Tandem Chains Recommendations

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Colin Stanley
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Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby Colin Stanley » 18 Apr 2015, 3:54pm

Hi there,
I need to buy new chains for our Rohloff tandem. I was thinking of buying 3 x KCM 8 speed from Spa cycles. However, I have never used KCM before. Are they ok? Most of my chains have been SRAM or Campy.

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gaz
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby gaz » 18 Apr 2015, 6:17pm

A few thoughts here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=80995
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pwa
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby pwa » 18 Apr 2015, 7:23pm

Definitely stick to the more robust 8 speed chains for a Rohloff. I put deluxe KMC chains (the ones recommended by Thorn for Rohloff / single speed) on my tandem and they looked impressively well made. I haven't put more than a few hundred miles into them yet, though.

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DaveP
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby DaveP » 18 Apr 2015, 7:43pm

Well I think KMC is a decent brand - FWIW!
I use the KMC X8 99 on mine. Seems to be ok. Better spec if a bit more expensive than what Spa are offering. I get mine from Chain Reaction.
However, there are special chains for Rohloff hubs, the X1. Thorn do It for £29 - each :shock:
Its not quite totally explicit, but I suspect that the same chain is available from JD tandems in timing chain lengths for £40
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Colin Stanley
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby Colin Stanley » 19 Apr 2015, 8:01am

Thanks for the replies. I was going to get the KMC, but I see that Amazon are doing a Clarks MTB/Road 8 Speed Chain 1/2"x3/32" x116 with a Quick Release Link for £4.49. Not plated though, so may go for a KMC in the end.
I did help someone to fit a Wippermann chain (I forget the model no), but it was a pain de-riveting and ruined my old rivet extractor tool.

reohn2
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby reohn2 » 19 Apr 2015, 8:42am

I've always used Sram 971's,even on 8sp transmissions without issue I'm very pleased with them.
On the tandems the final drive(dérailleur) usually lasts about 2,500miles,a Rohloff chain should last a lot longer.
The timing chain and chainrings are run to destruction(usually around 10,000miles) turning the chainrings a fifth(one bolt hole)now and again to even out wear of the power points.
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pwa
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby pwa » 19 Apr 2015, 8:52am

The main advantage of the KMC chain recommended by Thorn for Rohloff (is it the X1?) is that it is designed specifically for single speed / hub gear bikes where the chain is not required to bend sideways. The plates do not change from sprocket to sprocket, so they have no shaping and are a little thicker, and the chain does not flex sideways as much as a derailleur chain. The end product is a bit stronger than a normal 8 speed chain. And it looks very well made.

reohn2
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby reohn2 » 19 Apr 2015, 9:05am

pwa wrote:The main advantage of the KMC chain recommended by Thorn for Rohloff (is it the X1?) is that it is designed specifically for single speed / hub gear bikes where the chain is not required to bend sideways. The plates do not change from sprocket to sprocket, so they have no shaping and are a little thicker, and the chain does not flex sideways as much as a derailleur chain. The end product is a bit stronger than a normal 8 speed chain. And it looks very well made.


Any chain running single sprockets will last longer than dérailleur chains,one with thicker plates etc should last far longer still I'd have thought.
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Colin Stanley
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Location: Somewhere in Kent

Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby Colin Stanley » 19 Apr 2015, 5:00pm

Thanks for all the advice!

aljohn
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby aljohn » 19 Apr 2015, 7:19pm

Just out of curiosity, what width chain are we talking about for single speed tandems? I know that using my track bike on fixed the drive train was 3/32", until I snapped a chain.... I then fitted a 1/4" chain and had no more problems. This, in spite of the awesome power I put through it....... and if you believe that.........

Brucey
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby Brucey » 19 Apr 2015, 9:07pm

FWIW I think it is very easy to pay too much for a mediocre chain. It is also quite easy to buy a high quality chain for a very reasonable price. Some points to consider;

1) You may as well use 1/8" chain on an IGH or timing chain, even if you use 3/32" chainrings and sprockets. It will often last longer and run quieter.

2) On 1/8" chain you can usually remove rivets more easily using a chain tool than with most derailleur chains.

3) Chains are either bushed or bushingless. For derailleur use you must normally use bushingless, but for IGH use you have a choice.

4) A good quality fully bushed 1/8" chain is the KMC B1. It will cost about a fiver. If your tandem has a crossover drive I would suggest that you use this chain for the rear drive.

5) KMC do some bushingless 1/8" chains that are inexpensive and durable enough for a tandem timing chain. S1, Z410, Z510 models are worth looking at. They cost from about £2.50 each.

6) Bushingless 1/8" chain is often made using the same sideplates as derailleur chain. However it is cheaper and (because of the generous clearances) runs quieter than a 3/32" chain on 3/32" sprockets. Because the sideplates have chamfers on them, it runs quieter than a classic 1/8" fully bushed chain does on any sprockets.

So if you buy a KMC B1 for the rear and a pair of KMC S1 ones for a timing chain you will have spent less than £10 (total) and these chains should last for about 5000 miles (or double if you look after them).

cheers
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pwa
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby pwa » 20 Apr 2015, 7:27am

I've just checked, and Thorn's top, no expense spared option for single speed / hub gears is the KMC X1 which (according to the blurb) was developed for high end hub gears like Rohloff. But interestingly it is 3/32 rather than 1/8. Thorn also stock much less expensive single speed chains, including some by KMC and one branded Shimano Nexus. I have the X1 on my tandem and it is a very nice looking chain, and I bought this expensive option because I don't put much mileage into the tandem and I thought fitting what Thorn rate as the best might mean being able to forget about new chains on that machine for a few years. Well, it made sense to me. But if I had been putting a chain on a high mileage, all weather machine I would have had more of a focus on economy. As Brucey says, good chains can be found at the lower end of the price range.

rjb
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby rjb » 20 Apr 2015, 7:36pm

I've been using a 1/8" KMC S1 as the timing chain on my Tandem. Despite some sites saying this is a bushed chain it is definitely a bushless design. I have not been that impressed with it as it has stretched by 1/4" over about 2 foot in approx 5000 miles. No better than the 3/32 chain we had on previously.

Thanks for the heads up though, about to order some B1 chains :D
At the last count:- Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Brucey
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby Brucey » 20 Apr 2015, 7:52pm

rjb wrote:I've been using a 1/8" KMC S1 as the timing chain on my Tandem. Despite some sites saying this is a bushed chain it is definitely a bushless design. I have not been that impressed with it as it has stretched by 1/4" over about 2 foot in approx 5000 miles. No better than the 3/32 chain we had on previously.


-and it won't be.... as I mentioned above the bushingless 1/8" chains are often built using side plates that are normally used in 3/32" chains, so the bushing area is the same as in a 3/32" chain, with the side plates further apart by virtue of wider rollers. Such chains are not without merit though, being both smoother (because of the clearances I suppose) and cheaper than the 3/32" equivalents for some reason.

1/4" stretch in 2' is a little over 1%. If you like your timing chain to run tight then it is time for a new one, but if you are happy with it running slack then it'll go further yet. In any event a pair of replacement S1 chains (to make a new timing chain) should cost about £5 for the pair. A pair of B1s will cost about double and they should last longer, provided you look after them.

One thing I didn't mention before is that the B1 chain is more difficult to look after in that the lube has to be applied separately to the rollers and the bushings; on the S1 chain the lube (and the dirt) goes everywhere but not on the B1 chain; commonly the lube is applied to the rollers and the bushings can go dry even if the rollers look fine.

cheers
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mig
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Re: Tandem Chains Recommendations

Postby mig » 20 Apr 2015, 9:05pm

^^ i never thought to separately lubricate the two. good point.