Page 1 of 1

Chains and sprockets, info and index

Posted: Dec 29 2012 9:10pm
by spinningmagnets
Here is a link to the endless-sphere wiki section on chain: ... tems_Chain

Pic courtesy of Whippermann.



Notes on Sprockets and Chains

A sprocket is a toothed wheel upon which a chain rides. Contrary to popular opinion, a sprocket is not a gear.

Chain Construction

Chains have a surprising number of parts. The roller turns freely on the bushing, which is attached on each end to the inner plate. A pin passes through the bushing, and is attached at each end to the outer plate. Bicycle chains omit the bushing, instead using the circular ridge formed around the pin hole of the inner plate.

Chain Dimensions

Chain types are identified by number; ie. a #40 chain. The rightmost digit is 0 for chain of the standard dimensions; 1 for lightweight chain; and 5 for rollerless bushing chain. The digits to the left indicate the pitch of the chain in eighths of an inch. For example, a number 40 chain would have a pitch of four-eighths of an inch, or 1/2", and would be of the standard dimensions in width, roller diameter, etc.

The roller diameter is "nearest binary fraction" (32nd of an inch) to 5/8ths of the pitch; pin diameter is half of roller diameter. The width of the chain, for "standard" (0 series) chain, is the nearest binary fraction to 5/8ths of the pitch; for narrow chains (1 series) width is 41% of the pitch. Sprocket thickness is approximately 85-90% of the roller width.

Plate thickness is 1/8th of the pitch, except "extra-heavy" chain, which is designated by the suffix H, and is 1/32" thicker.

ANSI Standard Chain Dimensions

Chain#_____Pitch__Roller Diameter__Roller Width__Sprocket thickness__Working Load

8mm_______8mm_____4.7mm______ 4.8mm_______XXX_______________XXX
25_________1/4"______0.130"_______1/8"_________0.110"____________140 lbs______pitch = 0.250 inch and 6.35mm
219________5/16"_____0.180"_______0.183"_______0.160"____________Xtra strong___pitch = 0.312 inch and 7.77mm
35_________3/8"______0.200"_______3/16"________0.168"____________480 lbs______pitch = 0.375 inch and 9.52mm
41_________1/2"______0.306"_______1/4"_________0.227"____________500 lbs______pitch = 0.500 inch and 12.70mm
40_________1/2"______0.312"_______5/16"________0.284"____________810 lbs________same as above

Bicycle and light Motorcycle Chain Dimensions

Chain#_________________Pitch____Roller Diameter__Roller Width____max sprocket tooth thickness

Bicycle, 9-speed or more __1/2"_____5/16" 0.315"_____________________0.069" (1.75mm)
Bicycle, with Derailleur____1/2"______5/16"_________3/32" (2.38mm)___0.087" (this is the common bicycle chain size)
Bicycle, w/out Derailleur___1/2"______5/16"_________1/8"_(3.18mm)___0.110" (Fixie, BMX, single-speed)
415_____Heavy Duty______1/2"_____0.315"_________3/16"/0.188"______0.168"/4.3mm
420_____________________1/2"______0.315"_________1/4"/0.250"_____0.227"/5.8mm______link sideplate thickness 1.8mm
425_____Heavy Duty______1/2"______0.315"_________5/16"___________0.284"/7.3mm
428_____Heavy Duty______1/2"______0.335"_________5/16"/0.313"____0.284"/7.3mm______link sideplate thickness 2.0mm ... 47-47.html

Small drive sprockets should be at least 11T or larger to avoid the noise of Chordal action and the polygon effect: ... 50#p276230

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Dec 29 2012 9:11pm
by spinningmagnets

From Thud:
The only downside I have found so far to #219 (other than the higher price), is that I havent found a master link I like, which may be understandable since #219 is popular with 10,000+ RPM 2-stroke gasoline Kart drives, so they all prefer a properly set chain instead of using a removable link. If #219 is useful to a project of yours, you will need a chainbreaker. ... ctm219.htm
Kart.jpg (12.73 KiB) Viewed 18031 times
#219 has proven to be popular for reductions due to the small link size and high strength. They are popular with Karts. The small pitch allows the builder to use a small diameter drive cog while still using at least 11-teeth. A lower number of teeth will cause the chain and sprocket to run noticeably louder, so 11 or more teeth is desirable.

Here's one example of a tiny #219 drive cog that has 13T with an 89T composite chainring (6.8:1 reduction in a single stage) ... 42#p612342
#219BBreduction.JPG (46 KiB) Viewed 18985 times
6 pages: "#219 chain and sprocket suppliers" ... 28&t=12677

Most #219 Kart motor-sprockets have a tapered bore, but some are available in a cylindrical bore.
$25 12T/13T available with 3/4-inch/0.750" bore ... ibike.aspx

Recommended by Thud ... ocket.aspx

Flange-style motor-sprockets: ... -gear.html

Miscellaneous sprocket/chain info

Posted: Dec 29 2012 9:20pm
by spinningmagnets
From respected fabricator and designer "Thud"
Bike chain: fine for pedaling...I wear it out pretty quickly powering it with electrics...there are better grades than the budget BMX stuff I use but I have options.

#25 is great for small size & semi-robust applications such as primary reduction.Too light weight for final drive on a bicycle (my bicycles anyway)
the only limitations are really large rear sprockets & adapting them to things.

#35 chain is my favorite for 2 reasons..
1st) its common. You can get chain & masterlinks & a variety of sprockets at any Tractor supply store/lawn & garden dealer & master links at any menards & ace hardware.
2nd) Its incredibly affordable & easy to adapt, the .375" [3/8"] pitch gives you a finer range of adjustment to gearing. You can also get #35 racing chain in superb alloys that will last a long time.

I have no issue making #35 fit a parallel drive on the right side..even with 2.5" wide tires.

#219 chain.
Its a great chain developed by the Kart racing scene. it is .306" pitch, so even finer adjustments in gearing are available...
One of the big advantages is the super quiet "Extron" composite sprockets available for it (inexpensive & standard 5.25" BCD)
the other side of the coin is the limited selection of drive sprockets...expensive if your adapting a kart drive cog....or limited to a fat .750" shaft diameter & need a small 12T cog
You have to pay the man for #219 chain, as there are no cheap sources. There are no "masterlinks" for #219 chain so you'll need a chainbreaker to work with it.
From Master E-hot rodder "livesforphysics" Luke:
Virtually all #219 chain is premium stuff, and kicks ass. It's designed for stupid small sprockets and 20,000-RPM operation. #35 chain is designed for coupling a log-splitter pump or various other simple low-demand operations.
random findings: 8mm chain is 0.315" pitch, 6mm is 0.236", which is very similar to #35 / #25

From hillhater:
#219H = 7.77mm pitch, 4.59mm OD roller, 5mm wide roller
05T = 8mm pitch 4.71mm OD rollers x 4.61mm wide roller
The 05T (8mm) has a higher strength than regular 219 but less than 219H
From Farfle
If you are willing to machine stuff, #40 industrial sprockets thinned to 3/16" run #415 chain great. Its what I run 24-HP through on my bike

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Dec 29 2012 10:02pm
by spinningmagnets

From Luke
...My previous bike with #35 chain sounded like an annoying vacuum cleaner mixed with an electric chainsaw...The pink Agni bike was just dead silent...

What chain type did Luke use on the Pinkbike? He had mentioned before that it was a small motorcycle roller chain and was surprisingly quiet, but I forgot the size...

Luke was speaking of his twin Turnigy motored specialized bicycle. I forget the actual tooth counts, but the differance in noise is directly attributable to the low-RPM Agni (4k RPM's) compared to the RC motor(9k+ RPM's)The Agni bike (& I think the current death bike) used #428 motorcycle chain. I can vouch for the "Dead silent" of the current death is eerie having so much power & the only sound you hear is tires whistling on the asphalt.
When searching for #428 sprockets, be aware some Karts use that, and also some mopeds, too. Please PM me the most useful links that you find...

Supplier links ... 0_269.html custom 20T-70T #428s

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Jan 29 2013 3:27pm
by spinningmagnets
#25 Chain

#25 is growing in popularity for the primary drives of non-hub builds. Belts and pulleys are much quieter than chains and sprockets in the high-RPM/low torque primary reductions, but sometimes there is difficulty in finding a small enough drive-pulley for the motor shaft to achieve an adequate reduction in one stage. Also, #25 chain and sprockets are typically much less expensive than an adequate belt and pulley set.

Small drive sprockets that have fewer than 11-teeth have a noticeably louder amount of noise when running.

It is possible to find #219 chain that is stronger than the best #25 chain, but if you have a reduction that has two stages, the higher RPM primary stage will be subjected to less torque than the secondary stage, so the extra cost of #219 may not be needed in the primary stage.

Here are several suppliers: ... 0&PageNo=1 ... _sprockets ... chain.html ... ry&path=63 ... chain.html ... 1327514645
[Thud] Recumpence turned me onto the BEST #25 drive chain....its the heavy duty stuff from here:
Here is an example of a three-stage reduction, with the first two stages being #25 chain and the third using common 3/32" bicycle chain. ... 28&t=47285

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Jun 08 2014 7:51pm
by spinningmagnets
Mid Drive Bicycle Chain

Mid drives stress the bicycle chain (unlike hubmotors which bypass the pedal-chain), and the question has arisen about what chains are the strongest for mid drives. There are many 1/8-inch BMX chains that are very strong, but they are too wide to feed through deraillers, and they do not have enough sideways flex to shift well. They are good for a single-speed drive-line , or an IGH. I am using this post to collect links to ES member experiences with strong bicycle chain for comparison, and to collect part numbers. ... 73#p810144
from Panurge: The whipperman chains seems like new after some 400Km each, I've really stressed them a lot....the 1G8 seems indestructable but weight is stupidly high

breaking load: at least 1.500Kg - 1/2" pitch x 1/8"
pin length: 12.4 mm
weight: 659 g/96 links

Chain advertised as "6-speed/7-speed/8-speed" has the sideways flex ability to change gears. ... 26#p880959
from notger: " electric wattage is 2100Watt peak...I have read about tests made with 10-speed chains and the Shimano XT HG95 was the best in weardown and strength so I use this one for about 2000km on my GNG now, and only changed it 3 times ... 25#p882069
from jdevo2004: The Wippermann conneX 8sE/8sX can be used on all 8, 7, and 6-speed drive systems and E-Bike drive trains. With an outer plate made of innovative and particularly hard material that withstands the high load changes of E-Bike drivers. The stainless steel inner link also guarantees long service life. The chain is equipped with a reusable conneX link that allows assembly and disassembly of the chain in seconds, by hand! ... 1_328.html
_____________________________ ... 61#p122582
The KMC 910, their strongest chain is for 3/16" Sprockets.

The KMC 710 is described as:

K710 Kool Chain
For the "Kool" guys KMC makes this chain with an impressive tensile strength of 1,300 Kg.
Width 9.3 mm

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Apr 06 2015 11:55am
by spinningmagnets
From ES member "ferret"

Disk brake to sprocket adapters: ... ate-28.htm ... rice_high=

#4x sprockets: ... inum-.html ... _sizes.htm ... /browse/en ... axles.aspx

#25 chain sprokets: ... al:3/8\%22 ... in_25.html ... 27f3abe6f1 ... 11570.html ... 08606.html ... -45-1.html ... chain.html ... egory_id=0

Left hand freewheels:
5 -hole: ... 67-45.html
cog: ... tegory=403 ... 52095.html
4 Hole:

#219 sprockets: ... 150&page=1 ... oduct=9806 ... ckets.html ... rt=nameAsc ... &SUBMIT=Go ... ibike.aspx ... ckets.html

Hubs: ... -4-Stroke/ ... -wheel.htm ... wheel.html ... -p177.html ... egory/393/ ... e-kit.html

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Oct 25 2018 9:58pm
by neptronix
This is an epic thread. mind if i make it a sticky in the mid drives section?

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Oct 25 2018 10:16pm
by spinningmagnets
No sweat. I "think" when you move a thread to a new section, you are asked if you want to leave a ghost thread in the original section. Afterwards, it looks like the thread is in two places.

Re: Chains and sprockets

Posted: Oct 26 2018 10:19am
by neptronix
Thanks again for your excellent topic here.

Re: Chains and sprockets, info and index

Posted: Feb 19 2019 11:19am
by Retrorockit
I have a question that maybe someone knows the answer to.
I'm building a bike with a Shimano Nexus 7 IGH Hub (what it came with), and adding a TSDZ2 motor kit. The motor has a chainline of 51mm, and the hub has a chainline of 47mm. Due to the rotary shifter inside the frame the hub is pretty much a fixed setting. I'll do what I can on the motor end. But if I need to make up a little bit would a wider 415 chain on bicycle cogs make up for some offset? Just wondering if anyone has tried this, and how it did or didn't work out. How much misalignment can a single speed chain tolerate? How much for an 8 speed chain?

Re: Chains and sprockets, info and index

Posted: Feb 19 2019 5:58pm
by spinningmagnets
415 chain is not made to run through a derailleur. If you attempt this, you will be the first person to post about this...

Re: Chains and sprockets, info and index

Posted: Feb 19 2019 10:22pm
by amberwolf ... clchn.html

The chart below (from that link) is:
Chain Strength & Dimensions
Couldn't format it to display well, so:

Columns are:
Chain Number


Roller Diameter

Between Inner Plates

Pin Diameter

Average Tensile

Lbs. per foot

Code: Select all

__#40 (#425) 	1/2 	.312 	5/16 	.156 	3,700 	.41
__#41 	 	1/2 	.306 	1/4 	.141 	2,000 	.27
__#410 (#43) 	1/2 	.306 	1/8 	.141 	1,600 	.19
__#415 (#42) 	1/2 	.306 	3/16 	.141 	1,600 	.26
__#415H (#42H) 	1/2 	.306 	3/16 	.141 	1,600 	.26
__#420 	 	1/2 	.306 	1/4 	.156 	3,700 	.38
__#425 (#40) 	1/2 	.312 	5/16 	.156 	3,700 	.41
__#428 	 	1/2 	.335 	5/16 	.177 	4,200 	.44
__#428H  	1/2 	.335 	5/16 	.177 	4,200 	.44
__#520 	 	5/8 	.400 	1/4 	.200 	6,100 	.64
__#520H 	5/8 	.400 	1/4 	.200 	6,100 	.68
__#520-2 	5/8 	.400 	1/4 	.200 	12,200 	1.26
__#525 	 	5/8 	.400 	5/16 	.200 	6,100 	.65
__#530 (50) 	5/8 	.400 	3/8 	.200 	6,100 	.66

Re: Chains and sprockets, info and index

Posted: Feb 19 2019 10:27pm
by amberwolf
Retrorockit wrote:
Feb 19 2019 11:19am
But if I need to make up a little bit would a wider 415 chain on bicycle cogs make up for some offset?
That type of chain (and other "single speed" chains) are designed to flex little (or none), so they will tolerate offset less well than "multi speed" chains which are designed for that purpose.

That said, I run BMX chain thru old six speed derailers on my SB Cruiser trike, but I'm not shifting using them--they're just tensioners and guides. The chain is pretty close to the frame of the derailer, and if there's much angle at all, it rubs on the metal.

I suppose if there was always a certain offset angle, one could bend the frame of the derailer at the bottom end so it angles toward the front chainrings. It would probably only work well with multispeed chain that can "twist" enough, but it might work with the singlespeed chains. Guess you'd have to try it out.