New build, chain broke, ideas?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New build, chain broke, ideas?

    So I built up a commuter single speed recently.
    After putting it all together I decided to use a 48/19 gearing since I already had a Surly 19t cog. I got lucky and had an LX 48t chainring I never used from a triple set so I slapped it on figuring I'd use it temporarily to see if I like the gearing. I do like the ratio so I put in an order for a new pairing of 35/14. I used a SRAM PC-1 chain (same as I've used on my jumping hardtail for almost 2 years now) and went on my first test ride. About 2 miles in I had come to a stop at a stop sign, came to a trackstand stop, and laid some power down to get going again. On the second stroke the chain broke and landed down on the frame and flipped over the bars, catching my leg on the chainring on the way down. Hospital, stitches, etc.

    So I'm trying to figure out why the chain broke. I've installed and resized a ton of chains in my time, including the same model chain on other bikes. I've never had a chain break on me and I've taken that jumping hardtail to the BMX track and laid some serious force down out of the gate, and also climbed some really steep hills with it. I'm guessing I may have just not pushed the pin back in quite right but is it possible that using a 1/8" chain with a ramped 9-speed 48t chainring caused the break? The other parts are being delivered today (35t Blackspire Mono Veloce SS ring, 14t Surly cog) and that new chainring should be thicker. I realize that the 2.53:1 gear ratio requires a little more strength in the chain but I've met some fixie guys that have ratios over 3:1 that have never had a problem.

    Are there any other SS chains that are stronger? I thought about picking up a real BMX chain, or maybe even going to a fixie shop and getting one from them since its gotta be strong if they're trusting it as their only brake.

    Here's the drivetrain specs, if it helps:
    Soul Cycles Hooligan frame (EBB)
    Shimano 48t ramped/pinned chainring
    Surly 19t cog
    SRAM PC-1 1/8" chain

  2. #2
    Single Speed Junkie
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    Chain seems to be the weak link here. (yes even thought it is the PC-1)

    Some SRAM chains seem to have an issue with premature failure (regardless of model). It is true that some of their chains will be good for 2000 miles+ and some give it up after only 500 miles or less.

    Best chain I have tried has been the Izumi Super-V. This chain is the toughest one that I have ever found. An added bonus it is quiet.

  3. #3
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    I've used the PC-1 chain before. Although I've never personally broken one, I have friends who have. I prefer Sram 8-spd chains. I believe they're stronger; I'm guessing manufacturing tolerances are the reason, but I don't know for sure. I've used Sram 8-spd chains for years, seen 'em break on rare occasion (including under me), but not often.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crux
    Chain seems to be the weak link here. (yes even thought it is the PC-1)

    Some SRAM chains seem to have an issue with premature failure (regardless of model). It is true that some of their chains will be good for 2000 miles+ and some give it up after only 500 miles or less.

    Best chain I have tried has been the Izumi Super-V. This chain is the toughest one that I have ever found. An added bonus it is quiet.
    Its funny you mention failing chains, my friend busted 3 SRAM's in a matter of weeks and runs Shimano now with no problems since.

    I'll look into that Izumi one, thanks

  5. #5
    ...abuse these forks.
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    Maybe if the chain were somewhat slack and tried to "upshift" it, combined with the extra width? That might explain why it broke then and not at other times. My last ride brought my broken SRAM chain total to 4 (only 1 break on a SS), and has convinced me not to use them anymore. I would definitely look into a BMX chain, I use a KMC 710 on my SS.
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  6. #6
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    I'm notta expert, but I seem to recall just reading on the circular that came with my Surly stainless SS chainring that the teeth on ramped and pinned chainrings don't fit SS chains right. That said, they recommend 6,7, or 8 speed chains for their chainrings. Just go with whatever Blackspire recommends for their chainring, you'll be fine. I've gotta new SRAM PC58 for mine, and look forward to seeing how it does. Sorry to hear about yer lacerated leg, and hope it feels quickly. Coulda been worse...my worse fear is having the chain break right when I'm standing at the top of the stroke, and smashing my junk on the TT with the full force of my 6 ft, 200 lbs behind it

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    they recommend 6,7, or 8 speed chains for their chainrings. Just go with whatever Blackspire recommends for their chainring, you'll be fine.
    That's interesting, I always assumed that I could use a 1/8" chain with any ring since it'd be stronger. According to Blackspire's site the Mono Veloce ring should be used with a 9-speed chain. Is a 1/8" chain not stronger than a 3/32" chain? I guess my chain knowledge has been all wrong.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgreathead
    ... Is a 1/8" chain not stronger than a 3/32" chain? ...
    Heavier, yes.
    Stonger, no.

    I think, anyway...

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  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the replies, I've definitely learned a bit about chains.
    I think I'm gonna go with the KMC Z610HX, its a 3/32" dedicated SS chain with supposedly the same strength of the $7 heavy BMX one.
    Now I just need to get the stitches out so I can ride...

  10. #10
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    I would think running a 1/8" chain on 3/32" gears might stress the chain since you don't have the full width of the chain pin pulling on the cog face.
    any thoughts?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsj9197
    I would think running a 1/8" chain on 3/32" gears might stress the chain since you don't have the full width of the chain pin pulling on the cog face.
    any thoughts?
    From what others have said here, and research I did elsewhere, you're right. I falsely assumed that all SS components were designed for 1/8". I now realize both my chainring and cog were designed for 3/32" so that's the size I'm going with

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgreathead
    That's interesting, I always assumed that I could use a 1/8" chain with any ring since it'd be stronger. According to Blackspire's site the Mono Veloce ring should be used with a 9-speed chain. Is a 1/8" chain not stronger than a 3/32" chain? I guess my chain knowledge has been all wrong.
    I thought the same thing...there have been other threads discussing this very thing. Evidently, a lot of chains sold as 'single speed' just aren't very high quality. Plus there's that chainlink/teeth interface issue. If Blackspire says use a 9 speed chain, that's what you oughta go with. On that note, I've heard that Campagnolo 9 speeds last a lot longer than Shimanos. If you're a Clysdale like moi, that might be a consideration. Let us know how the 9 speed chain works for you.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggity
    I thought the same thing...there have been other threads discussing this very thing. Evidently, a lot of chains sold as 'single speed' just aren't very high quality. Plus there's that chainlink/teeth interface issue. If Blackspire says use a 9 speed chain, that's what you oughta go with. On that note, I've heard that Campagnolo 9 speeds last a lot longer than Shimanos. If you're a Clysdale like moi, that might be a consideration. Let us know how the 9 speed chain works for you.
    So, just to be extra clear, a 3/32" chain like the KMC Z610HX is considered a 9 speed chain or not? As far as I can tell the width is the same as an 8 or 9 speed chain but the difference is the plate size.

  14. #14
    Misfit Psycles
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgreathead
    So, just to be extra clear, a 3/32" chain like the KMC Z610HX is considered a 9 speed chain or not? As far as I can tell the width is the same as an 8 or 9 speed chain but the difference is the plate size.
    11/128 is a 9spd
    3/32 is 6-8 spd (and very good ss chains...)
    1/8 is single only

    generally speaking 3/32 chains are of higher quality and (depending on the specific chain) tend to outlast comparable 1/8 chains.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsj9197
    I would think running a 1/8" chain on 3/32" gears might stress the chain since you don't have the full width of the chain pin pulling on the cog face.
    any thoughts?
    A few years ago General Coonskins ran a Sram PC-1 on "regular" (non-SS-specific) ring & cog. After a few weeks or months of riding this chain, he noticed a frequent popping sound out of his drivetrain and felt an accompanying sensation through his pedals. He stopped to check his drivetrain several times on the trail but could not figure out what was going on until he finally put the bike in a rack and went super sleuth on it.

    Evidently his chainring &/or cog had split several chain rollers in half longitudinally. The popping happened when he went to do some hard cranking and the split roller halves would separate, allowing the gear teeth to slam into the chain's pins.

    Thin gears work best with thin chains.
    Wide gears work best with wide chains.

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  16. #16
    Just hit it with speed
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    SRAM PC-1 chain stinks

    I've been doing some reading on chains here and have determined quite a bit.

    I've got a PC-1 chain (non nickel) and its been quite a hassle. I'd say at any given moment it has 3-4 stiff links(it was only assembled once it has not had pins taken out and put back multiple times), its LOUD and it rusts regardless of how much i maintain it. In fairness to the chain it has not broken on me even on some stout climbs (165lb rider, 19t Endless SS cog, SS chainring).

    What I have noticed and determined from this thread and others is that I probably shouldn't be using a 1/8" chain. First off there is quite alot of side to side play on the chain (so if you staring at the bike from the rear think of the chain moving to the left and right). I think this has a couple of effects first off its rubbed grooves in my bashguard (Truvativ Stylo SS). Second it has flattened the teeth on(slightly) my endless cog. I'm assuming because the angle of attack that the chain takes may very slightly depending on the stress.

    I bought a PC-68 as a recommendation hopefully the 3/32 chain will not have the stiff links, won't rub my bashguard and will "mesh" with my rear cog better. Oh and hopefully it would break on me.

    Thoughts?
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  17. #17
    Misfit Psycles
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFisher2001
    I bought a PC-68 as a recommendation hopefully the 3/32 chain will not have the stiff links, won't rub my bashguard and will "mesh" with my rear cog better. Oh and hopefully it would break on me.

    Thoughts?
    in my experience, you are on the right track.
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  18. #18
    @adelorenzo
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    I run PC-68 on my singlespeed mountain bikes, 8-speed road bike and the wife's 8-speed mtb. I have not had one problem. Love 'em.

    I run the nickel-plated PC-1 on my fixie, which does have a 1/8 drivetrain. Again, no complaints through the past 8 months, including a full winter of commuting. It has been great, I think the last time I even cleaned it off or put lube on it was 4-5 months ago. It does get pretty damn stiff at -40 though.

    Chains are kind of a weird thing, it seems. Some people will swear by a chain while others will say that it is junk. Who knows?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nogearshere
    11/128 is a 9spd
    3/32 is 6-8 spd (and very good ss chains...)
    1/8 is single only

    generally speaking 3/32 chains are of higher quality and (depending on the specific chain) tend to outlast comparable 1/8 chains.

    I heard you had some sweet chains on your website? Is that true?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwheelboy_490
    I heard you had some sweet chains on your website? Is that true?
    That's funny, Misfit is the site I'm about to place an order with for my new chain

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