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  1. #1
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    Oh SNAP!

    Well, after a great ride last Thursday I decided I would try to get out early Saturday morning and go for 30 miles. I was feeling great! My supplements were working (EFS) and I had no cramping or symptoms of cramping what so ever!

    Then at mile 24, BANG! I snapped my chain. I was heading up a fairly steep section of a climb and it just blew! I managed to get my left foot out of the pedal and simply fell over to my right (go figure). Fortunately, i was not going fast at all when this happened.

    Once I collected myself I started thinking that I should have examined my chain a little better earlier in my ride. I would say maybe 5 miles earlier, I had my chain pop off. I thought that perhaps the tension was just loose and I had just gone thru a fairly bumpy up hill section (rail road ties in the climb). Not that I have ever dropped my chain on a SS frame with horizontal dropouts now that I think about it. I guess I just wasn't thinking clearly. I simply retensioned the rear wheel after putting the chain on and kept rolling.

    In any case, it appears that the quick link came apart as I only found one piece of that. But the odd thing is that I also snapped another link right in half. Not a pin mind you, but right in the middle of the link! Keep in mind that this is a X9SL chain so it has drilled out plates.

    I have heard of quite a few people snapping these chains but I have been on mine for over a year. I guess it was just time. None the less, I always kept it clean and lubed so I am guessing that attributed to my being able to ride it for as long as I have. Because I was able to ride it that long I went ahead and ordered a new one. That and the fact that I really dig my "Phat Gold Chain"

    Aside from being ticked off about breaking the chain and banging my leg pretty good, it sucked to have to call the wife to come pick me up. While I had another master link and some extra chain in my tool kit, I actually needed two master links and then the links I had ended up not being enough (I actually tried to just join the chains together with pins so I could limp home but it was too short.) As it turned out I was about 200 yards away from a friends house (trail runs right behind their neighborhood) so I was able to tell my wife where to meet me without any issues. No harm done...just my pride!

    I think what really sucked was knowing that I had been dealing with cramping in my quads not too long ago the ride was going great. It sucked that it was cut short when everything seemed to be clicking so well. My legs felt great, cardio was great, and I was just tooling along not really trying to push the pace. The weather was great, trail conditions were awesome, and I was in no sort of time crunch to rush and get back!
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD View Post
    None the less, I always kept it clean and lubed so I am guessing that attributed to my being able to ride it for as long as I have.
    Old chains can be dangerous because when they break under load you can sometimes get hurt. I think it is best to replace a early to avoid breakage.

    One other factor is related to how you clean your chain. Going out on a limb her but did you soak your chain? Some people soak their chains in Simple Green. The problem with Simple Green is that it can make the metal brittle if you soak the chain for long periods of time (i.e. soaking it overnight). For most normal cleaning it's fine but don't soak the chain in any sort of cleaner. I only mention this because mid link chain breaking is rare and a sign the metal is failing. Cleaning and lubing is a good idea but don't soak.

  3. #3
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    Nope, don't normally soak. I never seem to have time to let it soak. I typically clean the chain with Pedros chain cleaner and use a chain cleaner tool. It's not as easy on the SS because we don't have all the extra chain slack but I basically pull the rear wheel and slap a skewer between the rear end and use the chain cleaner as normal. Works great. I then use my air compressor to blow off all the excess cleaner, wipe it down really well and then lube.

    I agree, I have never seen a chain snap in the middle of a link. I do prefer to think that it was the awesome power that my quads are able to generate that snapped the chain though.

    On a side note, I ran out to Performance and picked up a Sram PC951 for my cheap fill in chain to get me by until the new X9sl shows up. Go figure, it has now been raining the past two days and the bike hasn't made it out of the garage!

  4. #4
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    I'm sure that is a pretty rare occurrence.

    Two days ago I had one of the more common types of chain breakage, running the trusty Shimano CN-7701 9 speed chain. Going up a not-steep-at-all hill, I heard a crunch from the rear of the bike and then everything seemed normal until I needed a couple of stronger pedal strokes. The chain broke. One of the outer plates had slipped off the pin.

    Of course, I was just on a little ride, so had no supplies with me and had to use the bike as a scooter to get back home (half an hour, or so) The chain worked OK yesterday, after I put it together with a KMC Missing Link. My guess is that a small rock or grain of sand had ended up in the wrong place to push the plate off.

    "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"

  5. #5
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    Dang dude, that's pretty beastly of you.
    The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates
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  6. #6
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    ^^^ I like to think so!! But the reality is that it was an older chain and it was probably just it's time to go.

    I will say that I never experienced much stretching with this chain though. Then again, its on an SS so we are constantly readjusting the wheel tension.

  7. #7
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    Time to accept a few extra grams and run a solid plate chain there 1SPD. Knee looks like it will be sore today. Glad it wasn't a more catastrophic fail injury wise.

  8. #8
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    I usually replace twice a year and I've always used 951's. With the newest build I went with a 1/8" KMC and have about 600 miles on it now and it's doing well. I've never [knock on wood] broken a chain. I have sheared and snapped cogs before, on average about 2 a year, which is why I'm running 34/16 or 34/18 this year instead of the 32/14 as on the last bike.

  9. #9
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    Crazy8, well I did pick up a Sram 951 which is on the bike as we speak. I suspect I will run it until it is dirty and swap it out with the X9sl (provided I have it by that time). After that I will just swap back and forth between the two of them when it is time for a cleaning.

    I have snapped a chain before on maiden voyage of my Cannondale M1000 back in the day. It sucked because that resulted in a 5 mile hike that day! I mean it was a brand new bike! Who the hell takes a chain tool with them? I have also broken a couple in road races years ago. I think yesterdays was probably the most I have gotten hurt so far, thank God!

    My knee is fine and it's not too sore today. Definitely bruised up though. But the swelling has gone down and it has given me an excuse to wear shorts to work again! Not that anyone really cares here mind you.

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    I do not think cleaning the chain had anything to do with the break. I think the fact that it was a "weight weenie" chain did. That chain is pretty light. That's because they reduced the amount of metal in the plates to reduce the weight. I suspect that also reduced it's strength.

    It's always a trade off: weight vs strength.

  11. #11
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    I agree with you. However, I managed to ride this chain for over a year w/ no problems. I weighed 185 when I got the chain and I've been down @ 170 for the past 3 months now. It definitely took some abuse for sure!

  12. #12
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    Should have gone for the X9L, without the holy plates.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    Old chains can be dangerous because when they break under load you can sometimes get hurt. I think it is best to replace a early to avoid breakage.

    One other factor is related to how you clean your chain. Going out on a limb her but did you soak your chain? Some people soak their chains in Simple Green. The problem with Simple Green is that it can make the metal brittle if you soak the chain for long periods of time (i.e. soaking it overnight). For most normal cleaning it's fine but don't soak the chain in any sort of cleaner. I only mention this because mid link chain breaking is rare and a sign the metal is failing. Cleaning and lubing is a good idea but don't soak.
    Could this happen even with something like dish detergent?
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  14. #14
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    i don't know if over-cleaning a chain can cause it to break, but you should not use solvents and cleaners on chains, or at least not so much that the cleaner gets inside the links. just use lube and more lube and a rag.

  15. #15
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    30 miles into our ride this past Sat.
    No odd sound, no crunching, no warning at all...
    Boom!
    Then I find this
    I have never in my life managed to pull the front half of the master link clean off. The plate was still dead flat/straight.
    Matter of fact, I've never seen a master link break at all.
    This was on my SS and I continued on for the rest of the ride.
    Thought I'd share in your passion :thumbup:
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  16. #16
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    Reminder to self...keep several master links and a section of chain in my seat pack on my SS when I get it built.
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  17. #17
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    Dont run weight weenie chains!

    I recently have switched to wippermans after hearing about a guy who runs them on his tandem. I have never been happier
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  18. #18
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    I used to run a wipperman on my road bike and loved it. But I did have really good luck with my WW x9sl so I ordered a second one. I do think I will go back to the wipperman next time though or perhaps even pick one up in the near future to have on hand.

    As far as keeping extra master links in your bag, well that is always a good idea. I thought I was good with having one but the reality is that you will be better off with two of them! Once the other chain shows up I will have two on hand as well as a section of chain to use for a repair. That is basically what caused me to have to call on the wife for help. I only had one master link with me and I just couldn't get it back together with what I had on me. I know better now though!

  19. #19
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    Man that sucks. Good thing you were close to your friends house, and did not have walk out 24 miles.

    I always run a SS specific chain, and change it twice a year. I hope this strategy works for me.

  20. #20
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    Yeah, like everyone says, that's a pretty lightweight chain for a SS. Those 9sp chains are made to be skinny so they work well on a cassette. There's no reason to run a little teeny chain like that on a SS though. I know there's a little weight penalty, but I gladly suck that up in exchange for a chain that basically never breaks.

  21. #21
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    The width of the rollers has no particular positive effects on chain durability...

    "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"

  22. #22
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    Kmc z610 hx

  23. #23
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    Shimano Ultegra 8 speeds seem to work best for me everything else just breaks. I finally out stretched a chain which is really rare for me most just break at some point. So my hat goes off to Shimano.
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