Ebike specific Chain

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
I learned Wipperman Connex won't run on narrow wide chainwheels, like Lekkie, race face and eclipse. Truly a quality chain. Very disappointed. Since 132l are a pain to find and buying two and making a chain gets pricey, I've taken to buying cheap Sunlite, and keeping a spare and smallest chaintool I could find in my battery bag. Got a good deal on 5. I bought a chain measuring tool and staying on top I've not been burned on a ride. BUT I'm a casual rider, I still would have liked a quality chain. There are other chainwheels but offset issues with DIY mid drives.
 
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rmasa

Member
I finally just gave in and purchased one of those chain stretch gauges.


IMG_0960.JPG


I will now trust it, and replace the chain when the gauge indicates it.
 

Maxwellian

New Member
Still haven’t seen anything specific as to what the actual difference on an “ebike specific” chain is, on this thread or anywhere else. Stronger rivets? Better hardening on the wear surfaces?

Reading this thread though, I think I can shed some light on a couple things.

The Bosch performance/Cx chainrings are tiny, but there is a 2.5x gear ration to the crank, so it pedals like a ring 2.5x as big.

On mid drives with a small chainring, it spins faster, so similar chain tension as a mid drive with a full size chainring. But, smaller chainring means more bend in the chain, so the load is carried by fewer rollers, and the higher speed means the chain bends and straightens more often, so it should wear faster. This is despite a lower chain tension than you might have on say, an unassisted bike with a triple crank. The common mid drives put out 70 or 80 Nm. A 200 pound dude standing on a pedal is 150 Nm, before you add any dynamic movement or pulling up on the handlebars.

So, I’d wager these mid drives aren’t killing chains through shear force, they’re killing them with small chainrings, speed, consistently high loads, and often too much force while shifting.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
There is imitation steel containing lead and copper from scrap. The ****ese ATA freewheel that came with my $179 hub motor probably is made of that. Based on my experience with co-workers harbor freight "tools". There is medium quality real steel containing only iron and carbon tempered properly. In my experience Suntour parts from ****wan are made of that. Shimano cheaper line freewheels sold on discount store cycles are probably that. There are better steels maybe containing alloys of chromium, vanadium, or manganese. The highly reputed KMC chain may be that. SRAM and shimano premium cassettes are definitely tougher than the shimano grocery store parts.
A 250 W mid drive motor may consistently be applying more force to the chain than the average rider. 7 speed bikes may have decent life, but 11 speed e-bikes may not. The premium 11 speed chains used by road bikers are lasting about 1000 miles or 1500 KM. See the reports on roadbikereview.com which is passionately non-electric. The 10 and 11 speed chains are narrower than the 7-8 speed chain and more prone to wear. The wider chain used on 5 speed freewheel on a 1986 Schwinn mountain bike, I got ~8000 miles out of a one, without electricity.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
Still haven’t seen anything specific as to what the actual difference on an “ebike specific” chain is, on this thread or anywhere else. Stronger rivets? Better hardening on the wear surfaces?

Reading this thread though, I think I can shed some light on a couple things.

The Bosch performance/Cx chainrings are tiny, but there is a 2.5x gear ration to the crank, so it pedals like a ring 2.5x as big.

On mid drives with a small chainring, it spins faster, so similar chain tension as a mid drive with a full size chainring. But, smaller chainring means more bend in the chain, so the load is carried by fewer rollers, and the higher speed means the chain bends and straightens more often, so it should wear faster. This is despite a lower chain tension than you might have on say, an unassisted bike with a triple crank. The common mid drives put out 70 or 80 Nm. A 200 pound dude standing on a pedal is 150 Nm, before you add any dynamic movement or pulling up on the handlebars.

So, I’d wager these mid drives aren’t killing chains through shear force, they’re killing them with small chainrings, speed, consistently high loads, and often too much force while shifting.
There'splentyout there, easily Googled. https://www.connexchain.com/en/e-bike-chains.html
 

tallpaul

Active Member
My Bosch Performance S Haibike came with a Shimano chain. 1200 miles later I replaced it with the KMC X10e chain. After another 1200 miles or so had to replace it again. Second KMC X10e needs replacing now at, you guessed it, 1200 miles again. So no difference.
I like the KMC X10e as it has a removable connector so I can take the chain off for thorough cleanings.
I use a chain stretch measurement gauge, and also listen to the noise the chain makes as it ages.
Wish I could get more miles out of these chains. Maybe a Gates belt in my future?
 

Patdown45

New Member
Rmasa,

If looking to replace your chain, the benefits of going with an ebike specific chain really makes a difference if you ride with a mid drive system. If you ride with a Bosch mid drive, there will be much higher torque being applied to the chain vs a rear hub system.

If you ride with a rear hub system then a basic chain will be OK. With that being said the less expensive parts typically are made from materials that will wear quicker and will typically get a shorter lifecycle then a higher quality chain. Now keep in mind that a cheaper cassette / freewheel will also be a wear point. So ideally you want to match similar qualities there to get fairly close wear patterns. No point getting a high quality cassette and throwing on the cheapest chain. With a high quality chain/cassette setup riders will typically experience longer life, smoother shifting and a generally nicer ride. Keep in mind that the whole drive train needs to be properly maintained and lubricated. A bent, dirty worn out derailleur wont make a high quality chain / cassette feel better... ;-)

Now, here is where I feel and know that an ebike specific chain makes a difference. If you use a basic chain like an HG40 for example on a Bosch mid drive then you're probably going to experience a chain snap at one point. This is due to the high torque being applied to the chain from the drive unit. If you have a great bike with a quality cassette for example and put on a basic chain like the Shimano HG40 you're probably going to spend more $$$ in the long run then dishing out the extra cost of buying a better quality chain. The accelerated wear will certainly eat away at the cassette and front chain ring much quicker assuming it doesn't snap before that. If you have a shop do your service work for you, you'll probably spend more in the long run then biting the bullet and getting yourself a decent chain / cassette set up. We have clients who use a good quality Shimano / SRAM cassette paired with a CONNEX / KMC ebike chain and also a CONNEX chainring and have increased their life cycle already to the point where we have not been able to determine by how much as the setup has not been due for replacement yet. I am sure they will be ahead when they calculate in the labor savings and I know they are ahead if they calculate their time for not having to bring the bike to the shop for service.

If you ride offroad and ride hard with a mid drive like Bosch, you need the best (chain, cassette, chain ring etc....) that you can afford. Trying to save a couple of $$ on a mountain bike when going offroad will just cost you more and ruin your day eventually. When you shift frequently under load this is really where a high quality chain like the CONNEX or KMC E series combined with an upgraded chain ring makes a difference.

In summary a rear hub is more forgiving than a mid drive so you can use pretty much anything. Ride more aggressively or want the convenience of getting longer life, upgrade to the higher end ebike specific components.

hope this helps,


Will
shop.scooteretti.com
So true I just snapped my chain after a 6 mile portion of my commute. Even though I had a chain tool, just couldn't get the pin pushed back before it would just fall out....walked it home...no quick link....lesson learned and I have a bbshd custom build
 

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