Myths about the Causes of Chain-suck              ... go to main article

A substantial mythology exists about what causes chain-suck. The issues below are frequently cited as causes or possiblities. Neither my testing programme, nor careful trial and evaluation of alternative solutions in the field, nor consideration whether they have any potential for sensible mechanisms, has supported them as causes. I don't consider them to affect chain-suck in any meaningful way for the commonly occuring chain-suck experiences :

  • Adjustment of derailleurs

  • Chain-line (within a sensible range)

  • Whether 7, 8, or 9 speed rear clusters are used

  • Whether the bike is fully-rigid, front-suspension, or full-suspension

  • Chain-make, provided it is a suitable specification for the sprockets/rings (and company marketing hype can be ignored)

  • Which of the rear sprockets is active at the time suck is experienced; the only issue is applying high enough pedal force and resulting chain-load to the front chain-rings

  • Burrs on the tooth sides and thickened teeth may contribute, but only to a small degree

  • Inadequate lubrication is not a primary cause of chain-suck; in some limited circumstances lubing can alleviate chain-suck, but never as a basic solution

Copyright Jonathan Levy, 2000. All rights reserved.