Bicycle Chain Pitch

Bicycle Chain Pitch is a rather simple set of math. The pitch relates to the distance between abutting rollers or rivets:

All bicycles made in recent times use a 1/2" pitch, thus 1/2" between every set of consecutive rivets.

That has not always been true. Bicycles from the World War I era actually used a 1" pitch and Shimano did try and take a lead in the industry a few years back by introducing a 10mm bicycle chain pitch at one time, but this innovation did not catch on. Shimano was forced to return to the 1/2" standard.

This is NOT to be confused with the width, when having a discussion of bicycle chain sizes. Chain widths are typically 1/8" or 3/32" and refer to the distance between the two inner plates.

Increase in pitch due to wear is NOT a function of the inner and outer plates stretch as some might like to suggest, but rather wearing of the rivets that allows the outer plates to separate further than originally designed.

Measuring a bicycle chain's pitch can be used to identify chain wear and flag the need for a replacement chain and/or cogs and chainrings.

See information on BICYCLE CHAIN LENGTH

Bicycle Chains: Length, Width, What's Best to Buy etc.

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copyright Jan. 2007