Forum home Commuter cycling forum The workshop

Chain queries

lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
edited October 2008 in The workshop
Is there a hard-and-fast way to know what length chain you need for a single speed bike?

I keep getting chains which are too short...

And what's more, 1/8? 3/32? Is there a certain one which is rght for a certain bike? I've not had problems here but I do wonder.

Lastly, how often do people clean/lubricate chains?


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Erm sounds like you are getting BMX chains.

    Hard and fast rule. Count the number of links you have.

    width depends on the cogs.

    if you have "fat" cogs you can not use a chain that could be used for gears. but the other way round is fine.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • I did put it down to that with the half-link one I've just put on my bowery, but the guys at the shop I bought it from were very surprised it didn't fit and gave me a discount on the second one I bought for the extra links...

    But I was surprised when the chain off the bowery didn't fit the beach cruiser - both are single speed.

    I think I need to count my links!
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    again you could be using bigger cogs than some?

    But IIRC you have dropped the front cog size on the new bike?

    what halflink chain was it?
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • On the Bowery I'm 46/14, so not massive cogs. It was a KHE minimalist half-link chain...

    On the cruiser, I'm not sure, a lot softer than the bowery, so bigger cogs, and it's pretty long so I guess that could be the issue. I have now obtained a 114-link chain for the cruiser from my LBS... I'll see how I go with that!
  • Hi there, The standard chain on the bowery is a 3/32 i'd use a 1/8 track chain because there bomb proof. You can use 1/8 chain on any ring, but not 3/32 chain on a 1/8 ring.

    i use finish line cross country lub on all my bikes..

    Hope this helps Chris..
    Back on the perkins fixed for winter 42x16..
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    As chrissharp48 says, you can use a wide chain on narrow sprockets but not the other way round. I'm currently running a 1/8 sprocket & chain with a 3/32 chainring on my winter hack. I've heard it said that wide chains are noisier on narrow cogs, but the hack runs pretty roughly anyway, so I can't confirm that. It doesn't look very neat, though, to have the teeth loose in the chain slots.
    I've been surprised at how quickly the 3/32 sprocket on the better/summer bike has worn, though, so I think the extra longevity of the 1/8 drivetrain may be significant.
    If you have 3/32 cogs, I wouldn't choose to run a 1/8 chain- go for a good 3/32 single-speed chain instead (I'm currently trying a KMC Z610-HX). If you want to go to a 1/8 drivetrain later for longevity, then you might run 3/32 until you need to replace a cog and change cog & chain together.
    I've found 1/8 chainrings hard to find, but that's because I'm using obsolete chainsets. Your Bowery ought to have a current BCD (I think it'll have an FSA chainset taking 130mm rings). Again, if (when...) you need to replace that you could opt for a 1/8 ring, you'd replace the chain at the same time, anyway, and probably the cog, too, so you could move to 1/8 then.

Sign In or Register to comment.