Single speed or derailleurs on your bike as a kid? Single speed chains are slightly larger and having the chain run in a straight(er) line significantly reduces wear. In the pro ranks for time-trials they will run massive front chain rings so at their anticipated speed the chain is going straight back and not slightly off the the side.I don't remember ever breaking, or wearing out a chain when I was a kid.
Also, the taller teeth on a single speed is more tolerant of wear than the shorter teeth of a derailleured bike.
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