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  1. #1
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    Chain Replacement, how often?

    I've been told anywhere from 1000 to 6000 miles. I've got 2800 miles on my first road bike (got it in May). The chain doesn't have play in it that I can tell, I could bug the LBS for the measuring gizmo, but I guess I'm looking for some kind of rule.

    I don't cross chain it, try to lube 2x a week, and clean with the parks chain cleaning gizmo once a month. I figure I'll hit 6000 in February-should I just wait till then to overhaul everything? And do i really need to replace the freehub thingy at the same time?

  2. #2
    TreadHead MtbVA's Avatar
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    The gears wear with the chain.
    Replacing the chain often will extend the life of your gears.
    I like to replace the chain every year or so, I ride a mountain bike and don't total the miles of a road bike, but the chain is venerable to more contaminants & I seem to ride in gears that arenít good for a straight chain line.
    I just moved my 10yr drive-train to another bike - it sill works well.

  3. #3
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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  4. #4
    Aluminium Crusader :-)
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    eh, my way's easier

    this is how I do it.

    Under tension, 12 complete links of a new chain measures pretty much bang-on 11.5", or ~292.2mm, center to center of the outer pins. They say it's best to measure a foot of chain, but the stays are so short these days, that this way is easier

    "They" say, once this measurement is approaching an increase of ~1/16" due to chain "stretch", it's getting time to swap the chain. If the increase has reached 1/8", it's too late, and if any change is made, it's best to swap both change and cassette.

    Last edited by 531Aussie; 10-03-05 at 11:01 PM.

  5. #5
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Yes, replace the chain when worn. Your LBS can check it or use the rule above. Either way, it's cheaper to replace the chain compared to waiting and replacing the chain, freewheel, and chainrings.

    I replace my chain once a year. I commute all year and the grime, rain, salt, and dirt play havoc.

    I have had to replace my freewheel and my center chainring because I waited too long. It starts to get expensive!
    Jharte
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  6. #6
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    I would be wary of using any "rules of thumb" on this. I was surprised to learn a few weeks ago that my chain had worn out after about 2,500 miles even though I cleaned it, lubed often, and try not to "shift hard". But it varies with lots of factors.

    I spent a few bucks and got the Park Tools chain checker which makes it very easy to check. If you let it go too long, you can jeopardize your cassette and chainrings.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 531Aussie
    eh, my way's easier

    this is how I do it.

    Under tension, 12 complete links of a new chain measures pretty much bang-on 11.5", or ~292.2mm, center to center of the outer pins. They say it's best to measure a foot of chain, but the stays are so short these days, that this way is easier
    The chain pitch is 1/2" so the measurement should be 12", not 11.5". Agree with the elongation measurement; +1/16" means time for a new chain.
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  8. #8
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    I have a hard time understanding why one buys a special tool for chain-checking when a ruler does just fine. Those special tools strike me as rulers for people that think that everything in bike repair needs to be at least a little bit complicated and difficult.
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  9. #9
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    Nashbar has "deore-lx-tiagra-105" nine-speed chains for $10... I have a 105 bike. Why not change the chain?

  10. #10
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerewa
    I have a hard time understanding why one buys a special tool for chain-checking when a ruler does just fine. Those special tools strike me as rulers for people that think that everything in bike repair needs to be at least a little bit complicated and difficult.
    Using a ruler means having to eyeball for that 1/16" and I'm not sure that I trust the rulers (or my use of them) that I have laying around. The tool is a "go - nogo" approach - either it drops in between the links or not. For a few bucks, it's worth it to me because I find it foolproof.

  11. #11
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    And the tool is also measuring a smaller sample of chain,and I've also heard lots of gripes and operator error with some of them.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    The chain pitch is 1/2" so the measurement should be 12", not 11.5". Agree with the elongation measurement; +1/16" means time for a new chain.
    11.5" because he's only got 11.5 full links in his picture.

    That would be sure to confuse.

    12 full links = 12.0" ....

    Skip the doodads, use a good steel ruler.

    KISS approach (sort of).

    Cycle multiple (I use 3 rotating chains on each bike) chains on cassettes using SRAM or Wipperman master links; remove, clean and relube often...

    This spreads the inevitable chain "stretch(wear)" over 3 chains and will preserve chainring and cassette life.

    If you want to further split hairs, mark each chain so that each install has it rotating in the opposite direction.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoj
    Nashbar has "deore-lx-tiagra-105" nine-speed chains for $10... I have a 105 bike. Why not change the chain?

    Cause I have Campy, and it's a $50 chain, even from performance.

    Using a ruler sounds hard, I'll just run by the LBS and use the tool.

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