Talk:Bicycle chain

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Smaller chain widths[edit]

Not editing the page directly because I don't have enough detailed knowledge, but I do know that chain widths smaller than 3/32" are used on newer 9- and 10-speed road bikes (my 9-speed has a 11/128" width chain). - incandenza 02:38, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

I've just added a note about the difference between 8, 9 and 10 speed deraileur chains. The Wikibooks book that this article links to says that they are all 3/32" chains (that's the internal width) but that they have different external widths. I don't know this first hand so my edit is intended to suggest an element of doubt (it says that the Wikibooks book says this). If someone knows that this is right please edit my text to sound more certain. I wanted to put this in for clarification - it was realising this that clarified a problem for me. Rowmn (talk) 21:32, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Suggested Merge[edit]

I don't think the bicycle chain article should be merged with the roller chain article. Although today's bicycle chain is a roller chain, there are history, maintenance, and specific size issues that apply only to bicycles. -SCEhardt 15:11, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

I vote not to merge. I think a bicycle chain is a 'significant' enough concept to make do as an article on its own, and as long as there are links between the two articles, a user could find what they were looking for easily. Besides, I'm sure there's more to a bike chain than just being a roller chain - what about the classic late-for-school excuses? Sera 03:14, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

I too oppose the merge. -Anon

Chain size[edit]

Hello, could someone tell me, how do you know whether your bike requires a 3/32" chain or a 1/8" chain.

Thanx. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Pc white (talkcontribs)

How many gears does your bicycle have in the back? Typically 1/8" is used for one gear and 3/32" is used for bicycles with many gears and a derailleur. -SCEhardT 20:03, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Recommend you use consistent units within this article. As well as focusing on different types of chain in different articles. -Anon — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:29, 30 October 2015 (UTC)


I'm not sure the economics work out as described. Bicycle chain costs $14 on-line, and $30 at a bike store. Cheap cassette costs $25 online, and $45 at a bike store. I need to replace my chain every 6-12 months if I don't let it stretch (and cassettes still wear down eventually, and need to be replaced, or they'll stretch the chain). I get at least 3-4 years of riding before my chain starts to skip and I need to replace my cassette with chain (that's how long it took when I bought a used bike with unknown wear -- another that has passed since, and it is not skipping yet). The level of wear for skip is much greater than the level of wear where you need to swap out to prevent further wear. For expensive components (LX, XT, or XTR parts, or SRAM 980/990 level parts), frequent chain swaps make sense, since most people use cheap chains (chains don't improve much with higher price), but the cassettes go up in price. But for low-end, it makes more sense to periodically replace the chain+cassette (and occasionally, the chainrings).

Replacing chainrings, coincidentally, is a moderately expensive business. Cheap ones (~$20) exist, but are very hard to find. Usually, a chainring set runs $60-$80. It is possible to buy a new, low-end crankset for about $30-$40 (although swapping out a whole crankset is a pain).


"The role of the lubricant, as far as we can tell, is to take up space so that dirt doesn't get into the chain"

First off, the source claims that statement is speculation. Second off, anyone who's jeans have gotten dirty after a bike ride can attest that wet lubricant is excellent solvent for dirt, and is the reason that dirt got into the chain in first place. Reub2000 (talk) 19:08, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Unclear talk about pitch[edit]

"The chain in use on modern bicycles has a 1/2" pitch, which is ANSI standard #40, where the 4 indicates the pitch of the chain in eighths of an inch, and metric #8, where the 8 indicates the pitch in sixteenths of an inch."

I dont understand. Where does the 4 come from, where does the #8 come from? If the pitch really is 1/2" by standard, then where/why are these pitch numbers used? Must be rewritten and clarified. Velle (talk) 10:51, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Four eighths is a half. ANSI counts in eighths, ISO standards in sixteenths. Andy Dingley (talk) 11:31, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Efficiency and lubrication.[edit]

"The study, performed in a clean laboratory environment, found that efficiency was not greatly affected by the state of lubrication.[1]"

This test for sure was not made correctly. The chain for sure was not correctly degreased.

This tests show completely other results: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Koroliow (talkcontribs) 08:12, 4 April 2014 (UTC) As for your question, Jason from Friction Facts actually has since tested without lube, and here’s what he has to say about it: “Two weeks ago, I actually analyzed six chains after water and after lacquer thinner (completely dry, but a clean dry albeit). This is a continuation of the “Dirty Chain” test (attached). I started with the six now-cleaned and lubed chains from the Dirty Chain test. Part 1 was an Ultrasonic clean with pure water (no dirt or grime). Allow to dry and test dry. Part 2 was an Ultrasonic clean with Lacquer Thinner. Allow to dry and test dry. The average chain friction after pure water was 6.67 watts. The average chain friction after Lacquer thinner, of the same six chains, was 22.65 watts. It seems the water does not remove the thin film of lube. After water and drying, the chains still performed relatively well. However, the lacquer thinner did a number on the lube, and seemed to strip the lube completely. With no lube film, and metal on metal, the friction increased substantially. Please note: the water does not simulate rain. Riding in rain would kick up some road dirt and grime. I speculate that after riding in the rain, and then if the chain were allowed to dry, we’d see 10-12ish watts of friction. I feel a thin lube film would still be present after rain, but the road grime would increase the friction. Jason So, it appears that a dry, unlubed chain is very resistive to your efforts to propel the bike, just as it seems when you let your chain get that way in actual use. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Koroliow (talkcontribs) 07:43, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Dubious claim about nickel-plated chains[edit]

The article states that nickel may be used in chains due to its galling resistance properties. There's no source for it, and when I went looking I found two: a case study mentioning the effects of nickel alloying in stainless steel, and a Design News article discussing nickel alloys in food processing. Key to this discussion is the alloy referred to as "Waukesha 88". On page 9 of the study, it says "Waukesha 88 contains a second phase high in tin and bismuth, which acts as a solid lubricant and serves to reduce the wear rate despite the high nickel content" (emphasis added). Further down on page 10, there is a discussion of test results revealing that high-nickel content alloys exhibited poor galling resistance, unless it is specifically modified (as Waukesha 88 is). Then, the Design News article which is basically all about Waukesha 88 says that the galling properties are conferred by incorporating bismuth in the alloy, not nickel. Therefore, it seems the claim that nickel is "relatively non-galling" is at least partly incorrect. Ivanvector 🍁 (talk) 17:24, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Would "10 sprocket" be clearer than "10 speed" ?[edit]

"Chains can also be identified by the number of rear sprockets they can support, anywhere from 3 to 11, and the list below enables measuring a chain of unknown origin to determine its suitability.

  6 speed – 7.8 mm (5⁄16 in) (all brands)"

Given common use of "10 speed bike" referring to a bike with 2 chain rings and 5 sprockets in the rear and the quoted sentence, wouldn't it be clearer if the chart was 6 sprockets... 7 sprockets... etc ? Fholson 17:10, 24 April 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fholson (talkcontribs)

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