material to have that elongation, but they maintain their chemical binding. The material has actually deformed. A chain, however, "stretches" from moving the links further apart from the space available. You're just moving parts around. There is no deformation. What you're saying is that having to blocks next to each other, and then moving them apart, you've now stretched the blocks.

    Nope, that's not what I'm saying. A chain is one, single unit. It's made up of many components. None of those components stretch under normal use. Those components wear down under normal use. This results in the chain, as a single unit, becoming longer. This is the definition of the word 'stretch', becoming longer. 'Stretch' does not apply strictly to elasticity.

    "stretch (strch)
    v. stretched, stretch·ing, stretch·es
    v.tr.
    1. To lengthen, widen, or distend: stretched the sweater out of shape.
    2. To cause to extend from one place to another or across a given space: stretched the banner between two poles.
    3. To make taut; tighten: stretched the tarpaulin until it ripped.
    4. To reach or put forth; extend: stretched out his hand.
    5.
    a. To extend (oneself or one's limbs, for example) to full length: stretched her calves before running.
    b. To extend (oneself) when lying down: she stretched herself out on the couch.
    c. To put to torture on the rack.
    6. To wrench or strain (a muscle, for example).
    7.
    a. To extend or enlarge beyond the usual or proper limits: stretch the meaning of a word.
    b. To subject to undue strain: to stretch one's patience.
    8.
    a. To expand in order to fulfill a larger function: stretch a budget; stretch a paycheck.
    b. To increase the quantity of by admixture or dilution: stretch a meal by thinning the stew.
    9. To prolong: stretch out an argument.
    10. Informal To fell by a blow: stretched his opponent in the first round.
    v.intr.
    1. To become lengthened, widened, or distended.
    2. To extend or reach over a distance or area or in a given direction: "On both sides of us stretched the wet plain" (Ernest Hemingway).
    3. To lie down at full length: stretched out on the bed.
    4. To extend one's muscles or limbs, as after prolonged sitting or on awakening.
    5. To extend over a given period of time: "This story stretches over a whole generation" (William Golding).
    n.
    1. The act of stretching or the state of being stretched.
    2. The extent or scope to which something can be stretched; elasticity.
    3. A continuous or unbroken length, area, or expanse: an empty stretch of highway.
    4. A straight section of a racecourse or track, especially the section leading to the finish line.
    5.
    a. A continuous period of time.
    b. Slang A term of imprisonment: served a two-year stretch.
    c. Informal The last stage of an event, period, or process.
    6. Baseball A movement in which a pitcher, standing with the glove side facing home plate, raises both hands to the height of the head and then lowers them to the chest or waist for a short pause before pitching the ball. It is used as an alternative to a wind-up, especially when runners are on base.
    adj.
    1. Made of an elastic material that stretches easily: stretch pants.
    2. Of, relating to, or being a vehicle, such as a limousine or passenger jet, having an extended seating area that provides extra space for more passengers, leg room, or amenities."

  23. #23
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    to the really smart dudes who love to tell others that chains don't stretch, maybe you could also tell me what the following two words mean

    (1) idiom
    (2) pedant

    thanks a million

  24. #24
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    Those guys need to get out and meet some girls...

  25. #25
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    I knew when Canaan typed

    "*short hand for increase in distance between pins due to chain wear (so relax)"

    it was time to grab the ZIG ZAGs, roll a nice one, crank on some Dark Side of the Moon and settle in for a nice literary trip down ego lane.

    I am so stoned now I am willing to bet you that my chain is stretched longer than yours if I wear it or not.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZIT30/34
    I knew when Canaan typed

    "*short hand for increase in distance between pins due to chain wear (so relax)"

    it was time to grab the ZIG ZAGs, roll a nice one, crank on some Dark Side of the Moon and settle in for a nice literary trip down ego lane.

    I am so stoned now I am willing to bet you that my chain is stretched longer than yours if I wear it or not.
    Glad to be of service . . . .

    Apparently riding a singlespeed gives you a really big brain along with the really big quads.

  27. #27
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    Sorry, sean, scientific definitions supersede English ones as the topic is technical and not semantical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Sorry, sean, scientific definitions supersede English ones as the topic is technical and not semantical.
    touche!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Sorry, sean, scientific definitions supersede English ones as the topic is technical and not semantical.

    You keep thinking you're right, I'll keep thinking(knowing) I'm right, and we can stop this conversation because it's making at least one of us look like a bigger d-bag than he really is.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Sorry, sean, scientific definitions supersede English ones as the topic is technical and not semantical.
    "I define 'stretch' in a way that excludes what chains do, therefore chains don't stretch. Also, this is a scientific definition! Why? Don't ask."

    Your distinction between 'scientific definitions' and 'English ones' is itself a matter of semantics. You haven't given a 'scientific' definition of stretch, you've just used a self-serving definition. Your technical account of how to describe what chains do is irrelevant to the discussion, and thus you're harping on a technicality so that you can feel correct. Even if you think Sean is wrong you can still recognize the use of idiomatic expressions and don't have to be such a pedant. Or next time just admit you're wrong. I hate to belabor the point, but the 'chains don't stretch' lecture is old and tired.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    You keep thinking you're right, I'll keep thinking(knowing) I'm right, and we can stop this conversation because it's making at least one of us look like a bigger d-bag than he really is.
    Well I'm a total ******bag (and a massive *******) so that means you're the one that looks like more of one. Self-deprecation FTW.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastCoast
    but the 'chains don't stretch' lecture is old and tired.
    Your mom is old and tired. I did give a deformation based explanation and perhaps you would have noticed that if you weren't spending all of your time in a thesaurus to make yourself appear smarter.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Well I'm a total ******bag (and a massive *******) so that means you're the one that looks like more of one. Self-deprecation FTW.


    Your mom is old and tired. I did give a deformation based explanation and perhaps you would have noticed that if you weren't spending all of your time in a thesaurus to make yourself appear smarter.
    Fellows! I actually went back and read this tedious thread. This isn't worth arguing about. You two are both intelligent guys. Maybe even handsome.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Maybe even handsome.
    your standards go way down when you drink.































    can i buy you a drink?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    your standards go way down when you drink.

    can i buy you a drink?
    Give me a half hour for my standards to catch up. I'm only on three. While you wait, think about footwear....
    <object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GoRbDm644E8?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GoRbDm644E8?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Fellows! I actually went back and read this tedious thread. This isn't worth arguing about. You two are both intelligent guys. Maybe even handsome.
    Blasphemer!

  36. #36
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Fellows! I actually went back and read this tedious thread. This isn't worth arguing about. You two are both intelligent guys. Maybe even handsome.

    A little more of that sugar and I'll definitely put out.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    Your mom is old and tired. I did give a deformation based explanation and perhaps you would have noticed that if you weren't spending all of your time in a thesaurus to make yourself appear smarter.
    lmao did you really post this

  38. #38
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    That video made something stretch.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by LIFECYCLE
    That video made something stretch.
    Besides my girlfriend's patience? I got in the doghouse after watching it three times in a row.

  40. #40
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    In real life the WTFo rule is normally followed:

    Stands for Worn The F^%k out

    Reached when your chainring teeth look like they belong to a 90 year old who never brushed once in their life

    What to do?

    Flip the chainring, flip the cog, spin on a new chain and ride until you again reach WTFo then replace the chainring, cog, and chain.

    Repeat until death.

    No one cares if the friggin chain stretched, shrank, wore, or simply flipped you off and decided not to play anymore.

  41. #41
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    Canaan, I raced the velodromes from 74 to 2000 and my road bikes are all fixed gears with no free wheel. I always adjusted chain tension when ever the pedals would start to kick some do to chain slack when I was slowing the bike down with my legs.

    So I went out this morning and slackened up one of my fixies and found that if I rotate the crank backwards holding the rear wheel locked by the brakes and the chain has enough slack to almost drop a roller onto another tooth of the chainring, chain derail was assured when riding over a rough surface.

    So with a freewheel cog such as you and I have on our SS MTBs I would would hold the cog to keep it from spinning and rotate the pedals backwards and view how much the chain sags at the chainring. Then just ride until you hear the chain start to snap now and again as it rolls on to the chainring. View the slack as mentioned above and change the chain, and also change or flip the ring, and cog as indicated by wear. With a visual reference established you will be able to guess when the new chain/ring/cog should be about shot.

    ZIT30/34

  42. #42
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    Stretch can mean something got longer/wider/bigger/etc, regardless of how/why, and it doesn't even have to be literal (example: "I stretched my resources as best I could" - or - "That's a bit of a stretch"). Therefore using it to describe the end-result of chain wear (a longer chain) is appropriate.

    Sure, it can also be used in the context of elasticity, like a bungee cord or muscles. When used in this context, the definition doesn't apply to chain wear. But since we all know in which context the OP was using the word, arguing against his use of it is saying that you only believe in one defintion of the word. That's fine, take it up with Webster, not other MTBR members.
    "I like skinny jeans. Sometimes I wear them to the mall to get an Orange Julius." -Chim Chim

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    Thanks everyone -- well, almost everyone. Those of you not getting thanked know who you are . . . .

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Why does everyone hate tensioners so much?
    After two weeks of trial and error trying to find my magic gear, and ruining a chain ring in the process, I gave in and decided to run a tensioner. Inspired by the thread on homebrew tensioners, I pulled the spring out of my "push down" Forte' tensioner and shimmed it so I can run it as a "push up" tensioner. Got a SS specific chain ring, the exact size cog I want, and a nice new chain. Life is good . . . .

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaan
    After two weeks of trial and error trying to find my magic gear, and ruining a chain ring in the process, I gave in and decided to run a tensioner. Inspired by the thread on homebrew tensioners, I pulled the spring out of my "push down" Forte' tensioner and shimmed it so I can run it as a "push up" tensioner. Got a SS specific chain ring, the exact size cog I want, and a nice new chain. Life is good . . . .
    That's my homie. Post a picture, or mtbr will terminate your membership.

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