Time for some noob SS ?'s (chains, cogs, chainrings, etc)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Time for some noob SS ?'s (chains, cogs, chainrings, etc)

    Hey guys, sorry for some noob questions, but I am completely new to SS and am having trouble getting answers to all of this.

    First, does it really make any difference what rear cog is selected? My bike is coming with an 18t Surly, and if I want it easier/harder, since Surly's are relatively cheap and readily available, does it matter that I don't go with a Niner, Endless, King, etc?

    Second, if I am switching cogs, chain length will likely need to change (unless the EBB can fix the slack), and in that case, do you guys keep multiple chains around if you need a longer one often? Like, that is my 18t chain, that is my 20t chain, and so on? Lets use this scenario: I go visit my friend in CA, and bring my SS. He lives near Mt Diablo, and we are going to ride there. I will need different ratio's depending on the ride we do, so do I need to bring multiple cogs AND chains? Obviously with a masterlink it isn't the end of the world, but it is something to think about.

    Third, chains...? I have read through many threads on chains, and still don't really know what is actually meant to be used in SS applications. I am used to geared bikes, you have 10 speed? Buy a 10 speed. 11? Buy 11 speed. SS doesn't seem to have any sort of gold standard, and that confuses me based on past experience (Dura Ace, XTR, Super Record is automatically best...). My Niner will have a Surly cog, and an XT chainring (as far as I can tell) on an M8000 crank, so should I be running at least a 10 speed chain? I have two 8 speed chains and an old 9 speed in my garage, and have no issue ponying up to a nicer chain rather than some of the cheaper SRAM/KMC ones I see mentioned, but people seem to have so many different recommendations it is really confusing. Should I try what I have? Buy some masterlinks in case I snap one? Also, I will likely switch to an oval ring at some point, either Garbaruk or AB, so if that factors into chain selection, keep it in mind.

    Fourth, oval chainrings and chainline. Many of the reviews I have found on the different brands refer to people selecting one or the other, or switching, due to chainline issues with 1x10 or 1x11 drivetrains. I would imagine similar issues could pop up with SS drivetrains, correct? Does that make some better than others depending on how the bike is set up? I know I want to try an oval ring, but have no idea which manufacturer to go with, but if there are chainline issues to take into account I will just use those to narrow it down. Again, I have no idea how SS drivetrain chainline is set up, so if it doesn't matter, then I have more options.

  2. #2
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    Cogs: While no it doesn't necessarily matter which brand you use, some offer things that others don't. Some offer longevity others light weight. IMO, key is to select a cog that has a wide inner face (the part where it contacts with the free hub) so as not to destroy the free hub body. I use endless and can't say enough good things about them.

    Changing Gears: If you are using an EBB as in Niners EBB, you should be able to get quite a range without having to change chain lengths. I use the same length chain with: 34x19, 34x20, 34x21, 32x19, 32x20, 32x21.

    Chains: Lots of opinions on this one. I use the SRAM PC 971's but I'm not necessarily married to them. It is my opinion that all the technology in chains has gone to multi speed chains so this is where you will likely find the best quality. I think the 9 speed chain might allow for a little bit of fudge factor when setting up your chain line vs a 10 speed where you will have to be slightly more exact. When I buy chains, I buy 3 at a time and run each for 300 miles approximately. Then cycle through them again. I seem to be able to get through at least 3 cycles before I notice any significant cog/chainring wear. Others may disagree with this idea.

    Ovals: I run an oval and I'm finding that I like it more than I thought I would. Setting up the chain link is really no different than with a round ring. If you buy your cogs from endless and buy their spacer kit, they have a handy little cheat sheet wrapped in the spacer kit that makes it stupid simple to get a perfect chain line.

    Hope this helps!
    SIR 9 SS
    Fatboy

  3. #3
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    I'll start with what everyone wants to say: read the sticky's, most answers can be found there.

    1. cogs, like every other part of your drivetrain, come in 3/32 or 1/8. it's best to have your chainring, cog, and chain matching whatever you go with. that said, a lot of chainrings, cogs and chains are compatible so your chainring/cog will probably be compatible with 8,9, or 10 speed chains. some rules can be broken. each manufacturer should list compatibility on their website. you should just be conscious of what parts you buy.

    2. there are gear ratio calculators, and chain length calculators. you should familiarize yourself with a couple. Sheldon Brown's is a common one, there are also apps you can download free. it's not uncommon to have two different setups (cogs/chains) for different ratio's. if you plan on changing gears often it's a lot better to do that otherwise you'll constantly be piecing chains together.

    3. most any chain will work. 8,9,10,singlespeed. I've used Sram 8spd chains for a while but i'm switching to KMC 8spd. the only "rule" i try to follow is not to run a wide chain on a "narrow" chainring/cog setup, but the reverse is acceptable. i ran into a problem one time with a KMC SS chain on a NW chainring, they didn't play well together, went to an 8 speed chain and never looked back. never bothered to investigate what the problem was?

    4. whatever gear/chain you decide to run, get your chainline right!! no excuses. I use an AB oval on a 3x crank, i had to go with a 34t ring because the 32t has 2mm (?) spacer built in which i didn't want, and the 34t is just flat. no big deal but i may not have caught that had i not called them first and explained i needed to use the outer position on a 3x crank for my chainline to be correct. you should just call and ask about little specifics like that before you pull the trigger.

    I prefer AB oval for it's ovality. other manufacturers seem to use a muted version of the concept. you can do a lot of reading on the subject only to determine you may be splitting hairs. there's no concrete evidence either way IMO.

    your LBS will be able to answer many of the compatibility ?'s or chainline etc. I'd use the chains you already own, they'll work and dirt cheap.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, most of the bike just showed up, although the front wheel is still on its way apparently. *OneSpeed*, where are the stickies you are referring to? One is a "why choose SS" that starts with a bunch of people complaining about the question, and while it references an SS FAQ sticky, the only other sticky is one on chainline math. If there is one hidden somewhere, please point me in its direction!

  5. #5
    Downcountry AF
    Reputation: *OneSpeed*'s Avatar
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    sorry, it's hidden. i don't think it used to be? google got me there.

    MTBR.com Single Speed Forum - Single Speed FAQ
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    sorry, it's hidden. i don't think it used to be? google got me there.

    MTBR.com Single Speed Forum - Single Speed FAQ
    Well there ya go! Thanks!

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