I dropped the chain shortly after getting the bike, installed the N Gear, and haven't dropped it since. I think I actually dropped the chain with the 30T granny, before I swapped it for the 26. I remember the shop telling me they didn't take out any links on the chain, and I just counted the links and got 116. I think the correct size should be 114. Anyway, there is ample slack in the 52/34 combination, which of course is not used, but should be taken into consideration for safety reasons. You can also run the granny down to 26/17, leaving only the 15, 13, and 11 cogs unusable. Why anyone would want to use those gears is beyond me. My bike has 45cm chainstays. I am easy on my equipment, taking the pressure off of the drivetrain when I shift and not forcing anything. The 10sp chain has 5,000 miles on it and still has some life left in it, so I don't think there is any significant difference between the 10sp and the 9sp. I rode a 15sp wide range half step plus granny bike for years, my current set-up is as close to that as I could come, and like I said before, I have been very happy with it.