Chain Compatibility … Which Cassettes, Speed Hubs?
by:Teng (from Singapore)
Hey, I would like to know what kind of chains are compatible with what kind of cassettes and what type of speed hubs. Thanks.
Here is the skinny on bicycle chains.
SS – single speed … which includes cruiser, bmx, internal gear, and fixies. These bikes have 1 sprocket or chain ring on the crank and 1 cog on the rear wheel. These bikes use 1/2″ x 1/8″ or in some heavy duty applications 1/2″ x 3/16″. These numbers are referencing the size of the chain links the 1/2″ refers to the pitch. Pitch is the distance between chain pins. 1/8” or 3/16” is the roller size.
Then we get into multiple speed drive trains using Derailleurs. Number of speed refers to the cassette or freewheel on the rear wheel.
- 6 speed – 7.8 mm (5⁄16 in) (all brands)
- 7 speed – 7.3 mm (9⁄32 in) (all brands)
- 8 speed – 7.1 mm (9⁄32 in) (all brands)
- 9 speed – 6.6 to 6.8 mm (1⁄4 to 9⁄32 in) (all brands)
- 10 speed – 6.2 mm (1⁄4 in) (Shimano, Campagnolo)
- 10 speed (Narrow) – 5.88 mm (7⁄32 in) (Campagnolo, KMC)
- 10 speed (Narrow, Direction) – 5.88 mm (7⁄32 in) (Shimano CN-5700, CN-6700, CN-7900)
- 11 speed – 5.5 mm (7⁄32 in) (Campagnolo, KMC, Shimano CN-9000)
- 12 speed – 5.3mm (13/64 in) SRAM
As you can see the chains only get narrower with the increase in the number of speeds. It is always best to run the chain designed for the drive train you have.