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  1. #1
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    best drivetrain economy?

    I've read the other "stretched chain" posts here. I realise the 'stretch' is actually wear, mostly due to road grit, so I clean my road chain once a week with degreaser & the roller brush thingy. I lube it maybe twice a week.

    I've tried mixing chains, cassettes and chainrings of various ages before. It seems to me anything less than a brand new chain with a new cassette just aint worth the trouble in terms of noise and slipping. I use a Durace 9spd chain with Ultegra cassette and softer/cheaper Ultegra rings. At the first slip (usually on chainring?), I throw the lot away and start again...even tho there might be a little life left on the chainrings (backwards?). I get about 10 000-14 000miles per assembly doing this...depending on weather.

    QUESTION: If I start checking my chain length and throwing away Durace chains (2/3 cost of cassette) which might otherwise last 2-3 times longer before major failure, am I really going to save money on cassettes and chainrings in the long run? Will the new chain really mesh quietly and smoothly with the 1-2 month old cassette?

  2. #2
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    Don't forget that if you let the chain wear out, you will also wear the chain rings in the front, so remember you have to factor that in too.
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  3. #3
    Spawn of Satan
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    From my experience you can go about three chains to a cassette. This gives me very reliable shifting. I think everyone has a favorite gear and this is the one that wears out and makes you change the cassette.

    I wish Shimonster would make a cassette that you can tear down and you can individually replace the worn cogs. This would save me alot of money (but they wouldn't make as much so it won't happen).

    I agree though, nothing is like a new chain and cassette!

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    How often do you guys change the chains and/or casettes? After how many miles?

  5. #5
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    The chain rings actually seem to wear faster than the cassette. They have more teeth to take the load, but you're always using one of the two rings, and they're pretty soft alloy compared to the steel cassette. Being so large and exposed, it is easier to see how rapidly they develop that worn 'shark' profile.

    I had an old 8spd Durace chain ring ages ago that seemed really tough and wore well...I am not sure that the new nickel coated Durace rings are as tough as the old ones, tho I haven't tried one. I would happily trade a little weight for something that would last twice as long.

    I have been told previously that the trick is to run 2 chains simultaneously, and to switch them every week. That way they are equally worn and mesh perfectly with your cassette. I never got around to trying it, and with the current Shimano joining pin required on 9spd chains, that is a bit of trouble and would be expensive just in terms of pins...not sure if I want a chain full of Shimano joining pins after 2 months either!

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    Using an '00 Campy Record 10-speed group I got about 3,000 miles from the original Record chain before it was toast. I could not see any appreciable wear on either the cassette (Chorus Mk II UD) or the chainrings, so put on a Wipperman Conex chain. Still no wear visible and all "shifts like a Campy should". Would like to get the advertised "3 times" standard chain wear with the Conex. If I am so lucky, I feel sure the cassette will be worn-out at that time, as well as the chainrings. I don't do the brush/roller degrease very often. Maybe at the end of the season. I simply lub the chain very thoroughly every 75-100 miles of riding and wipe off all excess several times while doing so. Seems to work well, thus far. BTW, I've found the blue paper "automotive" towels available at the auto parts stores to be excellent for use with this and other general maintenance with bicycles. Much tougher than kitchen paper towels and still inexpensive. Box of 500 for less than $10. Always carry a couple on my rides, as well. Very handy.

  7. #7
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    Someone lamented his unability to replace individual Shimano cassette cogs. Actually, replacement cogs are available for the better Shimano 9 speed cassettes. There are a couple of catches. One is that if you want a new 16t, for example, it also comes permanently attached to a 17t. The other is that a 16/17 tooth cog combination will cost about 1/3 the priceof a whole new cassette. It's still cheaper than the Campy equivalent.

  8. #8
    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    Can't you just swap out that one (favourite) gear in the casette if the others are still fine. I, for example, seem to spend the most amount of time in the middle chainring in the front and my 18 or 16 in the rear.
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  9. #9
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    Yes, in theory, cogs can be swapped. In practice, it depends.

    If you look in a store or on the web at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/k7.html , you will notice that "economy" cassettes (105, HG-50, HG-70) are made with individual cogs riveted or bolted together. It's quite possible to remove the rivets or bolts (they are not necessary, except for ease of installation) and change cogs to your heart's content.

    By opposition, higher end cassettes, such as the XT have the largest cogs attached to a spider. This saves weight, but makes for a less rigid cassette and the spider is non-replaceable (except by a whole new one).

    Individual cogs can be bought... but very few stores seem to have them. But when you buy a new cassette, it's possible to select different gears and mix-and-match.


    Oh, BTW, best way to preserve your drivetrain: get fenders and install a mudflap to the front fender. Little or no road grit will affect the drivetrain.

    Regards
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  10. #10
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Back in the day, we had to make up cassettes, we had a wall board with all the cogs and picked out what was needed and then screwed them together with some tiny capscrews.
    Personally I ride a couple of thousand and when wear the chain wear indicator shows about a half mm of wear, I put a new chain on.
    An interesting tidbit, only a few teeth, often only one, take the full load of your pedaling. Because of slop, even in a new chain, the tooth at the top of the chainring is the one that gets all the load. You can have a friend stand on the pedal to load the chain and still pull it away from the chain ring in the middle.
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  11. #11
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    I am confused boys and girls. Are the newer chains with the ramp pins designed for STI wearing out faster than the older chains that were designed for friction shifting?

    I use a friction shifting system with a 7 speed freewheel. My chains last an average of 15,000 miles each; I replaced my freewheel last summer and it had 90,000 miles on it and my chain rings are still good after 90,000 miles.

    It just seems crazy that some of you have to replace your chain and cassettes every 5,000 miles or so. The Campy is $40 and their Cassettes are another $110 to 150 so now your spending 150 to almost $200 every year or even twice a year for this stuff? and this does not even include the chain rings! It seems to me this STI and ERGO stuff is high maintenance.

    But as Chainreka said also; I would rather have a slight weight penalty and have dependability. My chainrings are forged steel maybe that's the reason for the long life?

  12. #12
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    Yep. It's lightweight, high performance and high wear. It's great for racing, but soon it will be cheaper to maintain a sports motorcycle. I hope Shimano & Campag have diversified.

    Well, you can always opt for the cheaper groupset. I'm starting to think for solo training and commuting (all I do now anyhow) a 7 spd 13-21 with downtube shifters would really be enough...I should probably stop drafting cars in the 11 on the freeway anyway.

    What new stuff can you buy that is quality orientated but H/D and SOLID, rather than simply cheapNchunky?

  13. #13
    Member georgeupstairs's Avatar
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    My LBS would have me believe that it is more cost effective to run the chain into the ground and then replace chain and cassette. They have it that a new chain on old sprockets is likely to start jumping. This sems a bit wasteful to me. I'd rather try the new chain and see what happens. I think good chain hygeine as described above can minimise (though not, of course, eliminate) wear on the toothed components.

  14. #14
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    I think you have to catch the 'old' chain VERY early in its deterioration if you want to use the old cassette with a new chain. Believe me I've tried...it won't just be noisy, it WILL SLIP AND JUMP ACROSS GEARS. It's a major pain in the butt when you want to use your spare rear wheel in a race, or even at home when you don't want to bother changing the cassette over to the new wheel...one of the cassettes is nearly always more worn that the other and won't mesh with the current chain.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by froze
    I am confused boys and girls. Are the newer chains with the ramp pins designed for STI wearing out faster than the older chains that were designed for friction shifting?

    I use a friction shifting system with a 7 speed freewheel. My chains last an average of 15,000 miles each; I replaced my freewheel last summer and it had 90,000 miles on it and my chain rings are still good after 90,000 miles.....

    9-speed and 10-speed chains (and cogs) are said to last less time than 7/8 speed chains and even 5-speed chains. The 9-speed chain has been narrowed by narrowing the place where links are attached to eachother and by making rivets shorter. It makes the chain narrower yet still compatible with 8-spped stuff, but it makes it a bit less resistant.

    An other factor to consider is how you use your bike and under what conditions. My 1980 bike which was once used for touring and now serves as a commuter has had the same chain until last year, some 50 000 km later. I replaced it... because I had to replace both wheels when the bike was damaged in a collision (it was still parked, BTW). After 1 year of all-season commuting (yes, even in snow), there is a little bit of chain stretch: a bit under 1/32". All that in 5000 km.

    My tourercame with an 8-speed chain that didn't last. I replace it with a 9-speed chain and cogs. That chain has 9000 km shows no stretch at all.

    Factors to consider:
    - Fenders help preserve the chain by keeping road grit away from the drivetrail.
    - Proper lubrication
    - not putting too much weight on pedals, especially when shifting.


    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  16. #16
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Not to say you didn't do it, but, (This is with twenty years experience working on all kinds of heavy/industrial ecquipment and bikes as well), I would have to see some kind of verifiable background on a 90,000 mile freewheel. Even if you just rode each cog until it was worn out, the internals would not last, broken dog springs, worn ramps.
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  17. #17
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    Maybe if you are fanatical keeping the chain clean and lubed, and especially if you ride up hills in a granny gear, you will get 9000km without chain 'stretch'.

    But how many people want to do that? I'm no climber, but I stomp up hills just as hard as I can while keeping 'acceptable' cadence. Sometimes when training I use a 53*15 on the same hill I take with a 39*21 if commuting with a small backpack. At 75kg, the difference in force and wear on the chain must be enormous. Hence some people don't have troubles, while others go through drive chains like (expensive) butter.

  18. #18
    MaNiC! NZLcyclist's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mgagnonlv
    "economy" cassettes (105, HG-50, HG-70) are made with individual cogs riveted or bolted together. It's quite possible to remove the rivets or bolts (they are not necessary, except for ease of installation) and change cogs to your heart's content.[/B]
    So I can unscrew mine if I want? it would make it easier to clean! My uncle used to say that he took his oof and turned them around to get more life out of them. Does this work?

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  19. #19
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    Yeah, I took a few 7 & 8 speed cassettes apart a few times to change cogs. As has been said, their individual cost dosn't give much advantage over buying a whole cassette. I definately wouldn't bother taking them apart just to clean them. As for turning them around backwards...the hyperglide ramps and specially cut teeth will be facing backwards and on the wrong side. I'm guilty of turning my chainrings around sometimes to squeeze that last bit out of them, but the mounting holes are not countersunk on both holes and they are slightly offset to one side, so the spacing changes...a 9spd chain can almost get wedged between the 2 chainrings if you reverse the 39.

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