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View Full Version : Chain and Cogs: Don't wait too long!



Dirt
06-16-2013, 08:26 AM
This is one of those "Let my life serve as an example" sort of posts. :D

I'm usually pretty good about keeping an eye on chain wear so that I don't have to do a wholesale drivetrain "upgrade" but failed miserably this time. I hadn't messed with the chain on the fat fixie for wayyyyyy tooo long. I went to put a new chain on last night and when I went for a shakedown ride, all I heard was crunching and grinding out of a perfectly clean and partially new drivetrain. What should have been a $20 fix ended up costing me $150.

Background: As your ride, your chain stretches and wears. If you don't clean your chain often, that process happens quicker. If you ride with a chain that is stretched and worn, the cogs (gears in the back) and the chainrings (gears in the front) wear to match the longer, worn out chain. When you finally do get around to replacing your chain, the bike will no longer pedal or shift correctly. Any time you put pressure on the pedals, the gears will pop and grind.

The "solution": If you've waited too long the only solution is to change the chain, chainrings and cogs all at once. That gets expensive. One reason you see seemingly nice, lower-end bikes on Craigslist at a good deal is that someone paid $500 for a new bike two years ago, ignored the chain and just heard from their mechanic that is going to cost $300 to replace chain, cogs and chainrings. Buyer beware!

How do I avoid this?: There are many companies that make tools that measure how much your chain has worn. They're simple to use and quite reliable. Use them frequently... especially if you ride when it is wet or don't clean your chain often. When the gauge says that your chain should be replaced... or is getting close to needing to be replaced, buy a new chain and do it!!! The fix is easy to do. It is a great job for someone wanting to start doing their own repairs.

Links:

Chain wear gauge: http://www.parktool.com/product/chain-wear-indicator-CC-3-2

Chain wear video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pUgHM8HU2Q

Everything you ever wanted to know about chains and much, much more from Sheldon Brown (MHRIP): http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

Hope that is somewhat helpful.

Hugs and Kisses,

Pete

Jason B
06-16-2013, 09:24 AM
^^^^^
Good call on checking the chain. Finally broke down and bought Park's CC-2 chain wear tool. Found my chain was way past worn, and this was after only 1,000 miles (too many training hills, getting ready for Garrett). For fun I brought the tool to work and found that three of four guys I ride with had worn chains. We saved a few cassettes that day.

ShawnoftheDread
06-16-2013, 10:47 AM
Somewhat related, getting my hybrid ready for the week today I noticed I had broken a spoke sometime last week. After pulling the freewheel, I saw that wasn't all I broke. Two teeth missing from the third sprocket:
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/06/16/e6e8e9y5.jpg

The thing is, I don't recall anything happening that could explain it.

TwoWheelsDC
06-16-2013, 05:15 PM
The thing is, I don't recall anything happening that could explain it.

Massive guadz.

mstone
06-16-2013, 05:55 PM
Somewhat related, getting my hybrid ready for the week today I noticed I had broken a spoke sometime last week. After pulling the freewheel, I saw that wasn't all I broke. Two teeth missing from the third sprocket:

The thing is, I don't recall anything happening that could explain it.

3119

Dirt
06-16-2013, 06:47 PM
Shawn, those cogs look really worn too. most look quite shark-finned, which is not really what they're supposed to look like.

jnva
06-16-2013, 07:11 PM
Hey dirt, how does this look:

3121

mstone
06-16-2013, 08:17 PM
pointy; I'm guessing that the teeth on the two bigger rings originally looked more like the ones on the little ring?

Dirt
06-16-2013, 08:18 PM
Hard to tell from a photo. My guess is that the chainrings are quite worn. I'd suggest getting a chain wear measuring tool. That will tell you a lot. You can also have your local shop look at it too.

ronwalf
06-16-2013, 08:29 PM
Hey dirt, how does this look

I wouldn't be happy with the visible gap (http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#wear) between the chain and cog.

Rod Smith
06-16-2013, 09:33 PM
I wouldn't be happy with the visible gap (http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html#wear) between the chain and cog.

Yes, looking at how the chain lines up with the chainring teeth is a great illustration of how it all goes bad. Each roller hanging on a little closer to the edge. Your next drivetrain repair will include replacing everything. :)

eminva
06-17-2013, 09:47 AM
Thanks, Pete!

One question: I have heard it said that you should replace your cassette whenever you replace your chain. I have also heard that if you replace your chain before it gets too bad you can extend the life of your cassette and don't need to replace it with every new chain. Is there any accepted wisdom on this point, or do reasonable minds disagree?

Thanks.

Liz

ShawnoftheDread
06-17-2013, 10:00 AM
Is there any accepted wisdom on this point, or do reasonable minds disagree?

Thanks.

Liz

Now where are we going to find reasonable minds on this forum?

ShawnoftheDread
06-17-2013, 10:02 AM
Hey dirt, how does this look:

3121

My chain also hangs off the chainrings like this (even when it was new in the fall) and the rings are the kind that are permanently attached to the cranks. I'm assuming my only option if full crank replacement.

jnva
06-17-2013, 10:24 AM
My chain also hangs off the chainrings like this (even when it was new in the fall) and the rings are the kind that are permanently attached to the cranks. I'm assuming my only option if full crank replacement.

Yeah, I was going to try drilling out those stupid rivets. I don't understand why it was built like this! I guess maybe it was cheaper to put together. I don't see any reason why I should have to replace the cranks.

hozn
06-17-2013, 10:31 AM
Yeah, I was going to try drilling out those stupid rivets. I don't understand why it was built like this! I guess maybe it was cheaper to put together. I don't see any reason why I should have to replace the cranks.

It is [sadly] often cheaper to replace the whole thing anyway, though (as opposed to buying two new rings). E.g. http://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-CX50-Cyclocross-Crankset (those are my commuter/cross cranks; love 'em)

mstone
06-17-2013, 10:32 AM
Yeah, I was going to try drilling out those stupid rivets. I don't understand why it was built like this! I guess maybe it was cheaper to put together. I don't see any reason why I should have to replace the cranks.

Most bikes in the US are ridden less in their lifetime than most forum regulars ride in a year. If it saves $1 in manufacturing to take a shortcut that would never impact most customers, the manufacturers will do it to meet a pricepoint without a second thought.

mstone
06-17-2013, 10:37 AM
One question: I have heard it said that you should replace your cassette whenever you replace your chain. I have also heard that if you replace your chain before it gets too bad you can extend the life of your cassette and don't need to replace it with every new chain. Is there any accepted wisdom on this point, or do reasonable minds disagree?

You definitely don't need to replace the cassette with every chain unless you run the chain too long. Given the relative cost of chains vs cassettes, smart money will change the chain before it gets to that point. In the old days, when you could run a chain for decades, this was less important; tolerances are tighter now, and it tends to matter more (at least on expensive multispeed cassettes).

rpiretti
06-17-2013, 10:49 AM
Thanks Dirt. But, it's my understanding that chain rings wear much slower than rear cogs, correct or not?

jnva
06-17-2013, 10:53 AM
It is [sadly] often cheaper to replace the whole thing anyway, though (as opposed to buying two new rings). E.g. http://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-CX50-Cyclocross-Crankset (those are my commuter/cross cranks; love 'em)

I only need one ring. When I do replace it (probably soon) I'm going try using a bash guard "sandwich". Right now I'm using a chain keeper that's attached to the seat tube. It's kind of ugly but it's been working.

hozn
06-17-2013, 11:03 AM
I only need one ring. When I do replace it (probably soon) I'm going try using a bash guard "sandwich". Right now I'm using a chain keeper that's attached to the seat tube. It's kind of ugly but it's been working.

Gotcha. I used to do that on my 1x9 mtb. It would rub on the extremities (smallest two cogs and largest cog, IIRC), though, so I switched to the n-gear jump stop (http://www.amazon.com/N-Gear-Jump-Chain-Guide-Watcher/dp/B004YJ2ZSI) which sounds equivalent to what you already have.

jnva
06-17-2013, 11:30 AM
Gotcha. I used to do that on my 1x9 mtb. It would rub on the extremities (smallest two cogs and largest cog, IIRC), though, so I switched to the n-gear jump stop (http://www.amazon.com/N-Gear-Jump-Chain-Guide-Watcher/dp/B004YJ2ZSI) which sounds equivalent to what you already have.

I have the Paul chain keeper.
3123

It works, but I'd rather make it simpler by using bash guards.

mstone
06-17-2013, 12:36 PM
Thanks Dirt. But, it's my understanding that chain rings wear much slower than rear cogs, correct or not?

They have X times as many teeth, which hit the chain 1/X as often. Also, the load is distributed across more teeth.

KLizotte
06-17-2013, 01:27 PM
Thanks to this thread I measured my chain last night using a Park Tool CC and a measuring tape just to be sure. Guess what I gotta replace soon.....It will have 3K miles on it when I replace it.

lim
06-17-2013, 02:16 PM
Wow thanks for the heads up Dirt, I had no idea

DaveK
06-17-2013, 04:28 PM
I have the Paul chain keeper.
3123

It works, but I'd rather make it simpler by using bash guards.

I have the same on my 1x9 MTB and I've been able to jam it up a couple of times. Been meaning to go to bash guards myself.

Jason B
06-18-2013, 12:46 PM
Thanks, Pete!

One question: I have heard it said that you should replace your cassette whenever you replace your chain. I have also heard that if you replace your chain before it gets too bad you can extend the life of your cassette and don't need to replace it with every new chain. Is there any accepted wisdom on this point, or do reasonable minds disagree?


I agree with mstone.. My chain cost me $23 (kmc 10.9.3), my cassettes run me $70-100+, I am at a 3:1 ratio on replacements. You can always replace a bad cog on a cassette. People need to clean their chains more often than they think not just for efficiency, but for longevity.

ebubar
06-18-2013, 12:53 PM
So how often are you all cleaning your chains? I tend to clean after any particularly rainy commute. So, after riding today, i'll be cleaning things up.
What say you experts?

dbb
06-18-2013, 02:08 PM
What do the assembled experts say for the preferred chain? I am running Shimano derailleurs and cassette.

vvill
06-18-2013, 02:43 PM
I'm definitely one of those lazy souls who doesn't clean my chain often enough. I do have one of those chain checkers, they're super easy to use but they always confirm my worst suspicions with my chain stretch.

My plan for the next new drivetrain I get is to have a rotation of 3 chains or so that I rotate every 500 mi or so, that way they will hopefully all age slower, at around the same time as the cassette. That should also force me to clean them more regularly.

I use KMC x10.93 chains mostly for their value point. Shimano compatible.

Dirt
06-19-2013, 06:37 AM
What do the assembled experts say for the preferred chain? I am running Shimano derailleurs and cassette.
I use SRAM chains on everything geared but my 2 super high-end bikes. Campy Cervelo gets a campy chain. SRAM Red equipped gravel rig gets a Shimano Dura-ace chain.

My single speeds and fixie bikes tend to get Connex White Star chains. They are virtually bomb proof. Cheap too.

hozn
06-19-2013, 06:49 PM
Another +1 for the KMC 10.93 chain. That is what I use on my commuter. I replace them when the chain wear indicator is between 0.5 and 0.75. That tends to be ~2k miles on that bike. I could probably get closer to 3k, but I have had bad experiences waiting until 0.75.

I like chains that have quick links. I used to use Sram exclusively, but have switched to KMC on my road bikes for the value proposition (cost/weight) and they seem to last as long and shift just as well.

KLizotte
06-24-2013, 12:36 PM
Yesterday I visited Spokes in Belle Haven to get a new chain and some other stuff done. The bike is one year old (Cannondale Synapse with Shimano 105) and has a little over 3K miles on it; it's a 10 speed. I clean/lube the chain approx every 400 miles and for the most part do not ride it in the rain or mucky weather; it is kept indoors. My Park Tool chain indicator fits easily into the links at the .5 mark but not .75. I haven't had any problems shifting.

I asked for a new chain to be put on it but was told that I should wait till it reaches .75 and replace the chain and cassette at the same time (as well as have a full tune up).

So I'm a bit confused. I thought I was gonna save myself the expense of replacing the cassette in the short-term by replacing the chain now. Is it normal practice to replace the cassette with the chain on 10 speeds, say, every 4K miles?

Should I just buy a chain anyway and replace just that component?

Many thanks for your help.

Rod Smith
06-24-2013, 05:00 PM
Yesterday I visited Spokes in Belle Haven to get a new chain and some other stuff done. The bike is one year old (Cannondale Synapse with Shimano 105) and has a little over 3K miles on it; it's a 10 speed. I clean/lube the chain approx every 400 miles and for the most part do not ride it in the rain or mucky weather; it is kept indoors. My Park Tool chain indicator fits easily into the links at the .5 mark but not .75. I haven't had any problems shifting.

I asked for a new chain to be put on it but was told that I should wait till it reaches .75 and replace the chain and cassette at the same time (as well as have a full tune up).

So I'm a bit confused. I thought I was gonna save myself the expense of replacing the cassette in the short-term by replacing the chain now. Is it normal practice to replace the cassette with the chain on 10 speeds, say, every 4K miles?

Should I just buy a chain anyway and replace just that component?

Many thanks for your help.

I'd replace the chain and see how it goes.

After reading this thread, I decided to check my chain more often. So I checked the chain on the workhorse last week and noticed it was already .75 stretched. It wasn't a very old chain, but I guess it had some miles on it. I was worried that I'd waited too late, but I installed a new chain and it has been working like a champ! :) My cassette is eight speed which I assume is more tolerant of this sort of neglect than a ten speed cassette, but you maybe OK with just a chain. It's worth a try. In the future I plan to replace the chain before it gets to .75.

It seems people who are fairly diligent about changing their chains regularly replace their cassettes every three chains or so. My theory is a cassette can last longer than that if the chain is replaced more frequently. I think I used the same cassette with five chains once, but usually I forget to check chain wear and end up needing cogs and sometimes chainrings.

hozn
06-24-2013, 05:33 PM
Yeah, you should be fine with just changing the chain. You should be able to get 2 or 3 chains to the cassette, maybe more if it's not ridden in bad conditions.

dbb
06-26-2013, 08:39 PM
My last chain question (for now)

SRAM 1051, 1071, or 1091?

1051 is available from a couple of sources for about $33
1071 is in the low $50s
1091 is available from Nashbar for $40 (in a shop pack)

KLizotte
06-26-2013, 09:20 PM
My last chain question (for now)

SRAM 1051, 1071, or 1091?

1051 is available from a couple of sources for about $33
1071 is in the low $50s
1091 is available from Nashbar for $40 (in a shop pack)

Oh my god, I've got to choose a chain too?! This sport requires way too much thinkin'.....

jnva
06-27-2013, 05:57 AM
Oh my god, I've got to choose a chain too?! This sport requires way too much thinkin'.....

If tapatalk had the ELITE button, I would have ELITED this! :-)

Bilsko
06-27-2013, 07:55 AM
My last chain question (for now)

SRAM 1051, 1071, or 1091?

1051 is available from a couple of sources for about $33
1071 is in the low $50s
1091 is available from Nashbar for $40 (in a shop pack)

I know that the SRAM 900 series chains have issues with the hollow pin version being not as reliable as the solid pin version...not sure if this is the case for the 1000 series, but it may be a question you want to ask.

NicDiesel
06-29-2013, 09:41 PM
I clean my chain religiously (after every ride) but decided to change my chain on Friday since its got about 3,000 miles on it. I'm not sure if it was a few of minor adjustments the shop did after installing or if the new chain (Dura-Ace) is just much smoother, but my bike flies now. Well, flies as much as a steel bike lugging 350lbs can. Probably time for a new cassette though, but that can wait for another 1,000 miles.

hozn
06-30-2013, 06:35 PM
I clean my chain religiously (after every ride) but decided to change my chain on Friday since its got about 3,000 miles on it. I'm not sure if it was a few of minor adjustments the shop did after installing or if the new chain (Dura-Ace) is just much smoother, but my bike flies now. Well, flies as much as a steel bike lugging 350lbs can. Probably time for a new cassette though, but that can wait for another 1,000 miles.

I wouldn't change the cassette until it starts skipping under load. You'll know when you need to change it. (And wouldn't recommend changing the cassette mid-way through a chain, though it may not be that significant.) I too love the sound (or lack of sound) of a cleaned and adjusted drivetrain. ... Now if only I could pinpoint the incessant "BB-area" click my bike has developed ...

jnva
06-30-2013, 07:29 PM
I'm thinking about getting a schlumpf drive. Has anyone here used one and what do you think?

dcv
07-02-2013, 06:52 PM
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/vng2327/bike%20posts/IMG_20130702_194125_zpsc1e3cc29.jpg

OneEighth
07-02-2013, 07:23 PM
http://i1209.photobucket.com/albums/cc399/vng2327/bike%20posts/IMG_20130702_194125_zpsc1e3cc29.jpg

What? No Izumi V?

KLizotte
07-02-2013, 07:28 PM
Just got back from testing out my new chain (http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_556764_-1___). Not sure if the write-up is a gimmick or not but it sure is silent and shifts like a dream. I'd like a new chain every six months now....

Shimano 6701 10-Speed Chain

"When seconds count, you need every bit of your gear to be working as hard as you are. The Shimano 6701 10-speed chain has directional shifting plates to improve shifting, deliver better on-the-road performance and give you overall smoother performance that what you're used to. Its lightweight construction lowers the gram count, while it's redesigned plates and enhanced press-in construction gives it a longer service life.

•Asymmetric design with redesigned inner/outer plates virtually eliminate chain suck and improve contact with the cassette sprockets for smoother, noiseless shifting under heavy loads- for double chainrings only
•Reshaped outer plate is perforated to reduce weight and chain suck
•Reshaped inner plate lessens drivetrain friction for smoother rear shifting
•Enhanced press-in construction offers stable shifting action
•110 links (includes started rivet pin)
•This chain is OE packed and does not include instructions."

dcv
07-02-2013, 08:41 PM
What? No Izumi V?

Only one of these will be used with a cassette

Vicegrip
07-02-2013, 09:59 PM
just checked my chain with the Park chain checker. Way past .75 :mad:

ShawnoftheDread
07-02-2013, 10:05 PM
So why is the Park Tools device preferable to a ruler?

dbb
07-03-2013, 04:52 AM
So why is the Park Tools device preferable to a ruler?

It is a go-no go gauge so less thought (yeah!) is involved. You get some warning because you go from less than 0.5% to between 0.5% and 0.75% to greater than 0.75%. Takes but a second.

hozn
07-03-2013, 09:33 AM
just checked my chain with the Park chain checker. Way past .75 :mad:

Probably the best option, then, is just to keep riding it until it falls apart (or starts skipping). :)

hozn
07-03-2013, 09:36 AM
It is a go-no go gauge so less thought (yeah!) is involved. You get some warning because you go from less than 0.5% to between 0.5% and 0.75% to greater than 0.75%. Takes but a second.

You also don't have to touch your chain to use a measuring tool; I haven't used the ruler method but it sounds messier and more prone to second-guessing. (I use the park CC-2 http://www.parktool.com/product/chain-checker-cc-2 which isn't a pass/fail tool, but only takes a second to use.)

mello yello
07-20-2013, 10:36 AM
So I just got my fixed gear back - new crank, chainring, and chain. The shop set it up on the SS side, and I rode it on the Bicycle Space Kingman Island ride last night - whisper quiet.
When I flipped it to fixed this morning I heard that popping, crunching sound of the chain shifting in the cog - it didn't really even look all that worn, but I probably should replace it so everything can wear together.

Rod Smith
07-24-2013, 07:22 AM
I checked my chain Monday morning and it was at .75 with 1075 miles on it. I put 73 miles on it since then. I'll ride it one more day then guess I'll change it this evening...

lancito brazofuerte
08-20-2013, 10:24 AM
My simple fix is this- I change my chain every 4 months and degrease my DT once a month. Sometimes more often if I've been riding in the rain a lot. Decent KMC chains can be had for $30-45 a pop and are significantly cheaper than replacing rings/cassettes/cogs once a year. I've got 2 years or so on my ring/cog on my track bike with almost no wear on the ring or cog. Same goes for my cassette on my roadie. I recently swapped to Rotor rings on the roadie so no real longevity info there.
http://i674.photobucket.com/albums/vv107/hipsterdbag/DSCN2472_zps1faca763.jpg (http://s674.photobucket.com/user/hipsterdbag/media/DSCN2472_zps1faca763.jpg.html)
http://i674.photobucket.com/albums/vv107/hipsterdbag/DSCN2305_zpsb8a4c068.jpg (http://s674.photobucket.com/user/hipsterdbag/media/DSCN2305_zpsb8a4c068.jpg.html)

mstone
08-20-2013, 10:32 AM
that is the cleanest (scariest?) drive train I have ever seen.

eminva
08-20-2013, 10:47 AM
Thanks, Pete!

One question: I have heard it said that you should replace your cassette whenever you replace your chain. I have also heard that if you replace your chain before it gets too bad you can extend the life of your cassette and don't need to replace it with every new chain. Is there any accepted wisdom on this point, or do reasonable minds disagree?

Thanks.

Liz

Thanks -- some of you answered my question above, but I asked the question again and got the definitive answer at bike school a couple of weeks ago [aside: I went to the Introduction to Bike Maintenance Class at United Bicycle Institute in Oregon; if anyone is interested in hearing about that, let me know and I will start a thread].

If a chain is checked assiduously and replaced before it gets too worn, the cassette does not need to be replaced with each chain. However, type of cassette, riding conditions, frequency of cleaning and mileage all contribute to chain longevity and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long a chain should last. For my part, I have a 10-speed cassette, ride in a bunch of crappy weather and ride 500+ miles/month on my main bike, so I'll be changing chains a lot more frequently than I probably thought necessary. I have a chain checking tool and use it fairly often.

The instructor asked, "who told you you needed to change your cassette each time you change your chain?" He seemed astonished when I replied that it was one of our LBSs. Maybe the average customer waits too long and this is the default advice.

Thanks all.

Liz

dasgeh
08-20-2013, 11:17 AM
[aside: I went to the Introduction to Bike Maintenance Class at United Bicycle Institute in Oregon; if anyone is interested in hearing about that, let me know and I will start a thread].


Yes, please. Thanks

Greenbelt
08-22-2013, 08:54 PM
Probably a good idea to replace your chain before this happens...
https://sphotos-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/1236328_527940857272636_221473505_n.jpg

consularrider
08-23-2013, 08:27 AM
Nasty, sharp little teeth! They bites, they bites, been there done that, got the scar. ;D

Greenbelt
08-23-2013, 10:22 AM
Was lucky to make it all the way home with one link in the chain busted off on one side! It made an awesome noise each rotation. Softpedaling better than walking (or Metro), though.

KLizotte
08-23-2013, 11:05 AM
that is the cleanest (scariest?) drive train I have ever seen.

+1

NicDiesel
09-10-2013, 08:20 AM
Just bumping this to say that if you're replacing a chain with over 4,000 miles on it go ahead and replace your cassette as well, especially if said cassette is a 12-36 9-speed slow rider. Just installed a new 11-25 cassette (chain has less than 500 miles on it) and it's like riding a totally different bike.

Harry Meatmotor
03-27-2014, 08:09 AM
just thought i'd share a few thoughts on this topic:

First, I'd recommend using a different chain checker than what seems popular around here. The Rohloff chain checker is admittedly a bit pricey, but is much more trustworthy (http://www.amazon.com/Rohloff-Caliber-2-Chain-Indicator/dp/B001GSOHZY). The Park CC-2 can develop wear at the pivot and will give bad readings (so if you see your favorite shop monkey using it, ask them to check a brand new chain on a bike down on the sales floor, and see what the reading is - my bet is that it'll be at least "25" on the CC-2). Park's old stamped steel (12" long) chain checker is even more horrid.

Second, the only time you should replace both chain and cassette is when the chain has stretched enough to wear out both the shift ramps and the valleys between the teeth. When a chain "stretches" the roller's inner bushing surface wears on the pin, causing the effective distance from inner roller to inner roller to increase. The cassette will wear, too, but only if the chain is badly stretched. Also, most riders have a "favorite gear" (on shifty-gear bikes) and will usually wear out one or two cogs in a cassette more than others. if the cassette has one or two gears worn out, putting a new chain on will probably shift okay in the stand, but hesitate during shifting in your favorite gears out on the trail.

One quick and dirty way to tell if a chain is worn (usually to the point that the cassette/freewheel needs replacing, too) is, when the chain is dry (cause you haven't been lubing it), whack the chain with the handle of a screwdriver. if the chain rattles, it's worn out.

Third, the easiest way to tell if your chainrings are worn out is to grab the chain at the 3 o'clock position on the chainring and pull it towards the front of the bike. if you can expose an entire tooth of the chainring, it's time to replace the chain, cassette and chainrings. you can try to do piece-meal replacements at that point, but you're only going to wear out a new chain, or chain and cassette, even faster. Running a new chain on a worn out chainring is the fastest way to kill a chain.

I tend to live by the rule: 3 chains per cassette, 2 cassettes per set of chainrings - YMMV

jnva
03-27-2014, 09:56 AM
15k miles on these. I need to replace. Chain keeps jumping. 5036

brendan
03-27-2014, 02:56 PM
15k miles on these. I need to replace. Chain keeps jumping. 5036

I'd be jumping too with so many sharks in the water.

B

Dickie
06-20-2014, 09:34 AM
So, it's chain replacement time again for all my bikes. The Campagnolo bikes are no brainers as I have replaced these chains a number of times and I always use the same Campy product, but this is the first time replacing the chain on my Cannondale cross bike. So many Shimano choices... any suggestions? I'm running 10sp Tiagara (12-28) and 46/36t chainrings. Cheers.

Drewdane
06-20-2014, 10:08 AM
I have the same on my 1x9 MTB and I've been able to jam it up a couple of times. Been meaning to go to bash guards myself.
When I transitioned my old beater to 1x9, I just removed the cable from the front derailleur and fiddled with the limit screws to center it over the chainring. I might have had to adjust its position on the downtube, but I don't recall.

Not fancy, but it was cheap and it worked.

mstone
06-20-2014, 10:59 AM
So, it's chain replacement time again for all my bikes. The Campagnolo bikes are no brainers as I have replaced these chains a number of times and I always use the same Campy product, but this is the first time replacing the chain on my Cannondale cross bike. So many Shimano choices... any suggestions? I'm running 10sp Tiagara (12-28) and 46/36t chainrings. Cheers.

Dial a pricepoint. I'd get the cheapest 10 speed chain at the store. The canonical answer is CN-4601. http://productinfo.shimano.com/lineupchart.html#series=tiagra&speed=2x10 You may inexplicably find other 10 speed chains (even higher-end models) cheaper, depending on the vagaries of sales.

hozn
06-20-2014, 10:59 AM
When I transitioned my old beater to 1x9, I just removed the cable from the front derailleur and fiddled with the limit screws to center it over the chainring. I might have had to adjust its position on the downtube, but I don't recall.

Not fancy, but it was cheap and it worked.

If/when I go geared again on my MTB, I will use a narrow/wide ring up front. Apparently those work great even w/o clutch rear derailleurs. So hopefully no bashguard or chain catcher/guide needed.

hozn
06-20-2014, 11:13 AM
I was thinking about this thread recently because I feel I must surely be doing something wrong.

I am changing my chains when wear indicator reads 0.5-0.75 (using CC-2, so maybe it's over-reading as HM mentioned above), that is about 1500-1700 miles per chain. I am only getting 2-3 chains per cassette before things start skipping in the middle / high-use cogs. E.g. I just discarded my cassette with only 3200 miles on it. This seems ridiculous. Even when I get 3 chains to the cassette that's still < 5k miles. I know I could get longer mileage than that if I just stuck with one chain, but I do swap my wheelset and so I don't want a super worn chain quickly wearing out my cx wheelset cassette.

I'm using:
- SRAM PG1050 cassettes. (And I can't use Shimano because their stupid spline design chews up my freehub bodies.)
- KMC 10.93 chains (the cheap ones).

Maybe I would get better mileage from higher-end chain or cassettes?

Harry Meatmotor
06-20-2014, 12:56 PM
Maybe I would get better mileage from higher-end chain or cassettes?

what shape are your chainrings in? nothing will wear out a new chain and cassette faster than using it on a worn set of chain rings.

as far as brands and specific component groups, my recomendation for regular 10sp road is shim 105 for cassettes and whatever is cheap for chains.

I'm generally not a big fan of SRAM road cassettes, durability-wise, either.

hozn
06-20-2014, 01:06 PM
what shape are your chainrings in? nothing will wear out a new chain and cassette faster than using it on a worn set of chain rings.

as far as brands and specific component groups, my recomendation for regular 10sp road is shim 105 for cassettes and whatever is cheap for chains.

I'm generally not a big fan of SRAM road cassettes, durability-wise, either.

Good question about the chain rings. There's no skipping, but they do have 11k miles on them. Maybe time for new ones? (These are Shimano rings -- whatever comes on the CX50 crankset.) I figured worn rings would let me know with skipping, but maybe they're letting me know by trashing my chains. (But going 1500-2000 miles on a chain before it gets to 0.75 wear seems about what I had been getting before?)

I would be happy to use 105 cassettes but using those meant I had to replace my freehub body after a few cassettes. Maybe they've improved the design so the freehub contacts more than 3 splines?

Harry Meatmotor
06-21-2014, 03:02 PM
Good question about the chain rings. There's no skipping, but they do have 11k miles on them. Maybe time for new ones? (These are Shimano rings -- whatever comes on the CX50 crankset.) I figured worn rings would let me know with skipping, but maybe they're letting me know by trashing my chains. (But going 1500-2000 miles on a chain before it gets to 0.75 wear seems about what I had been getting before?)

I would be happy to use 105 cassettes but using those meant I had to replace my freehub body after a few cassettes. Maybe they've improved the design so the freehub contacts more than 3 splines?

Try the "pull the chain from the chainring @ 3 o'clock position" thing and you're probably gonna be able to expose a full tooth.

The 5700 stuff is basically the same as the 6700 ultegra, except for the amount of machine work to lighten the cogs and the finish on the cogs. Shimano did a bang-up job with the 5700 105 gruppo. The bottom 3 cogs are on an aluminum carrier and the rest of the cogs definitely contact more than 3 splines.

One little trick for worn/notched freehub bodies is to take a file to the largest spline on the freehub body and file it down (decreasing the length of the spline around the freehub body by about 1 mm), enough to squeeze a trimmed down spoke between the cassette (male) spline and the freehub (male) spline. takes some fooling around, but it's a good fix for freehub bodies that are difficult to track down replacements for.

ronwalf
06-22-2014, 08:31 PM
I am only getting 2-3 chains per cassette before things start skipping in the middle / high-use cogs. E.g. I just discarded my cassette with only 3200 miles on it.
Is this a 10-speed thing? I got 4 chains on my last 9-spd cassette, but the last one took quite a while to settle (it wasn't skipping, but you could hear it shift on the teeth for the first 1k miles). I got 7k out of the cassette, but the last chain was really stretching it. 10-speed cassettes and chains are narrower, and so there's a good chance the force on the chain is distributed in a smaller area, increasing the rate of wear.

hozn
06-22-2014, 09:24 PM
Yeah, this is 10-speed. I will try the Shimano cassettes again. I just learned of the clip kit that American Classic sells to fix the spline issue with 5600/6600 cassettes, so might see if I can find some of those.

And more immediately, it is probably time to replace my rings to help my chains last longer. I may also try changing to just wearing out the chains and cassettes together. My fear is that an old chain will skip on a new cassette but maybe that isn't what happens anyway (?)

jrenaut
07-11-2014, 10:03 AM
Related to this thread - make sure your chain is in good shape. I don't have good details on what happened, but my brother-in-law was in a bike accident out in San Fransisco. He's okay, but according to the woman who used his cell phone to call his wife, his chain broke and he went over the handlebars. He lost a few teeth, some of which had to be cut out of his lip, and he broke his elbow, which is going to require surgery.

I'm assuming the chain broke and got caught in the cranks? I don't see how else it could have flipped him over the bars. Anyway, if you haven't done it recently, go lube your chain and make sure it's still in good working order.

hozn
07-11-2014, 10:22 AM
I'm assuming the chain broke and got caught in the cranks? I don't see how else it could have flipped him over the bars. Anyway, if you haven't done it recently, go lube your chain and make sure it's still in good working order.

I think it probably was just the momentum of pedaling; if you suddenly surge forward with no resistance from a chain the chances of going forward over the bars are great. Especially if you are working out of the saddle, etc.

Most (actually, I think all) chain failures I've had have been on mountain bike and there was nothing wrong-looking with the chain beforehand. But it was newby riding errors like shifting under load coupled with the more significant torque of mtb that caused those failures, I assume.

jrenaut
07-11-2014, 10:35 AM
His bike is a very old steel road bike. When we did the century in May he had to get some emergency parts because the axle that goes through his pedal sheared off a mile into the ride.

n18
07-11-2014, 11:43 AM
Related to this thread - make sure your chain is in good shape. I don't have good details on what happened, but my brother-in-law was in a bike accident out in San Fransisco. He's okay, but according to the woman who used his cell phone to call his wife, his chain broke and he went over the handlebars. He lost a few teeth, some of which had to be cut out of his lip, and he broke his elbow, which is going to require surgery.

I'm assuming the chain broke and got caught in the cranks? I don't see how else it could have flipped him over the bars. Anyway, if you haven't done it recently, go lube your chain and make sure it's still in good working order.
The chain probably got stiff links, combined with missing "missing links" or bad links that broke. When my chain got rusty, and I switch to the fastest speed, stiff links sometimes roll at the bottom around the largest gear in the front then going upward and under the chain on the top part of the front gear, resulting in the front gears locking up, and you can't peddle forward, not even an inch. The only way to move the cranks at this stage is to peddle backward. It's unnerving when it first happened to me as I didn't know what's wrong. I peddled backward by small amount, then forward, but nothing happened until I peddled backward quarter to half turn and seen the chain dropping. Going home and lubing the chain fixed the problem for a while.

I am sorry that this has happened to him, I wouldn't think that something like this could happen. Cyclists need to be educated on the seriousness of this issue. Many are concerned with frame strength, but these days they are building them better than they used to.

AFHokie
01-04-2016, 11:35 AM
While my bike was at REI they replaced a chain that showed just under .75 wear with the 3.2 park tool wear indicator. With the new chain/old cassette it shifts fine until under a load, (up hills, hard acceleration from a stop, etc) then it jumps or skips. It doesn't appear to skip with infrequently used cogs, but I've only ridden once with the new chain...tonight's commute home sould be fun.

Did I run the old chain too long and kill the frequently used cogs, or is this something common that needs a few more rides to settle, or an additional cable/derailleur adjustment?

If it helps its a SRAM PG-950 9spd cassette the bike came with & has ~3200 miles.

huskerdont
01-04-2016, 11:55 AM
While my bike was at REI they replaced a chain that showed just under .75 wear with the 3.2 park tool wear indicator. With the new chain/old cassette it shifts fine until under a load, (up hills, hard acceleration from a stop, etc) then it jumps or skips. It doesn't appear to skip with infrequently used cogs, but I've only ridden once with the new chain...tonight's commute home sould be fun.

Did I run the old chain too long and kill the frequently used cogs, or is this something common that needs a few more rides to settle, or an additional cable/derailleur adjustment?

If it helps its a SRAM PG-950 9spd cassette the bike came with & has ~3200 miles.

It's quite common to have a new chain slip on an old cassette. I pretty much always replace the cassette when I replace the chain after once or twice trying to see if I could get by and finding I couldn't. Your symptoms are exactly what happened. If possible, leave it in a cog that works and use the front derailleur to compensate until you can get a new cassette.

TwoWheelsDC
01-04-2016, 12:07 PM
While my bike was at REI they replaced a chain that showed just under .75 wear with the 3.2 park tool wear indicator. With the new chain/old cassette it shifts fine until under a load, (up hills, hard acceleration from a stop, etc) then it jumps or skips. It doesn't appear to skip with infrequently used cogs, but I've only ridden once with the new chain...tonight's commute home sould be fun.

Did I run the old chain too long and kill the frequently used cogs, or is this something common that needs a few more rides to settle, or an additional cable/derailleur adjustment?

If it helps its a SRAM PG-950 9spd cassette the bike came with & has ~3200 miles.

Before buying a new cassette, try adjusting the RD...shift into one of the skip-y gears, lift the rear wheel off the ground and crank the pedals while twisting the barrel adjuster until the skipping stops (if the RD shifts a cog, you've twisted too far). Then run through the gears and re-adjust as needed. If you can't get the skipping to stop, then it may indeed be time for a new cassette.

If you don't have a stand readily available, just hang your bike on a tree branch from the nose of the saddle.

Vicegrip
01-04-2016, 01:02 PM
I now go through 4 or more chains per cassette. The first chain on my modern bike I ran too long and I ate the cassette up along with the chain. Learned my le$$on about $aving money the hard way and I now check and replace the chain just a bit before it hits .75.
Keeping the chain well oiled goes a long way. I no longer go to great lengths to clean the chain other than wiping the globby chunks off when I re-oil. For me it seems chains last the same amount of time and miles cleaned and oiled often as when they are simply just oiled often. I re oil often as needed or more and always after it gets wet. While slowly turning a crank backward I drip in chain oil until the chain is fully wet then turn for 15 seconds or so to work the oil around and in. I then wrap a bit of end of service life shop rag around the chain and spin the crank some more to wipe off the excess oil and most of the black gunk. Takes 60 seconds or so to re oil this way and no mess to clean up.

dkel
01-04-2016, 01:32 PM
Before buying a new cassette, try adjusting the RD...shift into one of the skip-y gears, lift the rear wheel off the ground and crank the pedals while twisting the barrel adjuster until the skipping stops (if the RD shifts a cog, you've twisted too far). Then run through the gears and re-adjust as needed. If you can't get the skipping to stop, then it may indeed be time for a new cassette.

If you don't have a stand readily available, just hang your bike on a tree branch from the nose of the saddle.

This would depend on what type of skipping we're talking about. If the chain is jumping teeth, it's probably not a derailleur trim issue, but a worn cog. If the chain just doesn't want to settle into gear, that's a derailleur issue.

vvill
01-04-2016, 01:37 PM
I have so many bikes, cassettes and wheels that I have no idea how much wear is on each anymore.

hozn
01-04-2016, 02:56 PM
I now go through 4 or more chains per cassette. The first chain on my modern bike I ran too long and I ate the cassette up along with the chain. Learned my le$$on about $aving money the hard way and I now check and replace the chain just a bit before it hits .75.
Keeping the chain well oiled goes a long way. I no longer go to great lengths to clean the chain other than wiping the globby chunks off when I re-oil. For me it seems chains last the same amount of time and miles cleaned and oiled often as when they are simply just oiled often. I re oil often as needed or more and always after it gets wet. While slowly turning a crank backward I drip in chain oil until the chain is fully wet then turn for 15 seconds or so to work the oil around and in. I then wrap a bit of end of service life shop rag around the chain and spin the crank some more to wipe off the excess oil and most of the black gunk. Takes 60 seconds or so to re oil this way and no mess to clean up.

So replacing chains between 0.50 and 0.75 for me gets me roughly 4 chains per cassette -- or about 6k miles at 1.5k miles per chain. (On my commuter.) Last cassette I decided to just run the chain and cassette to the ground together and I got ~4500 miles on the chain and cassette before it started skipping (ever) and ran it up to about 5k before I felt like the performance really was suffering. So I don't think I'll change chains out anymore -- at least not to save money.

sethpo
01-04-2016, 02:58 PM
I recently had a chain skipping issue that turned out to be a stuck link. The chain was pretty clean and only about 1/2 through it's normal life span. I lubed the heck out of the link but that didn't really work. I ended up using this method to fix it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU79CQsz-Ps

I guess it got just a tad bent somehow. Anyway, if you have skipping be sure to check that the chain links are functioning properly as well.

Oh, since we're talking about chains: I go w/ the cheapest available. I've not found any difference in performance or durability with more expensive chains. KMC4me! YMMV of course.

Crickey7
01-04-2016, 03:12 PM
Last cassette I decided to just run the chain and cassette to the ground together and I got ~4500 miles on the chain and cassette before it started skipping (ever) and ran it up to about 5k before I felt like the performance really was suffering. So I don't think I'll change chains out anymore -- at least not to save money.

That's my experience as well. I wear them out together and get around 5k per, less if I fail to clean them religiously. The one warning is that I think this method wears out your chainrings somewhat quicker than the alternative, but, again, not sure it's worth changing that. I'll get around 10K out of my chainrings, and I suspect I would not get than much more if I changed chains more frequently.

Steve O
01-04-2016, 04:33 PM
I have never kept track before, just waiting til problems develop. But now that we are having this discussion, I'm in a good position to do so. I switched out my entire drive train last spring after FS ended, going to 1x9, so everything was new. I can check Strava for my miles and see how far I go before it all goes to crap. I'm probably at close to 4000 miles right now without any noticeable issues. I wonder if having a single on the front will make it last longer, since the chain isn't ever being dragged across it.

How do I add up all the miles for one particular bike within a date range? I can add up my total miles, but that includes miles on other bikes and CaBi, etc. than just the one in question.

dkel
01-04-2016, 05:52 PM
I'm not sure what I'm doing differently from everyone else, but by way of comparison, I am at 6000 miles, and have only swapped out my chain once—not that long ago. I'm nowhere near .75 on the new chain, and things are running great. I do a lube and serious wipe down about every 75 miles or so, but that's it. I expect my current chain will run another couple thousand miles at least, and then I'll change the cassette. My theory is that it's because of the extremely long front fender—with mudflap—that runs only a couple inches off the ground. Or maybe I'm just lucky. Either way, I'm pretty happy about it!

hozn
01-04-2016, 06:15 PM
Maybe you ride gently? Half kidding :-) I definitely know there are folks that get 10k on chains without fenders, so I don't think the fenders are a significant factor. But I could be wrong. I do definitely get longer chain life on the bike that doesn't get ridden in the rain as much. But I noticed no difference in chain life moving from almost-touching-ground mudflap to no mudflap. (Also no significant difference in how dry/wet my feed ended up, though I suspect there was *some* difference if someone were to apply science there.)

dkel
01-04-2016, 06:35 PM
I would actually buy the riding gently theory, in particular compared to someone like you, who does 20 miles of off-roading on the way to work, and has an average speed 30% higher than mine. :) I do plenty of all-weather abusing of my bike, so I'm not sure that's related (I'm also pretty bad about servicing the chain after a wet ride—I tend to just stick to the regular schedule). Like I said, whatever it is, you won't hear me complaining!

AFHokie
01-04-2016, 08:03 PM
Before buying a new cassette, try adjusting the RD...shift into one of the skip-y gears, lift the rear wheel off the ground and crank the pedals while twisting the barrel adjuster until the skipping stops (if the RD shifts a cog, you've twisted too far). Then run through the gears and re-adjust as needed. If you can't get the skipping to stop, then it may indeed be time for a new cassette.

If you don't have a stand readily available, just hang your bike on a tree branch from the nose of the saddle.

Part of the problem is I can't put enough of a load on the drivetrain to get it to skip while on the stand. Freewheeling on the stand it's fine, but when I apply more force while riding to increase the torque to get up a hill or accelerate, it starts to skip.

On the way home I narrowed it down to where it only happens on the 21 & 18 cog while on the middle chainring and while on the small chainring it will skip on 21 and smaller. It's also much worse on the small chainring. I use the middle ring (especially with the 21 & 18 cogs) the most so that makes sense if they're worn. I rarely use the small ring so I'm not sure how the change in rings has any affect other than less teeth to spread the load across.

hozn
01-04-2016, 08:24 PM
Part of the problem is I can't put enough of a load on the drivetrain to get it to skip while on the stand. Freewheeling on the stand it's fine, but when I apply more force while riding to increase the torque to get up a hill or accelerate, it starts to skip.

On the way home I narrowed it down to where it only happens on the 21 & 18 cog while on the middle chainring and while on the small chainring it will skip on 21 and smaller. It's also much worse on the small chainring. I use the middle ring (especially with the 21 & 18 cogs) the most so that makes sense if they're worn. I rarely use the small ring so I'm not sure how the change in rings has any affect other than less teeth to spread the load across.

yeah if it's only skipping under load, then the problem is [almost certainly] not an RD adjustment issue. Sounds like you just need new cassette, chain -- and probably chain rings. (It is typical for the middle rings to wear out first since that is where most folks spend most of their time. You might also be experiencing front ring skipping, or maybe the slightly different chain angles is exacerbating the problems with the cogs.)

DismalScientist
01-04-2016, 08:59 PM
It is typical for the middle rings to wear out first since that is where most folks spend most of their time.
Oh puhlease. Only pansies use middle rings.:rolleyes:

hozn
01-04-2016, 09:02 PM
I meant to say middle cogs, but I suppose that is also true of middle rings!

AFHokie
01-04-2016, 09:14 PM
yeah if it's only skipping under load, then the problem is [almost certainly] not an RD adjustment issue. Sounds like you just need new cassette, chain -- and probably chain rings. (It is typical for the middle rings to wear out first since that is where most folks spend most of their time. You might also be experiencing front ring skipping, or maybe the slightly different chain angles is exacerbating the problems with the cogs.)
Damn, thought I swapped chains in time. It was right at .75; would not freely drop between the rollers, but it would fit if pressed.

Excessive wear (in relation to the rest) on those few cogs would make sense since my commute routes about the only trip I ride on that bike...that drive train probably gets the same wear for the same duration with little variation daily.

Guess I'll pick up a new cassette at REI tomorrow

hozn
01-04-2016, 09:20 PM
I found 0.75 was too far gone for me to just swap chains, so I started changing at 0.5. [Back when I believed in such things.] If you still have your previous chain you could try putting it back on, but I am guessing the shop didn't give that back to you.

Vicegrip
01-04-2016, 09:31 PM
So replacing chains between 0.50 and 0.75 for me gets me roughly 4 chains per cassette -- or about 6k miles at 1.5k miles per chain. (On my commuter.) Last cassette I decided to just run the chain and cassette to the ground together and I got ~4500 miles on the chain and cassette before it started skipping (ever) and ran it up to about 5k before I felt like the performance really was suffering. So I don't think I'll change chains out anymore -- at least not to save money.Agree that you can run them down together. I can feel and have grown to like the slick smooth goodness of a fresh chain that is meshing well on non shark toothed cogs and rings as I pedal and shift. The feel chain skip is like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. I guess I am a mechanic through and through and saddle time gives me time to think about little stuff just a wee bit too much. ;)

I have been getting more time off a chain than I used to. Present one is near the end of service life at almost 3K miles. I stopped using Rock and Roll lube, went to a slightly heavier gear weight chain lube and got far better about re-oiling. I stock up on chains when I find good deals. One size fits all for me still (10 speed) and they are easy to change.

hozn
01-04-2016, 09:37 PM
Yeah, I agree about the skipping; I have little tolerance so the 2nd or 3rd time it skips I throw it out. But by the 3rd chain it no longer felt very fresh putting on a new chain. I guess I just can't feel the difference, or at least difference enough to spend an extra $75-90 per cassette change.

Vicegrip
01-04-2016, 10:35 PM
Yeah, I agree about the skipping; I have little tolerance so the 2nd or 3rd time it skips I throw it out. But by the 3rd chain it no longer felt very fresh putting on a new chain. I guess I just can't feel the difference, or at least difference enough to spend an extra $75-90 per cassette change.Your big motor drowns out any chain line vibration.

huskerdont
01-05-2016, 07:34 AM
I usually get about 5000 on my road bike chains and cassettes, and switch them out at the same time to avoid skipping. I use dry lube and relube/wipe off dirt anytime the chain gets wet. For the mountain bike, however, I get a lot less mileage because of all the grit and the fact that I've broken chains while mountain biking and it's not fun.