Author Topic: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains  (Read 1337 times)

Danneaux

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_Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« on: February 19, 2020, 07:47:11 AM »
Per the article introduction...
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Lennard Zinn conducted durability tests on the 13 most popular 11-speed chains. Zinn found the strongest (and the weakest) chains, and produced a cost-analysis chart for grading them.
https://www.velonews.com/2020/01/gear/we-went-to-germany-to-test-the-most-popular-bicycle-chains-heres-what-we-found_504284?fbclid=IwAR2XO1kZSABpSrWPUmK4C5nyYR_Q4suWjOrNRVRpKza4CoM4wMNW_9L-Mwg

Tests conducted at the Wippermann/Connex chain factory in Hagen. The Wipperman chain outperformed the competitors that were tested.

There are some fascinating observations and results, including this one...
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...The [new] chain initially runs noticeably roughly on the test apparatus, causing the 60kg mass to bounce. After a prescribed five-hour run-in period with only the factory lubrication on the chain, and no side angle applied to the chain, it runs smoothly, as the 400+ component parts of the chain settle in and polish each other, and the extra assembly grease rubs off. FrictionFacts tests have showed that two hours of break-in reduces chain friction by 1-2 Watts, illustrating the folly of racing on a brand-new chain.

Manufacturers were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the disparate test results and their views are as interesting as the methodology and outcomes.

A related article is devoted to the topic of measuring chain wear accurately. Although this topic has been discussed here at length, it is still intriguing to see another take on it:
https://www.velonews.com/2020/01/gear/measuring-chain-wear-accurately_504301

Best,

Dan.

Andre Jute

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2020, 07:40:53 PM »
Thanks for that, Dan. This test expands horizons of chain wear we hadn't reached before.

Lots to absorb here but three items strike me at first read-through:

1. Somewhere in our discussions on chain wear it was mentioned that any chain does not necessarily wear equally over time (standing in for use). Zinn's graph of time v wear proves that our caution was prescient. Some of the chains wear faster at first and then have a long slow rate of wear to where they are discarded. A few others wear slowly at first and then wear accelerates until the agreed point where the chain is thrown off. Some wear near enough proportionately over their entire lives. All of this under the same treatment and very accurately measured.

2. The fact that the factory lube and the general clashing of derailleurs consume power until the chain is run-in (Zinn's choice of phrase -- mine would be "bedded-in", a different matter) has not been mentioned in the literature as far as I know. Perhaps someone else more familiar with the racing literature than I am may have seen something. Since so many of us have Rohloff gearboxes, it is worth noting that bedding-in period would clearly be less for a single speed chain on a Rohloff than for a derailleur chain on a cluster transmission, and the power lost would also from the beginning be less for the Rohloff transmission but, all the same, is not likely to be zero.

3. Those per hour costs as a summary of the table are cockeyed. Zinn says that in real life they'd be lower. They'd better be. You can operate a very flash car for $3 an hour if you buy it secondhand so that the major depreciation is shifted onto the first owner, and without the inconvenience of cleaning a chain and derailleur system after every time you use it. Bicycling used to be a workingman's transport and sport, but these chains, in the Wippermann telling via Zinn, aren't for workingmen.

Some of the more obvious personal implications:
1. I'm right, given our ignorance of the proportional/disproportional rate of wear of my chosen chains and my personal circumstances (difficulty of bending over the bike, chain inside Chainglider), to throw chains off at roughly 0.5% wear (on the argument -- until now -- that they they are a lot cheaper and less bother to fit than new chainrings and sprockets) rather than either 0.75% as generally recommended and popular on the forum or 1% as used to be permissible in days of yore when good steel chainrings and sprockets were in use. (I still use steel chainrings and the Rohloff sprocket is known to be very long-lived.) Though my reasoning was different, the Wippermann tests bear loud witness.

2. At the risk of sounding like a smartass, these Wippermann tests also vindicate my choice on my Rohloff transmission of the derailleur KMC 8-xx for its extra flexibility and therefore faster bedding-in over the single-speed KMC equivalent. At the far end of the KMC 8-xx's life, but irrelevant to me as I will throw the chain off at around 0.5% wear, that may give an overall shorter life on any derailleur chain used on a Rohloff as compared to its exact single-speed equivalent from the same factory. Gee, I paid about Euro 12 each for the last lot of KMC 8-93 chains I bought... You'd have to do about 20,000 miles a year before the saving buys you a cup of coffee.

3. I do not share Wippermann's clear but untested (at least we haven't been told whether they tested it) implication that the factory lube would remain a drag after the running-in period. As is well-known, I operate my chains for their entire lifespan on their factory lube, inside a Chainglider, and the 4506km to approximately 0.5% wear that is my benchmark, while perhaps not impressive to some of the commuters with onerous cleaning schedules, is in fact nearly three times the mileage I achieved on a chain before. For me, that's adequate proof. Now, my experience is that the factory lube is worked by the chain action into a much thinner liquid than the Oil of Rohloff which in my earlier use proved to be a pretty efficient chain lubricant (and very economical too, as very little spreads an incredible way). More to the point, the liquified KMC factory lube is very much less stiff and much more liquid than the Liquid White Wax I used at another time inside a Dutch type chances, which came from the bottle liquid but which solidified on the chain and then did not liquify again under the working of the chain, instead stiffening and falling off in balls, carrying dirt with the balls (effective range before reapplying was perhaps 100km...). I think that, given the 3x distance compared to chains with other lubes that the factory lube inside the Chainglider carries me, that Wippermann might carry the chain lube on the chains in their test a good deal further into the test.

As I say, these are personal implications, given under my usual caution that I'm into zero maintenance bikes and that the cost of replacement components are irrelevant to me if they add to my convenience or extend my cycling life, and chains are one of the cheapest components needing regular replacement. Someone who earns his living with his bike would obviously take a different view on the longevity of even inexpensive components.

John Saxby

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2020, 06:53:56 PM »
Thanks for this, Dan and Andre.  I found the original Velonews article interesting, in an arcane nuffin'-to-do-wif-me-mate sorta way (he said, with full sniffy hauteur).

Doubt that I'll ever use an 11-spd chain, but the arithmetic on my KMC x8-93 chains looks like this:

Mileage before replacement:  say 4,000 kms (average life, varying with terrain & load)

Estimated average km/h:  say 18 km/h

Hours of use, per chain:   222.22, round to 225

Cost per chain:  Cdn $14.50 + 13% sales tax:  $16.40

Cost per hour:   Cdn $ 0.07

Diff'rent universes for diff'rent riders, I guess -- doesn't quite rhyme, I know, but the numbers seem clear enough.

Cheers,  J.

mickeg

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2020, 08:43:05 PM »
...
Doubt that I'll ever use an 11-spd chain, but ...

Two years ago I bought a new road bike with a 10 speed system.  Last year I bought a spare chain for it, plan to swap the two chains back and forth when I think of it so that maybe I get two chains for one cassette.

But other than the 10 speed, all my bikes take an eight speed chain.  A few years ago I bought some eight speed chains that had been taken off of new bikes from a bike charity, $5 USD each.  I do not keep track of mileage, I just use them when needed.  But I fully expected my chain from my tour last summer to be shot when I got home, measured it and it is still good, that was a surprise.

I think it was last year I started thinking of running my Rohloff bike chain to 1.0 percent elongation before changing.  In the past have replaced chains on that bike the same as on my derailleur bikes, ran them to 0.75 percent elongation before changing. 

macspud

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2020, 10:34:08 PM »
Are these cheap KMC Z8S 8 Speed Chains any good?
https://www.wiggle.co.uk/kmc-z8s-8-speed-chain-114-links-kmcz51/

Andre Jute

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2020, 11:55:39 PM »
Are these cheap KMC Z8S 8 Speed Chains any good?
https://www.wiggle.co.uk/kmc-z8s-8-speed-chain-114-links-kmcz51/


Well-reputed chain, especially with MTBers, in the middle of the Z range. Half-nickled, which if you operate a Chainglider means that at full price you're paying for protection you don't need; a hefty discount makes the extras free. In any event, in KMC chains you buy what you can get -- even big dealers don't offer the whole range. A lesser chain even if you could get it, will cost more than the Z51 currently on sale. I had a Z chain several years ago and it was super long-lasting. The only reason I switched to the KMC X8-93 was that on a sale if you bought three it worked out cheaper than the Z; not the case currently. The last time I made a feature comparison, the X8 series was superior only in having bullet-head riveting, but I'm not convinced that it will go all that much further, never mind 2.5 times as far, so at the current price of £18 and change the X8 cannot be recommended over your bargain Z51 discovery.

Short answer: Go for it, and buy a spare too.

PH

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2020, 08:14:55 PM »
Thanks for the link Dan, I've had a scan through it and may go back and have a proper read.  Chain wear isn't a particular bother to me. my one derailleur bike sees so few miles the chain lasts years and I run the chains on my IGH bikes to death.  Or till I'm going on a tour and want to set out with fresh kit.  I always turn/replace the sprocket with a new chain, and the chainring if it looks like it needs it, which is usually on the second chain. I'd like to do a better job of comparing chains, but it'd take too many years and I'm not always good at keeping records.  I rarely do any more than wipe and lube, though I have one of those chain scrubbing gizmos somewhere.  I don't think I've ever got less than 5,000 miles out of any chain and usually at least double that.  I read that all but the lowest and highest KMC chains have the same pin material, and as that's the bit that wears unless you're buying the best or cheapest you may as well just choose whichever one you fancy.
I note that KMC also do a 1/8" Rohloff sprocket, if I can find a compatible chainring, I might give one a go next time I'm replacing stuff.

macspud

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2020, 12:22:25 AM »
Short answer: Go for it, and buy a spare too.

Done, I bought 3 to get free postage.  :)

Now, is there much difference between the MissingLink options apart from pin size? Are the KMC 6/7/8 Speed MissingLink EPT Silver 7.3mm that SJSC sells the best option? 
   

Andre Jute

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2020, 09:47:07 AM »
Now, is there much difference between the MissingLink options apart from pin size? Are the KMC 6/7/8 Speed MissingLink EPT Silver 7.3mm that SJSC sells the best option?

From the page you linked the pin length is 7.3mm. That's the important datum.

Whether you need the silvered link depends how your run the chain: inside a Chainglider silvering isn't strictly necessary but still desirable because the tolerances are small and if you're trying to work on the chain beside the road on a cold wet night far from the supposedly unnecessary quick-link pliers (one to take the things off, one to put them on, grgrgrgramssssss), the silvering makes it a bit easier. In any event, a quick glance at SJS's page shows only the one link of the right pin length, so you have to buy what you can get.

KMC gives you a quick link in the chain pack, or at least they always have when I bought their chains; they don't like you messing around with their pinheads (I always want to say that...). The normal thing is to buy spares at the same time as you buy chains.

PH

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2020, 11:30:05 AM »
KMC gives you a quick link in the chain pack, or at least they always have when I bought their chains; they don't like you messing around with their pinheads (I always want to say that...). The normal thing is to buy spares at the same time as you buy chains.
I've always just used the link that comes with the chain, I've never seen any reason not to.  Neither have I ever had need of a spare, I have one in with my tools, kept from an old chain.
To remove I use the double it over and give it a tap method, has always worked for me


Matt2matt2002

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2020, 12:45:41 PM »
KMC gives you a quick link in the chain pack, or at least they always have when I bought their chains; they don't like you messing around with their pinheads (I always want to say that...). The normal thing is to buy spares at the same time as you buy chains.
I've always just used the link that comes with the chain, I've never seen any reason not to.  Neither have I ever had need of a spare, I have one in with my tools, kept from an old chain.
To remove I use the double it over and give it a tap method, has always worked for me
That's a great tip. Thanks.
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John Saxby

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2020, 05:32:53 PM »
Quote
To remove I use the double it over and give it a tap method

Or, one can use these: https://www.groundeffect.co.nz/products/quick-link-levers-clever-multi-purpose-tyre-levers

Mine weigh 1.5 oz, sez my ancient-but-ageless kitchen scale, faultless 'cos bought used decades ago at a famous hardware store in the locally famous Mennonite community of St. Jacob's, Ont.  ;)

Oggi

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2020, 06:16:32 PM »
You can still get the plastic chain pliers/tyre levers. I got a pair a few weeks ago from China! Cost £3.50 including p&p.

Matt2matt2002

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2020, 09:42:14 PM »
You can still get the plastic chain pliers/tyre levers. I got a pair a few weeks ago from China! Cost £3.50 including p&p.
Anything else cone with them?
😉
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Oggi

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Re: _Velonews_ German test of 11-sp chains
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 11:18:26 PM »
Not so far. Iíve tried them out and they work. I think they would be useless in a workshop setting but are fine to carry on the bike. They are also as good as my Park tyre levers so win win.