Chain too short?

supers
supers Posts: 33
I recently changed my 105 cassette and chain, I found that the shifts were quite clunky so I took my bike to my LBS to have a ‘gear service’ and asked for new cables to be fitted.

I collected on Saturday and was told the chain was too long and they had removed a link. I went out for the first time today and struggled to get it into big and big. I could play with the barrel adjuster and either get it into big and big but this then knocked the other gears out. Here is a photo:



I then went back to the shop, the guy who worked on my bike wasn’t there at that time, so I went and had a coffee and left my bike with them. The other technician told me that it looked one link too short but they wanted to wait until he was back to see why he did it. I then see him arrive back and wait outside the shop until another customer had been dealt with. When I walk in, I see a split chain on my bike and another on the floor, I’m told they have put a new chain on, which is an identical model to the one that was already on.

Get home, try it out, I can now cross-chain it but the derailleur still looks at a too extreme angle and I’m worried they did nothing more than adjust the gears and made it look like the chain was changed. This is what it looks like now:



Is the chain too short? If so, does it matter?

Comments

  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    It's not really advisable to run big/big for any extended period, but the rear mech is always going to be at full extension when you run that combination. From the pics you've posted, it's not possible to get any sense of whether the chain is tight enough to begin binding or if it still runs freely in that combo. If it runs freely then there's no issue. Either way, it would be good practice to select a different gear combo (small ring and further down the cassette) which would give you the same/similar ratio.
  • supers
    supers Posts: 33

    It's not really advisable to run big/big for any extended period, but the rear mech is always going to be at full extension when you run that combination. From the pics you've posted, it's not possible to get any sense of whether the chain is tight enough to begin binding or if it still runs freely in that combo. If it runs freely then there's no issue. Either way, it would be good practice to select a different gear combo (small ring and further down the cassette) which would give you the same/similar ratio.


    Thanks for your reply, I don’t tend to run that combo but I’ve never had an issue getting into that gear before and the derailleur looks stretched when in that combo compared my other bike that runs 105 too.
  • mully79
    mully79 Posts: 904
    If you put it into the small/small combination and still have some tension in the derraileur then I would say the chain could have been longer.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 16,016
    Couple of links short I'd say, but providing you don't have a self destruct gear it isn't an issue.

    By self destruct I mean it jams the whole drivetrain if you shift to that gear.

    Otherwise it'll make a "you are in a stupid gear combo" noise and ride like your brakes are rubbing, but it will be fine.
  • I would never fit or use a chain like that
  • masjer
    masjer Posts: 2,613
    From the pics it looks fine to me (as above as long as it's running freely). It looks like you are using a 28t cassette which is the suggested MAX for a 105 -5800 mech, so it will look stretched on a combo you shouldn't use. What's more important is what the mech operates like, 2 gears down from the pic.
    Has your other bike got a smaller cassette? If so it might explain the different angle.
  • supers
    supers Posts: 33
    masjer said:

    From the pics it looks fine to me (as above as long as it's running freely). It looks like you are using a 28t cassette which is the suggested MAX for a 105 -5800 mech, so it will look stretched on a combo you shouldn't use. What's more important is what the mech operates like, 2 gears down from the pic.
    Has your other bike got a smaller cassette? If so it might explain the different angle.

    Other bike has a 28t cassette too and same chain rings. As you can the mech it is far less stretched out on my other bike.




    It’s runs fine further down the cassette since I took it back. It’s more that I’ve now lost trust in the bike shop.
  • masjer
    masjer Posts: 2,613
    The other thing to do if you've lost trust, is to buy a chain splitter and do the job yourself. Once you have a chain length you're happy with, just split the new chain to the same length as the old (accounting for the stretch from the old worn chain). I still doubt the bike shop have done anything wrong, though.
  • masjer
    masjer Posts: 2,613
    My winter bike looks pretty similar, but it's correct- it works well.

  • supers
    supers Posts: 33
    masjer said:

    The other thing to do if you've lost trust, is to buy a chain splitter and do the job yourself. Once you have a chain length you're happy with, just split the new chain to the same length as the old (accounting for the stretch from the old worn chain). I still doubt the bike shop have done anything wrong, though.


    I do fit my own chain, I only put that chain on myself two weeks ago so it was brand new, I’ve changed a chain plenty of times myself and have never had a problem. I only took it to the shop as I didn’t fancy changing internal cables and I wanted them to adjust the gears.

    I guess as long as it’s fine, I’ll just run it and when it needs changing I’ll take it to a higher end shop and get them to work out the optimal chain length again.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    edited August 2021
    I like Campagnolo's advice for optimal chain length - make it as long as it'll go without the bottom run of the chain hitting itself at the top jockey wheel in small-small. No need to make the chain any shorter, in my experience.

    I have run shorter chains on a temporary basis (when replacing a compact chainset with a double, for example) and the shifting suffers noticeably; everything's just a little bit too taut.
    Ben

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  • masjer
    masjer Posts: 2,613
    edited August 2021
    I like largest cog and largest chainring method, but there are others as above.
    This might be helpful;
    https://parktool.com/blog/repair-help/chain-length-sizing
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    supers said:

    masjer said:

    The other thing to do if you've lost trust, is to buy a chain splitter and do the job yourself. Once you have a chain length you're happy with, just split the new chain to the same length as the old (accounting for the stretch from the old worn chain). I still doubt the bike shop have done anything wrong, though.


    I do fit my own chain, I only put that chain on myself two weeks ago so it was brand new, I’ve changed a chain plenty of times myself and have never had a problem. I only took it to the shop as I didn’t fancy changing internal cables and I wanted them to adjust the gears.

    I guess as long as it’s fine, I’ll just run it and when it needs changing I’ll take it to a higher end shop and get them to work out the optimal chain length again.
    why do you think a "higher end" bike shop will do any better?

    as above, its simple to do so grab a chain splitter and watch some vids.
    .
    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • katani
    katani Posts: 135
    edited August 2021
    Here's what the Shimano manual recommends:



    On a side note, it is a good practice to keep the chain in the small/smallest between rides, to keep the spring tension to minimum.
  • ibr17xvii
    ibr17xvii Posts: 1,065
    MattFalle said:

    supers said:

    masjer said:

    The other thing to do if you've lost trust, is to buy a chain splitter and do the job yourself. Once you have a chain length you're happy with, just split the new chain to the same length as the old (accounting for the stretch from the old worn chain). I still doubt the bike shop have done anything wrong, though.


    I do fit my own chain, I only put that chain on myself two weeks ago so it was brand new, I’ve changed a chain plenty of times myself and have never had a problem. I only took it to the shop as I didn’t fancy changing internal cables and I wanted them to adjust the gears.

    I guess as long as it’s fine, I’ll just run it and when it needs changing I’ll take it to a higher end shop and get them to work out the optimal chain length again.
    why do you think a "higher end" bike shop will do any better?

    as above, its simple to do so grab a chain splitter and watch some vids.

    ^^^This^^^

    I'm not mechanically minded in the slightest but even I can get a chain to the right length with the help of YT, forums etc etc.

    Doesn't really matter how "high end" the shop is, it's the same principle.
  • Ncovidius
    Ncovidius Posts: 229
    If you’ve got a bit left on the spring, big / big, it’s fine. If it’s grinding, you need another link.