Best quality chain for road bike?



dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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Thanks for all the chain info weatherby. Your rituals are certainly extensive. I never remove chains for cleaning, and don't use solvents on them. But at least our wear criteria is the same; I check with the steel rule for 12&1/8" when the Park gauge looks close to the 0.75% point. As I said, I'm usually around 4500 or 5000K miles between replacements, and replace the cassette every other chain, about 9500-10K miles on the Ultegra cassettes. .

But note that's on my old bike, with a 9sp DA triple setup. Have no idea how long the new 6800 11sp will last. I'm not too heavy on the power, but often have to climb 10-15% grades which puts a load on chains.

Agree there are bad LBS out there. I'm fortunate to have a nearby one now with a couple of ace mechanics. Still, I do most everything needed myself...bikes just don't need much maintenance anymore other than drivetrain and tires.
 

CAMPYBOB

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Sep 12, 2005
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But...but...but..."Ceramic Teflon Infused Synthetic Molecules of Pure Carbon!!11ONE!"

'Something' is always best...or at least measurably better than something else. How it is measured and what that measurement actually means to real world rider in real world conditions? Well, we all decide with our wallets.

I know 'some' Campy stuff is better than other brands. shimaNO and SRAM exceed Campy in some areas.

I'm with dhk2. I never remove a Campy chain to clean it. You can't. Period. Even if you could...why would you? A chain cleaner gets a chain cleaner than my teeth after Karen gets done polishing them with her G-String as floss.

I toss chains. They're an expendable commodity like shop rags or Puerto Rican Rum.

My 11-speed Campy and shitmaNO are both wearing just about the same miles as my 10-speed Campy did. Chains. Cassettes. Tires. They go pretty fast. Like dhk2 said, the hills and the power output kills that ****. I chew them up and spit them out. Shift cables too. We climb a lot and shift a lot.

Oddly (or perhaps not), I used to kill Campy's best headsets...or rather, Ohio roads killed them...to the tune of one a year. Even the polymer cushion C-Record headsets died fast. These new integrated, oversized headsets are bomb proof, baby! I haven't managed to kill a head set yet.

Also weird is that machine-built el cheapo wheels are much better than equivalent stuff from 30-40 years ago.

I've never had a 10-speed or 11-speed anything last as long as a 5-speed Regina Oro or a 7-speed Campy-Rohloff though. Size matters and since all the new stuff is skinny, light and bushingless...I'll stick with Campy for the next 45 years.
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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cyclintom, mostly true, but there are bad ones that get out. I had a bad one from Sram a few years ago. One of the rollers "popped" and fell off the chain on my first or second ride. The materials may all be steel, but the QA control has to be there every step of the way. Raw steel can have defects, many opportunities throughout the process to screw things up. Not sure what happened to cause that roller to bust, but I'm guessing a defect in the steel or bad heat treat.

Another chain I installed apparently had undersized rollers on every other pin. When I measured it after the first 1K miles or so, my Park gauge was dropping in every other pin, indicating 0.75% wear. I kept running the chain, and the wear actually seemed to "even out", giving more-or-less normal life (about 4K miles for me).
This is extremely unlikely to have been a manufacturing error. Since shops often buy these chains on bulk rolls and then cut off the length they need it is more likely that a shop mechanic started ti cut in the wrong spot and then corrected himself.
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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Here's a video.......chain testing. Interesting.

That is indeed an interesting video. But what are your thoughts on how close to real word conditions that is? Don't you think that these test conditions are fine for testing but do not represent the actual chain life?
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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This is extremely unlikely to have been a manufacturing error. Since shops often buy these chains on bulk rolls and then cut off the length they need it is more likely that a shop mechanic started ti cut in the wrong spot and then corrected himself.

Yes, it does seem unlikely to be a quality defect in just one link. But of course I stopped using the chain after the failure, don't know if the other bushings would have cracked as well. And you've assumed I bought the chain bulk from an LBS. Instead, the chain came in a box, and I cut off two or three extra links myself to shorten it to 112. But that's irrelevant, because a roller bushing popped off, leaving the pins and links intact. No pins were ever damaged.

If it wasn't a quality defect, my only explanation would be that a small rock somehow got between the chain and chainring causing an impact on the hardened-steel roller severe enough to crack it in half.
 

dhk2

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Aug 8, 2006
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Video is interesting. But agree the conditions don't represent the real world, at least nothing like my riding conditions. (Maybe closer to MTB chains, which see a lot of water and sand routinely?) Plus, all chains were run-in for 5 hours under load using only the factory lubrication. At the end of the 5 hours, the SRAM chains already showed considerable wear. So, is this a test of the real chain life, or just a test of the initial lubrication grease? Maybe Wippermann just applies more or better factory grease. I always apply some chain lube to a new chain pretty quickly, either before or after the first hour ride. Certainly that seems like a smart practice after seeing how quickly the SRAM chains wear in the first 5 hours with just the factory grease.

Then, you have to wonder about the lube/oil/sand cycling. Was the cycle rate chosen to favor Wippermann somehow? How about the sand....could it be just fine enough to penetrate the other chains down to the internal pins but not the Wippermann? Lots of questions here....I'm not convinced enough to start buying Wippermann chains.
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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Froze - I absolutely do not believe that this was meant to be a biased test.

This was meant as an extreme test of the lifespan of a chain showing the wear. I just think that accelerated wear tests are not appropriate for demonstrating road bike chain life. You or I are unlikely to ride in pissing down rain though high velocity sand spray.
 

CAMPYBOB

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Sep 12, 2005
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Hell yes, the test is valid. Campy came out the best aside from the chain manufactured by the guys doing the testing.

Next: I want to sell you my new, improved, ceramic infused, Teflon-based, sand resistant, water repelling lubricant that is based on the DNA of extinct reptiles, but formulated by Swiss scientists that have dedicated their lives to making watch bearings run almost as accurately as a $20 Timex.
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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Hell yes, the test is valid. Campy came out the best aside from the chain manufactured by the guys doing the testing.

Next: I want to sell you my new, improved, ceramic infused, Teflon-based, sand resistant, water repelling lubricant that is based on the DNA of extinct reptiles, but formulated by Swiss scientists that have dedicated their lives to making watch bearings run almost as accurately as a $20 Timex.
Do you mean the electric Timex whose battery will last for 3 years and whose battery will have stopped being made after one year? And are you talking about the wind-up Swiss movement that with reasonable care will be running like new in 100 years?
 
Apr 26, 2016
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Thanks for the free report CB. I'm skeptical because of the setup and the premise too. I predict that a lighter chain should always come out marginally better, not because of friction, but because there is less weight being slung around that 11 tooth sprocket. Even when there is no load on the hub, work has to be done to change the direction of the chain. That, plus minor differences in the particular test article, could make for some conclusions that wouldn't mean a thing to me going to buy my next chain.
I agree with you. The lighter ones are always better.
 

divinemaredi

New Member
Mar 2, 2016
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Also SRAM chains are compatible. I've used them and never had a problem with them. Plus side is they come with the master link that makes removing the chain easy and with your hands if you are semi handy mechanically.

But I find Shimano runs smoother with my Shimano drivetrain. I'm running an HG 93. I got it online for about $20. I see now they area about $18 online. Jenson USA.
Thanks, for the web source, fantastic!
 

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