Author Topic: Drive Chains  (Read 8753 times)

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Offline Stuart Lister

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Drive Chains
« on: 10 Jan 2005 at 15:06 »
Please can somebody advise me of the type of chains I need to order for my EW? It had none at all when I got it, so I don't have any to use as patterns.
The sprockets for the primary and the final drive look to as though they take the same size chain, but I'm not sure. It would also be very useful if you could tell me the lengths I need, or better still, the number of links.

Many thanks,


Offline Doug

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Drive Chains
« Reply #1 on: 14 Jan 2005 at 00:38 »

According to the EW spares list, the front and rear chains are 1/2x3/16, but it does not say the number of links.  

The clutch sprocket is 22 teeth.

The shock absorber sprocket is called out as 41 teeth, 1/2x3/16.  An alternate sprocket is given of 38 teeth, but no chain size specified.  Since there is only the one clutch sprocket, it is presumed to also be 1/2x3/16.

For the final transmission sprocket you have a choice of 17T (solo), 15T (combination) and 18T.  

Just one final sprocket was offered, 57 teeth, 1/2x3/16 (solo or combination).  I think this is welded to the brake drum (it is on the later 350cc machine), so it is a repair item.  

In 1928, the EW was called the A28, and a combined spares list for the five 1928 350cc models exists.  

The same part number clutch sprocket is listed.
The same part number 41T shock absorber sprocket is listed, but not the 38T.
The same part number final transmission sprockets are available, with the addition of a 14T (solo) and a 16T.
The same part number rear sprocket is listed.
The same part number chains are listed, and this time they give the number of links.  The front is 1/2x3/16, 80 link.  The rear is 1/2x3/16, 112 link.  

In addition a 5/8x1/4 chain is listed for the B28, a colonial version of the A28.  So there is also a new 47T, 5/8x1/4 rear sprocket listed for that, but oddly, they omitted to list the compatible final output sprockets!  Or else the two new final output sprockets of 14T and 16T are miss-identified as to the applicable model.  Since this is a multi-model spares list, they used a letter code to indicate what combination of models a part would fit.  The primary chain arrangements were the same as the A28 and so EW.  

But for the EW it is clear, 1/2x3/16 front and rear, and the 1928 list gives the number of links.  However it probably goes without saying that you should get chains a little longer and shorten them to suit your sprocket combinations!  


Offline Stuart Lister

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Drive Chains
« Reply #2 on: 14 Jan 2005 at 16:06 »
Thank you Doug,

I have ordered a continuous chain of 200 rollers. That should be enough, because if one turns out to be longer than standard, then the other one should be shorter shouldn't it?  

I have counted the teeth on all the sprockets, and everything is standard for a solo machine. This came as a bit of a surprise, because the bike had the remains of a sidecar fitted when I got it, but since I want to use it solo, I'm not complaining.

Thanx again,


Offline Chris

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Re: Drive Chains
« Reply #3 on: 15 Nov 2007 at 07:50 »
      I note that in all the discussion on chains, it has not been mentioned that there is more than one type of 1/2" x 3/16" chain. In the distant past there were at least five different forms of this nominal size of chain but these settled out to two distinct sizes, both currently available.
    They both have a pitch of 0.5" and are Renold 110044 which has a roller diameter of 0.335" with a width between inner plates of 0.205". The other currently available is known as "415". This latter chain has a roller diameter of 0.305" and width between inner plates of 0.192". There are also heavy and light duty versions of these which although having the above "running" dimensions are identified by the thickness of the outer side plates.
    Douglas has used both sizes of nominal 1/2" x 3/16" chain on different models. Over the years, sprockets have worn and it is difficult to tell what original roller diameter was used but a good indicator is the thickness of the sprocket as bikes having a thick sprocket for the 110044 chain will be tight fit in the 415 chain. whereas 110044 chain will be slack on narrow sprockets. My usual chain supplier has original chain application specification books that certainly go back as far as the 1920s. I was with a member at the Banbury autojumble this year when he enquired of the chain for his EW and I am pretty sure that the chain listed for the EW models was the Renold 110044.
    I have found that there is very little clearance between the chain and the flywheel clutch on some models and the use of the wider heavy duty chains can be sufficient to cause interference between the chain and the flywheel causing noise and wear of the edge of the flywheel.   Chris.

Offline oily bloke

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Re: Drive Chains
« Reply #4 on: 25 Oct 2010 at 16:21 »
An update on chains for EW350. According to "The Chain Man" the correct chain is 110044. Now designated as 1/2" narrow, or more confusingly 1/2" x 1/4". If you quote the old Reynolds number (110044) you will get the correct chain. It seems that over time, this chain size has been called many things (a pain comes to mind) It was developed as a light weight chain to drive cotton and wool looms many years ago when they found that leather belts could not take the strain and at a time when chains were not made to an exacting standard. Enter Mr Reynold and his 'precision chain'. I took a couple of EW sprockets to him and this is the end result and it fits! I have yet to determine how many links I need so I bought more than necessary. Hope this helps.

Offline cardan

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Re: Drive Chains
« Reply #5 on: 27 Oct 2010 at 10:21 »
Earlier in the year I needed a pedal chain for a (non-Douglas) veteran motorcycle: measuring up the sprockets it was clear that the original size was 1/2 x 3/16. This is the same size as used on many early (pre WW1) bicycles, and some later heavyweight bicycles - perhaps tandems and tradesmen's bicycles. I bought some new 415 (smaller roller diameter), but by about a quarter of the way around the chainwheel (large sproket) the chain was riding up on the teeth and it was clear it wouldn't fit. A smaller roller was required! The chain places I tried all had several sizes of 1/2 x 3/16 chain, but 415 had the smallest roller diameter.

I bought a 1/2 x 3/16 new-old-stock "BSA" chain on eBay (in the UK); all the links are stamped BSA. But this was also too large in the roller. I finally bought (from Belgium) two NOS 1/2 x 3/16 chains branded "The Coventry", which were a perfect fit. The box was labelled 1/2 x 3/16" cycle chain. I can't get my micrometer onto the rollers, but using the vernier they seem to be a tad under 0.300".

Not much of a moral for Douglas owners - you need to have a very early one to need a pedal chain - but might be of interest to owners of other veteran machines. An interesting observation is that the 415 chain does seem to fit on the new TDC rear freewheel sprockets sold by the NSW vintage club. Aghh...