Anyone else NEVER broken a chain?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Anyone else NEVER broken a chain?

    I see people talking about people looking for a chain that won't break after experiencing multiple failures with one or more chains.

    I don't get it. I've been riding mtb regularly for about 12-13 years, and I have never broken a chain. Is this unusual? I usually use low to mid level SRAM chains, though I have also had a few of low-mid level shimano.

    I can't help but think that unless someone is really heavy or really strong, if they keep breaking chains then there must be some other underlying problem.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I've broken a few chains. I agree with you, though, including when people are really heavy or really strong. Track racers and pro sprinters would go through chains like popcorn, new ones included, if they didn't have more than enough tensile strength for the rest of us.

    I broke a Shimano road chain several years ago because I forgot about the special pin thing, and tried to reinstall it with an existing pin.

    I broke a mountain bike chain sometime last season because I tried to shift into my small ring, then ratcheted before the shift completed. I'm confident that if I wanted to break chains, I could enjoy at least a 50% success rate with this method.

    I broke a mountain bike chain this spring because I decided, once I'd started a climb and was straining on the pedals really hard, that I was in too high a gear, and tried to shift.

    I'm sure they're defective now and then, but I think that almost all chain failures are due to installer or user error.
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  3. #3
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    People insist on shifting under load.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    I see people talking about people looking for a chain that won't break after experiencing multiple failures with one or more chains.

    I don't get it. I've been riding mtb regularly for about 12-13 years, and I have never broken a chain. Is this unusual? I usually use low to mid level SRAM chains, though I have also had a few of low-mid level shimano.

    I can't help but think that unless someone is really heavy or really strong, if they keep breaking chains then there must be some other underlying problem.
    Sort of like riders that regularly rip off RD hangers or cut tire sidewalls.

    Some of us have few issues, others have it happen often.

    In 28 years I can think of two times for sure that I broke a chain, maybe three.
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  5. #5
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    Mountain biking for about 10 years now and never broken a chain. But, I use the heavier 8 speed setup and have changed out my chain about every 3-4 years. And, I carry a spare quick link.

    I know for sure the first time I lose that quick link my chain will self destruct...

  6. #6
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    I also have never broken a chain, and Ive been riding since 2003. Heck Ive got an old 25 year old bridgestone road bike, and am still running the original gears, and chain, and they are super quiet, and shift fine. That bike has to have thousands upon thousands of miles on it, and no problem. i honestly believe that it comes down to maintenance. I thoroughly clean and lubricate my chain after every rise, so maybe thats why I get such longevity out of my parts.

  7. #7
    Former Bike Wrench
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    Mountain biking for over 18 years, I broke two chains (both SRAM PC-69, the only 9 speed SRAM chains I've ever used) in one summer in 2004. Never broke any before, haven't broken any since using Shimano and KMC chains.

  8. #8
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    I've never broken a chain, but I try real hard
    to keep my gear in top shape.

    Best, John

  9. #9
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    Never broke a chain and climb every ride, never shuttle.

  10. #10
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    I've only broken 1 or 2 chains in the 15+ years I've been riding bikes. I've replaced more broken RD's than chains in that time span.

  11. #11
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    Almost 15 years of riding and racing. Never broken a chain. I have riding buddies that seem to break them on a regular basis. Shifting under load/poor shifting technique seems to be the culprit from what i've observed

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    Sort of like riders that regularly rip off RD hangers or cut tire sidewalls.

    Some of us have few issues, others have it happen often.

    In 28 years I can think of two times for sure that I broke a chain, maybe three.
    I've broken 3 chains in 26 years of riding. I used to never understand the whole replaceable derailleur hanger because I had never broken one. Then one on my road bike of all things broke a year ago. I didn't even hit anything, it just snapped off.
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  13. #13
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    In 20 years of riding...I broke a couple in the early to mid 90's ( 1 was a bad pin install(
    A few years ago....I broke 2 big buck Wippermans on my road bike in a few months time.....cracks around the pins on several outer plates. I now have Shimano 10 speed chains on it and have never had an issue
    Last year, on my 2 mtb's, I broke 3 Shimano XTR 9 speed chains( never had issues with these for years)....
    I have KMC on the mtb's now and no issues

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljsmith
    I've broken 3 chains in 26 years of riding. I used to never understand the whole replaceable derailleur hanger because I had never broken one. Then one on my of all things broke a year ago. I didn't even hit anything, it just snapped off.
    Only one hanger (though the chain survived!) when a stick popped up into my XTR rear derailleur and it exploded...taking the hanger with it. I'd rather see a replaceable dropout for stiffness purposes myself.

  15. #15
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    Broke one chain...not sure the brand...it was on a cheapish bike and I shifted under heavy load so it was my fault. Since then I switched to a quality chain and try to not shift under load though it still happens from time to time. Now I also carry a couple quick links and a short section of extra chain in my pack so of all things...my chain shouldn't be what leaves me walking out of the woods.
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  16. #16
    Rigid in Evergreen
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    It happens, but it shouldn't happen often.

  17. #17
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Only one hanger (though the chain survived!) when a stick popped up into my XTR rear derailleur and it exploded...taking the hanger with it. I'd rather see a replaceable dropout for stiffness purposes myself.
    Agreed. I much prefer a complete replaceable dropout for strength and reliability.

    Replaceable hangers were first used to save aluminum frames in case of the hanger being bent (steel dropouts can be replaced by a frame builder).

    Seems the replaceable hanger turned into a way to "save" the RD by making it weaker and more likely to be broken. This ends up causing more problems than it solves.
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  18. #18
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    I've only had a couple of broken chains. I'm sure one of them at least was due to a dodgey repair job.

    The 'continually x happens' syndrome tends not to be due to the components or warranty issues, its pretty much the technique or otherwise of the rider.
    Rimmer - "There's an old human saying - if you talk garbage, expect pain"

  19. #19
    Five is right out
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    15 years and haven't broken a chain yet. I carry a good chain tool and quick links because riding buddies keep breaking theirs.

    Haven't broken a derailleur hanger during riding, but I've had to replace four when they get bent during transport.

  20. #20
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    ive broken a few on bmx bikes when i was a kid but they were rusty and never oiled.

  21. #21
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    I have broken 2 changes. One was shortly few months after I got the bike on a climb the chain just exploded.
    The other was a few months one of the pins in power link broke. That chain I was going to replace at the end of the season any how so it got replaced a little early.

  22. #22
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    I've never broken a chain. I've only seen one guy break one on a ride and he was a bad rider so I'd say it was his fault.

  23. #23
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    Lots!

    2xCN5600 (Shimano road 10 speed - Once because I used a Power link while a pin was recommended and another it was unexpected).
    1xHG53 (Shimano Deore 9 speed)
    1xHG93 (My fault - it was worn according to the gauge 2000km)
    1xPC951 (Sram 9 speed - same 3500 km)
    1xPC971 (Sram 9 speed - unexpected failure at 1000 km. Very dust conditions)

    Since 9 speeds came to life, I've seen a huge amount of them broken in my area. Races, training and so on... Surprisingly I live in a dry weather place instead of mud.

    In fact, these weekend a friend of mine told me that broke a Dynasis SLX HG74 chain ruining the route. When I say many, means that in a marathon with 300-400 average people there are always 2-3 riders that end with their chain on their hands.

    I've never seen a 7-8 speed broken so far.

  24. #24
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    Never once broken a chain. Of course now that I said that, it'll happen tomorrow....

  25. #25
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    about 8 years of riding and never broke a chain, ive been chain rings, cassettes, even broke a crank arm....never broke a chain though.

  26. #26
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    Broke a connecting link once cause a used it for five chains straight.

    Broke a chain once cause I didn't notice the chain had come off while I was waiting...so I stomped on it as I started.

    Broke a chain once going up a very steep hill standing and mashing..it was passed 1% stretch.....

  27. #27
    Broke college student
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    Iv'e broken a chain. But I didn't ever clean or lube it, it was extremely old, and it broke while shifting under load. I deserved it. I take care of my chains now and no, I never break them.
    I like beer.

  28. #28
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    I am a bigger guy and I ride hard and I don't break them I just stretch them fast. The best I found was the KMC X9-93 as far as not stretching

  29. #29
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    i break probably 1-2 a year, but that's on a singlespeed. I'm not the best with the chain lube, and i'm a masher. i've tried all different types of chains, and i have determined that it's just me. I'm currently on an 8 speed higher end shimano chain.

  30. #30
    meow meow
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    ive bent a link but never broken a chain

  31. #31
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    I have been riding since 1990 and never broken a chain. I also don't shift under load and now I am on single speed. But I have seen a few chains broken and everytime I saw a chain break it was from shifting under load on a up hill. But I don't know how old these chains were and if they lubed them etc etc.

  32. #32
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    I ended up breaking a chain today. I bent a link, not the pin. Today was the only day I did not bring my chain stuff. Luckly we were near a camp ground and someone drove me back to my truck.

    It broke on a flat part. After going through some mud/puddles it started jumping gears. I thought there might be some mud in it. Nope, Oh well.

    This was a fairly new SRAM hollow pin 9 speed chain. I might go to KMC chain next. Right now I just took out the bad link and put in a power link. I should just replace the chain. I have an extra new chain from the LBS a lower end SRAM.

    Ideas?

  33. #33
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I rode a chain with an extra power link for another few months. Replaced it because I wore it out.

    I'm quite happy buying SRAM 851, 951, 971, and 1051 chains, depending on the bike they're going on.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  34. #34
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    I stopped by the lbs and he gave me a new sram 971 as a backup. I might just install it.

  35. #35
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    I broke 3 power links in one race before, i will never use them on a singlespeed again. I stick to bmx master links now.

  36. #36
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    I also have never broken a chain. truth be told I dont much break anything. I'm not weak or light but no superman either. Never ripped a sidewall, never broken a crank or pedal. Never busted a chain. I have only been consistently riding in a more than casual fashion for three years or so tho..who knows what the future holds. I still ride with a few master links and a spare chain in my backpack tho. There are enough stories here has influenced what lands in tool comparment of my backpack.

    I ride with repair kit, first aid kit, spare tube, spare chain, extra links, 2 toolkits, a leatherman multi-tool, clifbars, tire levers, lighter, flashlight....juuust in case.

  37. #37
    LCW
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    running a KMC X10SL for about 2 years, and recently switched to the X11SL (both on a SRAM 9 speed setup)... No breaks at all, and I'm not a smooth pedaler. I replace chains as soon as they stretch past the 1/16 over 12" rule of thumb...

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  38. #38
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    I didn't think you could run a 10 speed chain on a 9 speed. Hmm interesting. What is the point?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracerprix
    I didn't think you could run a 10 speed chain on a 9 speed. Hmm interesting. What is the point?
    you can, it'll fit just fine. It may not shift as silky smooth, but i doubt many people will notice it.

  40. #40
    LCW
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    Actually, 10 speed chain (X10SL) shifted MORE smoothly than the 9speed SRAM chains (991) I used prior... and now I'm finding the 11 speed chain (X11SL) to shift more smoothly than the 10spd.... all on my 9 speed drivetrain

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  41. #41
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    Very interesting. I think i'll buy one of those x10sl or the x11sl. Why is the point for the gold links?

  42. #42
    local trails rider
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    I've broken two. In both cases the cause was a badly made joint on a Shimano 9-speed chain. #1 was done by a LBS, #2 by myself.

    Operator error. Nothing wrong with the chain.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  43. #43
    LCW
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracerprix
    Very interesting. I think i'll buy one of those x10sl or the x11sl. Why is the point for the gold links?
    TiN (titanium nitride) coating... said to reduce friction... I just think it looks cool...


    PS - because of the narrower chain, you may need to tweak your front derailleur a bit

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  44. #44
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    Yeah cool. There is a red/black one called red dlc. Its more expensive because of a powder coating. I think that looks cool!

  45. #45
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    I bragged about never breaking a chain then I broke two chains in two rides. One the SRAM power-link pin sheared off and the other, I dropped the chain across the middle and small and when I pedaled forward expecting the chain to pick up it mangled a link.

  46. #46
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    I had never broken one until two years ago when I broke two different chains on my first 29er, a shimano and a KMC. Within a week of each other.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  47. #47
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    I used to snap chains like crazy until a: I dropped 40 pounds and b: I switched to a full suspension bike.

    Previously, I rode a Gary Fisher SuperCaliber aluminum hard tail. The frame was so stiff and flex free, that it seemed the weak point on the bike was the chain.

  48. #48
    NWS
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot
    People insist on shifting under load.
    I've only broken one, and that's how I did it.

    Lesson learned.

  49. #49
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by fernandoj

    Since 9 speeds came to life, I've seen a huge amount of them broken in my area. Races, training and so on... Surprisingly I live in a dry weather place instead of mud.

    In fact, these weekend a friend of mine told me that broke a Dynasis SLX HG74 chain ruining the route. When I say many, means that in a marathon with 300-400 average people there are always 2-3 riders that end with their chain on their hands.

    I've never seen a 7-8 speed broken so far.
    Likely because 9-speed drivetrains also added improved shift ramps/pins that allowed shifting under extreme load. This greatly increased side load stress on the chain and increased failure rates.
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  50. #50
    dwt
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    About 5 in 15 years, mtn. and road, generally on a climb.

    Worst was on one of those vertical climbs on Slick Rock at Moab. This is not recommended. Coulda been the end of the road. Survived with nuts intact and didn't fall a few hundred feet. Only injury was one of those painful shin bangers with one of the pedals.
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  51. #51
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    I just got srams new 2x10 x9 drive train last October and have broken my chain 4 times with it, and NEVER around the quick link. Figuring it was a faulty chain I got a new 1050 from the LBS and on the second ride with it, it broke again on a mildly steep climb. Again it was in the middle of the chain no where near the quick link. This along with a faulty 10 speed x9 derailleur (in a totally unrelated but equally maddening circumstance) has made me swear off all sram crap. Never thought I would say it but I am probably going back to Shimano...
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  52. #52
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    Whooooooooooooooossssssshhhhhhh................... .....................

    11 Speed????????????????????????????????????????????? ??
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  53. #53
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    Pulled one end of one of the side plates off the pin shifting under load so my fault.

    Always run either a sram PC971 or 991, best chains i've ever used.

  54. #54
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    I thought it'd never happen to me, being a pretty light guy. Was wrong though - snapped one about two months ago, about five minutes into a ride, although I did ignore the noise the chain was making on the previous ride. Knee meets stem, bike meets bushes in rage - finished my loop chainless, in the rain. Awesome

  55. #55
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    Guess I have been blessed for the past 13 years of riding, I have never once broken a chain. But I also never shift under a load. Of course now I have said that I will probably break one.

  56. #56
    Never trust a fart
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgerhardt View Post
    I just got srams new 2x10 x9 drive train last October and have broken my chain 4 times with it, and NEVER around the quick link. Figuring it was a faulty chain I got a new 1050 from the LBS and on the second ride with it, it broke again on a mildly steep climb. Again it was in the middle of the chain no where near the quick link. This along with a faulty 10 speed x9 derailleur (in a totally unrelated but equally maddening circumstance) has made me swear off all sram crap. Never thought I would say it but I am probably going back to Shimano...


    Welcome to the world of 10 speed MTB stuff. Don't be surprised if you have similar issues with Shimano. 10 speed chains are narrower than 8 & 9 speed, therefore making them inherently weaker. Especially when shifting under load.

    BTW - the master link is normally stronger than a normal link.

  57. #57
    the catalan connection
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    Not that I remember. But , off course I don't remember every ride since 1991 or so...
    I did bent my d hanger back in 2005 in the middle of a 190 km epic ride, thought that was it for me, but could just bend it back and keep going like nothing happened...a mix of steel and luck ;-)
    Now that I think about it, it' s been a long time since I don' t get a flat. And I' m still using tubes....
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  58. #58
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    Warped my chain and trashed my derailleur hanger in extreme mud/ essentially clay. The mud build up while going down a hill was so extreme it just plain ripped as much stuff off the bike as it could.

  59. #59
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    been riding since 1997, never broken a chain.. until a few weeks ago, when i had the outer plate of a SRAM PC951 split and gradually open up. didn't actually break but heard a click as it went through the mech, stopped. put another quicklink in (eventually - no chain tool!) and have been riding the same chain since. looked like metal fatigue - defective link/bad metal i think. not sure how long the crack had been forming, i was pedalling hard when it failed (not shifting!). will carry on using PC951.

    i destroy rear mechs routinely though, mostly sticks going through the wheel!

    also, i now carry a chaintool as well as spare links... using my feet and a tree to get the broken plate out was ridiculous, but beat walking

  60. #60
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    I would agree that most broken chains are due to rider error and not the chain itself. That being said, I had an experience this spring which makes me think sometimes you just get a lemon. New hg-74 sly dyna sys chain on new bike broke 8 times in 10 days. I tried both the shimano pins and kmc links but it kept breaking. I'd only broken one chain before and that was a mis shift in a horrifically muddy cross race. Put a new SRAM chain on after the slx and no issues since.

  61. #61
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    Never broke a chain in the last 11 years of riding pretty seriously. Used Shimano chains almost exclusively and never had a problem despite being a little bigger than normal (190lbs/5'10") and never being afraid of shifting the rear derailleur under load.

  62. #62
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    I have had no problems until recently. I bent my chain on my SRAM 9 speed set up and broke a brand new XTR chain on my 10 speed. The 10 speed might of been an installation error on my part, but I would think it would be hard to mess up the Shimano link pin system. In the Giant forum several have mentioned braking their SLX 10 speed chains on their 29ers.

  63. #63
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    The only chains I've ever broken were ones that I improperly installed when I was a newb.
    Ever since I learned how to install a chain, I haven't broken one.
    I did have my derailluer rip off at the hanger recently, but was riding in shin deep mud.......
    This, of course, bent a link in the chain....= )
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  64. #64
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    I've broken a SRAM 951 twice in around 200 miles. The chain has around 400-500 miles on it and has no noticeable stretch yet. After the first time it broke I just stuck it back together with another standard chain link, so it probably weakened it.

    Both times it happens AFTER shifting and then powering up. I suppose it could be that the timing wasn't right and I started pedaling before it was done shifting. But either way I don't hammer it standing up, really just spin.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anyone else NEVER broken a chain?-5763379190_aa8fd012cc_z.jpg  

    Last edited by pinkston32; 06-05-2011 at 10:32 AM.

  65. #65
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    I've never broken a chain.

    i think I've only ever gotten one flat while on a trail. (which is good cause i forger tubes alot)

    I shift down under load going up steep climbs alot, and it makes that horrible CRUNCH noise, but never had one break.

  66. #66
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    I haven't broken a chain in 10+ years of riding. I don't necessarily make a point to not shift under load, but I'll avoid it if I'm thinking about it.

    The last time I remember a chain breaking was sometime in my mouth. I don't remember the grade of the component, but considering my situation at the time, it was probably whatever was the cheapest POS the crooked town LBS had out back.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by opmike View Post
    The last time I remember a chain breaking was sometime in my mouth.
    Wow, that takes some STRONG jaws, no matter how cheap the component was!

  68. #68
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    Busted a few and one sram quick link. Stood up and pop! No shifting. im 200lbs though!

  69. #69
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    I've never broken a chain. In fact, I have a mtb I bought in 1993 that still has the original chain, and it's seen many many miles of singletrack. I think I've just been lucky.

  70. #70
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    Also never broken a chain. Still carry a quicklink taped to my multitool just in case. I know the day I forget the tool i'll break it. Murphy's Law and all that...

    C

  71. #71
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    Never ever!

    Never broken a chain on any of the bikes i own, i have always used kmc chains.

  72. #72
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    I am no longer virgin to breaking a chain...

    I was test riding this bike at lunch today for a co-worker. I was grinding a steep incline when "pop" and the crank started spinning. I thought I had dropped the chain at first.

    But, I'm a good little cub scout and I came prepared. Used my Topeak Alien to remove the broken link and put on a quick link. Back running in 5 minutes.

    Anyone else NEVER broken a chain?-photo2.jpg

    Anyone else NEVER broken a chain?-photo1.jpg

  73. #73
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Those links and a chain breaker are a must on any ride ...

  74. #74
    It's about showing up.
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    Whenever I broke a chain I had it coming. It usually followed a really bad high-pressure shift. That sort of thing will either rip the chain apart or weaken it enough to break the next time you lean on it. After that I have broken chains simply because I didn't repair them very well on the trail.

    I really can't blame the chain.
    I don't rattle.

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