Beaking Chains???

steveha

Regular
Location
Stroud
Browsing around this and other forums, I keep reading stories of people breaking chains out on the road and how important it is to carry a chain tool?
Most of my cycling was in the 60s/70s/80s and we never broke chains!
Sure, I had a "rivet extractor" that saw service every couple of years when I needed to replace a worn chain. That was in the shed at a time of my choosing!
I wasn't kind to my chains either - I was glad I was carrying a tool in 1977 when riding up a steep hill in remote Ireland and the hub thread under the freewheel block stripped. I had a fixed sprocket on the other side and needed to remove some links.
Of course, I only had 5 sprockets for my 3/32" chain to bend over although rich people had 7!
As I get back into cycling this year, I'm wondering WTF is going on??? Do they just not make chains like they used to? Or is it because blocks are too wide? Is there a way to avoid this nuisance?
 

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
In over 50 years of cycling I have only ever broken one chain, and that was the result of my own ham fisted efforts when I made a bodge of joining it.
 

cougie uk

Senior Member
It's stil pretty rare. I think I've only had one break and that was on my fixed and I should have stopped when I heard the chain making a different noise.

It's nothing to worry about. Worry about the increase in traffic instead.
 

Oldhippy

Senior Member
Never broken a chain either but have always carried a tool roll for most eventualities. On the whole I have been lucky with the lack of bike faults. I don't remember the last time I had puncture. I'm clearly not spending anywhere near enough time on my bike! 🤨
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
Never had a chain break in all my years of cycling, yet carry a chain splitter on a multi tool. I've only ever had to use it in anger once when my rear derailleur decided to eat itself, so had to shorten the chain to convert to a single speed.
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I carry a multi-tool which includes a chain splitter. I also carry a spare quick link. I've broken one chain in my life.

It's not an issue, don't worry about it. There's no need to carry a small workshop with you if your bike is well maintained.
 

YukonBoy

The Monch
Location
Inside my skull
What’s going on is that you are hearing of chains breaking, reported by people you have never met. Back in 60/70/80s you would not have heard of them breaking unless it was a mate. If they could be bothered telling you, assuming they didn’t think it something boring to impart. So you have the perception they are breaking loads compared to back in the day, but really they are not.
 
OP
S

steveha

Regular
Location
Stroud
I carry a multi-tool which includes a chain splitter. I also carry a spare quick link. I've broken one chain in my life.
Thanks. Back in the day, I had a freewheel go free both ways. My Dad showed me how to fix it with 14 thou spring steel wire, cotton, a rubber band and a nail. As it was so lightweight, I added it to my kit. Used it once to help out a mate while riding in Devon.

Hmm. Do modern freewheels break?
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
It's not THAT unusual for chains to snap - I have encountered numerous broken chains out on the road and I don't cycle tens of thousands of miles a year...!

I was once riding some Scottish MTB trails with a friend. She only weighs about 7 stone and we were on a flat gravel track in a forest, so she wasn't exactly hammering the chain. CRACK - it snapped! She had only had the bike for a couple of weeks and it had been assembled by an experienced LBS mechanic.

I fixed it for her in a few minutes using my trusty chain tool. I have also repaired chains for 4 or 5 other riders over the years. I finally broke one of my own chains on a ride a couple of years ago. Here's a picture of the broken link ...

1603143964589.png


It snapped for no apparent reason. Just one of those things. The chain was otherwise in good condition and I wasn't doing some crazy gear change on a steep hill at the time.

With the tool, no problem - 15 minutes later I was riding again, after also taking some photos and having a snack and a drink. Without the tool, a BIG PROBLEM!

I'll continue to carry the chain tool! :okay:
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
If we go back to the days when 6 speed blocks were new and cutting edge I would change block and chain every 12 months, if I didn't the chain would start jumping on the gears I used the most often, if I kept using the chain it would break. I don't remember ever breaking a modern 10 speed chain, though I did break the chain on my fixed sometime in the 1990's, I haven't broken one since.
 
I've done it a few times. Once when I was new to cycling on a old 7sp, once when I deliberately ran an 8sp chain to the edge to see how long I'd get (I forget now), once on the fixie and once on a 11sp chain which looked like it was brand new but had a warped link (manufacturing fault). In 140,000 miles though I don't think its too bad.
 
OP
S

steveha

Regular
Location
Stroud
If we go back to the days when 6 speed blocks were new and cutting edge I would change block and chain every 12 months, if I didn't the chain would start jumping on the gears I used the most often, if I kept using the chain it would break.
Thanks. I remember chain wear causing jumping and saw it as a cue to replace chain, block and chainring, It came on gradually and riding it to the point of destruction would have been far too miserable. Perhaps modern chains simply break suddenly rather than warning you for a few hundred miles?
 

bruce1530

Veteran
Location
Ayrshire
Happened to me twice in less than 2 years. 11 speed.

and spookily, both times were in the same area, about 20k from home.

first time was going over a steep humpback bridge. Stood up to pedal, snap. Train home.

second time I had tool. Turned slight uphill corner, didn’t realise steep incline, wrong gear, put some weight on pedal, snap. Took link out, quick link in.
 
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