Singlespeed Chain Woes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Singlespeed Chain Woes

    I have broken 2 SRAM PC-1s in a row now.

    The first time I thought I might not have set the pin evenly when I reassembled the chain on the bike. The second time (new chain), I was more careful and it failed again. Inspecting the second failed chain, I noticed a few other side plates that were "loose" - about to pull off the pins. I am not a super-powerful rider, and I had read the PC-1 was, well, less than stellar, but I figured I wouldn't have any problems. Wrong.

    Anyway, I figure it's time to spend a few extra $$ for a decent chain. I'm running a Surly 18t Cog on the rear designed for 3/32".

    I had a KMC chain on my old Nashbar/Stout SS, but I can't recall what it was - never had any problems with that. Anyone know which KMC chain that might be?

    Otherwise, I am looking at a SRAM PC-870; $20 on sale at Jenson.
    Mind your own religion.

  2. #2
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    Were you using the supplied quick-link? Whenever you break and chain and rejoin it, it's easy to mess up and weaken it in that area.

    I've never had and issue with PC-1's. I have them on my fixed gear road bike and my track bike. Both have 1/8" chainrings and cogs.

    If you're running a 3/32" chainring/cog, you might as well go with a Sram PC-8xx or similar from KMC. It'll probably quieter and smoother than a 1/8" chain on 3/32" sprockets.

  3. #3
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    KMC z510/610 chain. Cheap and never had a problem with them.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/singlespeed/r...in-785130.html

  4. #4
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    For single speed, I highly recommend the KMC chain over the SRAM chain. Also I think 8 speed chains actually work better than the 1/8" chains because most of the cogs and chainrings are designed around the more narrow spacing.

    SRAM may be a better chain for geared bike but they start out with a longer and looser link and are more prone to wear. In terms of single speed I think KMC is a good choice but there are many chains that I have not yet tried.

    Chains should be replaced when they have around 1% wear so a chain checker is a good tool to have in your kit.


    Inspect chain every few hundred miles to take wear measurement and inspect for cracks on the links. If you inspect your stuff you can spot problems early before they leave you on the side of the trail.


    Good luck and let us know what you end up using.
    Last edited by febikes; 10-22-2012 at 06:42 AM.

  5. #5
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    I've used PC1's for years with not a single issue.

  6. #6
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    I'm of fan of the SRAM PC-870 and have been using them for years. Please remember they need to be joined with a master link.

    For a chain wear checker just use an accurate 12" ruler. It's more accurate, works better, and is a lot cheaper than a chain wear tool like the Park.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BShow View Post
    I've used PC1's for years with not a single issue.
    And your point is?
    Mind your own religion.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    The first time I thought I might not have set the pin evenly when I reassembled the chain on the bike. The second time (new chain), I was more careful and it failed again. .
    This is your problem.

    I broke 3 PC-850s in a very short time.

    Then I started using the quick link instead of the chain tool.

    Haven't broke a chain since.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BShow View Post
    I've used PC1's for years with not a single issue.
    ^^same here- and my point is that I think eastspur may be right. If you were not using the connecting link, and most likely using a 3/32 chain tool to join it then that is most likely the problem.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonDartFrog View Post
    The first time I thought I might not have set the pin evenly when I reassembled the chain on the bike.
    There's your problem. You don't join the chain by pushing out a pin and pushing it back in. To retain strength you need to use the Powerlink.

  11. #11
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    You are likely rolling your chain partially up and onto your rear cog, then before you drop the chain off it slips back onto the cogs. When the chain rides up on top of the cog it does so on the link plates - the cog teeth slip between the plates and bushings like prying screwdriver and pushes the link plates apart.

    If your chain line is not to blame, then you it means you are likely flexing your BB and partially throwing your chain.

    It's is a frequent, though rarely recognized, phenomena.

    Oh, and by the way, PC-1, nickel plated chains are great and I've used them for years.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    For single speed, I highly recommend the KMC chain over the SRAM chain. Also I think 8 speed chains actually work better than the 1/8" chains because most of the cogs and chainrings are designed around the more narrow spacing.

    SRAM may be a better chain for geared bike but they start out with a longer and looser link and are more prone to wear. In terms of single speed I think KMC is a good choice but there are many chains that I have not yet tried.

    Chains should be replaced when they have around 1% wear so a chain checker is a good tool to have in your kit.


    Inspect chain every few hundred miles to take wear measurement and inspect for cracks on the links. If you inspect your stuff you can spot problems early before they leave you on the side of the trail.


    Good luck and let us know what you end up using.
    When people bring their bikes into the shop with 1% wear on their chains we usually end up replacing more than just the chain. Usually the cassette will need replacing and most likely the chainrings too. I'd recommend replacing @ .75% wear.

  13. #13
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    PC-1 nickel, never had a problem. Like others have said, It could be a setup issue, chainline or not using the quick link or both.

  14. #14
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    Yay. Another chain thread.

    Your problem is that you are riding your bike, which can cause the chain to break. Use a powerlink or get a 8xx series and get on with it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth View Post
    Yay. Another chain thread.

    Your problem is that you are riding your bike, which can cause the chain to break. Use a powerlink or get a 8xx series and get on with it.
    Thanks for the advice ya judgmental bastard! I am sure what you meant to write was that my chain breakage is due to the raw power of my massive sinewy god-like thighs.

    So, I did get the PC-870 from my LBS and installed it last night (yes, using the link of power); I even picked up an extra Powerlink for my pack.

    All I really wanted to post about, although in re-reading it I can see why it wasnt clear, is:
    1. What chain was on my old Nashbar? It seemed solid.
    2. The PC-1 sucks 4ss.

    Now, I have come to learn that in fact there are TWO PC-1 models; one nickel-plated and one not. I had the latter, which I am told is garbage. Thanks, least favorite LBS for selling me that.

    Also, I honestly cant recall if the PC-1 came with a link or not or if I used it or not. In any case, after the last failure I inspected it and more than one side plate was pulling off the pins. Multiple points of failure, so even if I did use the link I believe failure was inevitable. Also, the thing stretched a TON in like 2 months.

    So don't be like me, kids. Spend a few extra $$ on a decent chain. It really does make a diff.
    Mind your own religion.

  16. #16
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    I've never seen a chain wear/stretch as fast as the PC1. Including the $5 KMC chains. I also had problems with that chain breaking on my SS. Every other chain has been markedly more reliable/ durable.

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