A typical bike chain consists of roughly 650 individual parts, one of the most important, crucial parts of your bike. When it functions well, you are not aware of its existence, but when there is something wrong, you will notice the extra effort needed when riding, a loss of performance, and the noise.
Choosing the right chain for your bike is essential
There two things to consider; the pitch of a chain, and the width of the chain. The pitch is in 99% of cases is 1/2 inch, meaning the distance from chain rivet pin to chain rivet pin is nominally half an inch. The sprocket teeth on your bike are made to this standard too. The width of chains does vary depending on the number of gears a bike has and the unique features some manufacturers add to their gear systems.
Fixed Wheel \ Hub Gear Single speed chain
Single speed chain is designed for bikes with one sprocket on the crankset and one sprocket on the wheel. The width of the roller is nominally 1/8" wide (3.3mm). The single speed chain will measure approximately 9mm wide across the rivet. There are rear hubs with internal gears such as the very common Sturmey Archer three speed hub, these normally use the 1/8" chain. Some but not all fixed wheel bikes (Fixie bike) will use this size of chain.
Single speed 1/8" wide chains are not designed for the multiple rear cog gears found on bikes with derailleur gear systems.
Derailleur Gear chain
Derailleur gear systems may have up to three front chainrings and varying number of rear cog sets with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or even 12 sprockets. As the number of cogs on the rear hub increases, the spacing between cogs tends to be reduced. With derailleur equipped bicycles, the external width of the chain matters, because chains must not be too wide for the cogset or they will rub on the next larger sprocket, or too narrow that they might fall between two sprockets. Chains tend to get narrower as the number of rear cogs increases.
For road use, inspect your chain at least once every month or every 250 kilometres (150 miles).
For off road use, inspect your chain at least once every 100 kilometres (60 miles).
Before re-connecting your chain, clean the chain ends inner bearings to make sure no dirt remains, then apply some grease inside and on the connector’s pins and connect the chain up ready for testing.
Finally test the chain by running and shifting up and down the the gears, make sure all gears function smoothly.
Alex Warwick Cycles.
Unit 2, Stockton Hall Farm
Tel 01788 521134
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