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Chains

John Hiney2015-07-08 20:33:07

Ok, so not so happy tonight, picked up our Dawes Double Edge Tandem, and rode it home, 4 miles, that was Saturday, This evening, we went out for our first real ride, just a gentle poodle, not too fast, still getting used to it, after about 12 miles, the rear chain, breaks , and not very cleanly....no real pressure on it at the time, wasn't expecting that, as had no means to repair, let's face it, shouldn't need to.... So the bike had to be abandoned at nearest Police Station, and Taxi home!! Is this normal thing to expect ?

John Sanders2015-07-09 10:19:13

: Ok, so not so happy tonight, picked up our Dawes Double Edge Tandem, and rode
: it home, 4 miles, that was Saturday, This evening, we went out for our
: first real ride, just a gentle poodle, not too fast, still getting used to
: it, after about 12 miles, the rear chain, breaks , and not very
: cleanly....no real pressure on it at the time, wasn't expecting that, as
: had no means to repair, let's face it, shouldn't need to.... So the bike
: had to be abandoned at nearest Police Station, and Taxi home!! Is this
: normal thing to expect ?
Hi John
We have a Dawes Double Edge purchased new 5 years ago ,it has taken me the fist 3 years to solve all the problems because the dealer was so useless .We use KMC chains and have never had a breakage . The other faults we have had are front wheel ,loose brake caliper mountings because the spring washers were missing ,Loose bottom brackets (front and rear )not been torqued up correctly .Broken mudguard mounts . I had to replace and reroute all the cables with better quality ones ,replace distorted chainwheels and lots more besides . If your tandem is new go back to the dealer and get them to go through it .Best of luck .

Barry Wilson2015-07-09 13:53:37

: Hi John

As a generalisation - chains don't break. Having said that I did once break the front chain but, as I always carry quick links to mend either chain, it was not a big problem.

As an additional piece of evidence. I watched yesterdays TdF sprint finish and at the end of the program Chris Boardman was explaining that during the last 500m whilst Cav and Kittal etc are sprinting the are producing 1500 watts peak. And I've never seen a chain break in a sprint, even these skinny 11 speed chains.

All very anecdotal I know but I maintain chains dont break unless they are badly abused, badly fitted, joined by a re-used joining pin etc etc. You'll no doubt get lots of example in forthcoming posts.

Happy tandeming

Barry

Ruth Hargreaves2015-07-09 15:01:30

I echo Barry's remarks, although if a component is going to fail it's likely to do so when new or not at all. And it's possible the chain is faulty.

If it's caused by a bad shift then the damage could have occurred earlier in the ride, but the chain actually failed at a point when you were just riding along.

Regards
Ruth

John Hiney2015-07-09 17:57:45

: Ok, so not so happy tonight, picked up our Dawes Double Edge Tandem, and rode
: it home, 4 miles, that was Saturday, This evening, we went out for our
: first real ride, just a gentle poodle, not too fast, still getting used to
: it, after about 12 miles, the rear chain, breaks , and not very
: cleanly....no real pressure on it at the time, wasn't expecting that, as
: had no means to repair, let's face it, shouldn't need to.... So the bike
: had to be abandoned at nearest Police Station, and Taxi home!! Is this
: normal thing to expect ?

Ok it's Thursday now and the Sun is shinning again, I went back to dealership, Velocity, Cosham and staff there are really good, got it fixed in no time and sent me back on the road, complete now with spare links, Park tool for the job, and some good advice, it helps the David the sales guy has 2 Tandems himself, put some solo mileage in and back in love again! It's was only a spat last night!, thanks for you're advice

Chris Peachey2015-07-09 20:43:22

9,10 & 11speed chains cannot be re-joined with a link remover tool, they are too narrow. Could this have been the cause of yours braking?
8 speed and wider chains have a bit more of the pin poking out each side so a link remover tool can be used to re-join them, but the join is NOT riveted.
The "quick-links" used to join the narrow chains are factory riveted and CAN be re-used many times. Always carry a couple of spares.

John Hiney2015-07-10 15:37:01

: 9,10 & 11speed chains cannot be re-joined with a link remover tool, they
: are too narrow. Could this have been the cause of yours braking?
: 8 speed and wider chains have a bit more of the pin poking out each side so a
: link remover tool can be used to re-join them, but the join is NOT
: riveted.
: The "quick-links" used to join the narrow chains are factory
: riveted and CAN be re-used many times. Always carry a couple of spares.

Thanks Chris, it's a 9 speed, with Shimano chain, all back together again, and I now have spares , the dealers were very good and claimed its very rare on tandems....it's normally related to Mountain bikes....so we wil see how it goes from no one...just slightly off putting

Matt Hodges2015-07-12 20:31:20

: Thanks Chris, it's a 9 speed, with Shimano chain, all back together again,
: and I now have spares , the dealers were very good and claimed its very
: rare on tandems....it's normally related to Mountain bikes....so we wil
: see how it goes from no one...just slightly off putting

Don't let people tell you chains don't break. I have broken lots in the last 20 years on tandems. It is usually the delayed result of a few bad changes.

Carry a chain punch to remove the broken link and a few connex or Sram split links.

Remember if the worst happens and the chain is beyond fixing you can always remove the front chain and cut it down to fit on the back them let the stoker pedal you home. (Don't tell my wife i wrote this)

Matt

clive2015-07-13 09:48:04

: Thanks Chris, it's a 9 speed, with Shimano chain, all back together again,
: and I now have spares , the dealers were very good and claimed its very
: rare on tandems....it's normally related to Mountain bikes....so we wil
: see how it goes from no one...just slightly off putting

If they think it's normally Mountain bikes, how do you think a tandem mountain bike fares? :-)

We do nasty things to chains sufficiently often (on both road and off-road bikes) that I have a little bag of quick links (SRAM for 9 speed for us) in my standard tool kit. I think we got through two or three on a 2 week alpine tour - and possibly one more for a dutch guy we met. Our normal problem is twisted links from missing the little ring on a steep hill.

John Hiney2015-07-13 15:01:59

: If they think it's normally Mountain bikes, how do you think a tandem
: mountain bike fares? :-)

: We do nasty things to chains sufficiently often (on both road and off-road
: bikes) that I have a little bag of quick links (SRAM for 9 speed for us)
: in my standard tool kit. I think we got through two or three on a 2 week
: alpine tour - and possibly one more for a dutch guy we met. Our normal
: problem is twisted links from missing the little ring on a steep hill.

You are right, even though it was brand spanking new! I should have had some spares , so still learning at 60, anyway, we did the Harbours ride yesterday (Portsmouth) for the BHF, and all went well...loved it even though the weather was crappy....and the best part my "Stoker" loved it

John Hiney2015-08-05 18:47:25

Hey surprise surprise......it broke again on Sunday, no warning, no gear changing, just turning right, and putting a little power through the pedals....not a happy bunny, as this is second time this month, I have E.mailed Dawes direct, and posed the question, is this set up fit for purpose.....should there be a heavier duty system in place, because to my mind, they are using a solo set up on a Tandem.
A series of motorcycles in my youth, never on chain breakage, 2 solo cycles now..no chains breaking ( Touch wood)
To be fair, Dawes have been right on it, contacting my local dealer, and setting up a replacement heavier chain...so we will see....... End of rant

Tim Dowson2015-11-07 22:26:07

We recently had a shimano nine speed chain split, several times, on some switchback country lanes. This seemed to be related to trying to get into bottom chainring rapidly as the gradient changed suddenly from steep downhill to uphill in just a few feet. I know the theory about gear changes, and keeping the chain in line as far as possible, but this equipment was pretty new, being used under fairly standard touring conditions in good weather - and could have ruined a holiday.

The split, each time, was the rivet pulling out of one end of a link. I find myself wondering if a nine speed is not really appropriate for a touring tandem. If an eight speed chain has more protrusion of the rivet, I guess it has a lot more give-and-take, which might mean being able to use about 20 (and particularly the low end) of the combinations on a 3-by-8 gear setup, rather than the 15 or so that were available when I adjusted the front to prevent use of the smallest chainring – which was at least followed by no further breakages.

Does anyone have experience of whether an eight speed cassette and chain is in fact more reliable than a nine speed?

Matt Hodges2015-11-08 11:34:33

When we moved from 8 to 9 speed we had a lot of breakages though these were Sachs chains.
It turned out the problem was that i had always joined chains using the chain punch to replace the rivet. This worked well with 8 speed but was totally insecure with 9 speed. Once I started using the special joining links I had very few breakages. Now though I prefer the connex joining links to Sachs. They are easier to use.
Just one point to watch - if you have an 11 sprocket on the back it is important to put the connex link in the correct way round with the bulge on the outside as it goes round the sprocket. If the bulge is on the inside it catches on the cassette body when on an 11 sprocket. This lifts the chain a little and can cause it to jump. It doesn't matter if the smallest sprocket is a 12.
Matt

: We recently had a shimano nine speed chain split, several times, on some
: switchback country lanes. This seemed to be related to trying to get into
: bottom chainring rapidly as the gradient changed suddenly from steep
: downhill to uphill in just a few feet. I know the theory about gear
: changes, and keeping the chain in line as far as possible, but this
: equipment was pretty new, being used under fairly standard touring
: conditions in good weather - and could have ruined a holiday.

: The split, each time, was the rivet pulling out of one end of a link. I find
: myself wondering if a nine speed is not really appropriate for a touring
: tandem. If an eight speed chain has more protrusion of the rivet, I guess
: it has a lot more give-and-take, which might mean being able to use about
: 20 (and particularly the low end) of the combinations on a 3-by-8 gear
: setup, rather than the 15 or so that were available when I adjusted the
: front to prevent use of the smallest chainring – which was at least
: followed by no further breakages.

: Does anyone have experience of whether an eight speed cassette and chain is
: in fact more reliable than a nine speed?

clive2015-11-09 14:48:22

: We recently had a shimano nine speed chain split, several times, on some
: switchback country lanes.
....
: Does anyone have experience of whether an eight speed cassette and chain is
: in fact more reliable than a nine speed?

We use 9 speed on road and MTB tandems, and put enough load on the MTB one to break hub ratchets.

I use SRAM chains, and do sometimes twist links with a careless gear change under load (once or twice a year). For this reason I carry several spare powerlinks and a chain tool.

I'm happy to trust that to any distance loaded touring. I'd not touch a shimano chain, and I'd not try and remake a link in the old fashion on any 9 speed or higher chain.

(and it's still better than my experience with 7sp...)

Dan Hopgood2015-12-23 13:21:23

: Ok, so not so happy tonight, picked up our Dawes Double Edge Tandem, and rode
: it home, 4 miles, that was Saturday, This evening, we went out for our
: first real ride, just a gentle poodle, not too fast, still getting used to
: it, after about 12 miles, the rear chain, breaks , and not very
: cleanly....no real pressure on it at the time, wasn't expecting that, as
: had no means to repair, let's face it, shouldn't need to.... So the bike
: had to be abandoned at nearest Police Station, and Taxi home!! Is this
: normal thing to expect ?

Chains DO break when not abused.

I'd never had a chain break in 40+ years cycling until February this year. Broke a front chain on Circe Helios tandem, with 6 year old on the back. Luckily no injuries when it went.

1000 miles on bike from new - and with a hub gear, so chain alignment nothing to do with it. Bike had only ever been used in that configuration.

There was a manufacturing fault in the chain, most likely the holes in the side plates for the pins being too small. On investigation there were several side plates broken on one side. SRAM PC850. Returned chain to Circe to talk to SRAM rep. Heard no more. It seems manufacturers effectively have no guarantee on chains as they're considered a consumable.

I now check my chains thoroughly every time I clean them.

Barry Wilson2016-01-04 17:29:20

: Chains DO break when not abused.

And when you don't think they have been abused.

I was out riding with my local club last week and was tucked in behind Chris so as to shelter from the wind. His chain was running smoothly and straight, just as it should do. About an hour later, when behind him again, I noticed his chain had a dreadful bend in it so I told him of my observation. “ Yes”, he said, “someone else has just mentioned it but I don’t know how it happened”. “Maybe it was up that earlier hill”. He said he would fix it when he got home. Two hours later, after finishing the ride and heading home, the chain parted. He said he was casually pedalling along, not changing gear, nothing unusual.

So, as I said earlier, chains don’t break but can be broken - if they have been damaged earlier. That damage can be seconds or, in Chris’s case, can have happened hours ago.

“Treat them like glass and they’ll behave like steel.” Although I've just thought of it, its probably been said by thousands of others before me.

I hope you all have a Happy 2016, plenty of tandeming, no broken chains, and tail winds all the way.
Barry & Janet

Ian Richardson2019-02-25 12:59:49

OK I realise this is an old post but I found it really useful.

Thanks to the contributors !

I'm running an off road "Vantana" tandem which is new to me and is busting chains big time !

It's a 9 speed so a skinny chain, I might surrender and downgrade to 8, this would mean I'd have to replace the shifter on the handlebars, not sure about the freehub, does anyone have experience using something to pack the vacant space that would appear on the splines due to the smaller width of an 8 cassette ?

Something to add to the mix :

Upon closer inspection,,, my cassette , although imaculately clean and giving an impression of spinky spanky newness is slightly burred and slightly worn, probably enough to bugger up a super sensetive 9er

I think I will give the 9 set up another go with a new cassette and chain,,, will keep you updated on progress,,,or not.

Greatful for any feedback.

Neenoo

 

Adam Bell2019-02-25 16:26:06

8 & 9 speed cassettes are the same width, so it won't be a problem there if you do decide to have fewer gears.  The 9 Speed chain would work ok.

Although 9 speed chains are slightly narrower than 8,I doubt that's the reason for breaking chains.  I'd stick with good quality chains for example SRAM PC991 Cross Step rather than their PC951 version. 

 

Adam.

Martyn Aldis2019-02-26 16:01:03

We have broken at least one chain on each of our four tandems but I have never broken an solo chain that had been joined properly.

On all three second-hand bikes we have broken the drive chain the bike came with and on our first Thorn derailleur Adventure we broke both chains, the synch chain in several places at once. That bike had an early version of same side drive with very small synch rings and chain collision was common. The later 2002 Thorn Adventure with Talon 30t synch wheels has had no synch chain problems so far (about 800km).

Of the two chains I fitted new and broke, one was due a snarl up inside the inner ring after a bodged change to the granny ring on a sudden steep slope and the other remains unexplained.

With this record and the risk that a chain failure in a fast critical traffic situation like a larger roundabout could be fatal, I have put a 9 speed KMC ebike chain on the younger Thorn. It cost about twice my normal chain spend but it is nice and bright and has been fine so far. I plan to do the same for the other bikes if no unexpected problems turn up. I would also scrap the drive chain on any second-hand or ex-demonstrator tandem in future especially as the failure of the 10 speed Wippermann chain on our Cannondale cost us the Ultegra rear mech.

If you want to go for a chain more able to stand the tandem life, I think an ebike chain which is said to be more capable of taking gear changes under power would be a far better bet than an 8 speed.

 

Ian Richardson2019-02-27 12:15:37

Thanks Adam and Martyn,