Are SS chains designed differently?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Are SS chains designed differently?

    Assuming both are 3/32" and not considering differences in the connector link, is there a difference in design with SS specific chains? I'm trying to decide if something like the KMC Z610HX 1 speed chain is worth getting over something like a SRAM PC 870.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    I had a z610hx at one point. I liked it because it's basically a narrow version of the z510hx, which is popular among bmx riders for it's strength against getting bashed into handrails and such. burly chain but I didn't find any major benefit over a SRAM 8-speed chain for longevity or strength. if you break chains, it might be a good idea. otherwise, no real point.

  4. #4
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    I've poured through a bunch of posts and get the whole 1/8 vs 3/32 thing. But assuming both are 3/32" how are they designed differently? I saw someone say that geared chains are designed to shift better. Why is that?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    I've poured through a bunch of posts and get the whole 1/8 vs 3/32 thing. But assuming both are 3/32" how are they designed differently? I saw someone say that geared chains are designed to shift better. Why is that?
    Probably because geared chains are designed to handle the torsion associated with the chain moving laterally along the cassette. I'm not sure this makes for a weaker or less durable chain though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    Assuming both are 3/32" and not considering differences in the connector link, is there a difference in design with SS specific chains? I'm trying to decide if something like the KMC Z610HX 1 speed chain is worth getting over something like a SRAM PC 870.
    The Z619HX is cheaper than the SRAM PC 870 chain. I cannot answer your direct question, but I've always bashed my SS rides around using the KMC Z610HX chain - worked flawlessly. Hence I wouldn't consider any other chain looking at price vs. durability.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhaalgorn View Post
    Probably because geared chains are designed to handle the torsion associated with the chain moving laterally along the cassette. I'm not sure this makes for a weaker or less durable chain though.
    I think this answers the thread's question. SS chains don't have the lateral flex that geared chains do.

    I've used KMC Z610 3/32 chains forever. Never dropped it, never snapped it (despite stretching the crap out of it).

    I once tried a SRAM 8-speed chain on my SS and snapped it on the second ride.

  8. #8
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    Interesting. I've settled on SRAM 8 speed chains. I tried an SRAM PC1 singlespeed chain once, and it stretched really quickly and make weird popping noises no matter how clean it was. Went back to a SRAM PC58 and all was good again. I've been using PC48, PC58, and PC68 chains for around 10 years and have never broken one. That's enough reason for me not to look elsewhere.

    That said, I've never tried any KMC chains.

  9. #9
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    Since I changed to KMC 9 & 10 speed chains, I haven't had to replace one yet. The SRAM ones are all stretched past 1%

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bank5 View Post
    ...I've poured through a bunch of posts and get the whole 1/8 vs 3/32 thing. But assuming both are 3/32" how are they designed differently? I saw someone say that geared chains are designed to shift better. Why is that?
    Simple.

    Geared chains are designed to slip easily off the sprockets. This is not a desirable feature in a singlespeed if you want to avoid TTGIT*.

    You can compensate for a geared chain's sideways flexibility by using more tension - which may contribute to wearing out your BB and wheel bearings more quickly.

    With proper singlespeed chain and sprockets you can have your chain badly worn and sagging to extremes and yet it will stay on. Don't try that with a chain designed for gears.

    Singlespeed chain isn't necessarily stronger, but its lack of sideways flexibility means you can use them for a lot longer than an equally strong chain designed for gears.

    And best of all? A good quality SS chain is dirt cheap.





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  11. #11
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    I have seen Sram 3/32" 8/9spd chains stetch much faster than Shimano 3/32"-8/9spd chains.

    A lot of the 1/8" single speed chains are designed for cruisiers.
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  12. #12
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    Recently built up my ROS9 plus SS, went to KMC site found X1 chain, top of their SS rough use selection ordered one up for $29, very solid but only 96 links, barely enough to work on the bike running 30x22. Interested to see how this lasts, so far the winner in that regard has been a Gusset Slink half-link full chain, went 4 1/2 years, thousands of miles.

    http://kmcchain.us/wp-content/upload...ngle-Speed.pdf

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    I'm not a big guy, depending on time of year I weigh 155-160#. With that in mind, I get more than a season out of both SRAM and KMC 8-speed chains (less than .75 stretch) but I replace the PC1 in less than half that time. Go figure.

    I was thinking of trying 9 speed chains to experiment, just because I get such long life out of 8-speed.

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  14. #14
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    A 9 speed chain is going to be slightly thinner than a 6/7/8 speed chain. I plan to use a KMC 8 speed chain until they are no longer made, they are so cheap I even get the "nicer" ones with the mushroom pins and X Bridge stuff.

    The only chain I actually make sure I get is for my commuter and it's a rustbuster chain since I ride my commuter thru all 4 seasons here in MN.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by socal_jack View Post
    Recently built up my ROS9 plus SS, went to KMC site found X1 chain, top of their SS rough use selection ordered one up for $29, very solid but only 96 links, barely enough to work on the bike running 30x22. Interested to see how this lasts, so far the winner in that regard has been a Gusset Slink half-link full chain, went 4 1/2 years, thousands of miles.

    http://kmcchain.us/wp-content/upload...ngle-Speed.pdf
    The KMC X1 lasted only 4 weeks, at the top of a real steep pitch yesterday it started making a lot of noise just swapped out with a PC1130 I had laying around quiet again. At least it didn't outright break.

    Edit: 610HX on the way
    Last edited by socal_jack; 05-24-2016 at 08:39 AM.

  16. #16
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    If you look at a geared chain, you'll notice the side plates are beveled and shaped. This eases shifting by interfacing with the ramps built into the chain rings and cassette cogs so the chain can move up to the next bigger gear. They will not, in any way shape or form, increase your likelihood of dropping a chain. If you're dropping chains due to poor chainline, you'll drop a geared chain just as frequently as a SS chain.

    Personally, I'm a bit of a closet weight weeny and use a 10spd KMC SL chain. I've officially only dropped the chain once when a stick got into the drivetrain. That chain currently has over 1k miles on it with nothing more for service than an occasional wax-based lube and wipe down. Many times the bike was put away wet even. I'm TERRIBLE at maintenance and the same amount of maintenance on SRAM chains had them stretched to the point of requiring replacement before 500 miles.

  17. #17
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    For those using a dedicated 3/32 SS chain, what chainring/cog brands are you using that fit?
    I can't find it (of course) but I swear that I've been told that only a 1/8 'geared' chain will work on my AB ring and/or KickAss cog. It seems like most SS drivetrain parts were designed for a 1/8" chain.
    More curiousity than anything else, 8 speed KMC chains are what, like $10-12 on Amazon?

  18. #18
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    I agree with Surly's take

    4. 1/2x1/8" chains vs. 1/2x3/32" chains. 1/2x1/8" chains suck. Run whatever you want, but bigger isn't better here. Yeah, they're wider, but according to manufacturer-supplied data, they're not stronger and they are definitely not of better quality. Multi-speed drivetrains is where the bucks are at, and chains that work on such drivetrains are where the manufacturers of chains showcase their innovations and developments in quality. The rollers are better, the plates are better, the pins are stronger, and the construction method (riveting procedure) is better on all multi-speed 3/32" chains.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ARandomBiker View Post
    For those using a dedicated 3/32 SS chain, what chainring/cog brands are you using that fit?
    I can't find it (of course) but I swear that I've been told that only a 1/8 'geared' chain will work on my AB ring and/or KickAss cog. It seems like most SS drivetrain parts were designed for a 1/8" chain.
    More curiousity than anything else, 8 speed KMC chains are what, like $10-12 on Amazon?
    "The specially engineered tooth profile on Kick-Ass-Cogs improves both cog and chain life while minimizing drive train friction. With a Kick-Ass-Cog on your bike, you can expect a smooth, quiet drivetrain for miles to come. We do not recommend ACS Crossfire or SRAM PC1 chains as they accelerate the wear on the cog. SRAM PC7X and geared chains have showed no issue."

    The AB rings are also made for geared chains.

  20. #20
    Always in the wrong gear
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    I must have been on drugs when I wrote that last post. I literally switched the whole thing backwards. I sound like an idiot.
    I actually meant to ask 'why 1/8, when everything is made for a geared 3/32"... Not the stupid way I messed it all up.

    I'm still curious about the experiences of folks using 1/8 SS chains.

  21. #21
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    1/8th is traditional and you don't mess with tradition.
    It was good enough for the guys single speeding the early TdF, so it's good enough for us right?

    Nowadays, 1/8th pushes you out of the realms of shredding and over toward the hipster world. Before you know it, you'll be wearing jeans and a check shirt.

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