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10-speed chain on older drivetrains

Old 05-08-18, 05:20 AM
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tommymc
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10-speed chain on older drivetrains

As 10-speed gear has now taken a backseat and is priced accordingly are there any downsides to using 10-speed chains on 5, 6. 7, 8, or 9-speed clusters? Or even on a 3/32" SS setup? It would really simplify the garage inventory to have one type and not need a magnifying glass to check link markings. I also have the impression that the available 7,8-speed chains are not of the same quality as currently made stuff.
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Old 05-08-18, 06:14 AM
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10 speed chains are to narrow for 5,6,7,8 speed drive trains and there are good 7,8 s[eed chains avaiable. Roger
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Old 05-08-18, 07:38 AM
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I'm surprised this question comes up so often. My general philosophy is, If I already OWN parts, I'll bolt up almost anything and see if I can make it work. If I'm BUYING parts, I'll only buy stuff that's been designed to work together.

Chains are a consumable. After tires and tubes, they are probably the most consumable component on a bicycle. If I were cobbling together a real cheapie, I might go with a used chain but, if that were the case, I'd probably just slap it on and see if I could get it to work.
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Old 05-08-18, 07:40 AM
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The narrower gage of a 10-speed chain won't shift as well on a 5-6-7-8 cassette / FW, especially on an indexed driveline since it won't be able to pick up the shift ramps until it's 'derailed' much further off of the cog you're shifting out of.

There's still a lot of decent quality 7-8 speed chains out there, and they're still way cheaper than 'outdated' 10-speed.

I don't really have a problem with having a bunch of loose chains laying around the garage. I don't go through them fast enough to keep a stock of new ones on hand; I buy them as-needed. I usually leave my new chains in the box, so it's got a label on it that tells me what it is. Old chains that I keep around for spares/repairs/flips go in a Ziploc bag, so they don't get the rest of my stuff oily. I put a note on the bag with sharpie, (Kid's Bike, Beach Cruiser, Old Ten-speed) so I know what kind of bike it came off of, and what I can use it for.
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Old 05-09-18, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
As 10-speed gear has now taken a backseat and is priced accordingly are there any downsides to using 10-speed chains on 5, 6. 7, 8, or 9-speed clusters? Or even on a 3/32" SS setup? It would really simplify the garage inventory to have one type and not need a magnifying glass to check link markings. I also have the impression that the available 7,8-speed chains are not of the same quality as currently made stuff.
9+ speed chains are 11/128" not 3/32" and may not fit your fatter cogs.

Downshifting your front derailleur, the narrow chain can get stuck between the rings.

The thinner chain isn't going to shift as well.

Finally, less contact area between the thinner side plates and pins means narrower chains wear out faster.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:03 PM
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Wow, the width difference is less than 8 thousands. The latest engineering is impressive but I think I'll stick to 6-8 speed friction shifted drivetrains for third-world adventures (and most real-world biking in the US).
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Old 05-11-18, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
As 10-speed gear has now taken a backseat and is priced accordingly are there any downsides to using 10-speed chains on 5, 6. 7, 8, or 9-speed clusters? Or even on a 3/32" SS setup? It would really simplify the garage inventory to have one type and not need a magnifying glass to check link markings. I also have the impression that the available 7,8-speed chains are not of the same quality as currently made stuff.
Not sure why you'd think quality has gone down on 7 and 8 speed chains. KMC and SRAM still make them.

They are also easy to find online. If you haven't had troubles with them breaking, I'd even go for the Bell chain sold at Walmart.

As for using 10 speed chains on them, I take the same philosophy as @Retro Grouch.

All setups have slight differences in them. So for some that difference in width won't make too much problems shifting. Others, probably many, it will.
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Old 05-12-18, 05:53 AM
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I've never tried a 10-speed chain on a 7/8-speed crank but I have used them with a 10-speed crank and an 8-speed cassette and they shifted perfectly well.
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Old 05-13-18, 05:17 AM
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So if i wanted a 10 speed cassette with a 11 speed crankset, what size chain should i get, 10 or 11?
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Old 05-13-18, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by imobilinpedalus View Post
so if i wanted a 10 speed cassette with a 11 speed crankset, what size chain should i get, 10 or 11?
11
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Old 05-13-18, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
11
Are you certain? I thought the chain was based on the cassette. So @imobilinpedalus should get a 10. Or does the 11 speed also change up the chainwheel spacing significantly? Which is unlike the 8, 9, 10 speed groups. Since you answered it, I feel you should do my research for me. <grin>
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Old 05-13-18, 10:45 AM
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IME, you can be off by one and maintain acceptable performance. More than that is a headache, particularly with FD tuning. 6/7/8 chainrings are further apart. 10S chains are too narrow to grab the sprockets correctly.
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Old 05-13-18, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
11
Please do care to elaborate. I would very much like to know why
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Old 05-13-18, 11:59 AM
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WAy Back 10 speed was a 5 by 2..
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Old 05-13-18, 04:36 PM
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This is what I came up with to support my answer that you can use a 10 speed chain with a 10 speed cassette with what otherwise is considered an 11 speed crankset......

There are other issues about using an 11S chain on a 10S system that are worth discussing, however. The spacing between front chainrings has not decreased on 11S drivetrains from 10S ones, but the spacing between cogs (of course) has. Also, the spacing between plates of rear derailleur jockey-wheel cages generally decreases with each increase in number of rear cogs.
Read more at Tech FAQ: Chain width explained, compatibility queries answered VeloNews.com
This is 10 or so paragraphs down in his answer to Barb.
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Old 05-14-18, 02:42 PM
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I've used a 9sp Shimano chain on a 10sp Campy friction shifted setup and it worked. I was surprised that it would. I fully expected it to be noisy but it was fine. The bike may still be set up that way since it is my least used bike and I don't think I was on it at all last year. It is all original Campy pantograph SR, except that the original wheels are tubulars but I used it with my extra 10sp Campy wheels. I had at one time had a 9sp Shimano wheel on it, hence the 9sp chain. As a general rule, a narrower chain (10sp) will work on a wider setup (6-7-8-9sp) but won't be optimal. A wider chain will NOT work on a narrower setup, except on the combo I used. But if you are buying a new chain, buy the one that matches what you have.

One other thing I did try once, a 10sp chain/cassette with an older 6sp crank. It was very noisy and sometimes would not seat properly in the teeth and slip. I swapped in a 10sp crank and all is well. On another bike I have a 7sp crank and a 10sp MTB chain/cassette (same dimensions as road in any case). This worked fine for a while, but now will slip too. I have a new chain at my house, but I'm thinking of a new big chain ring as that's the one I'm on all the time anyway.
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Old 05-14-18, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
10 speed chains are to narrow for 5,6,7,8 speed drive trains and there are good 7,8 s[eed chains avaiable. Roger
No, they aren't.

And 10 speed cranks don't have the chainrings and closer together than 8 speed cranks.

Mostly it is a waste of money because thinner chains are unlikely to last as long while costing more.
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Old 05-16-18, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
No, they aren't.

And 10 speed cranks don't have the chainrings and closer together than 8 speed cranks.

Mostly it is a waste of money because thinner chains are unlikely to last as long while costing more.
It isn't the spacing between the rings, it is the teeth of the ring. The bottom of the teeth is wider and the new 10sp chain didn't seat properly and I believe it caused the skip and the noise. The other possibility is that the teeth were worn too and didn't grip the chain, or both.
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Old 05-16-18, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
Wow, the width difference is less than 8 thousands. The latest engineering is impressive but I think I'll stick to 6-8 speed friction shifted drivetrains for third-world adventures (and most real-world biking in the US).
The outer width varies a lot more. Contemporary 10 speed chains are 5.9mm wide vs 6.6-6.8mm for 9 speed, 7.1-7.3mm for 7/8 speed (8 kept the spacing but increased rear axle OLD to 130mm), and 7.8mm for 6 speed.
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Old 05-16-18, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
No, they aren't.

And 10 speed cranks don't have the chainrings and closer together than 8 speed cranks.
Yes they do. There's about 0.6mm between 9 and 10 speed. My "9 and 10 speed compatible" FSA Carbon Pro Compact had rub on the outer 3 cogs with a 9 speed chain until I spaced it back to standard dimensions.
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Old 05-19-18, 01:13 AM
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I have a 10sp Tiagra chain on ancient alloy front chainrings and a Shimano 8sp rear freewheel, and it works fine.

One thing though - the front chainrings were worn by the older, wider, chains. This put extra material around the leading base of each tooth. The chain wouldn't seat properly over these. So the rings required a clean up with a file just to de-burr the mileage off.

Had they been in new condition, there wouldn't have been an issue.
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Old 05-19-18, 02:23 AM
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I keep about three 10speed chains floating around my garage, I try to make all my bikes 9/10speed if I can and 10sp chains work perfectly (best with friction but totally fine indexed)
i just built my first SS and I used whatever cogs fit on my hyperglide freehub and pc-1050 works with zero hiccups going on the fifth day of commuting ��*♀️
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Old 05-22-18, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
Yes they do. There's about 0.6mm between 9 and 10 speed. My "9 and 10 speed compatible" FSA Carbon Pro Compact had rub on the outer 3 cogs with a 9 speed chain until I spaced it back to standard dimensions.
Your issue with one crank that is labeled as being 9 speed compatible does not change the fact that chainring spacing is not generally connected to the chain width, 8 speed cranks work fine with 10 speed chains. Some 10 speed cranks are a tiny bit wider than 8/9, some are narrower. There is no general rule.
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