Sometimes at Eurobike, there’s no one available to speak with you, or when there is, you don’t speak each other’s languages. That was the case when we stopped by Pinion this year, and it left us with the impression Pinion were launching an entirely new chain standard, which of course we know you would be absolutely overjoyed to hear, but we wanted to verify it first.
We have now, and are happy to report there is no new chain standard. Pinion are just making new “Longlife” sprockets and chainrings to work with KMC’s X101 singlespeed chains, as well as continuing production on components to work with standard mountain bike width KMC X1 chains. The deal with KMC means Pinion can now supply KMC chains too.
Other new things they were showing include a new crank design, a wider range of sprockets and chainring sizes for fine tuning the kind of gear range and effective ratios you get out of a Pinion gearbox, and they were also showing a new Boost singlespeed rear hub.
The new chainring sizes are 24t and 30t; they recommend the former for mountain biking to increase ground clearance, and the latter for more touring-type cycling to extend the service life of the chainring (i.e., smaller rings have harder lives in terms of wear-to-distance travelled ratio). Sprockets now come in four sizes: 22t, 24t, 26t, and 30t.
30t chainrings and all sprocket sizes are also available in Pinion’s new “Longlife” versions, which have a thicker tooth profile to fit singlespeed chains. They recommend the KMC X101 for this and say they’ve worked with KMC to make sure the components match up well, but as we said it’s not a new chain standard and any singlespeed chain should work.
In terms of chain standards though, rest easy for now – it might only be a matter of time before some beady-eyed engineer decides to reinvent the wheel, but chains are pretty thoroughly explored and, in bicycles at least, seem pretty resistant to new standards (according to Wikipedia, in 1976 Shimano had a 10mm track-specific chain outlawed in Japanese competitions).