Looking for chains at ebay, I see, that they have 106, 114, 116 links and so on.

I have a racing bike (2x7) and see, that chains are often announced as 6-7-8-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed. Since there are some prime numbers, I guess it is only back gear, which is taken into account?

I found one picture with a printing on the containment: "6-7-8 speed" and "116 Links". So am I right - would this thing be alright for me, or do I have to take more information into account?

Manufacture of the bike is Peugeot, of the mechanics: Shimano exage, an 80ies bike, and the chain lost attachment very abruptly after the cold winter. I'm not stick to Shimano, if I don't need to. Location Germany, if this is of importance.

3 Answers 3


The speed is the number of cogs on the rear cassette. This matters because higher numbers of gears (esp 9speed) mean that the chain must be narrower to fit between them. Generally 6-7-8 speed chains are the same and 9 speed are thinner, more than 9 speed is a bit specialized.

The length isn't as important because you will usually have to shorten the chain to fit your bike. The standard chain is 114 pins (56 links) but you almost never need to know this ( I had to look it up!).

  • 1
    Aha. And I need a special tool, to shorten the chain, and depending on the manufactor (Shimano, Rholoff, others) different tools? Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 22:08
  • Yes you need a chain breaker tool (a cheap one will do for occasional use) you don't need a different one for each typ eof chain
    – mgb
    Commented Apr 19, 2011 at 22:27
  • 1
    There's two sort of chain tools - adjustable ones, and ones that only work well on one width of chain. The adjustable ones have a screw adjuster as well as the rivet pusher and can be adjusted to fit any chain. Fixed size ones will often work on a range of sizes, but you have to be a little careful.
    – Мסž
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 4:04
  • @mgb: "114 pins (56 links)" is a rather strange way to put it. Firstly, to avoid unnecessary confusuion, the accepted commercial nomenclature for such bicycle chain is "114 links". Secondly, a 114 link chain will indeed have 114 pins and will include 57 link pairs (inner+outer plate). Each pair contrubutes 1" of chain length. Thirdly, in more technical parlance, a 114 pin chain will have 57 links and 114 half-links. But again, 57 links, not 56. Where did 56 come from is not exactly clear to me. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 21:44
  • I like to use "speed chain links" or "quick release links" so that I don't need to use a chain breaker tool each time I want to remove it for maintenance. Also when replacing your chain, a quick way to get the right length is to hold the new chain against the old one and break the chain at the appropriate point. Or there the method of placing the chain on the biggest cog on the rear cassette and the biggest chainring on the front and adjusting so the rear derailler is taut but not overstretched. Or there's a formula. Check Google, I've used all three methods fine.
    – adey_888
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 2:34

Gotta love Sheldon. Here is ... some chain length info

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    While this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – freiheit
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 16:14

The only caveat is certain types of Shimano chains which require special pins; they are extra-long and you break off the section after putting the chain together. A lot of the chains you get from Walmart and other sources have a "quickie" link, a special link that just snaps the chain together. however, you will still likely have to shorten the chain.

Best practice is to save the old one and use it to measure.

  • New Shimano chains come with at least one joining pin because you have to attach the chain somehow. The cheap ones only come with one pin, the rest should come with two.
    – Мסž
    Commented Apr 20, 2011 at 4:05
  • 2
    When you measure your chain you want to count links to measure.If your use a ruler the count will be different due to the chain getting longer as it wears.
    – mikes
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 2:02

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