Chains - what's compatible with what?

by Richthornton   July 22, 2012  

Hello, I'm in need of a new chain. The one I want to get has 112 links, but the one I currently have has 116. Is there going to be a problem fitting the new one? I'm assured that it is Shimano 10 spd (which is what I have) compatible. I've seen all kinds that are compact only, different widths, pin lengths etc. I feel im in a minefield and am guarenteed to buy the wrong thing.
I currently have a Shimano 105 5701 chain on an 11-28 cassette with a compact chainset. and am plannig to get this chain:
Will that do it?
Thanks for helping.

7 user comments

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You can take links out you know.

Just get the same again?

[edit] whoops, sorry read the post wrong, too few links.

Err, that's probably more ticky

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
22nd July 2012 - 20:53

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When you say the current chain is 116 links, is that as it's supplied, or as actually fitted?

I'd be very surprised if an out-of-the box new chain would be too short, as a 28 rear isn't particularly unusual.

As for compatibility, Shimano 10 speed works find with KMC and SRAM 10 speed chains.

posted by thereandbackagain [152 posts]
22nd July 2012 - 21:46

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Good point, I haven't counted the links on the fitted chain, just looked att he website it came from.

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posted by Richthornton [99 posts]
23rd July 2012 - 0:49

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KMC chains are better than any other - though as much as i havent tried any others..had 5yrs on them - wouldnt ride any other.

Heard sram have a bad rep. & shimano used to snap alot - not sure now though.

I'd be VERY surprised if the KMC didnt have enough links on it.

The most sizeable i can get my chain to is a 53-25 (not that i'd use that gear - big/big) & i know it'd fit that fine. Usually you'll take some links out.

posted by yenrod [100 posts]
26th July 2012 - 11:29

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Thanks Yenrod, yes there are plenty of links on the new KMC chain and I will have to remove some. I think my generally naivety about chains lead to this post and one of my biggest gripes about cycle shops is that when you buy a bike they never tell you anything: "by the way you'll need to replace X every so many miles" or "when you buy a new Y, this is the type you need to purchase" but that is a different topic. I guess they figure that if they leave you in ignorance you'll have to come to them to get any work done.
So now that I'm as confident as I can be that I have a compatible chain, it comes time to fit it, I'm hoping that I won't regret attempting this on the eve of a 100 mile sportive! One question, as you seem to be familiar with KMC: is there a specific direction that the chain has to face, or an inside/outside and if so how do I tell?

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posted by Richthornton [99 posts]
26th July 2012 - 14:17

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KMC chains work with everything and are really good. No need to worry about direction, if you are going to use them long term it is well worth getting the connecting and disconnecting pliers as they will make your life much easier.

Forgive me if you know this already:

Have you got a chain wear indicator? If you haven't got one, buy one of those too so that you can establish when you need to change your chain.
If the chain is part worn then you'll get away with just replacing it but if your chain has stretched too far then it's likely to have worn out some of the sprockets on your cassette. If you have worn out sprockets then your new chain will slip over them and you will regret fitting it on the eve of a 100 mile sportive. The solution to this is to replace the cassette too. To find out how worn the chain is put the chain wear indicator into the chain. It it fits in on one side (0.75) but not the other (1) replace the chain, if it fits in on both sides (0.75 and 1) then replace the chain and cassette.
For more in depth information on chain maintenance check out Sheldon Brown's excellent website.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [307 posts]
26th July 2012 - 14:44

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another fan of kmc chains here, worth it for the 'missing' link alone as the shimano dont have a removable fitting and the sram 10 speed one isnt supposed to be reused. i take the chain off every 6 weeks or so chuck it in diesl to clean it and pop it back on with no troubles

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
26th July 2012 - 14:47

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