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Old 01-04-08, 12:40 PM   #1
CKey_Cal
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Chain replacement after 1k??

I took my bike in for its first 1k tune-up. While I was there the tech measured my chain with some tool I hadn't seen before. Not surprising, I'm not familiar with all bike tools. He said it was time to think about getting a new chain. After 1k miles?

It looked to me that the tool was new to him also. What chain measurement tools are out there? Could he just not have been using it properly or is there some possibility that I really do need a new chain after 1k?
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Old 01-04-08, 12:53 PM   #2
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If you're riding on pavement, especially in mostly dry conditions, that's ridiculously soon for replacing a chain, pretty much unheard of. There were times when I did a LOT of purely off road mountain biking that I might have had to replace a chain after only a thousand miles or so, but that was because of the extremely harsh and dirty conditions I was riding in.

I use a metal ruler to measure a chain for wear. A new chain will measure exactly 12" over 12 full lengths; when it measures 12 1/16" over that span it's time to replace the chain so that you preserve the cogs and chainrings.

Last edited by well biked; 01-04-08 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 01-04-08, 04:19 PM   #3
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I use a go/no-go gauge:
http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/caliber_2/index.html

Park makes one too.
http://www.parktool.com/products/det...=5&item=CC%2D3
With only occasional lubing and seldom cleaning them, I'm getting 4k out of Shimano DA 10 speed chains. I'm sure some folks get more. Get the tool and do your own measurement.
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Old 01-04-08, 04:21 PM   #4
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This gets discussed here often. Search the forums for "chain wear." 1000 is perfectly reasonable if you ride in somewhat dirty conditions. On a road bike ridden on pavement, this would be considered a little premature. Regardless, if you measure and it is elongated, then it needs replaced.
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Old 01-04-08, 04:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bhammer View Post
I took my bike in for its first 1k tune-up. While I was there the tech measured my chain with some tool I hadn't seen before. Not surprising, I'm not familiar with all bike tools. He said it was time to think about getting a new chain. After 1k miles?

It looked to me that the tool was new to him also. What chain measurement tools are out there? Could he just not have been using it properly or is there some possibility that I really do need a new chain after 1k?
The tool he used is a ruler. Just in a fancy form. You can do it yourself and see if you need to replace the chain. Sheldonbrown is your friend.
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Old 01-04-08, 11:12 PM   #6
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the amount of miles a person can get out of a chain depends very much on the type of riding said person does. if you're a heavier rider who stands up a lot, or likes to sprint a lot, you're going to have to replace it more often. if you hardly ever lubricate your chain, you're going to need to replace it more often. if you're using a super light chain with drilled out plates, you're going to have to replace it more often. if you ride in the rain and don't clean your chain afterward, you're going to have to replace it often.

here's a comparison: i weigh 150lbs, ride a compact double (but could be riding a standard), am in pretty good shape, i tend to sit and spin up climbs, i'm also a mechanic at a shop, i clean and lubricate my chain every two weeks. i've got over 1000 miles on my ultegra 10 speed chain and it still checks out as new. a customer i know weighs easily 230lbs, is over 6ft tall, rides a standard double, climbs out of the saddle, rides up a mountain once a week. lubricates his chain, but doesn't wipe it down very well afterward, and has nearly 1000 miles on his KMC super light 10 speed chain and it's time to replace it.

1500 miles is about the average limit that i usually see in the shop, without having to replace the cassette. i expect to get around 2000 miles out of mine, maybe more, maybe less. when you've got a very narrow 10 speed chain, with link plates that are about the thickness of a standard index card, it's gonna wear a lot faster than a 9 or 8 speed chain.
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Old 01-05-08, 06:31 AM   #7
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I have only moderate confidence in chain checkers. I have one that consistantly recommends replacement of very lightly used chains. The problem is they only measure about 3" of chain so tiny variences can make a big difference in their results. I use a steel ruler and measure a 12" length of chain.
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Old 01-05-08, 07:55 AM   #8
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Either method or tool works. Some believe measuring the roller wear is a better indication for changing the chain than measuring chain stretch. Most of the available tools are measuring roller wear and, imho, should be used on various sections of the chain to check for wear since the tools are rather on the small side and some rollers may have more wear than others. That being said, for the rest of us, using a ruler and changing the chain when it's 1/16" over (12 1/16") is good enough. Know a lot of people that change their chains at 1/32" over (12 1/32") and feel that waiting is taking too big of a chance when 1/16" over is pretty much the max/limit if you don't want to end up replacing the cassette/sprocket and chainring(s).
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Old 01-05-08, 08:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by OneTinSloth View Post
if you're using a super light chain with drilled out plates, you're going to have to replace it more often. if you ride in the rain and don't clean your chain afterward, you're going to have to replace it often.
I don't think this bears on the equations. The plates don't wear, it's the rollers.

From the evidence I've read it seems the cleanliness of the chain is the only indicator. A study found that the types of chain lubrication had very little impact on the efficiency of the chain. Only the cleanliness played a significant factor. Efficiency is an indicator of internal friction. Friction equates to grit in the works which means more wear.

Roadies chains wear longer because they are on pavement instead of kicking up dirt. I've trashed too many drivetrains using bad advice. I listened to people who said chain checkers were not accurate. But I've trashed a cassette/ring at the .1 side of the chain checker. Yes, I am a standing climber so I likely have a greater need for precision.

So OP, do yourself a favor and buy a chain machine. Wash and lube often. Use alcohol as a rinse to increase decrease drying time. Lube with dry to keep the chain from picking up more crap.

Last edited by BearSquirrel; 01-05-08 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 01-05-08, 10:57 AM   #10
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I don't think this bears on the equations. The plates don't wear, it's the rollers.

From the evidence I've read it seems the cleanliness of the chain is the only indicator. A study found that the types of chain lubrication had very little impact on the efficiency of the chain. Only the cleanliness played a significant factor. Efficiency is an indicator of internal friction. Friction equates to grit in the works which means more wear.

Roadies chains wear longer because they are on pavement instead of kicking up dirt. I've trashed too many drivetrains using bad advice. I listened to people who said chain checkers were not accurate. But I've trashed a cassette/ring at the .02 side of the chain checker. Yes, I am a standing climber so I likely have a greater need for precision.

So OP, do yourself a favor and buy a chain machine. Wash and lube often. Use alcohol as a rinse to increase decrease drying time. Lube with dry to keep the chain from picking up more crap.
the inner plates do in fact, wear. the holes that the pins go through get larger, which is why you can take a worn chain and flex it to the side much farther than a new chain. if the plates did not wear, the chain would not elongate, and you wouldn't be able to measure the wear with a ruler. if the inner plates are drilled out to the pin (like a KMC SL chain) that's less material (about 20% less) to wear, and so it's not going to last as long. the outer plates do not wear, because the pin is fixed in them and does not move around.

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Old 01-05-08, 02:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by OneTinSloth View Post
if the plates did not wear, the chain would not elongate, and you wouldn't be able to measure the wear with a ruler.
True.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneTinSloth View Post
if the inner plates are drilled out to the pin (like a KMC SL chain) that's less material (about 20% less) to wear, and so it's not going to last as long. the outer plates do not wear, because the pin is fixed in them and does not move around.
Okay, I think we were talking about something else. I envisioned someone drilling a hold through the middle of the plate for weight savings. Like this:

[img]http://www.kmcchain.com.tw/images/en/pic_37s.jpg[\img]

I don't see why these drilling would cause excessive wear. The material removed doesn't impact the inner plates where they will wear (towards the ends). There is no tension expressed towards the middle of the inner plates. The chain is being "pulled apart" as it operates between the the chainwheel and the sproket.
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Old 01-05-08, 11:38 PM   #12
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+ alcohol rinse, but not the kind with extra smelly crap added, just good ol' denatured.

The swedged plates do wear; from what I've seen, their mates, the pins, wear a bit more. Why is that? Is it the chrome?
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Old 01-05-08, 11:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I have only moderate confidence in chain checkers. I have one that consistantly recommends replacement of very lightly used chains. The problem is they only measure about 3" of chain so tiny variences can make a big difference in their results. I use a steel ruler and measure a 12" length of chain.
Did you ever try this one:


It's very long, so the wobble in the rollers has less effect on the measured "stretch" (oh, elongation, yes, elongation...). I am very happy with it, and it cost me less than the Rohloff Caliber 2.
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Old 01-06-08, 03:26 AM   #14
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I take off the chain and stretch it on a table. 50 (double) links should measure 50 inch (1 single link is 1/2). If the chain has become 1% longer, it needs to be replaced.
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