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The chain broke on my Huffy 26" Cranbrook Beach Cruiser. What chain do I buy? Size and speed? I think it's multi speed!

  • Does it have a shifter? The pictures I see on the web show a simple single-speed bike with no shifters. In any event, you have the old chain, so take that to a bike shop to match to the new one. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 3 at 0:35
  • Note that you'll need a "chain breaker" tool to "cut" the replacement chain to length. (Though hopefully the new chain will come with some sort of "quick link" so you don't have to use the tool to join the chain.) – Daniel R Hicks Jan 3 at 3:43
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At the bike rental store I had we rented single speed cruisers. Single speed and mulit-speed, done with multi-speed hub (sometimes called internal gearing, hub has a single drive gear) is usually 1/8" width size 1/2" spacing, generic stuff. Lots of choices for plating and color if you want a little fancy or rust resistance. Now when you say multi-speed with rear derailleur, there's the kicker. You'll need a little skinnier to get through the drive-train. Get a generic 3/32" multi-speed chain my best guess for Huffy match. You see any word on the derailleur (for example) like Shimano or other brand?? Buy specific to gear train brand for best performance and also to number of gears too. For example you could be rocking a 5-speed cruiser with a low end Shimano derailleur, probably with a big cage between gear pulleys. In this example case, I recommend (not brand, just example) but I'd match brand, so buy Shimano/ 5spd/ multi-speed chain. Use the old chain to match number of links, but don't trust it for sizing. Chain stretch is a real thing, sometimes 1-2 full links. I've seen great YT videos for chain sizing on both types of drivetrain. FYI, fit on a single speed is adjusted with dropout and length so the chain is no looser than about a 1" bounce to it.

  • I think you can trust the old chain for width, just not length (as measured in inches/cm). When I replace a chain and I have the old one in manageable condition, I lay them out side by side and match link by link to get the length. Otherwise, it's not too hard to get the length of the chain by threading it into the derailers and around the sprockets. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 3 at 3:41
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If the bike is single speed or internal hub geared, chains with internal width of 1/8" / 3.2mm are usually used. This is probably what you need.

If the bike has a derailleur 3/32" / 2.4mm chains are used. Derailleur chains are also specific to the number of rear gears. 6, 7 and 8 speed systems use the same chain.

Chains come in one length and are shortened to the appropriate length for the bike by removing links and joining the ends. A special tool is needed to push out a pin to shorten the chain. The chain is joined by either using the same tool to push in a special pin, or by using a special split link - which is generally easier to do.

There are numerous videos on you tube on how to fit a new chain. I recommend the videos that Park Tool puts out. here's their singlespeed/hub gear chain video which gets into proper chain tensioning as well.

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