Author Topic: KMC X1 Missing Link  (Read 1784 times)

Neil Jones

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KMC X1 Missing Link
« on: August 14, 2016, 10:49:06 AM »
I am currently on my 2nd KMC X1 chain, the last one lasted 5,000 miles, although it still hadn't reached the 0.75 limit on my Park Tools Chain Checker I decided that I'd replace my chains every 5,000 miles regardless.

I had been getting an annoying ticking/clunking noise coming from what seemed like the bottom bracket area for a couple of months. I had tried almost everything, seat post, pedals, saddle rails, cranks, still had the noise.

After doing a bit of research I found out that the X1 Missing Link is non reusable and I had reused the link once so decided to split the chain and rejoin it using a spare link I had. I've just taken the RST for an early morning spin and the noise has gone. To be honest I'm not a big fan of the Missing Link chains but they all seem to be going that way now.

I decided to get the X1 as Thorn now recommend them but they are very expensive. What chains are you Rohloff riders using on your bikes?

My chainring and sprocket currently have 17,000 miles on them (reversed at 10,000) and plan to change them at 20,000. I am on my 4th chain now. When I put a new chainring and sprocket I may experiment with a chain rotation system as I think I should be able to get 24,000 miles out of them. I don't run a Chainglider although I am a spinner rather than a masher which probably helps.

Regards,
Neil




John Saxby

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2016, 02:32:30 PM »
Neil, I currently have a KMC 8.93 on my Raven. This has about 4,000 kms on it, with about 20-25% wear. 

My spare is an SRAM PC850.

Each of these costs about CAD 15.00 at Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC).

These work fine, so far as I can tell.  I use a Chainglider, slightly modded to fit my 36T front ring -- I've cut away the section covering the rear of the chainring, so that part of the ring is exposed, and crud can find its way into the upper and lower runs of the 'glider.  Only problems I found after 2300-plus kms in the Western Mountains this summer, however, were (i) some buildup of oily dust at each cutout point on the upper & lower runs near the chainring, nothing serious; & (ii) a bit of the same on the rearmost section of the cover on the sprocket.

This may be my Scottish forebears speaking, but I'll stay with the less expensive chains I now have until Something Dire happens to persuade me to do otherwise.

mickeg

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2016, 05:04:57 PM »
Those chain checkers usually overestimate the amount of "stretch" and tell you to change a chain way too soon.  A chain can have play internally within a chain link and that gets measured with those chain checkers.  I have a 48 inch long ruler that I use to measure a chain, I pull the chain off the bike and measure how long 94 links (which should be 47 inches when new) is.

Since a chain checker does not underestimate "stretch", I use a chain checker first, and if it says the chain is good I do not bother to pull it off the bike, I know it is still good.

I usually buy the cheapest KMC chains, not sure what I have on the bike right now.  A local bike charity got some chains donated to them from a major bike manufacturer as take offs from a bunch of bikes they chose to not sell (frame defect), so the chains were new but had been installed on bikes before.  I bought several of these chains at $5 USD each.  When I got home from Iceland, my chain was so filthy that I decided to just discard it instead of cleaning it.  That is one big advantage of a $5 USD chain.

I am surprised the missing link caused that ticking noise.  I wonder if the wrong missing link was used, KMC makes two different ones for eight speed chains.
http://kmcchain.us/connectortype/8-speed-below-ml/

I frequently re-use the KMC quick links and I will continue to do so.  See what they say on re-using a Missing Link.
http://kmcchain.us/faqs/

I think that Shimano or Sram or maybe both says not to re-use them, but of that I am not sure and I am not going to research it.

My Nomad has twice had odd ticking noises that took hundreds of miles to diagnose, but they were at a frequency that matched the rotation of the crank, not the rotation speed of the chain.  But, I digress, we all have had odd noises at one time or another.

martinf

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2016, 08:00:13 PM »
SRAM PC890 nickel-plated chains on my 2 Thorns with Chaingliders. Not quite the cheapest option, but I had some of these in stock. My experience so far with Chaingliders suggests that any chain will have a much longer service life, so probably not worth fitting an expensive one.

I have a KMC X1 ready for a planned new build (fairly light bike with Rohloff to replace my old 700C derailleur lightweight), where I reckon I probably can't easily fit a Chainglider. I'll see if the KMC X1 makes a difference on an open transmission.

Neil Jones

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2016, 09:57:31 PM »
Thanks for the responses chaps.

Mickeg, I think you are spot on with your opinion on chain stretch. I decided early on that I would run my chainring and sprocket until it reached 20k and would change my chain every 5k. This has panned out quite well as I've got decent mileage out of the transmission considering I commute all year round in all weathers. When I reversed the chainring and sprocket I did get some some noise due to the chain being out of synch but it soon bedded in after 100 miles or so. The 'Missing Link' was the one that came with the X1 chain, perhaps I have been heavy handed when I reconnected it, I don't know.

John and Martin, you are the lucky ones. Unfortunately I can't fit a Chainglider on my RST as I believe the frame clearances are too tight (511L frame). I ran two Sram PC890 chains and got the same mileage as the X1 which leads me to believe that as long as your chain line is pretty straight any decent quality chain will do the job.

Regards,
Neil

Andre Jute

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2016, 10:33:01 PM »
Hmm. 5000 miles is 8000km. Neil also tells us "I don't run a Chainglider although I am a spinner rather than a masher which probably helps" and that the chain was not yet "stretched" to 0.75. And George tells us that his 48 inch steel rule says the short chaincheckers overestimate wear. Let's therefore guesstimate that Neil's X1 could have gone to 10K in kilometres at the chainchecker's (overconservative) suggested limit.

As it stands, I'm not overly impressed with the X1. SJS prices, STG:
KMC X1 36
KMC X8-93 8
KMC X8-99 19
The Z8 RB -- which is a singlespeed chain whereas the X8 though commonly used as a Rohloff chain is actually a derailleur chain -- is comparable to the X8-99 in rustproofing, but at little more cost than the X8-93; not stocked by SJS or almost anyone else British because the X8 is so famously good for single-speeds as well, but let's call it, following German examples, about 10.

I'm a masher, which must be nasty for my chains, and given to running experiments, which isn't a featherbed for chains either. As expected, I therefore have a long history of being heavy on chains: in my Shimano HGB 8 speed days I went through an entire Nexus transmission of chain, crankset integrated with the chainring, and sprocket every thousand miles or 1600km.

But the X8/Z8 KMC chains lasted 4500km in my hands (under my size 12 feet!) before being replaced at 0.5 wear on the chain checker. This approximates Neil's replacement strategy, though, being a spinner, he'd probably do better with my chains and Chainglider than I do. Thus, at current SJS prices, the economy of these chains in actual use can be compared, on the understanding that those who try can do much better:

KMC X1 8000km/36 = 2.2 kilometer per penny
KMC X8-93 4500/8 =  5.6 kilometer per penny
KMC Z7 RB 4500/10 =  4.5 kilometer per penny
KMC X8-99 4500/19 =  2.36 kilometer per penny

Your mileage will definitely differ.

Clearly, looking at that table, the bargain is the KMC X8-93. For Chainglider users, even the 25% premium for the Z7 RB isn't worth it. For those with open chains who like a shiny bright chain, the bargain is the Z7 and it is worth hunting down as being twice as economical as the X8-99.

Until someone positively demonstrates that the X1 does better than the cheap X8/Z7, Neil's experience proves that the X1 doesn't cut it to anywhere near the extent it's elevated price might suggest.

I'm keenly looking forward to Neil's experience with the second X1, because it has at least one advantage: to those of us who're not too keen on getting our hands dirty (I'm not embarrassed by it at all -- a writer and painter's hands are to him like a surgeon's hands, his entire fortune), or who for one reason or another must restrict time spent bending over bike, and especially to those of us prepared to trade in money for extra-low maintenance, the KMC X1 does seem on Neil's experience to offer extended periods between changes. That by itself may be worth the premium. And Neil wouldn't have to extend his chain very far (less than 500 additional kilometres) to bring it even-steven with the all-shiny X8-99 which also has adherents here...

Much thanks to Neil for taking a hit in the wallet for the team.

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It's worth keeping chains in perspective. We can get too competitive about chain mileage. (And I remind you that the once and always chain mileage champ is Stu, who used to be moderator before Dan.) The average annual depreciation on my bike -- any expensive bike like a Rohloff Thorn -- is about 200. My actual cost in chains in recent years has ranged from 2 to 10. Chains, as a cost factor, even at X1 prices, are a joke. It's what a bad chain takes with it, the chainring and the sprocket, and perhaps an expensive holiday ruined, the nuisance value in irritation of having to change poor-quality chains when the sun shines, that really matters.

Bill C

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2016, 12:49:24 AM »
is this a real topic or tongue in cheek?
you spent thousands getting a rohloff and all the other ott bling for your bikes and quibble about the cost per mile of a chain? seriously? why not just bung a new chain on every so often and think sod the expense, that's what i do, and i only ride 2nd rate technology, sorry derailleur bikes  ;)
 if i was actually insane enough to pay for a rohloff i'm pretty sure that a decent chain would be the last of my financial worries

btw, dirty hands? try nitrile gloves if you don't wanna spoil your manicure  ;)

Andre Jute

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2016, 01:04:25 AM »
is this a real topic or tongue in cheek?
you spent thousands getting a rohloff and all the other ott bling for your bikes and quibble about the cost per mile of a chain? seriously? why not just bung a new chain on every so often and think sod the expense, that's what i do, and i only ride 2nd rate technology, sorry derailleur bikes  ;)
 if i was actually insane enough to pay for a rohloff i'm pretty sure that a decent chain would be the last of my financial worries

btw, dirty hands? try nitrile gloves if you don't wanna spoil your manicure  ;)

Gee, Bill, you sound like my granny. "Think of all the hungry Chinese. If you don't eat your cabbage, you'll get it for breakfast."

How can you pretend to be a cyclist if you aren't an obsessive? Agonizing over chains is what real cyclists do when they aren't counting tenths of a gramme.

Bill C

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 01:15:55 AM »

How can you pretend to be a cyclist if you aren't an obsessive? Agonizing over chains is what real cyclists do when they aren't counting tenths of a gramme.

Andre i'm obsessive about my Thorns but i can get a pc971 for around a tenner,clean it a couple of times by all means but then just stick a new one on and ride it till it needs another is my philosophy

as for agonizing over bikes  i'll have that trouble in a few weeks when the xTc classic comes off the road for it's new paint job.......ruby red pearl? or gunmetal grey or redo in bare steel  ::)

atb Bill


Andre Jute

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 01:29:25 AM »

How can you pretend to be a cyclist if you aren't an obsessive? Agonizing over chains is what real cyclists do when they aren't counting tenths of a gramme.
as for agonizing over bikes  i'll have that trouble in a few weeks when the xTc classic comes off the road for it's new paint job.......ruby red pearl? or gunmetal grey or redo in bare steel  ::)

Gunmetal grey is an adult colour but if you're British the weather is more than adult enough already. So ruby red pearl for a bit of cheer, or, to be different, bare polished (and presumably lacquered) steel.

Bill C

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2016, 01:40:20 AM »
the bike was in lacquered steel but the lacquer didn't hold up to well
Ruby red is looking favourite at the mo, means changing saddle and bar tape over to black, but i can reuse the honey on the Sherpa, win win  ;)

started out well on chains, but gone off topic a bit, sorry  ::) 

mickeg

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2016, 02:39:10 AM »
...
I'm keenly looking forward to Neil's experience with the second X1, because it has at least one advantage: to those of us who're not too keen on getting our hands dirty ...

Next time you go to the dentist or doctor office, ask them if you can have a few pair of their disposable gloves for when you work on your bike.  I have always found them to be happy to give me a handful.

...
How can you pretend to be a cyclist if you aren't an obsessive? Agonizing over chains is what real cyclists do when they aren't counting tenths of a gramme.

...When I got home from Iceland, my chain was so filthy that I decided to just discard it instead of cleaning it.  That is one big advantage of a $5 USD chain.
...

Oops, I guess I am not a real cyclist if I did not obsess over a worn and dirty chain that cost $5 USD to replace.  And the recycle bin was already emptied, so too late now to recover it. 

Andre Jute

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2016, 03:46:46 AM »
Oops, I guess I am not a real cyclist if I did not obsess over a worn and dirty chain that cost $5 USD to replace.  And the recycle bin was already emptied, so too late now to recover it.

Not to worry, George. There will be a dumpster diver down the road who'll rescue your chain and get a further 129 extra miles out of it, and come abuse you for being a wastrel!

Andre Jute

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2016, 03:55:56 AM »
the bike was in lacquered steel but the lacquer didn't hold up to well
Ruby red is looking favourite at the mo, means changing saddle and bar tape over to black, but i can reuse the honey on the Sherpa, win win  ;)

Mmm. Seems to me a classic leather colour with ruby red is light tan, what Brooks calls honey, or even a not-too-dark brown, which is what honey wears to.* Black could be just that twee bit formal, unless that is the effect you're striving for.

*If you want to hurry the browning process on honey or even out the ravages of time, dip the topleather of the saddle and bar tape in a neatsfoot oil bath for about twenty seconds and let drip dry -- that's how my saddle and grips got that non-catalogue light shade of mid-brown.

Neil Jones

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Re: KMC X1 Missing Link
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2016, 11:02:47 AM »
I'd better not get on to the subject of tyre rotation then  ;D.

Thanks for your calculations Andre, I think I might go for the X8 next time, Don't get me wrong, the X1 is a good chain but I doubt it's 3 times better. Every pound saved is a pound nearer to getting a Mercury.

Looking forward to seeing the XTC's new paint job. Ruby Red sounds very classy, I think honey or black would both look good but if I had to choose I think a nicely aged honey saddle with matching leather bar tape would look great but as Andre says it depends what sort of look you are after.

Cheers,
Neil