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  1. #1
    Senior Member jleslie's Avatar
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    New Campy Chains and Drivetrain Wear

    Since i bought my current bike, which is all Campy Chorus except the cranks which are Record, I've taken it in several times to have the chain checked. At 1500 miles, 2500, and 4500, no stretch. At 6000 miles I finally went back and asked to have a new chain even if it showed no stretch. This time, they said they had "new information" on the new 5.9 mm Campy chains, saying they don't stretch but should still be replaced every 1500 to 1800 miles. Next he looks at my large chain ring and says it is nearly worn out so the cassette probably is too... Thanks guys!

    Now I'm wondering, if the chain doesn't stretch, how does it wear out the cassette and chain rings? Anyone able to shed some light? They told me if I had changed my chain regularly (which I would have if they had recommended it when I asked them) that the other components would last much longer. Maybe I'm just being taken for some expensive drivetrain components?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    yeah those chain checkers dont seem to work on campy chains. I've trashed a few cassettes because I forgot to note milage and went solely on the chain checkers. I've tried wipperman, park CC-1 (no longer made), prolink, and shimano and them all say no wear.

    At 6000 you are probably at the point of no return. Just ride your rings and cassette until you get skipping. I have had luck (no skipping) using a wipperman chain on a mildly worn cassette which a new campy chain skipped on. but again at 6k you are probably out of luck

  3. #3
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Really, someone can make a metal chain that never wears (commonly called stretch)? On page 39 of the 5.9 mm Campy Ultra narrow chain instructions it states that they should last between 2000-5000 miles depending on use and the frequency and quality of maintenance. They then give measurements to the 100/th of a mm as to when the wear indicates that the chain should be replaced just in case you need to swap it out earlier. Has anyone else heard of this "new information?" My last Record UN chain went about 4500 miles with frequent maintenance and riding in very chain friendly conditions. I replaced it when the Park chain checker dropped in on the .75 side. My 11-23 Chorus cassette and 50/34 Record chain rings have 5000 miles on them and are still shifting perfectly (with the replacement UN chain).

  4. #4
    1 Serving Per Container awiner's Avatar
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    Campagnolo chains hardly stretch. They will almost never show stretch on a chain checking tool. None of the common chain wear measuring tools, including the Park chain checker produces an accurate measurement of chain elongation (change in pitch) because these tools add roller wear to the measurement and most measure over a very short length. The roller wear can be as large as the elongation, so the tool may report twice the actual elongation. Many riders are tossing their chains when they are only half worn.

    I have gotten 15,000 miles out of a Record Steel/Ti cassette.

    I have accomplished this by doing a 3 chain rotation. I install the first chain and run it for 2,500 miles. At that time I put the first chain in a Ziploc bag and install the 2nd chain on and run it for 2,500 miles. At that time I put the second chain in a Ziploc bag and install the 3rd chain and run it for 5,000 miles at which time it gets throw away. Then go back to the 1st chain and put another 2,500 miles on it and throw away. Move to the 2nd chain and put 2,500 miles on it then toss. You now have 15,500 miles and will go through the same scenario again on 3 new chains and a new cassette. I am using a Wipperman Connex 10S1 quick link as well. Swap the quick link out every 7,500 miles.

    As with anything, clean and oil the chains often. For me that is approx every 100 miles. Keep the drive train clean as well.

    As for Campagnolo chain rings, my Record rings have that hard anodized coating on them. I have not worn the chain rings down yet but will likely replace them anyhow at the next 15,000 mile interval.

    One way to measure elongation is with a 12" scale. Place an accurate 12" scale on the edge of a pin. The pin at the opposite end will be totally covered when the chain is new. As the chain wears, this pin will begin to "peak out" from under the scale. Change the chain before of this pin is exposed. The maximum commonly recommended wear is 1/16" (.063") per foot. One half of a pin is slightly more (.070 inch).

    Elongation is only half of the chain wear issue. The rollers also wear - as much as 20-30 time more than the pins and their mating bushing (which causes elongation). New rollers will measure .200 - .210 inch in between them, depending on the brand. When this distance increases to .235-.240, I consider the chain to be shot. It is possible to have this much roller wear and very little elongation. I have a friend whom had a chain with 6,000 miles of use, that had only 1/4 of the allowable elongation, but rollers were extremely worn. Some calipers can reach deep enough to measure the distance between the rollers. But I prefer a cheap home made plug gage. I took a 6mm hex wrench and ground it down to a thickness of about .070 inch to fit between the inner plates of the narrowest chain.

    Lateral wear (side flex) also plays a role in shifting performance. The longest I've used a Campy 10 chain is 6,000 miles, but even at this point the lateral wear was not degrading the shifting significantly. A new chain will have .004-.008 inch of clearance, while my chain with 6,000 miles on it had .012-013. A feeler gage will quickly tell you the amount of clearance between the inner and outer plates.

    Changing a chain long before these wear criteria is met is not likely to increase cog life. It's entirely possible to wear out at least one or two cogs over the life of a single chain, if it's used for too long. I've used a single chain for 6000 miles, and worn out one cog, even though the chain showed little elongation. The only practical way to detect a worn cog is by installing a new chain. If the chain skips on a cog, while pedaling under a heavy load, then the cog is too worn to use with a new chain. If you install a new chain and don't get skipping with any of the cogs, there is no reason to change the cassette.

    The best way to maximize cog life is to alternate the use of 3 chains, changing every 2,500 miles, or at least before each chain is half worn. With this method a new chain will never be installed on excessively worn cogs or worn out cogs. With the proper rotation, the third new chain will not skip when it's installed on the cassette. When all of the chains are worn out, then most likely the cassette will be too. I aim for 5,000 miles from a Campy UN 10 chain and 15,000 from the cassette.

    Much of what I have learned above is in great part to a engineer friend of mine (Hello C-40 if your reading this) who conducted many tests on chains, both Campy and Shimano. Much of the text above is verbatim from him.

  5. #5
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    Chains and frequently used cassette cogs do wear but chainrings are remarkably durable. First, chainrings are much larger than cogs so the wear is distributed over many more teeth and second, the chain is run onto the chainrings under tension so it seats even if the pitch isn't perfect.

    With 6000 miles on your chainrings, the chances of them being too worn to use are very slim. I think the LBS is trying to sell you components you don't need. If they are shifting properly continue to use them until they aren't

    I've gotten 30,000 miles on several Shimano cranks and the rings have outlasted many cassettes and chains and still shifted well and ran quietly. I now have 7500 miles on a 10-speed Chorus crank which is on its second chain (6000 miles on the first one) with no signs of wear or problems.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Very interesting. A lot to digest here. Thanks for the post awiner!

  7. #7
    Senior Member jleslie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! The LBS has been good to me so far. When I said I was halfway getting the itch to buy a new bike, the owner even asked me why I would want to do that rather than taking me over to the showroom... I'm going ahead with their recommendations, but I'll probably also try the 3 chain rotation plan.

    Awiner, is your friend a regular on the Serotta board? I found a lot of the info and ideas from your post there too...

    Jim

  8. #8
    messenger
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    I,m tired now of reading--- im going out on my single speed-- 1 chain- 2 nuts-- simply put
    get a track bike........................................

  9. #9
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm glad I read this, I just installed a 10 speed Campy drivetrain for the first time (Centaur). So a ruler over a span of 12" is adequate to detect wear on the chain? Also, I installed a Connex connector link instead of using the Campy connector pin that came with the chain. Is this safe? Sorry to threadjack, but this 10 speed Campy stuff is new to me-

  10. #10
    Senior Member embankmentlb's Avatar
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    I just ride my bike until the cassette- chain skip then i replace. I have never checked a chain for stretch or even worried.

  11. #11
    1 Serving Per Container awiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
    I just ride my bike until the cassette- chain skip then i replace. I have never checked a chain for stretch or even worried.
    I used to do the same but since I started using Campagnolo Record cassettes, it made a lot of sense to make them last as long as possible due to the exorbitant price.

  12. #12
    1 Serving Per Container awiner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked View Post
    Wow, I'm glad I read this, I just installed a 10 speed Campy drivetrain for the first time (Centaur). So a ruler over a span of 12" is adequate to detect wear on the chain? Also, I installed a Connex connector link instead of using the Campy connector pin that came with the chain. Is this safe? Sorry to threadjack, but this 10 speed Campy stuff is new to me-
    I have been using a Wipperman Connex quick link on my Campy UN 5.9mm chains for quite some time. The Connex 10S1 link works quite well with the Campy UN chains.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Chains and frequently used cassette cogs do wear but chainrings are remarkably durable.
    Since I possibly have the last Campy Record 30-40-50 crank in existence (at least in the U.S.), and am not optimistic on my odds of finding replacement chainrings for it, this is good to know!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by awiner View Post
    I have been using a Wipperman Connex quick link on my Campy UN 5.9mm chains for quite some time. The Connex 10S1 link works quite well with the Campy UN chains.
    I've had good luck with the 10S1 as well (I think that's the 6.05mm wide one?) Actually when I got my Veloce UN chain I asked the LBS for a 5.9mm Wipperman, and they steered me to the 10S1, saying they found the narrower link to bind up on the Campy UN chains sometimes.

  15. #15
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awiner View Post
    I have been using a Wipperman Connex quick link on my Campy UN 5.9mm chains for quite some time. The Connex 10S1 link works quite well with the Campy UN chains.
    Thanks for the info, I'll stick with the Connex connector link-

  16. #16
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    Campy measures their chains with calipers from inside of roller to inside of roller, 132.6mm. Go to the Campy website, http://www.campagnolo.com/jsp/en/doc/doccatid_4.jsp and page down to Ultra-Narrow chains.
    Make mine a double!

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