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Old 07-31-08, 02:49 PM   #1
BikeManPA
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Premature Chain Wear on a BRAND NEW bike

I just bought a new Specialized Roubaix and incidentally checked the chain out of habit (mostly curiosity). I had not ridden the bike more than a week and was about to go on the Seattle to Portland ride soon so I checked my chain. I used a ProLink chain gauge and found that the chain is at 100% wear and in need of replacement. Hmmm, why would that be on a BRAND NEW BIKE?

My wife also purchased a new Roubaix last year and she rides less than I do (her commute is about 3 miles while mine is about 9 miles one way). Her bike had less than 1500 miles on it and it too showed 100% wear using the bike shop's ProLink chain gauge (thus my curiosity). We bought both our bikes from two different bike shops (no affiliation either) one in Port Angeles, one in Sequim one year apart. The only thing in common was the brand, Specialized and the make, Roubaix.

I double checked my chain at the local shop where I bought it and they used a different chain gauge but showed the the chain was very near the red part of the gauge wheel, which indicates time to replace the chain. I only have 500+ miles on this bike now and the shop guy says it'll need replacing soon but I could ride it over the weekend.

Sooo, has anyone else ever run into this scenario before? I'm beginning to think there might be a conspiracy going on here but I don't know who to blame. I contacted the Specialized customer service email and they claim their chains are absolutely "standard". Hmmm . . .
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Old 07-31-08, 04:19 PM   #2
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I'd be very suspicious of either chain checker as many are highly unreliable. I can't imagine anyone wearing out any chain in 500 miles unless you weigh 350 pounds and do nothing but climb hills.

Use a good ruler, preferably a metal one, and measure a nominal 12" (24 pins) of your chain. Measure the lower run which is under slight tension from the rear derailleur's spring.

A new chain should measure nearly exactly 12.0" over 24 pins. A chain that's slightly worn but usable will measure 12-1/16" between the centers of the pins and a worn chain that definitely needs replacement will measure 12-1/8". Some riders who want to protect their cassettes will replace a chain at 12-1/16".
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Old 07-31-08, 04:36 PM   #3
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you must ride like a madman.
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Old 07-31-08, 04:54 PM   #4
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Tryin' to stay under 200

Thanks for the advice. I'm about 6'-0" and tryin' to stay under 200 lbs. I ride some hills but their not more than 1/2 a mile long and only climb about 100-150 ft. vertical (albeit at about 10% or so). So I don't think that's the issue. However, I'll start lookin' for a good metal ruler that'll do as you suggest. I'll bet I'll still find that it'll be prematurely worn or perhaps "stretched" or "elongated" might be a better term. The point being, a brand new bike should not have to have it's chain replaced w/in a month. I've since asked Specialized to investigate their stock chains they ship for just such a problem as assembly or specification error. We shall see.
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Old 07-31-08, 05:06 PM   #5
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Have you had any slippage or shifting problems? You mentioned that you checked it out of habit or curiosity. If there's no problem, then there's no problem, right?
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Old 07-31-08, 05:07 PM   #6
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The point being, a brand new bike should not have to have it's chain replaced w/in a month. I've since asked Specialized to investigate their stock chains they ship for just such a problem as assembly or specification error.
Don't get too excited until you check those chains with a ruler. I don't have very much faith in chain checkers.
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Old 07-31-08, 05:56 PM   #7
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One of my ride buddies is 6'2" and is a big, strong guy. He goes through cheaper chains in no time. Yes, he does tend to mash on the pedals instead of spinning in an easier gear. Oh yeah, we ride a flat, creekside trail. The better way to tell, in a situation like this, is to measure pin distance. bk
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Old 07-31-08, 06:24 PM   #8
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I've had 1 similar experience with a new bike that came with a KMC chain rather than Shimano. OE isn't always the best, chains are easier to cheap out on than the labeled components. However, commuting tends to expose the drive train to almost as much sand as some off-road riding. I would change it if it doesn't come up a perfect 12" on the ruler. Far cheaper, and easier, to change a chain than a cassette.
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Old 07-31-08, 06:32 PM   #9
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You need to service your chain weekly according to these instructions. http://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
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Old 07-31-08, 06:44 PM   #10
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I bought a chain checker like this:http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=4204

pretty cheap and I trust it.

That prolink checker... make sue you dont push it down onto the chain. That checker looks pretty easy to bend and would make all your chains look like they are stretched.
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Old 07-31-08, 06:49 PM   #11
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I have a Park CC-3 chain checker and it agrees quite well with the 12" rule measurements on all of my chains. However, I've heard many stories about how unreliable many chain checkers are. I consider the ruler the final arbiter of chain life.
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Old 08-03-08, 11:43 PM   #12
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You need to service your chain weekly according to these instructions. http://sheldonbrown.com/chainclean.html
Looks a bit complicated to do weekly...forgive me, but is that procedure a joke?
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Old 08-04-08, 01:33 AM   #13
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Looks a bit complicated to do weekly...forgive me, but is that procedure a joke?
Scroll down to the bottom to find your answer:

Quote:
This page created April 1, 2007
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Old 08-04-08, 09:26 AM   #14
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The first part is joke. But scroll on down and you'll find a link that leads to an educational article written by Sheldon that explains all about chain construction, maintenance, and wear. There is also a list of shortcuts at the top of this forum that lead to Other bits of Sheldon's vast bicycle (and other) knoweldge. If your going to bike you need to be a acquainted with him. Enjoy!
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Old 08-04-08, 09:40 AM   #15
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14 post and the OP still does not realize that the chain checker cannot be trusted and then leaping to conclusions.

Go bikeforums!
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Old 08-04-08, 10:05 AM   #16
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No Slippage

Yeah, er . . . I mean no. There hasn't been an issue with slippage. The issue I have--and I've gone to the shop and had the mechanic use his chain gauge to check it already--is that even though there's no slippage, I'll need to replace the chain in a week or risk wearing out my brand new cassette.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:11 AM   #17
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10 speed chains tend to wear significantly faster than 9 speed models, but that is still rather early in terms of mileage. Disclaimer: mileage is but one of several measurements regarding chain wear and is far from the determining factor. Nothing wrong with a Park chain checker. If your chain truely is close to 100% then your cassettet is already trashed.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:12 AM   #18
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Yeah, er . . . I mean no. There hasn't been an issue with slippage. The issue I have--and I've gone to the shop and had the mechanic use his chain gauge to check it already--is that even though there's no slippage, I'll need to replace the chain in a week or risk wearing out my brand new cassette.
Measure the damn thing. Then worry if you are going to wear out your cassette.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:15 AM   #19
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Op

Yeah, I figured as much but, I did get it checked by the shop mechanics chain checker and it was right on the line (between blue and red). So, once I get a good metal 12" ruler, I'll be sure to use it instead. For now, I'm replacing the OE installed Shimano chain post haste. I'm not gonna risk the cassette. I'm just irked that the bike would come brand spankin' new with a nearly worn out chain. I thought maybe it was some new specification for this particular bike. But clearly now, I see that it is a design "feature" to get cyclists to start replacing parts as soon as possible.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:21 AM   #20
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I'm just irked that the bike would come brand spankin' new with a nearly worn out chain. I thought maybe it was some new specification for this particular bike. But clearly now, I see that it is a design "feature" to get cyclists to start replacing parts as soon as possible.
It didn't come with a nearly worn out chain, you've been give bad information. Shimano chains are very durable and yours is no exception.

PLEASE measure it properly before you accuse the manufacturer of larceny.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:59 AM   #21
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I'd be very suspicious of either chain checker as many are highly unreliable. I can't imagine anyone wearing out any chain in 500 miles unless you weigh 350 pounds and do nothing but climb hills.

Use a good ruler, preferably a metal one, and measure a nominal 12" (24 pins) of your chain. Measure the lower run which is under slight tension from the rear derailleur's spring.

A new chain should measure nearly exactly 12.0" over 24 pins. A chain that's slightly worn but usable will measure 12-1/16" between the centers of the pins and a worn chain that definitely needs replacement will measure 12-1/8". Some riders who want to protect their cassettes will replace a chain at 12-1/16".
I've heard this debate before, and I have a third opinion to offer. Think it through yourself, then take it for what its worth.

In my opinion, you need to check both ways (chain checker and ruler). Why? They measure different things, and therefore may detect different problems.
  • The "ruler method", by measuring wear that increases chain length, detects wear between the pins and the side plates, but won't tell you anything about the state of the rollers.
  • The "chain checker" method detects wear between the rollers and the pins, and external wear on the roller. It might pick up on side-plate-to-pin wear, but it won't be as sensitive becasue it measures fewer "side-plate-to-pin" interfaces.

I've seen chains that passed the ruler method, but had floppy rollers, or had rollers that were worn ever-so-slightly concave by the sprockets.

I do 'em both. If it fails either test, I replace it. Chains are cheaper than casettes.

Last edited by Kotts; 08-04-08 at 11:01 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-04-08, 11:55 AM   #22
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Yeah, I figured as much but, I did get it checked by the shop mechanics chain checker and it was right on the line (between blue and red). So, once I get a good metal 12" ruler, I'll be sure to use it instead. For now, I'm replacing the OE installed Shimano chain post haste. I'm not gonna risk the cassette. I'm just irked that the bike would come brand spankin' new with a nearly worn out chain. I thought maybe it was some new specification for this particular bike. But clearly now, I see that it is a design "feature" to get cyclists to start replacing parts as soon as possible.
You don't seem to acknowledge: the chain might be perfectly fine. You do not know unless you have measured it with a ruler. No reason to be irked. No reason to think Shimano chains are poor quality (they are not). No reason to think you've somehow been hoodwinked. Measure the chain and tell us what you find, please. You could be right, but you don't know.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:44 PM   #23
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14 post and the OP still does not realize that the chain checker cannot be trusted and then leaping to conclusions.

Go bikeforums!
I'd like to apply to the operator "sarcasm and brevity beats earnest yammering" fan club.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:57 AM   #24
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10 speed? There are some stories of very short chain life with 10 speed systems. LBS owner who I talked to and admits to be a masher says 500 miles is all he is getting.
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Old 08-05-08, 10:12 AM   #25
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I get at least 5000 miles out of Record 10-speed chains and D-A 9-speed chains. I'm a 165 pound wimp but I climb some pretty good hills and stand about 25% of the time when climbing.
My wife got 6500 miles out of a 9-speed Ultegra chain.
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