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The bike chain is the most important part of a bicycle, especially since it helps propel your bike. If you’ve just started cycling, you may overhear discussions about how different weighted bike chains produce varying cycling results. So, how much does a regular bike chain weigh?
Depending on the brand and material used to make the chains, a bike chain can weigh between 205g to 250g. You should bear in mind that lighter chains don’t necessarily mean they give you a faster ride, while heavier chains don’t equate to longer distances.
Instead, there are different uses for the various types of bike chains and why they should weigh differently. In this article, we’ll explore how each component of your bike chain will make a difference to your riding style.
Understanding your bike chain
Depending on your riding style, the different components in the bike chains can help improve your performance or make your ride smoother. Here is how each component to the bike chain can affect how your bike rides.
The weight of the chain
Bike chains generally weigh between 205g to 250g, with lighter chains being increasingly popular in new generation cyclists. Many cyclists believe lighter chains can help with quicker acceleration, thus becoming a choice chain for performance riders.
Some cyclists, however, may opt to have heavier trains as they can offer better traction to your cycle. By the end of the day, the weight of your bike chain is relevant to how you enjoy riding your bike, thus the choice is always on your shoulders.
Do note that you may not feel the difference if you’re using a chain that is approximately 20g heavier or lighter. Instead, you may only feel a change if your bike chain is approximately 50g heavier or lighter, so a test may be required to see which weight fits best.
The thickness of the chain
The thickness or the width of your bike chain is also often discussed when it comes to a change of chains. There are two basic sizes for the internal width – the 1/8” chain for most single speed bikes and the 3/32” (5 to 8 speeds) or 11/128″ (9 to 12 speeds) chain for multi-speed bikes.
However, some multi-speed bikes may also require bike chains that differ according to the number of gears on the bike. Thus, most chains for multi-speed bikes are often referenced by the number of gears instead of the chain thickness.
Getting the thickness of your bike chain right is important as you don’t want to have your chains fall between the sprockets of your bike. As such, narrow chains are often chosen for bikes with more gears, while bikes will fewer gears should use thicker chains.
The length of the chain
There are several standard lengths in bike chains that feature 96, 98, or 112 links. Depending on your bike type and model, these standard chains are usually usable once removed from the box.
In some bikes, several links may have to be removed or added before they can be used. To determine the best length of the chain, you’ll have to ensure it runs well when the largest rings on the front and back of the bike are engaged.
However, the chain must also pull taut when engaging the small rings on the front and back. If the chain hangs, then you’ll know the chain is too long for use. In this case, you may have to remove some links and readjust the length accordingly.
The material used to make the chain
Bike chains are often made of titanium or alloy steel. They are chosen for their strength and durability, while alloy steel chains can also feature hollow side plates and pins to reduce the weight of the bike chains.
Titanium bike chains, on the other hand, are often chosen for their natural lightweight construct. They may, however, be an expensive investment if you’re not sure about lighter chains being right for your riding style.
The material used for bike chains must usually be corrosion and rust-free, as many cyclists may try to get the most bang for their buck. However, which material rides best is always a matter of preference, and you may have to try them before you decide which works for you.
How long does a bike chain last?
Bike chains can generally last between 500 miles to 5,000 miles. The varying distances on how long they last depend on your riding style and how you maintain your bike chain after every ride or between rides, so it’s important to always check on your chains pre-cycling.
How do I properly maintain a bike chain?
To get the most mileage out of your bike chain, it’s important to keep it well maintained. This includes cleaning your chain after each ride and frequently applying lubricant over it. If you notice any permanent wear and tear, then it’s best to change the chains for your safety.