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chain technology

neebneeb Posts: 4,446
edited January 2008 in Road general
Just started reading Berto's "The Dancing Chain", and one thing that comes across is really how very little has changed in the guts of bike technology for well over 100 years. Seems that the bush roller chain was patented in 1880 and is basically almost exactly the same as the chains we still use today, other than that they have got progressively narrower and more flexible and the bushings are now built into the inner plates. To me this seems incredible, you would think that at least some new designs and improvements would have occurred in such a long time. Is this just conservatism, or is it a case of someone hitting on a genuinely perfect design that just can't be bettered?

Also slightly disconcerted to read that apparently small sprockets are less efficient than large ones, as when putting my bike together I opted for a 50/34 with and 11-23 on the rear to save some weight and allow the potential to fit bigger sprockets for climbing (as opposed to the more standard 53/39 + 12-25 which has a very similar range).


  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,331
    "a genuinely perfect design that just can't be bettered?"

    While I usually find it difficult to believe that anything mechanical cannot be bettered in that sort of timescale, the fact that a chain still used to propel 200 mph no-expense-spared GP m'cycles suggests that it is a pretty useful bit of engineering!
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
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