Replacement Chain

Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
I don't know how to apply quality to a chain! How do you decide which is best? By price? When I asked at L. B. S. For a new chain the young lad asked how much my bike cost, what's that got to do with it I replied... He said you don't put a cheap chain on an expensive bike! I for one have no idea which chain is best on an e-bike.
 

tillson

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 29, 2008
5,145
3,001
But until this summer Tillson's bike had the lower powered 2008 Panasonic crank motor. It's today's much more powerful crank motors which have brought the problem of excessive wear, first coming to common notice with the Bosch unit where Bosch reduced the power a little and have since also separated the power levels on units for derailleur or hub gears.
An interesting point that. When the new motor arrived, I re-used the chain, chain wheel and motor sprocket from the old set-up (many thousands of miles). The chain snapped after about 30 miles. I have now replaced the chain, rear sprocket and motor sprocket with new so I shall monitor the situation, but I'm not using the e-bike much these days, so it may take a while.

The 2011 Panasonic motor is noticeably more powerful than the 2008 version and this could be the problem. It delivers a lot of power all the way to 15 mph, with no gradual reduction like the old motor.

I haven't measured them, but I think that the motor sprocket and the rear sprocket are made from thinner material than the earlier versions that I had, more suited to thinner chain, which is strange.

I don't like the new motor as much as the old 2008 version. The new model climbs hills faster and gives a stronger push (in a less refined way), but somehow I feel cheated out of the, "cycling experience" by it. The old Panasonic was cycling, the new is closer to moped.

Ideally these newer more powerful e-bikes should have a more robust drive train. 1/8" chain, meaty sprockets manufactured from good quality material and probably a bespoke e-bike gearbox. Forget the 11 speed hub gears and zillion speed derailleurs, they simply are not required on an e-bike. 4 or 5 tough gears giving a wide ratio range built into a hub unit would make much more sense. The power of the new motors makes it un-necessary to have small ratio steps between each gear.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,695
21,119
I haven't measured them, but I think that the motor sprocket and the rear sprocket are made from thinner material than the earlier versions that I had, more suited to thinner chain, which is strange.
That's because they are installed on some nine and ten speed derailleur bikes which have much narrower chains Tillson.

I fully agree on the gear range points you make.
.
 

trex

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 15, 2011
7,703
2,669
The Nexus-3 on small 20" wheels seems to do well. I wonder if someone would make a robust 4-speed hub gear for e-bikes?
 
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mike killay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 17, 2011
2,660
1,325
I haven't measured them, but I think that the motor sprocket and the rear sprocket are made from thinner material than the earlier versions that I had, more suited to thinner chain, which is strange.
Ideally these newer more powerful e-bikes should have a more robust drive train. 1/8" chain, meaty sprockets manufactured from good quality material and probably a bespoke e-bike gearbox. Forget the 11 speed hub gears and zillion speed derailleurs, they simply are not required on an e-bike. 4 or 5 tough gears giving a wide ratio range built into a hub unit would make much more sense. The power of the new motors makes it un-necessary to have small ratio steps between each gear.
I quite agree, my Tonaro runs perfectly well on 2,4, 6 and 8.
What I would like to do is find an old 4 speed derailleur with thick cogs and use a 'Tradesman's' size chain (Whatever that was, Flecc will tell us)
As others have said, my first full sized bike ran all through the 1950's doing a huge mileage without any thought for the chain. Sure, cycle mechanic books (was it F.J.Camm?) mentioned chain wear and hooked teeth, but we never even looked let alone replaced anything. Tyres, plastic mudguards and bike lamps were the weak points then. (Not to forget the old oil skin capes that turned into a gelatinous blob!)
 
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tillson

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 29, 2008
5,145
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I suppose that makes sense from a commonality of parts and sales viewpoint. But it makes no sense to weaken the components of a system which, by all accounts, is already approaching the limit of its capability.
 

mountainsport

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 6, 2012
1,419
298
An interesting point that. When the new motor arrived, I re-used the chain, chain wheel and motor sprocket from the old set-up (many thousands of miles). The chain snapped after about 30 miles. I have now replaced the chain, rear sprocket and motor sprocket with new so I shall monitor the situation, but I'm not using the e-bike much these days, so it may take a while.

The 2011 Panasonic motor is noticeably more powerful than the 2008 version and this could be the problem. It delivers a lot of power all the way to 15 mph, with no gradual reduction like the old motor.

I haven't measured them, but I think that the motor sprocket and the rear sprocket are made from thinner material than the earlier versions that I had, more suited to thinner chain, which is strange.

I don't like the new motor as much as the old 2008 version. The new model climbs hills faster and gives a stronger push (in a less refined way), but somehow I feel cheated out of the, "cycling experience" by it. The old Panasonic was cycling, the new is closer to moped.

Ideally these newer more powerful e-bikes should have a more robust drive train. 1/8" chain, meaty sprockets manufactured from good quality material and probably a bespoke e-bike gearbox. Forget the 11 speed hub gears and zillion speed derailleurs, they simply are not required on an e-bike. 4 or 5 tough gears giving a wide ratio range built into a hub unit would make much more sense. The power of the new motors makes it un-necessary to have small ratio steps between each gear.
Good review.

MS.
 

Kenny

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 13, 2007
379
106
West of Scotland
I agree the sway towards 10 speed derailleurs on e-bikes is stupid.
My friends 350w Pro-Connect S eats chains compared to my older lower powered 9 speed.
I recently had a ride on an old 3 speed Panasonic powered step-through and was very surprised to find that the 3 gears were adequate.
Second gear got me up all but the steepest hills and I just left it in third on the flat for a very uncomplicated enjoyable ride.
 
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awol

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 4, 2013
1,145
346
It gets worse.
I have fitted the new chain and now I get an occasional slipping on the small cog next to the smallest which suggests the gears worn too. So I am going to continue running with the old chain (well oiled) until that starts slipping or giving problems and let you know how long that is, could be weeks/months.
I can see and feel the difference in the chains.
Don't think I have a octalink crank, it's a shimano BB, also the creaking seems to have gone for now.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,695
21,119
What I would like to do is find an old 4 speed derailleur with thick cogs and use a 'Tradesman's' size chain (Whatever that was, Flecc will tell us)
Trade bike chain is 5/32" internal roller width. I doubt it would work derailleur fashion since derailleur chains are made with some lateral "slop" to allow for the twisting during changes. The trade chain just would be flexible enough.

The Shimano 4 speed hub was the last hub gear alternative, but it had less gear range than their 3 speed! And because it was weak it was discontinued.

For a low number of wide range gears, the SRAM P5 was the best and is very tough, 5 gears spread over 252%. Unfortunately it has a very slow gear change, especially downwards, so the gear for any hill just had to be anticipated before starting a climb.

They also made an even stronger goods version of it with a slightly higher low gear to add that strength, but of course that loses a little of the gear range. These SRAM hub gears may just be still in stock somewhere, but they have a completely new range now which i know nothing about.

Here's the webpage on those new ones
.
 
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VictoryV

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 15, 2012
310
207
73
near Biggleswade
They certainly did, and so did most of the bike components. When I joined the trade in 1950, seeing original components on 1930s and even 1920s bikes was commonplace.

I still cannot understand why today's bicycle parts are seemingly so fragile, considering the huge advances in metallurgy during and since World War 2.
.
My Raleigh "Palm Beach" '57 still has the original chain and Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Hub. Since there is very little slack in the chain it has never de-railed. The advert at the time for this bike showed it being ridden down a "Jacobs Ladder" of stairs - thus promoting the springiness of the steel forks. Cost £13 which my Dad paid for in installments.
 
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amp1

Just Joined
Jan 26, 2014
4
0
52
I found this link for choosing KMC chains very useful - you will also see they have added an e-bike mid motor choice!

http://www.kmcchain.eu/The_right_chain_for_your_bike

I find KMC outlasts most other makes especially if you keep them clean regulary which is generally a good rub down with an old rag and re-oil once a week (takes 2 minutes) The rustless chain version is well worth it too.

awol - make sure your new chain is the same length as the old one - the slipping could be caused by incorrect tension?
 
D

Deleted member 4366

Guest
Don't think I have a octalink crank, it's a shimano BB, also the creaking seems to have gone for now.
Octalink is Shimano. You get square taper, Octalink and Hollowtech from Shimano. Three different types of spindle in the BB. The Octalink has a coarse spline, which creaks something rotten. I had to grease mine to stop it.
 

oldtom

Esteemed Pedelecer
Forget the 11 speed hub gears and zillion speed derailleurs, they simply are not required on an e-bike. 4 or 5 tough gears giving a wide ratio range built into a hub unit would make much more sense. The power of the new motors makes it un-necessary to have small ratio steps between each gear.
I was going to agree your point there Tillson but popped out to the barber's and after pouring a coffee on my return, opened my laptop to find lots of others have beaten me to it.

Nevertheless, given the purpose of EAPCs and the typical demographic of buyers for such machines, multi-geared chain wheel transmissions do seem somewhat superfluous. On my Nexus-8 bike, I managed 95% of the time on gears 5 through 8. Steep hills meant using 4 & 3 sometimes and a restart on a very steep slope necessitated second gear.

Now, after a three hour hiatus due to unexpected visitors.......

My other bikes with derailleur set-ups find me riding almost exclusively on the biggest chain wheel with only the odd steep hill causing me to engage the middle ring. Never yet have I found the need to drop into the granny gear but I suppose if I were towing heavy loads or over-filling pannier bags, that might then come into play at times.

The grunt from my Xion-motored bike is surprisingly good on hills and after 7 months of ownership and many hours of cycling, I don't suppose I have spent more than 10 minutes out of the large chain wheel. That's not because I'm an athlete; it simply demonstrates how much EAPCs have moved on over recent years.

The simplicity of a single-speeder with power assistance sometimes appeals to me but my local terrain would probably overwhelm the bike with my limited pedal power. If I lived somewhere reasonably flat though, I'd be tempted.

Tom
 
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Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
Mine has 9 gears, don't know the numbers off hand, I rarely use 8 and 9 and on the road it's 6 or 7 depending on the mode (tour =6, sport/turbo =7). However .. As its an MTB I do go off road and on some sticky sloppy slippery bits it's not all about power and speed ,it's more about control. On some occasions I could do with a lower gear in a low power mode to keep the pedals spinning a bit faster whilst keeping the speed low. You can't go rattling across muddy tree roots at 15 mph. This is probably why we are moving towards more gears. My intention is.. When chainrings finally needs changing I will get a smaller one.
 

Croxden

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2013
2,024
1,304
North Staffs
I wouldn't change my Rohloff for any of your gears. Rarely do I use below 4th and only the odd burst in 14th but should I run out of battery, those extra low gear are a god send.
 

Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
Perhaps it's a case of hoses for courses? My next e-bike will need to..
1/ be able to comfortably ride on roads with steep hills.
2/ be able to ride on rough and muddy terain.
3/ must be able to manage very steep off road tracks where tree roots and other obstacles necessitate a slow speed possibly 2 or 3 mph or less but still have full power when needed.
4/ easily deal with punctures.
I suspect that a hub driven bike might struggle with 3 a d 4.
 
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Wicky

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 12, 2014
1,881
2,489
Colchester, Essex
www.jhepburn.co.uk
KTM eRace P with puncture resistant tyres fits the bill :) If you really have to remove the wheel in the field then all you need is a 15mm spanner, unhook some velcro, and disconnect two connectors - Simples

 
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Gubbins

Esteemed Pedelecer
KTM eRace P with puncture resistant tyres fits the bill :) If you really have to remove the wheel in the field then all you need is a 15mm spanner, unhook some velcro, and disconnect two connectors - Simples

Will this deliver controllable power at very low speeds on technical tracks? One paticularly hard bit is ia short run up of about 5 metres at least 25% gradient with a big stone to negotiate meaning an almost stop to get the front wheel around it. I often fall off here....