Video: What's the Deal with Chains? - The Explainer

Jan 27, 2020
by Mike Levy  



THE EXPLAINER

What's the deal with bike chains?




I get it, chains are about as interesting as yet another sponsorship farewell announcement by some rider saying goodbye to some company, neither of which you give a toss about. But they really do deserve better, given that they're probably one of the most important yet least cared for components on your bike, and even though the only time most of us think about them is when we're on the side of the trail trying to put one back together.

This week's Explainer is all about where chains came from and why we're using them. We'll also take a look at a few very strange and long-extinct chains, and address some common misconceptions.


Shimano XTR M9100 review
They don't get much credit, but there's a lot going on with your chain.


A Brief History of the Bicycle Chain

So, where did they come from? Back when bicycles had massive front wheels that were driven directly by the cranks, along with comparatively tiny rear wheels, people kept falling off and hurting themselves because, well, these things were pretty sketchy. Eventually, someone in England made a bike with equal size wheels that meant riders didn't have to be perched way up high, but now they had to figure out a way to translate the action from people's legs to the bicycle's forward movement. Of course, there were some strange contraptions around this time, but an early version of the chain-drive won out, largely because you could easily adjust the gearing by swapping the cog or chainring for ones of a different size. This was all happening in the late 1870s, long before people had to think about derailleurs and gears, and chain design was far from being standardized.

The simplest of these had to be the bar-link chain that used a 1" pitch (the distance between each pin, and double what's used today) and looked like the chain a six-year-old might draw. Or me right now. There were no rollers or inner plates, making it incredibly inefficient, and it disappeared from bicycles in the early 1900s. There was also the skip-link chain that used side plates of alternating length to vary the distance between the pins, supposedly to help make it more efficient. It stuck around until the 1950s.


Triangles of power! The Simpson lever chain was said to provide the rider with an added mechanical advantage over a conventional design.


The strangest? That has to be the crazy-looking Simpson lever chain that's pictured above. Levers? Yup, it looked like a bunch of tiny triangles strung together, and its maker said that those provided the rider with extra leverage. It went away in the late 1890s, around the same time that American velodrome racing went from attracting crowds of 20,000 people to nearly going extinct.


The Modern Bicycle Chain

If you want to be technical about it, it's actually called a roller chain, and there are many different kinds out there being used on all sorts of machines. Today's bicycle roller chain sports a 1/2" pitch - the distance between each pin - regardless of how many cogs you might have. 6-speed? Yup, 1/2" pitch. 12-speed AXS or XTR drivetrain? Still a 1/2" pitch.

More numbers. A modern 10-speed chain is about 6mm wide (measured at the rivet), an 11-speed chain is about 5.5mm wide, and a 12-speed chain is 5.3mm wide. While mixing and matching between manufacturers is sometimes fine, it’s important to run the correct width chain for your drivetrain, no matter how many cogs you have.

Breaking it down, it's obvious what the inner and outer plates are, and the rollers, well, they roll on the cog and chainring. Those old chains didn't have rollers and the pins ran directly on the teeth of the cog, making them terribly inefficient and probably noisy as hell. These rollers make all the difference in the world, but there's one more detail that often goes unnoticed: the bushing-less design.
See the stamped shoulders on the inner plates? The rollers spin on them to eliminate needing to use bushings.
See the stamped shoulders on the inner plates? The rollers spin on them to eliminate needing to use bushings.

This means that the rollers spin on tiny shoulders that are stamped into the inner plates, whereas an older version might employ a bushing for this job. Last but not least, the pin runs through it all and hopefully keeps everything together despite all those squats and lunges you're doing.


Misconceptions

You're so strong that you broke your chain: That's a hard no. Your chain didn't break because you're really strong, even if you actually are. Wipperman, a European chain manufacturer, did a test of 10-speed chains back in 2007 and the results might be surprising to some: The tensile strength - the force required to simply pull a chain apart - ranged from 9,100N up to 10,800N. That's 2,045lb to over 2,400lbs, or approximately one Toyota Yaris hanging from a chain. That's a freakin' car. Also, the European ISO standard that every chain manufacturer has to meet is about 1,800lb.

So, why do chains break? The most common reason for a broken chain: Shifting while you’re putting down all those ponies you have, which can twist the chain or see the cog teeth pry an outer plate off of the pin. But sometimes it’s just bad luck, too. When that happens, it starts a chain reaction and the whole thing can twist apart.

Skinnier chains are weaker: Nope. Chains aren't getting weaker, either, despite being skinnier than ever. Testing points towards modern 12-speed chains being more reliable and stronger than ever, largely due to improving materials, manufacturing, and tolerances.


What will work better in the dust A chain or a belt drive
They certainly have their upsides, but the inefficiency of shafts and belts is just one of the reasons why they haven't replaced chains.


Belt or shaft drives make more sense: Not for anyone who wants to pedal their bike for any length of time. The problem is that you put out around single horsepower. Just one. So you can’t waste any of that, and belts and shafts are really, really inefficient for all sorts of science reasons. But the same science has chains being something like 95 to 98-percent efficient, which might not seem like a big deal if you have a full-face helmet hanging on the handlebar of your 35lb all-mountain bike that's years old, knee pads on, and just want to go do some jumps - I mean, who cares, right? A lot of people, because it matters.

Of course, belts and shafts don’t play nice with derailleurs, either, and chains can be taken apart easily for installation and removal. What about a gearbox then? We'll leave that topic for a future Explainer video.

Your chain is stretching: Nope, you aren't strong enough to stretch the plates, sorry. What’s actually happening is that you’re wearing material off the rollers, the tiny “bushing-less” shoulders they roll on, and even the pins. As all that wears, the distance between the rollers grows, effectively increasing the pitch from the ½” it’s supposed to be. Because the rollers are farther apart, the pitch is larger and doesn’t match the cog’s teeth, which means it can’t fully engage and will even slip off the cog’s teeth.

Alright, but then why does it measure longer when you compare it to a new chain? As the pins wear, the holes in the plates they're pressed through wear as well, thereby letting the chain "grow" in length.





Previews Explainer episodes:
Episode #1 - What's the Deal with Linkage Forks?
Episode #2 - Carbon Fiber Leaf Springs

Filmed & Edited by Cole Nelson


258 Comments

  • 433 41
 Current chain technology is so outdated... we need longer and slacker chains!
  • 48 1
 with 29 links
  • 121 5
 @sewer-rat: 28.99
  • 40 2
 @dumr666: and a pitch that you can fit a bottle in
  • 42 0
 I want coil links for better pedaling sensitivity.
  • 15 0
 @MTBrent: And huck pucks to make them more progressive. No one ever said you can't have it all.
  • 22 0
 someone, somewhere will be brave enough to put an "e-" before chain.. all hell breaks loose...
  • 17 1
 i'll give u credit for this one waki
  • 9 6
 @Luis-Sc: Ever since they've been on sale, I always opt for e-bike chains. After all, you replace the chain because it has stretched too much. And e-bike chains supposedly stretch less/slower so they should last longer. No point going for a non-e-bike chain. No one complained at the trailhead so far.
  • 7 0
 @dumr666: the person that downvoted you is probably a Sram Engineer
  • 5 0
 Silly. But I did hear a rumor that if they increase the link length by 5% they could increase efficiency by a further 2%. This new "standard" will only requires everyone to update their chainring, cogs and derailleurs...
  • 14 0
 I'm heading off to the patent office to nail down my metric chain standard (12.7mm pitch). Then sue the s*** out of SRAM and Shimano.
  • 12 15
 @number44: good! Some awkward veggie hippie chick in Santa Cruz just patented word Psylocybin.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: i meant e-chain hehehe.... but, since you've mentioned it - i only do downhill and avoid pedaling because reasons, but have often wondered if an e-bike chain wouldn't last me a bit longer

i'm on 7-gear cassette and the chain that came originally with the bike was an 11-speed - I might look for something equivalent to what i have now and give that one a go *edit* forgot to ask - did you just match your cassette speed for the new chain ?
  • 6 2
 No we need narrower pitch chains!
So we can get wider ratio cassettes without a dinner plate size sprocket on the back!
Why 1/2"?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: What's a huck puck and what do they do?
  • 7 1
 @Smallbright: It's a puck for more comfortable hucking. Some other brand calls it a "token". Then others call it a "volume spacer". Indeed using it with a coil spring is something that has never been done and for good reason. Progression doesn't care about reason.
  • 4 0
 Do we want a steeper pitch for climbing or slacker of the down country. I’m good with either. Just let me know so I can jump on the bandwagon.
  • 2 0
 Give chains a boost...
  • 1 1
 @number44: Shimano had a 1 cm pitch chain and whole drivetrain back in the 1970s, but I see you are trying to take the piss out of the whole ~28.99 thing



For some reason I couldn’t reply in-thread previously and can't delete my duplicate comment
  • 1 3
 @number44: there’s a crazy new technology going around now called, “internet.” It’s pretty new and not many have heard of it but, Maybe you could check out this “internet” and see if you could file that patent through the tubes that connect the computers. Really cutting edge stuff. Maybe it could save you a load of time.
  • 2 1
 Just Google "internet".
  • 3 0
 Alright, but then why does it measure longer when you compare it to a new chain? As the pins wear, the holes in the plates they're pressed through wear as well, thereby letting the chain "grow" in length.
.. so to sum it up it streches
  • 1 0
 Chains 'stretch' and become slacker with use.

* Not really... I know it's the rollers, etc. that wear, but they do become longer... and slacker Smile
  • 1 1
 @number44: Good luck with that?
  • 1 0
 @Luis-Sc: Umm Shimano already have.
  • 1 0
 @Luis-Sc: Shimano already do E-Bike chains.
  • 1 0
 @davechopoptions: Doesn't every chain brand make e-bike chains? I'm using KMC.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I had no idea it was a real thing. I have heard of tokens and air spacers, but was thinking a huck puck was a made up object like a brick bender just to get a chuckle from crowd. Thanks for the new vocabulary.
  • 1 0
 @taprider: I actually wasn't thinking of the 28.99 thing, just patent trolls, the imperial system, ridiculous litigation (looking at you backcountry.com), measuring the exact same thing in metric and calling it a standard, the whole industry, life in general... Or some of those. In the spirit of 28.99 though, I should patent a 12.69mm chain pitch ("It's not 1/2 inch!!").
  • 2 0
 @number44: Make it just a little bigger radius roller (longer/shorter etc. depending on what is measured) so it works on existing worn out drivetrains
  • 2 0
 Let me look into my Machinist's Bible... ahhhh.... here we go:

Pintle Chains: Unlike the roller chain, the pintle chain is composed of hollow-cored cylinders
cast or forged integrally with two offset side bars and each link identical. The links
are joined by pins inserted in holes in the ends of the side bars and through the cored holes
in the adjacent links. Lugs prevent turning of the pins in the side bars ensuring articulation
of the chain between the pin and the cored cylinder.

Unless you need this info:
P=pitch (ae)
N=number of teeth Dr = nominal roller diameter
Ds =seating curve diameter = 1.005 Dr + 0.003 (in inches)
R=1⁄2 Ds (Ds has only plus tolerance)
A=35° + (60° ÷ N) B= 18° − (56° ÷ N) ac = 0.8 Dr
M=0.8 Dr cos (35° + (60° ÷ N))
T=0.8 Dr sin (35° + (60° ÷ N))
E=1.3025 Dr + 0.0015 (in inches)
Chord xy = (2.605 Dr + 0.003) sin 9° − (28° ÷ N)) (in inches)
yz =Dr [1.4 sin (17° − (64° ÷ N)) − 0.8 sin (18° − (56° ÷ N))]
Length of a line between a and b = 1.4 Dr
W=1.4 Dr cos (180° ÷ N); V = 1.4 Dr sin (180° ÷ N)
F=Dr [0.8 cos (18° − (56° ÷ N)) + 1.4 cos (17° − (64° ÷ N)) − 1.3025] − 0.0015 inch
H=
S=0.5 P cos (180° ÷ N) + H sin (180° ÷ N)
Approximate O.D. of sprocket when J is 0.3 P = P [0.6 + cot (180° ÷ N)]
O.D. of sprocket when tooth is pointed + P cot (180° ÷ N) + cos (180° ÷ N) (Ds − Dr) + 2H
Pressure angle for new chain = xab = 35° − (120° ÷ N)
Minimum pressure angle = xab − B = 17° − (64° ÷ N);
Average pressure angle = 26° − (92° ÷ N)
  • 147 0
 The most effective way to reduce chain wear is chair lifts.
  • 11 0
 I wonder if Aaron Gwin watched that....
  • 2 0
 Hell yeah
  • 2 1
 Remember footpeg conversions?
  • 2 1
 This is what you get when a child writes an article.
  • 1 0
 Better to put it in a box that keeps it clean, who though that it would be so difficult, OK just use a chair lift then dont need chain at all!
  • 96 3
 BUT WHERE IS THE GRIM DONUT RIDE REVIEW
  • 23 0
 it was probably was so good, the grim donut killed the rider before imploding into a small black hole
  • 13 0
 @Andrewcycleaddictstaton: or so good that pb didnt want to upset their bike sponsors by calling the grim donut the best bike ever.
  • 6 0
 The Grim Donut drive train is 110% efficient, also the bike is 7% faster than my next fastest bike. Smile
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: the grim donut is an Ellsworth?
  • 6 0
 At the welders getting the head tube fixed.
  • 1 0
 @Andrewcycleaddictstaton: Bootstrap paradox. Had to go back in time so PB could discover it and claim they had invented it. Basically, the thing was never actually created, it has just always been.
  • 4 0
 @cuban-b: I know you're kidding, but we don't accept "sponsors" for reviews. Any time a brand pays for something other than ads (eg. Sierra Nevada for the Impossible Climb, or various Destination Showcases), we note it in the story and tag it sponsored.

If the Grim Donut ends up being better than current bikes, we will literally never stop crowing about it. Promise.
  • 1 0
 @Andrewcycleaddictstaton: Some low rider dude stole it!
  • 46 0
 Surprised it being mentioned in the article that people care little about their bicycle chain. It is probably the part I do most maintenance on. Cleaning and lubing. The bike could be caked but I'd still clean and lube the chain, scrub the dirt off the chainwheels and wipe the dirt off the stanchions and dust wipers.
  • 9 8
 FORREAL DRIVETRAIN GETS CLEANED MORE FREQUENTLY THAN ANYTHING ELSE WHAT KIND OF ANIMAL PEDALS AROUND WITH CAKED ON BAKED ON
  • 5 0
 Chain over suspension?
  • 7 2
 @kiksy: HEY TO BE HONEST WITH YOU YES. YES.

YES.

THANKS FOR ASKING.
  • 1 3
 @owl-X: but sir, chains are so cheap when compared to fork stanchions and shock internals? THIS IS MADNESS.
  • 20 9
 @kiksy: I CAN SEE THE DIRTY CHAIN. AND FEEL THE DIRTY CHAIN. AND HEAR THE DIRTY CHAIN. I CAN CLEAN IT AND MAKE IT QUIET. I CAN LUBE IT AND MAKE IT FEEL BETTER.

SUSPENSION?

I JUST RIDE IT FOR A YEAR AND LEAVE IT AT MY FRIEND'S HOUSE AFTER A BRAKE BLEED AND HOPE HE DOES THE JAGGAJAGGA SHOWROOM TEST AND DECIDES ITS TIME TO OPEN UP THE FORK. AND WE'LL WATCH YOUTUBES AND CHANGE IT.

OR I'LL JUST HAVE A NEW BIKE BY THE TIME THE SUSPENSION'S SUPER CLAPPED OUT. IS REALLY WHAT HAPPENS. I WILL GO THROUGH A DRIVETRAIN BEFORE THAT.

I'LL WIPE THOSE STANCHIONS WITH A TSHIRT THOUGH. I GOT THAT.
  • 8 1
 @owl-X: I can understand the desire to make the bad noises leave your head.

But.

You might think that vibration is coming from the trail, but really it's the sound of thousands of dirt particles laughing as they make it past the last line of defence that is your dry worn out foam rings.

The dirt in your fork is laughing at you @owl-X . That sound should haunt your dreams and echo through your nightmares.

You'll long for the days when your worst problem was a mucky chain.
  • 8 8
 @kiksy: YOU SOUND RIGHT.

ONE THING THOUGH: THE MUCKY CHAIN ISN'T MY WORST PROBLEM, IT'S JUST ONE I CAN CONFIDENTLY REMEDY. (IN LIFE AND ON A BIKE)

SUSPENSION? I QUIT LOCKING OUT MY SHOCK'N'FORK ON CLIMBS BECAUSE I'M EMBARRASSED HOW MANY TIMES I GOT TO THE BOTTOM WITHOUT OPENING IT UP.

AND WENT FASTER.
  • 1 0
 @kiksy: But how much fork service do you do then? I do a fork lower clean and lube every couple of months, may add some oil to the air chamber. And then once a year I may replace the damper oil because I think it makes sense. But the chain gets lubed every few rides depending on the conditions. To be fair I'm actually one who cleans the chain with lube (apply, spin, wipe excess) but I'd still call that maintenance.

My forks are particularly simple though. The lowers are grease lubed so they don't even use foam rings. Not sure how much tlc these review-worthy forks require.
  • 51 0
 @owl-X: Another thing that you can confidently remedy: turn off your caps lock.
  • 17 0
 @cornichons: I clicked his name to check his other posts. Turning off CAPS LOCK doesn't seem to be an option. Best is to put earmuffs on and learn to live with it.
  • 6 17
flag owl-X (Jan 27, 2020 at 12:45) (Below Threshold)
 @vinay @conichons

THIS A FEATCH NOT BUG
  • 11 0
 @owl-X: Stop trying to make featch happen.
  • 3 0
 I did some thinking, and I think the part on my bike I care least about is the seat collar. Has to be.
  • 2 12
flag owl-X (Jan 27, 2020 at 14:00) (Below Threshold)
 @MtbSince84: WHATEVER!
  • 2 3
 @owl-X: ok boomer
  • 9 0
 WHAT ARE WE ALL YELLING ABOUT?
  • 6 3
 @Trudeez: RIGHT NOW IT SEEMS WE'RE JUST YELLING ABOUT YELLING. WHICH IS FAIR IN IT'S OWN RIGHT. SEE, SOMETIMES IT HELPS TO RELEASE PRESSURE. DO YOU FEEL IT. INHALE THROUGH THE NOSE, THEN EXHALE SLOWLY AND DEEPLY THROUGH THE MOUTH. IF YOU FEEL YOUR THOUGHTS WANDER, JUST GENTLY BRING THEM BACK TO THE HERE AND NOW.

FEELING MORE RELAXED NOW? I SAY, ARE YOU FEELING RELAXED? ALRIGHT, KEEP BREATHING. IF YOUR COMPUTER DOESN'T COME WITH A CAPS LOCK KEY, YOU CAN USE THE SHIFT KEY. THIS HELPS WITH DEXTERITY TOO.

DO YOU HEAR THAT SLIGHT RINGING IN YOUR EARS? THAT'S TINNITUS. IT IS BAD. IT COMES FROM UNPROTECTED USE OF THE CAPS LOCK KEY. BUT YEAH SOMETIMES IT DOES HELP TO BLOW OFF SOME STEAM. THAT'S YOGA. ASK ABI. SHE'S ALL ABOUT STAYING RELAXED. WE'RE NOT QUITE THERE YET.
  • 2 0
 @owl-X: capslock
  • 3 0
 @vinay: It’s annoying at best, offensive at worst. You either end up looking like you don’t know how to use a computer or you’ve taken too much speed and you’re yelling at everyone.
  • 4 0
 @gnarlysipes: when I see all caps like that I don’t even bother to read it. Ridiculous.
  • 1 1
 YALLS STARVED FOR CONTENT
  • 3 0
 @owl-X: Why you gotta YELL at us?
  • 1 0
 Why not put the chain in a box to keep it clean, fact that would make all gearing last longer, should not be the reason why that does not exist, but it is!
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: In these days of super long rear mech cages to cater for wide range gearing I think a box that encloses the entire chain must be huge. Even more so for full suspension bikes where the distance between bb and rear axle varies. People also want a silent bike. The upper part of the chain actually moves least yet still people try to silence it with the latest ribbed chainstay protector tech. Imagine what you'd need inside the chainbox to either silence the lower section of chain to either silence the clatter or give it enough room to move unaffected. In case of a gearbox (either in the rear hub or in the front triangle) this obviously becomes a lot easier to do and it is being done. But those going down that route can also run belt drive (if the bike design allows for that by either an Orange like high swingarm or a rear triangle that can be opened) or they'd otherwise just run a single speed chain which is pretty cheap, reliable and performance doesn't even degrade that much if it gets dirty and wears.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Yes wide ratio cassettes would mean a large covers, but could be used as an air brake backing it to corners, But not a reason for this to not existing?
Also DH bikes would be much smaller casings & would give a much better advantage than any air tunnel testing
I know it works as have run cover all winter with out maintenance, on full sus bike so can be done
You telling me that no one else can get it to work?
but do not have equipment to do it so looks nice
But as for as performance does not need look nice!
  • 30 3
 You guys have gotta do a thing about the best MTB invention EVER.

HYPERGLIDE.

We all take it for granted.

WHO-HOW-WHEN-WHY

Shimano-?-1989-Because old setups were shit

Am I wrong? Good luck with Shimano !
  • 33 11
 What do I know about chains?

Ya momma loves em.
  • 16 0
 Worth noting is that when Mike talks about 1 horsepower, he means the maximum power, and not the average power.

1 horsepower = 745 Watts

This means that if you ride around 200W averagely, your average output is only +- 1/4 horsepower.
  • 8 0
 Which means you'd get broke off by the average lawn mower
  • 5 2
 I don't get the obsession with power in the first place. If you're looking at maximum tensile load it has nothing to do with power, Just the maximum amount of force applied on the pedal (which would be max single leg deadlift), multiplied by chainring radius, divided by crank length. Or maybe a bigger force would be dynamic when you're shifted to the granny gear (or on a trials bike) and you land on the forward pedal just as the rear wheel collapses and jams.

Either way, power (max or average) matters little here.
  • 4 0
 @vinay: because it matters when you start talking about efficiency. Humans are weak and we seriously notice any drop in efficiency due to our relative lack of power.

If I could pedal along a 2000-5000 watts I wouldn't mind losing a few extra in drive train losses. At 200w I need everything I can get.
  • 2 0
 @dhridernz: Alright, I get it in that context. I thought Mike brought it up in the context of whether a chain would stretch (as in deform plastically) in which case it is just about force, not about power.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I Blew up a hope hub doing pedal kicks with a cheap sram 8 speed chain.
Tore the flange off the hub and the chain was fine.
Hope did credit me for a pro 4 trails hub saying that they have never sen that before.
  • 19 0
 Pick a chain and be a dick about it.
  • 25 13
 Choo Choo chain , Choo Choo chain, Choo Choo chain Choo Choo chain , Choo Choo chain, Choo Choo chain Choo Choo chain , Choo Choo chain, Choo Choo chain Choo Choo chain , Choo Choo chain, Choo Choo chain Choo Choo chain , Choo Choo chain, Choo Choo chain
  • 2 15
flag tulipanek (Jan 27, 2020 at 7:30) (Below Threshold)
 You mean, cho cho train ? Big Grin
  • 3 0
 "Trains are powered by new fangled electricity where I come from, none of this Choo chooing any more." Quote from BigTim in 1964.
  • 36 1
 i choo choo choose you.
  • 20 10
 @Chilliwacker - I’ll take some mushrooms tonight and see if we can communicate, I can feel we visit same places in same dimensions...
  • 2 0
 @MartyFluxMcFly: that simpsons qoute did not get enough upvotes!!
  • 3 0
 @TomsiR: What can I say, Wiggum's used to being picked last.
  • 16 0
 Gwin: hold my beer
  • 6 0
 - bro, you can't win race without pedaling - hold my chain
  • 19 7
 I am pinned to my screen with excitement! I hope they link many scientific articles. My mind has gone from narrow to wide on this riveting topic!
  • 6 0
 Nice job. Really shifts my perspective on puns
  • 15 1
 Can we call sprockets sprockets, and not cogs, because they're not cogs?
  • 8 0
 THANK YOU.

For those wondering: cogs directly interact with each other, while sprockets are connected via a chain, belt, or similar. These different types of interactions result in different tooth profiles.
  • 1 2
 @R-M-R: Fair. But cog is a lot easier two say. It’s only one syllable. I feel like “sprocket” was more popular 15+ years ago and gave way to “cog” at some point in the mid 2000s.
  • 5 0
 @gnarlysipes: You can manage the extra syllable. I believe in you.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: Yeah that's something that really grinds my gears!
  • 2 0
 NOW'S THE TIME ON SPROCKETS WHEN WE DANCE!!!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHZR9SA5pOg
  • 14 1
 Eff you, Levy. I’m still going to call it chain stretch.
  • 22 12
 Chains don't stretch, yet, "As the pins wear, the holes in the plates they're pressed through wear as well, thereby letting the chain "grow" in length." I think that's considered stretching.
  • 11 2
 Do you wake up in the morning and stretch or grow? Boom! I must be a scientist.
  • 7 4
 "it got longer but it's not stretch" is semantics. But then, from the industry that gave us 28.99 not being a new standard, I guess, what do you expect.
  • 4 2
 ya chains stretch, things don't have to stretch like Gumby to get longer (or cover a longer stretch). If something becomes longer without tearing or breaking, that is stretch.
  • 19 0
 @will54869: This argument is a stretch
  • 19 1
 Material plastically deforming by tension (stretching) is not the same as material eroding via abrasion (what happens at the chain rollers).. Still when you look at the whole system I'd say it's fairly understandable to say "a chain stretches", even if not a single component of it does actually stretch.

In German it's clearer I guess, noone would say "die Kette dehnt sich" as it sounds wrong - at least to me it does, dialects and regional differences may come into play - "längen" (elongate) is used.

Why am I typing this on a Canadian bycicle forum though.
  • 3 0
 I think technically it would be called lengthening!
  • 3 1
 I think some of you are inserting some precision where none exists. I'm not aware of any scientific or engineering definition of "stretch" which definitively equates it elastic deformation (in fact, I think the typical engineering usage of the term stretch is just explicitly "how much longer it as after strain", whether the stretch is elastic OR inelastic). Further, the mechanism of chain stretch is NOT inelastic deformation, it is material being ground away from the roller portion.

I think that colloquially, we associate "stretch" with like yoga pants and roadie shorts. But I still fail to see the offense of the term "chain stretch". It's semantics. If you're so offended, chain WEAR would be the most accurate term - since the precise physical mechanism is material being ground away - not inelastic deformation.

But anyhow, if you are upset by the term "chain stretch", there is a reason that you don't have a girlfriend. Just sayin'.
  • 2 1
 @pinhead907: You are obviously not a pin head. Good response.
  • 2 0
 @Geochemistry: I'm a grown man that rides mountain bikes, and gets into arguments on the internet about semantics - I'm pretty sure the name fits me just fine!
  • 13 2
 What is this broscience?

You don't clean chains mate. They're part of a bike, which you also don't clean.

Also, I'm an engineer.
  • 7 0
 Ok, people aren’t strong enough to snap an undamaged chain in a straight line, but strong legs still snap way more chains than weak ones...usually combined with poorly timed shifts
  • 5 0
 "might not seem like a big deal if you have a full-face helmet hanging on the handlebar of your 35lb all-mountain bike that's years old, knee pads on, and just want to go do some jumps - I mean, who cares, right?"
100% correct
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy

This is super cool and I love the context that you built into this. I think there are so many cool opportunities to understand overlooked parts of the amazing machines we call bicycles. I also think spokes and nipples, and wheel systems generally are amazingly overlooked. We all pay attention to tires, and they can so dramatically change a ride, but I cant say I fully understand everything at play with modern tires. Or how about just understanding the thread pitch and grading of bolts, tons of cool history there too.
  • 1 0
 I get the importance of anything wheel related to my riding. The thing that gets me are stems. Other than angle, length and height, why should I care about it????????????? As long as the thing doesn't break.
  • 4 0
 Can you please talk about cadence, chain ring size and suspension effect each other and walk through the finer points of what this looks like in the real world? By the way Mike, you are all doing a great job at PB and some of the new stuff is really great!
  • 3 0
 I live in a mountains, its always muddy and wet and snow and ice...and i celan chain after every ride, so put it off and on again and reuse the original missing link about 50-70 times for one chain... never had any problem with it, never broke chain on missing link (100kg rider here).
  • 3 0
 i'm running some old 10 or 11 speed chain on my commuter, the chain is held together by a link which was opened and closed so often that now the pins of the link start to fall out Smile
  • 5 1
 A lot of things I could have mentioned Smile
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: Like why the chain is lubricated with mud?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: the thing is so big any particle acts as lubricant Wink
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy:
Thanks Mike. Good things to know and understand about chains. What about the debate of cleaning your chain full on with degreasers vs just wipe it, oil it, wipe it again and ride. I’m in the school of fearing some degreaser lingers and only breaks down the oil vs leave it alone and the oil will take care of it...
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy Hi Mike, I don't know about crankshafts but belts are not as inefficient as you seem to describe. Can check this lab test.
www.cyclingabout.com/belt-drivetrain-efficiency-lab-testing
  • 4 0
 "So you can’t waste any of that, and belts and shafts are really, really inefficient for all sorts of science reasons."

Maybe if they make that claim they should tell us about some of those "Science Reasons"
  • 20 18
 @mikelevy yo. Huge fail and misconception on your part of describing that ceramic speed Driven as less efficient, and using it for this particular example. With how much coverage it’s had, including this site, I’d think you know a bit more about it.
Ceramic speed has done probably more testing than any other brand in terms of finding drivetrain efficiency. Chains are only as efficient as possible in a straight line, the more angle put on the chain, the more friction and the less efficient it becomes. This is why the 2x drivetrain still exists in the road market, it keeps a straighter chainline than a 1x setup. As cogs/rings get larger that a chain is in contact with, friction also increases as there are more rollers of the chain moving.
That driveshaft on the other hand is ceramic speeds answer and pet project to maintain a 99% efficient drivetrain in all gears. Less points of contact on each cog creates less friction. And since the points of contact remain the same across all gears, the amount of friction created in each gear is the same. Ceramic speed actually succeeded in their goal of making that drivetrain 99% efficient. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it trickle into the road market in the next 5 years. They have experimented with it on a MTB, but we’ll see how that ends up being developed.
  • 16 6
 Just meant to say I was not in the mood to read such a long post.
  • 8 0
 They don't have a rideable prototype yet...or at least none they have had anyone ride.
That's a road bike. So when you factor in rear suspension and the conditions mountain bikes are subject to, it is a long ways off...if ever. How long have we been waiting for gear boxes?
Fact is, the chain driven drive train is fairly efficient and well established. It will take something major to unseat it. Look at the Trust forks...certainly some upsides, but too many compromises to have it, or and linkage fork unseat telescopic forks.
@audioshnoll: sorry if that was too long.
  • 6 1
 @ReformedRoadie: rideable shifting prototype was out this past November. They are currently experimenting with a MTB version as well, but I don’t personally see it moving much further in its current iteration.
There’s lots of variables, but setting aside all ideas of type of bike and wear, my argument still stands. Levy mistakingly chose the one driveshaft example that was created and proven to be more efficient than the conventional design, in an attempt to claim that it’s less efficient.
  • 12 1
 I’ll believe all that garbage about ceramic speed when I see 1hp transmitted Through the 2 points of contact where the sprocket meets the shaft. And I mean in the real world, not ceramic speed’s imagination/website/“laboratory”
  • 2 1
 All of the ceramic speed efficiency tests have proven that losses from cross-chaining arent as bad as losses due to chain articulating over smaller rings . This is why 2x still exists- not to eliminate cross chaining, but to eliminate the losses due to small rings. This is why 1x on road will never be competitive.
  • 2 0
 @Rstetina: and why smaller chain rings and 10 tooth cogs are out, even for Sram AXS sponsored teams.
  • 4 0
 "This is why the 2x drivetrain still exists in the road market, it keeps a straighter chainline than a 1x setup."

Maybe partly true but not the only reason. You cant really get a functional cassette with less than 10 or 11 teeth, so if you want to be able to climb at a reasonable cadence up a steep hill, and also have something left to push against going downhill at 30mph, you need a way other than smaller cassette rings to get that harder gearing. If you put a 1x drivetrain on a proper road bike with any wide range cassette and any size cog up front, you will be "missing" gears somewhere, most likely bottom of range. We can always make gears bigger on the cassette to go up hills easier, that only depends on the derraileur and a few fixable problems, but there are some basic constraints on that small cassette gear, namely, a chains ability to roll properly around a tighter curve, without a full redesign of a chain.

I do agree that ceramic speed has some neat stuff in the works, and it is worth paying attention to. Christ, look at cars, transmissions and gearing have happened thousands of different ways, from horrible "slush box" transmissions and wildly complicated planetary gearing to electronic sequential race gearboxes and CVTs. One of my new favorites is a partially paper driven manual CVT from a 1913 Metz. www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn32nYsGRZM. Not actually entirely different from the ceramic speed contraption.
  • 3 1
 After all the marketing bs ceramic speed spouted on their bearings I have zero trust for what they say. Shaft drives have a number of problems and the CS version does not seem to address any of them sensibly. Let's see a prototype available for independant testing, but don't keep your hopes up.
  • 2 0
 @Planetx888: super cool video. Would love to see more cvt gearbox ideas in the bike world. But keeping with our topic of efficiency, they still haven’t shown as much promise. The NuVinci design is really cool, but a bit limiting in regards to weight and available gear range.
  • 1 0
 @mountainyj: I guess my point is, there are major problems with any design for any application, biking or otherwise, and similarly you can make any idea work with enough effort, and money. The question remains to be seen if a shaft or cvt could be efficient, reasonable tough, AND cost effective. Regardless of whether they make it efficient, is it going to have practical application, or is it just a "moonshot" project?

That Metz is totally wild, eh? you can literally remake it with toothpicks, ritz crackers, and marshmallows.
  • 2 0
 @mountainyj: Please share a video of a bike begin ridden with the Ceramic Speed driveshaft. I have not seen one, and also have not seen the shifting actually work under any load. Without evidence that it is ride-able it appears to be more of a marketing project than an engineering project.
  • 2 1
 99% efficient in what setting? Like, on a single gear with a motor driving the crank? I could buy that. But did they test it in high-load high-stress uneven scenarios? I'm guessing not. Point is, don't make claims about efficiency without also meaningfully discussing the methodology.

To my knowledge, there is one snippet of a dude on a track bike riding some version of the ceramic speed drivetrain. However, it doesn't look like that bike actually has their "cassette" on it. Regardless, the quality of that video is so low that I don't think we can draw reasonable conclusions about it from the footage. Cycling Tips covered it back in September if you want to check it out.

Either way, the shifting version of it appear to have metal driveshafts. While this might be for ease of prototype development, it bears consideration that torsional load on a carbon shaft might cause problems, since carbon is really only strong in a tensile setting. Maybe there are some clever layup tricks that will fix that, but it's still an uphill battle to make a weight-conscious driveshaft that doesn't drop to 80% efficiency when a rider drops the hammer during a sprint.

Not matter how you slice it, there are major design issues to be resolved before this is viable on a hardtail, and that will only compound if you want to fit it on a 140mm 29er. It's doable, and I hope they pull it off, but I don't think it will go mainstream in the next 10 years due to the amazing price:performance ratio offered by the current XT and GX setups. So...cool? Sure. Amazing even. Coming to a Yeti near you? Not in this generation of mtbers.
  • 2 0
 @zsandstrom: A torsionally stiff carbon fiber driveshaft could actually be realized quite well using filament winding. If it is pure torsion, you'll want the fibers under a 45deg angle. That will load them under pure tension (or compression for the fibers that go in the other direction).
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Yup, carbon driveshafts are definitely a thing in the automotive world, even in OE applications. The Nissan 350Z for example uses a carbon composite driveshaft.
  • 2 0
 I've been waiting to see anyone experiment with a smaller pitch - could reduce weight, add tooth count (for better engagement and more consistent jumps between gears), and take it as an opportunity to move to metric (10mm or 7.5mm vs the current 12.7mm). With modern materials and link designs, pretty sure it could be strong enough. My assumption is that the costs of retooling the equip is too much for KMC and others...
  • 1 0
 But don’t they have to retool every time a 10, 11, 12 speed system is released and one of the big S companies changes their ramp profiles?
  • 1 0
 @Trudeez: retool is a spectrum... for sure there may be some new steel cut to change roller and pin width, but not entirely new machinery. New spacing feels like it would be a complete tear up of everything except the presses themselves.
  • 4 0
 We're definitely long overdue for a new chain standard. Boost Chain anyone?
  • 2 0
 Been a SRAM guy for as long as I can remember. Bought a Session 9.9 with shimano. When I took it apart to Paint, I apparently put the chain on backwards. Mechanic at Trek store was all pissed off. WTF chain wackbards?
  • 8 0
 I bet it back pedals really well though.
  • 2 1
 15mm pitch chains would: 1) move us to metric, 2) allow stronger teeth with the wider pitch, 3) mean less teeth on the smallest rear cog to fit in typical boost width, 4) provide a wider gear range with only a slight weight penalty, 5) require everyone to switch/modify most of the drivetrain to work (derailleur cogs, chainring, and chain).
  • 2 1
 That last point is exactly what the manufacturers want to hear
  • 12 0
 Less than 11 teeth are considered rubbish engineering (effiency problems and polygon effect) everywhere outside of cycling.
  • 1 0
 You do realize that wider pitch chain would give less of a range of gears or even bigger sprockets on the rear?
  • 1 0
 @SickEdit: Like the little 8 tooth gear in some chainsaws?
  • 2 0
 Shimano had a 1 cm pitch chain and whole drivetrain back in the 1970s
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: No, the number of teeth determines the ratio. Yes, to have the same 10-50 rear cluster it would have a slight weight increase, and a slightly larger comparable sprocket diameter. The smallest sprocket may have to have less teeth to fit so close to the frame (you can't run a 16t small on a 12 speed because of frame interference). Wouldn't a 9-52 be nice?
  • 1 0
 @taprider: How cool. I hadn't heard of that one. Do you know what type of bike this was designed for? I'd really like to know more please.
  • 1 0
 @Geochemistry: Dura Ace 10 Series Track groupo www.flickr.com/photos/johnprolly/4107350767/sizes/o/in/set-72157594559257441 Apparently only for track bikes to save weight

"1976: Shimano briefly made their own 10 pitch Dura-Ace track-specific system with 10 mm (3⁄8 in) (approximately) pitch from about 1976 to 1980—called Shimano Dura-Ace 10 pitch. The Shimano 10 pitch system is incompatible with ANSI standard #40 (1/2") e.g. chains, sprockets and so on, and was outlawed by the Japan Keirin Association, helping in its demise"
  • 1 0
 @taprider: THANK YOU SIR. I enjoy learning about bikes. This is cool.
  • 1 0
 @taprider: Looking at it, the 10mm makes great sense for a track bike, where grams matter the most.
  • 1 0
 I find this teck stuff a good read. Was hoping this was more longer. A history of the evolution of derailers would be a good read as well. I'm running an eleven speed chain on a ten speed Cassete for over a year now seems to work . A test on who makes the most durable chain would be good to know. Then I remembered that replacing the chain often reduces the wear on the gears. Which reminds me. I need a new chain.
  • 1 0
 Regarding the claim that chains don't break because of pure power, what about the strength difference between hollow pin and solid pin chains? I noticed they don't put hollow pin chains on e bikes because of the increase in power so I would think it would make a difference. I'm skeptical that the e bike specific chains are actually necessary, or just marketing?
  • 1 0
 Question: Why does Mike Levy think most of us don't really care about the chains on our bikes? I for one lube it the day before I ride. Let's be honest, without the chain you can't ride and no one likes having their chain break in the middle of their ride.
  • 1 0
 Yep, lube it and let it soak in for a day.
  • 1 0
 Hey @mikelevy, how about telling us what's really up with chains? 1) Are more expensive chains any better? and 2) since cassettes are vastly more expensive, can you extend the life of your cassette by replacing your chain more often and if so, how often?
  • 1 0
 More expensive chains usually have better manufacturing process, better coatings and are less likely to rust. If you maintain and change your chain your cassette will last longer. I've heard of people rotating out 3 or 4 chains as they wear slightly to get the most out of their chains and cassettes, but that's pretty obsessive.
  • 3 1
 Molten. Speed. Wax. I recently made this switch and it was mindblowing! Drip lube should be relegated to your children's bicycles, it has no place on any bike that costs what many of us have spent.
  • 1 0
 The picture of Ceramicspeed Driven doesn't belong there. It's supposedly more efficient than conventional chain drives. I think the author meant to put a picture of a bevel gear shaft drive along with the statement that they're generally inefficient.
  • 1 0
 I'm not entirely buying the reasoning for why chains don't stretch. If the rollers roll on the end plates and not the pin then only the rollers and end plate lips would wear and the chain wouldn't get longer, the rollers would just have more play. If the roller did somehow wear pins that wouldn't make the chain longer long either, it'd just create more roller play. The only thing that would explain why chains get longer is if the pins can deform the endplates by digging into the ends of the endplates where the pin goes through the endplates on opposing sides. Yes stretch isn't right term to explain this phenomenon, but the length increase is coming from the pins deforming the plates, not from the endplates and the rollers.
  • 1 0
 hold on there a second @mikelevy, did @RichardCunningham just casually pass off this article idea too you as some kinda debt owed cause he never got to it? plus did he give you half the script to start? it sure would have been a way longer and more dialed read if richard was posting it, but oh well. this subject matter is golden. good stuff there buddy!
  • 1 0
 That's so cool. My favourite advancement is the pins, with the flared ends. I've previously broken chains from the plate sliding off the pin. Quick link FTW. You should have touched more on that, because it's a pretty big deal for mountain bikes in my opinion, would never go back to a standard pin.
  • 1 0
 Thanks! These are awesome and make great resources for someone who is trying to learn or teach a little about bikes

@mikelevy Cover some suspension! What's the difference between damping and dampening and which one does your suspension do? What side is the spring in a traditional current for in? Why?

There's a bunch of really good surface questions about suspension that most people I found in 10+ years in a bike shop don't understand. Without getting into the realm of this vs that the way that many on the internet do.
  • 1 0
 "Chains don't stretch, they wear out and get longer." So you mean they stretch. "No the rollers and pins wear, making the pitch longer." Right, longer, so stretched. JK, but seriously, saying chains don't stretched petty semantics.
  • 1 0
 "Not strong enough to break a chain"
"You're not stretching a chain"

Anybody that's ridden trials can EASILY tell the difference between say, a Z610 and a K710. The K710 is a MUCH stiffer chain. Hell, on my new bike I can definitely tell you a Shimano XTR 21 speed chain is ALOT springier than a K710 when you go to put power down from a dead stop. Sure, there's significantly more material in the K710 than the XTR chain, but it's pretty misleading to say "you're not stretching one."

And yes, you can be strong enough to break a chain. It's basic material science and repetition. I've had and seen plenty of single speed chains break straight down the middle of the inner/outer plates. Mostly on trials bikes and track bikes, but they're more likely to break a plate than they are to break a pin....in those instances/applications.
  • 6 2
 Sounds like a Seinfeld Bit.
  • 2 0
 I drool over his Klein every time I watch!
  • 2 2
 "Misconceptions: You're so strong that you broke your chain: That's a hard no. Your chain didn't break because you're really strong, even if you actually are."

Interesting. A year ago after I bought my bike new off the "showroom floor", I broke the stock chain on my first big climb despite doing nothing abnormal. I thought I simply overpowered an inferior stock chain, so I soon upgraded it to my usual brand/model.

Now I see that was unlikely, and there's a much better explanation: I'll bet one or more previous test riders of my bike did some sloppy shifting, priming the system for failure. That makes much better sense at explaining the mystery and serves as a good warning if you're not the first rider of a bike out of the box.
  • 9 19
flag WAKIdesigns (Jan 27, 2020 at 7:35) (Below Threshold)
 Misconceptions: “you are so strong you broke your chain” - no you just use Shimano 10sp or 11sp chain with connector pin.
  • 7 7
 @WAKIdesigns: maybe you just aren't a very good mechanic. Quick links are the fuse on any chain, and they are designed to break first so they can easily be replaced trail side. Just like how your derailleur hanger is designed as a fuse to protect the derailleur and the frame in an accident. The Shimano connector pin, when you install it correctly, will make that link just as strong as the rest of the chain.
  • 1 0
 I actually broke a link plate of a single speed KMC chain. Just in the middle of the plate. It obviously must have been a production error as it happened only once.
  • 1 0
 youtu.be/PCLvqN9kwuo go to 10:10. He says he doesn’t do workouts on normal road bikes because he breaks them. Do you think this was only due to a weak/damaged chain?
  • 2 0
 yes. ESPECIALLY since its a claim made on youtube.
  • 2 0
 Later in the video he also said that he had a clicking noise after repairing the chain with a link and that it was from a bent chainring. To me this sounds like he had a horrible chain line and bent the ring which in turn ruined the chain. Then there's also his claim that he ripped a derailleur off from pedalling too hard, which doesn't make any sense at all.
  • 1 0
 @srsly: ah missed that part. He did 2200 watts so I wonder what weight that is equal to.
  • 2 0
 @dtroyan123: Yeah, that number made me kinda believe him at first aaand according to my calculations (i.e., found it in a roadbike forum) roughly 191kg @2000Watts (peak power, crank arm @3o'clock).

Force on the chainring then depends on the chainring diameter. If he were on a 30 tooth ring then it would be around 3 times as much, so ~600kg, which will probably be enough to destroy a predamaged chain or bend a chainring.
  • 4 2
 I have revolutionary idea of using bearings on chain pins. That would further reduce friction and prolong the chain live with small penalty of increased weight and price Big Grin
  • 1 0
 it would be rad, but your chains would be about $250 USD!
  • 5 6
 a lot of people have broken chains without shifting. flaws and deviations can cause issues that lead to the assembly coming apart under load.

also belts like a v-belt have 95%-98% max efficiency and generally hold it longer than chains. do better research.
  • 3 1
 Dirty drive trains is probably the biggest thing that leads to premature chain failure
  • 7 6
 @VPS13: I think it’s a dirty crack causing most if the friction, that and unshaved pubes
  • 1 0
 @VPS13: correct. also not being aligned correctly. Just poking holes in the claim about belts as there are literally dozens of factors when it comes to belt efficiency. its a bogus claim. also Lopes snapped a chain right in front of me at st anne back in 2004iirc. shit happens and back then chains weren't as well made.
  • 1 0
 @nurseben: Ginger pubes
  • 5 2
 Explain why there are single speeders and why they have more fun.
  • 3 0
 I had a single speed (not my BMX or DJ bikes). So did a few of my friends for a while. Ok here and there. However, no where near as fun as our 12-speed trail bikes or our 7-10 speed DH bikes.
  • 2 0
 Only on flat earth!
  • 1 0
 Well it’s time to go get the old chain length due to pin wear and hole play checker out… I can see why that really caught on.
  • 4 0
 Man, Levy blinks A LOT.
  • 3 0
 "What's the deal with all these airline foods?"
  • 7 8
 I mean no disrespect but I think the fundamental problem with this article is that Mike levy does not (to my knowledge) have an engineering degree, and I doubt he has designed a chain. It's a layman describing things in layman's terms. How about in future episodes of "the explainer" get industry experts to do the explaining? You might get less sweeping statements like "for science reasons" etc. Either that or the comments section should accept that this video is just for entertainment and should be taken as such.
  • 15 1
 If you're not a professional content editor then I can't take your comments seriously. No disrespect.
  • 3 0
 Currently 5 engineers have read this (+), and six Laymen (-)
  • 1 2
 @MisterChow: I am however, a professional keyboard warrior and a semi professional armchair engineer, full cv available on request
  • 1 1
 Hi Mike, I think you did a swell job of lining everything up when you spoke about chains. I can't think of anybody on this forum that didn't already know this stuff, but just the same, good job!
  • 2 0
 The history bit was somewhat new to me, so I thought it was nice.
  • 1 0
 You can't mismatch different speeds... YES sure! Say that to E*thirteen.
I am running E13 9-46 11 speed cassette with eagle chain.
  • 1 0
 I thought it was ideal to run a chain for one speed more than what you have, wasn't it? Ten speed chains were known to work well on nine speed drivetrains. I'm on a ten speed drivetrain now and am actually considering running an 11 speed chain on it next time it is due for replacement. I understand the narrower chain is less likely to get hung up on the burrs on adjacent sprockets, which is the main reason for my chain to skip over time. Usually fixed with a file removing those burrs but narrower chains supposedly make this problem less likely to happen. Still good to remove the burrs from time to time of course.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: @grafvonmarzipan Technically i believe you can mix and match, as long as you use higher spd chains on lower spd drive trains. For example, it's okay to use an 11spd chain on a 10 spd drive, but not the other way...
  • 3 0
 Penny-farthing, the ultimate mullet bike
  • 1 0
 Right...gives 'business in the front' a whole new meaning.
  • 2 0
 For reference, an Evil 9T cog would jump to 15T if the chain pitch were 7.5mm.
  • 1 0
 "modern 12-speed chains being more reliable and stronger than ever"
LOL, "than ever"... Hope my first mtb in 1997 had a 12speed chain!!!
  • 1 0
 Hey! So what's the deal with brunch? I mean, if it's a combination of breakfast and lunch, how comes there's no lupper or no linner?
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy you would make one of the best Tim Hortons and Monster brand ambassadors, you should defintely ask for sponsorship ????????
  • 1 0
 please show an explained about bushings vs. bearings in frame designs and why the heck we still use ball bearings instead of rollers etc.
  • 2 1
 I would've embedded a broken hyperlink to that doesn't take you to those Wipperman test results.
  • 1 3
 I keep cracking chain side plates around the hole for the pin. It has happened with Shimano, Sram, Clarks (garbage anyway) but by far the worst was kmc. Couldn't go more than a few weeks without cracking a plate. I got used to the slightly different noise a cracked chain makes and usually caught it before the chain broke, but a few times it left me on my ass. Never broke a Wipperman though, now they're all I use.
  • 1 0
 are you a 4cross racer?
  • 1 0
 @colincolin: nope, I'm a fat bloke who commutes a lot. Do a Google image search for "cracked bicycle chain," plenty of others have experienced it too.
  • 2 0
 Chain wear equals chain stretch. Mystery solved.
  • 2 0
 is Mike being sponsored by tim's now? =)
  • 3 4
 Please god, get rid of the “Explainer” thing. This is father knows best double speak language meant to belittle a population. I come to pink bike for not that. Name the piece anything else.
  • 2 0
 Aaron Gwin reckons all this is a load of shit.
  • 1 0
 Great vid. It would be nice to see one of these about how to maintain and center carbon wheels.
  • 1 0
 Dear Pinkbike, I would put a vote in for the next splainer to be about spokes. I enjoyed this one. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 How about doing and Explainer about the suspension system in your chair? Pneumatic? Hydraulic? Spring system?
  • 1 0
 Put covers over the chain and see how much longer gearing parts last!
Call it Magic & burn the witch!
  • 1 0
 BS... I'm a badass and it's my legs/strength that break the chains.
  • 1 0
 I’m a fan of the pun-roll at “chain reaction”.
  • 2 1
 Hip Hop Golden Teeth? :-o
  • 1 0
 Let's not be mean. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 @mybaben: I am not. I was thinking it was a joke - chain, cogs, teeth, gold - SRAM Eagle etc. After the comment, I watched some other vids and it was there all that time!
  • 1 0
 @Kaspy: Okay, cool.
  • 1 1
 Why don't we make both wheels the same size? Seems obvious. *cough* mullet *cough*
  • 2 1
 This article is life-chainging.
  • 1 0
 bluetooth chain link, make it toolless
  • 1 0
 It's 2020. We need a metric chain pitch.
  • 1 0
 Awesome, but man what Happen your eyes))))
  • 1 0
 Shimano had a 1 cm pitch chain and whole drivetrain back in the 1970s
  • 1 0
 So that time Gwin won without a chain was actually him f-king up?!?!
  • 1 0
 There is no deal with chains.
  • 1 0
 You must be pulling my chain.
  • 1 0
 Sorry but I don't think we put out 1 horse power, maybe a 1/4?
  • 1 0
 Why stop at one chain when 2 Chainz is always better?
  • 1 0
 Props for the donuts and energy drink at the background behind Levy Smile
  • 1 0
 Wolfing down donuts. Call me when you turn 45 and we'll talk.
  • 1 0
 Nothing like propaganda from Big Chain....and Tim Horton's.
  • 1 0
 Anyone here use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean their chain?
  • 1 0
 Mullet Bikes invented in1876????
  • 1 0
 There's some links missing on this page
  • 1 0
 Feel free to reuse KMC's Missing Links Smile
  • 1 0
 donuts and energy drinks
  • 1 1
 this guy is pulling my chain
  • 1 0
 That was riveting
  • 1 0
 Great work Mike Levy
  • 1 0
 Bring on the Donut!
  • 1 1
 Is Levy sleepy or baked?
  • 3 5
 Half link : best bike chain design ever-'ver!

SingleSpeed 4 ev'z!
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