3/8 or 1/2 chain for fixed giving best chainring / cog cost?

DF33 Posts: 732
edited April 2011 in Road buying advice
It seems a lot of people are changing to 3/8 chains / chainsets now as chains are becoming stronger.

As I'm due to change a chainset on a training / commuter fixi I've been told I might as well go on to 3/8 as it means shimano / Stronglight etc standard cogs and chainrings are useable meaning good choice and reasonable prices.

As I've to buy cranks, chainring and rear cog / chain thought now is the time to change if so.

Or should I stick to a proper speedlight type crankset and 1/8 set up meaning slightly more expensive stuff?

Any thoughts or recent changes / opinions?


  • DF33
    DF33 Posts: 732
    type crankset and 1/8 set up

    Oops, meant 1/2"
  • moonshine
    moonshine Posts: 1,021
    Road gears are normally 3/32" ( not 3/8") and track chains are normally 1/8".
    You can run 3/32" front & rear cogs on a 1/8" chain ok, but you can't do the reverse...
    I use 1/8" chain sprockrt & chainring on my fixed gear commuter as a 1/8" chain, sprocket & chainring is thicker, more durable and more stretch resistant than a narrow 3/32" drivechain
  • DF33
    DF33 Posts: 732
    I meant to put 3/32 and 1/8th, I was also in the middle of ordering some imperial drill bits and ended ordering the wrong sized bits as well and had to change the order as put the chain mesurements on the drill order and vice versa!

    Understand the 1/8th is stronger but the rings and cogs seem to be cheaper and easier to obtain a bigger selection with 3/32 (ie shimano ss freewheel on a flip flop in 3.32 etc) and as the 3/32 chains seem better now, at least some are, it seems sensible to use these.

    Also means stuff is interchangeable between geared and fixi so less 'extra' stuff to dedicate and store.

    a couple of the lads I know have been using 3/32 for a bit now and say they don't notice the difference as non track riding and just makes everything easier to buy, cheaper, better choice and standard sizing with chains lasting just as long.
    So I was just asking if that was peoples experience or advice before I change over to it now as have to buy a chainset and chain anyway., or stick to 1/8.
  • moonshine
    moonshine Posts: 1,021
    I had a 3/32" set up on previous fixed. I had problems with keeping chain tension & with chain jumping at high revs and swapped the chain for a heavier 1/8" kmc k910 chain which I ran on the 3/32" chain ring & sprocket sorted the problems.

    When I got my new fixed, I put 1/8" on it all round as it is hevier ditty & the chain is more resistant to stretch which means keeping chain tension is easier IMO.

    Velosolo can supply most chains / cogs & chain rings in either 3/32" or 1/8" at same cost.
    I don't think it really matters what gauge you use, except remember that you cant use a 3/32" chain on a 1/8" drivechain, however you can use a 1/8" chain on a 3/32" drivechain.
  • tremayne
    tremayne Posts: 378
    I have a couple fixed gear bikes. One for commuting (twenty - extending to forty miles daily in summer) and a fixed gear TT bike. Both started out with the full macho 'track' drivetrain.

    For various reasons, both are now converted to 3/32. In fact I run 10 speed chains on both - finding them to be whisper quiet and very light.

    Noise - no comparison here. Whether your chain line is 100% spot on - a ten speed 3/32 will be significantly quieter than 1/8. If you like all the racket - fine. I like peace and quiet!

    Weight - huge difference.

    Aesthetics - I actually prefer the look of track chains - so a minus point here.

    Life - if well looked after, I don't see huge issues or difference. Well looked after = using a split link and treating to a full clean and oil every month. If neglected, a beey 1/8 track chain will withstand caked on grit much better.

    Ring/Sprok availability - I use shim dura sprockets. Don't bother with Ally (ie token - they don't last) and most lately a TA ring on one bike and Blackspire on other. I've found no w availability issues switching to 3/32 (KMC 10 speed chains).