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New chain, SRAM vs Izumi

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New chain, SRAM vs Izumi

Old 02-20-24, 11:54 AM
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cuyd
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New chain, SRAM vs Izumi

Hey, I got my singlespeed all-weather commuter and I need a new chain. It has 53T chainring taken from 10-speed road bike and 18T cog taken from 8-speed bike so both 1/8" and 3/32" chains can fit. Weight doesn't matter. My legs are quite heavy, I am very capable of stretching "quality" chains in an instant - I've had higher end KMC and Wippermann Connex chains before and neither lived to their fame(less than two months and they were stretched beyond acceptable norms). Because of that I've decided to use cheaper chains and switch them more often. But even among cheaper chains there are those that stand out. I am eyeing SRAM PC-1, Izumi Standard 410 and Shimano HG71 as they are in same price range. Wondering could anyone give me any advice or suggest something else?

Btw, does anyone know are Izumi Standard 410(cheapest, black) chains nickel plated? Some people told me that nickel plated chains are minimal standard I should be opting for.

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Old 02-20-24, 03:46 PM
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Stay away from the SRAM PC-1. I actually broke one.
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Old 02-20-24, 04:07 PM
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I've been using only the Izumi 1/8" chains for years on all my fix gears.. The ~$26 Ecos. Excellent chains. I love that they are made with plates that have little rounding. Yes, there are quieter chains. But, just like the derailleur 9,10,11... world, the quieter chains shift better. Think about it. Do you really want your fix gear chain of single speed chain to shift? I have never seen a good outcome when a chain has "shifted" off my one and only cog.

Those Izumis are reliable to boring. Have long old-fashioned pins that can be driven out and back in multiple times. You can miss centering the pin a little and it isn't a big deal. I have never broken one (not saying much with my skinny thighs) and I saw them frequently on the bikes of racers with smaller budgets at the velodrome (past tense because Alpenrose, 2 miles from my house is no more). And I never sensed the riders with the big budgets and better chains having any discomfort riding around those cheap Izumis. (Those guys really try to avoid riding around equipment that might involve them in a crash.)

Edit: No idea if the black (or any other Izumi chains) is nickle plated. They are good chains. You are paying for window dressing with the fancier colored Ecos. I run mostly black but window dressing can be fun so some of the time my good fix gears strut.

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Old 02-20-24, 07:13 PM
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I love the Izumi Super Toughness for proper set ups in your case you might need something different as you are running some weird stuff which is probably the reason you ran through other chains. I am not a lightweight person and haven't gone through a single speed chain very quickly but I have the proper set up using a 1/8 chainring and cog on both setups. One I believe is an KMC X1 and the other is a Izumi Super Toughness and in the past I used a Miche Pista chain (or whatever it was called).

I wouldn't buy a PC-1 chain for any reason unless I was on the bike my chain was mangled and I needed to ride home and that was the only chain at the bike shop that would work.

In the end if I am breaking things or running through things often I would figure out what I am doing to cause that first and foremost and not just saying I will just buy cheap stuff more often and ignore it. Solve the problems first!
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Old 02-21-24, 07:03 AM
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Interesting that SRAM PC-1 has such negative reviews. My experience with low-end SRAM chains only comes from PC-850 on geared bikes, and honestly I can't say a bad word about it. But upon tougher inspection I've noticed that PC-830 chain is technically same as PC-1 with exception that PC-1 is nickel-plated on both inner and outer plates. Difference between PC-830 and PC-850 is that 850 has "hardened pins". SRAM does also have PC-870 with both "hardened pins" and nickel plating on outer(but not inner) plates. In this manner it seems that SRAM "hardened pins" are what I should be opting for and even for singlespeed bike PC-850 3/32" chain would be better than PC-1 1/8", especially as they cost nearly same. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Now for Izumi, from what I understand Izumi is making four types of low-end chains, they are called 410 and on some markets they could also be named ECO or Standard chains. Those 410 chains come in few colors: black(sold green box, ES410), silver(sold in pink box, ES410NP) and gold(sold in red box, ES410GP). There's also ES410TG but I can't find any information about it except that it looks like it's toughened version of ES410NP. Now, what those names stand for I can only assume - ES410 is their standard chain without anything extra; ES410NP is probably nickel-plated version of standard ES410, NP in name could stand for Nickel Plated; ES410GP could be titanium nitride plated version of standard ES410, hence gold color.

Assuming this all is true, we're just down to coating. Few things here to consider, first - how are those chains coated. Chain is made out of five elements, and if you look up the info on SRAM chains I've posted you'll notice that they have inner or outer plates coated but what about pins, rollers and bushings? The only stuff about Izumi coating I could find is about their ES410NP chain on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/izumichain...6/?img_index=1 They claim that all those elements are coated separately before assembly. I guess this is also true for their ES410GP and ES410TG chains. But second thing to consider, is coating on those rolling elements actually going to help? According to my understanding those platings are just thin surfaces and they can be scratched off easily. Wouldn't it mean that coating on those moving parts would be gone quickly and we would be back down to normal ES410? I mean, when chain snaps, even due to rust, it's rarely because of inner/outer plate and more likely due to pins failing. And as I said, while rusty rollers could affect performance it's also rollers that would lose coating first due to abrasion. Third thing, thickness and quality of coating itself - can't be measured without manual inspection so I can't say anything here. Perhaps there are other quality improvements of nickel/titanium nitride plating beside corrosion protection? If so, I'd like to know.

I've also checked local prices of those chains, it seems that(beside that PC-1) coating costs a lot. Is it worth the price difference?
SRAM PC-1 costs locally around $11-12
SRAM PC-850 costs locally around $11-12
SRAM PC-870 costs locally around $18-19
Izumi ES410 costs locally around $12-13
Izumi ES410NP costs locally around $20
Izumi ES410GP costs locally around $22-23
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Old 02-21-24, 01:37 PM
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Don't overthink this. (Thanks, FB!) Izumi chains are better than SRAM chains. (I haven't used but one SRAM chain but several posters here have confirmed my opinion. The Izumi chains are, quite simply, excellent chains. By the color you want and don't mind paying for.

SRAM 8 and 9-speed chains work well for me. But single or fixed? No. SRAM has in its mindset, excellent shifting. Izumi's mindset is the velodrome where every shift is a multi-rider crash. Izumi chains are what you want between the feet of that gorilla in front of you. Why not put it on your bike also?

Edit: SRAM single speed chains are quiet. Good shifting chains are quiet. Izumis, with their squarer, less polished and finessed plates - not so quiet. They really don't want to shift. And that I like! I can run them in confidence with more chain slack, on rougher roads and with lower quality cranksets that are not as "round". (That cause the chain to tighten and loosen as you pedal. So Izumis allow more options for cranksets while never having the chain go tight. Also allow faster wheelflips and less attention to proper chain slack when doing flips on the road and your buddies are riding away.

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Old 02-21-24, 03:04 PM
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At this point I'm more like wondering is nickel-plating worth those few extra bucks. I had nickel-plated Connex chains that rusted on outer plates after few months of normal use, oddly it was faster than some of my non-plated chains.
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Old 02-22-24, 09:39 AM
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I've run SRAM PC-1 chains for years and not had any problems. Hope I haven't jinxed myself!
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Old 02-22-24, 09:43 AM
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@cuyd, if you are elongating 1/8" chains quickly, you must be letting them get dirty. They normally last years or decades.
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Old 02-24-24, 09:03 AM
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Honestly this is one of the things that is boggling me. On one hand I know that some people can have their chains running for 2000 miles without issue and on the other hand I know people who "massacred" their chains after first 50 miles. I guess that what matters is not only how but also who uses the bike, as second scenario comes from ex-pro who stretched brand new Campagnolo Record C9 chain on a road bike to the point where he couldn't shift gears normally. And it was brand new chain on a first ride.
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Old 02-24-24, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by cuyd
Honestly this is one of the things that is boggling me. On one hand I know that some people can have their chains running for 2000 miles without issue and on the other hand I know people who "massacred" their chains after first 50 miles. I guess that what matters is not only how but also who uses the bike, as second scenario comes from ex-pro who stretched brand new Campagnolo Record C9 chain on a road bike to the point where he couldn't shift gears normally. And it was brand new chain on a first ride.
That is the thing these stories of people destroying chains within a couple rides is usually either completely fake, the bike is beyond maladjusted or the chain was already compromised or not installed properly or just the wrong chain or such a poorly manufactured chain it had no chance. It is quite difficult to destroy a chain so quickly on one ride or in a just a few miles without some prior issues.
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Old 02-24-24, 06:11 PM
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I know that in normal conditions it's poor maintenance that kills most chains, but you have to take in account that the load on drivetrain is highest when you're doing something odd, like sprinting uphill on high gear. If somebody has enough power to do it then such loads, even in short time, could put much bigger stress on components than few months of casual riding. In fact it could be totally different kind of stress, more like short bursts of very high mechanical pressure instead of prolonged linear stretching over time. And given that even best components could have subpar batches, IMO it's totally possible to happen.
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Old 02-24-24, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cuyd
I know that in normal conditions it's poor maintenance that kills most chains, but you have to take in account that the load on drivetrain is highest when you're doing something odd, like sprinting uphill on high gear. If somebody has enough power to do it then such loads, even in short time, could put much bigger stress on components than few months of casual riding. In fact it could be totally different kind of stress, more like short bursts of very high mechanical pressure instead of prolonged linear stretching over time. And given that even best components could have subpar batches, IMO it's totally possible to happen.
Yes uphill sprinting in a high gear will take its toll but there would likely be other issues involved to wear out a chain in a ride or two. Like I said there could be an issue with the chain before it was installed or as a result of poor install which is not a common issue and not one to blame on chains. Maybe Robert Forstemann aka Quadzilla could go through a chain in a single ride but he is a monster and that would still be some impressive riding and probably a poor chain. Breaking a chain is different that could happen in a single ride for a multitude of reasons however I am talking wear only.

In your case again figure out what is going wrong and solve that problem. Why are your chains wearing out quickly? Make sure everything is properly adjusted, maybe also measure chainline (which normally I don't care about) and make sure you are maintaining things properly. Most people don't wear through chains quickly without something going wrong usually on their end not on the chains end. If it is a single chain then you could chalk that up to a bad batch or something odd but if it is multiple chains it is a sign there is an issue or issues and those need to be solved first before saying it is the chain manufacturer or I need to buy a lot of cheap stuff because of that.

As a heavier rider and someone who has had 3 single speeds as an adult and plans for another as well as a bunch of other bikes. I don't go through chains in any crazy fashion. I do replace them when needed but I generally try to keep them clean and lubricated. I use a wax lube so sometimes I am not as thorough with the cleaning but I make sure things are adjusted properly and I don't think in a long time have had a chain issue aside from a 10 speed Shimano chain that would technically have been a warranty had it not been purchased many years ago and not used and at a low enough cost I am not really worried about it and the bike was not for me so it got a new chain and done.
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Old 02-24-24, 10:54 PM
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I wish SRAM still made the PC-7X. That was a great chain.
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Old 02-25-24, 05:52 PM
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Sedis Sport forever.
As far as "stretching" chains, that's a misnomer. It's dirt and maladjustment of chainline which causes chain "stretch", not the elastic deformation of the plates themselves. This has been covered ad-nauseum here and in most chain discussions going back to the beginning of bicycling list serves. If chain plates were elongating, then a manufacturer would take measures to solve that problem; this was taken care of well over 50 years ago. I could point to the 2-row 1/2" width x2 timing chain on my old Mercedes diesel engine that had over (just) 160,000 miles on it and the chain was "stretched" the equivalent of 1/4 of a chain pin (same size pins as a bicycle chain. That crank pulling on the chain, with the camshaft resisting movement had a LOT more force and duty cycles than any bicyclist and the plates weren't deformed at all, it was the pins which were grooved by the fine grit from combustion and wear floating around in the oil (yes, I know it's constantly lubricated with each revolution.) My point has been made elsewhere that chain pins don't elongate without maladjustment as others have mentioned and the chain doesn't stretch overall without wear due to an abrasive compound.
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Old 02-26-24, 06:09 AM
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I am also wondering on chain weight, it seems that 410 in Izumi name is it's weight in grams. Seems that many 1/8" chains are around 410 grams(including things like Wippermann Connex 108) while SRAM PC-1 chain is lighter. Does weight matter(in terms of durability)? Is 410 some sort of special number(like NJS requirement)?
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Old 02-26-24, 12:20 PM
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I think to a degree chain weight could have a small durability increase or decrease depending but it is the quality of the chain and the materials it is made of and how it is constructed that really determines durability. However in the end none of that matters if there is an issue you still have that is causing you to quickly wear through a chain that would normally not wear through that quickly. Like I have said solve that first and figure out why you have worn through chains in 2 months. Again likely it is the mismatch of parts but there could be other factors but you need to figure that out before just buying chains and continuing the same process. Chain wear doesn't happen that quickly without some issues that have nothing to do with the chain necessarily.
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Old 02-27-24, 09:23 AM
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You may be enamored with the thought that no chain can stand up to your guadz but its more likely veganbikes is correct that something ain't right on your bike. My original inclination was that you are likely tensioning your chain way too tight but then I recalled you are a singlespeeder. In which case a FW would self-destruct before the chain would, wouldn't it? Maybe you could post a good pic of your drivetrain (whole bike too as long as you are at it) to help see what you got going on? Good luck.
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Old 02-27-24, 11:33 AM
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Here's a picture of my chainline:




Some time ago I've accidentally broke chainring during sprint, big theory is that one of screws was loose but I won't ever know. But seriously, I did not start this topic to argue but to find out which chain to buy. I've said that I've tried higher-end KMC and Wippermann Connex chains(those fancy recommended models) and they didn't last any longer than cheaper chains that I was using before(normally when I ride a lot I have to change chain 2-3 times/year). In fact I remember that I had literal no-name chain that lasted longer than those two mentioned above. On my geared bike I had good results with SRAM PC-850 and as I wrote earlier I suspect that their "delta-hardened pins" actually work but I did not find anything like that in SRAM's 1/8" offer anymore.

The thing about me overtensioning chain is absolutely correct, I did that in past but I learned hard way so I'm always trying to leave that little slack in tightest spot.
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Old 02-27-24, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cuyd
Here's a picture of my chainline:




Some time ago I've accidentally broke chainring during sprint, big theory is that one of screws was loose but I won't ever know. But seriously, I did not start this topic to argue but to find out which chain to buy. I've said that I've tried higher-end KMC and Wippermann Connex chains(those fancy recommended models) and they didn't last any longer than cheaper chains that I was using before(normally when I ride a lot I have to change chain 2-3 times/year). In fact I remember that I had literal no-name chain that lasted longer than those two mentioned above. On my geared bike I had good results with SRAM PC-850 and as I wrote earlier I suspect that their "delta-hardened pins" actually work but I did not find anything like that in SRAM's 1/8" offer anymore.

The thing about me overtensioning chain is absolutely correct, I did that in past but I learned hard way so I'm always trying to leave that little slack in tightest spot.
There is a reason I said what I said! Figure out why you went through those chains so quickly there is a reason you had those issues and it wasn't the chain's fault. Chains are going to last a while if using the proper chainrings and and cogs with proper tension and all of that.

You are trying to solve a problem, by ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away. That doesn't work. I am not trying to be difficult I am trying to help you as you are not seeing the whole picture. You are missing the forest for the trees. Rather than spending a bunch of money on replacing chains all the time solve the other issues so you don't have to replace chains beyond what a normal person would need to because it is worn out through normal wear and tear with proper maintenance.

If you don't want to save money and have a properly functional bike I really couldn't understand that. Again not trying to be nasty but I really couldn't understand that there are no upsides to it and it won't help you as it is more dangerous and wasteful. I do want to help you despite what you might possibly think I am not trying to derail your questions or comments but actually help you out so you can have a smooth operating bike.

I love bikes, I love making bikes work as well as they can and if I had an issue where I was wearing out chains and chainrings and stuff like that I would want to figure out that issue so I could stop doing that. I don't have a lot of money to waste on rebuying stuff that shouldn't be broken or worn out prematurely so I spend a little more to get good stuff and make sure it is well adjusted. That is so I can have it for a long time and know I can rely upon it. I wouldn't go to the trouble of building a bike for it to have problems that I then don't want to solve. I like my bikes to work and work well because riding is fun.
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Old 02-29-24, 10:33 AM
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I'm not clear on what size chain you are wearing out. I've seen 1/8" chains last for decades. Maybe you still have tension in your chain. You should have none. Tension doesn't help anything. Maybe you let grit into your chain by riding in dirty conditions and not cleaning the grit out. Those are the only explanations I can come up with.
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Old 03-16-24, 08:04 AM
  #22  
cuyd
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Honestly I think that my aggressive riding combined with 53x18 gearing could also have something to do with it. In my area there's a lot of intersections and usually I'm not into cutting red lights or doing weird shortcuts so I just stop. When I start I'm clipped-in, standing on pedals, wobbling bike and using lot of force to accelerate as fast as possible. It turns into semi-sprint after which I stabilize my ride. Sometimes it takes less than 300 feet and I have to stop and repeat the cycle. This gets combined with potholes, uneven terrain and other debris that I have to jump over(which puts lot of stress on drivetrain when landing).

Anyway, I bought SRAM PC-850 for my geared bike and Izumi 410 for my singlespeed. Izumi chain came with spring clip, I didn't use it just connected chain using chain tool, I wonder if it matters.
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Old 03-16-24, 11:04 AM
  #23  
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There is probably more to it than that. Yes riding like that is not ideal but shouldn't have you running through chains so quickly I don't think even Quadzilla (Robert Forestermann) would go through a chain that quickly doing a similar ride and well he didn't get the nickname by being weak in the quad department.

Again solve the problem going on. Figure out why you run through chains so quickly. Also again not being mean or nasty towards you I am being direct and to the point because there is a reason why you are going through chains and it is not a pothole that could be the final nail but it is not the initial cause.

In terms of joining the chain, I generally recommend using the links provided. I have always used them and had no issues in similar situations. Izumi makes chains for high level track competition and for Keirin (Japan's track racing betting sport) and they probably wouldn't have that if their chains were breaking under these folks and since the Keirin riders aren't sponsored they are paying for their parts and the parts are highly regulated so they need them to last as long as possible to save them money.
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