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Thread: Is this normal

  1. #1
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Is this normal

    I have had my bike for 9 months or so and and put it to serious commiting use. I haven't yet replaced the chain and occording to my LBS, the chain is work but also the cassette dents are worn out (they indeed are) because I failed to replace the chain soon enough.

    Is this normal? I am having expensive maintenance cost right now (but when it happens I think about what I'd pay to maintain a car and laugh).

  2. #2
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Yes, this is normal. If you replace your chain on a regular basis, you can ususally go through 2-3 chains per every cassette. If you wait too long, the worn chain will cause the cassette to wear as well (prematurely!)

    Word to the wise, buy a chain checker (about $15 for a Park Tool) and replace the chain as soon as it hits the "RED" zone!

    BTW, I learned the hard way as well!
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    Senior Member diamondback's Avatar
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    maintenence isn't so cheap, the average person does 12K miles per year in a car, maint assuming everything else is good to start with is 4 oil changes = $80, 3 if you stretch it = $60

    Bicycle
    1000 miles = chain $__
    2000 miles = chain & tires $__ + $__
    3000 miles = chain & cassette $__ + $___
    4000 miles = chain & tires $___ + $___
    etc.. to 12K

    When I went to the bike shop I paid $90 alone for two good road tires. The chain replacement sched is based on page 147 of bicycling mag guide to maint latest edition.

    When I bought a motorcycle I thought this thing will be cheap to ride, I'll get 50mpg. I didn't know that a helmet would cost $300 a jacket $150, tires that last 3-5K $100 each or more, windshield, bags, accesories etc, services 2-500 etc... Cost me a bundle.

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    Senior Member HuffyMan's Avatar
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    How many miles do you have on the bike?
    Do you clean and lubricate the chain regularly?
    Are you some kind of freak cycling powerhouse?
    I'm asking because this would seem to be unusual in 9 months of riding.
    Check your chain for stretch. Try to pull the chain away from one of your front chain rings, if you can see a fully exposed tooth, you probably have considerable wear.
    Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying "End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH," the paint wouldn't even have time to dry
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  5. #5
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Originally posted by HuffyMan
    How many miles do you have on the bike?
    I am guessing - based on my commuting distances on a map - that I do about 70miles per week X4.3 weeks per month X 9months that'd be slightly over 1,500 miles if true.

    Do you clean and lubricate the chain regularly?
    I used to but after permanent grease on my clothes I stopped.

    Are you some kind of freak cycling powerhouse?
    Mmm, I wonder.
    I'm asking because this would seem to be unusual in 9 months of riding.
    Check your chain for stretch. Try to pull the chain away from one of your front chain rings, if you can see a fully exposed tooth, you probably have considerable wear.
    I have considerable wear.

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    If you clean the chain regularly, it should last many thousands of miles (usually about 5000, maybe more), as will the cogs. If you let the chain elongate more than .5%, though, you are ruining the cogs and rings.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  7. #7
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Originally posted by D*Alex
    If you clean the chain regularly, it should last many thousands of miles (usually about 5000, maybe more), as will the cogs. If you let the chain elongate more than .5%, though, you are ruining the cogs and rings.
    Alright, I'll buy one of these expensive chain cleaning kits then. Any recommendation?

  8. #8
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I'm amazed at some of the distances listed here. My chains normally last over 10,000km each. I've only ever changed the cassette once in almost 60,000km. I also make no attempt to avoid riding in the rain. What gives?
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  9. #9
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I'm with Alex*D and ChrisL. Your chain and sprockets should be lasting a lot longer that you are experiencing.

    I have heard of some aluminum sprockets which would not last long. If you are a commuter, use steel sprockets.

    Is your bike mechanic reliable/trust-able? Look at your sprocket teeth. Do they look like shark fins or are they really pointy instead of flat topped? This is the sign of worn sprockets.


    We can guess that only one or two sprockets on your cluster are worn. You should be able to replace these sprockets rather than replacing the whole freewheel/cassette.

    I ride for thousands of miles with the same chains or sprockets - and without wearing them out.
    Mike

  10. #10
    dark and cynical PapeteeBooh's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike
    I'm with Alex*D and ChrisL.
    Is your bike mechanic reliable/trust-able? Look at your sprocket teeth. Do they look like shark fins or are they really pointy instead of flat topped? This is the sign of worn sprockets.


    We can guess that only one or two sprockets on your cluster are worn. You should be able to replace these sprockets rather than replacing the whole freewheel/cassette.
    .
    They are a good LBS generally (one of the best in town, I think) and I don't think they are a rip off. You do make a great point though. The sprockets teeth are needed very worn but not on all of them. Perhaps replacing one or two sprockets is the way to go.

  11. #11
    Guitar Hero
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    I'm tipping perhaps , at least the 2 smallest cogs have wear ?, do they have little burs on the trailing edge?, if you put a new chain on , it will skip on those cogs under load !, you CAN get these cogs singularly (even shimano), if it is a shimano cass, knock out the 3 pins/rivets , get the replacement cogs and put cogs back on the freehub body one at a time like campy etc..
    Velosophy#1: It is better to have a bicycle and no money , than money and no bicycle ! Velosophy # 2 : "Winning is simple, but not easy." #3: "Give a man a fish and he shall eat for a day , teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day"

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    Forget the expen$ive chain cleaning machines-they are all worthless.
    Get a chain with a powerlink, a bottle of citrus degreaser, and an empty plastic bottle (1 litre milk bottles are best, but 2 litre coke bottles are good, too.) Remove the chain, put it in the bottle, add a small amount of cleaner, and shake. Add a little hot water, and shake again. Drain, and fill with hot water. Shake. Repeat . Pull out chain, and dry it in the sun for about 2 hours. Install and lube.
    Those chain cleaners only clean the outside of the chain. The dirt that causes the damage is inside the links, and the only way to get that out is with the method I just gave you.
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  13. #13
    Guitar Hero
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    Just to add to Alex's very true method, if you have no nice warm sun , which north America dose'nt at the moment, put it in the oven !!, DON'T bake that tasty little morsel into next century,but just on a nice LOW temp, It'll dry it right out :thumbup: Disclaimer : DO not let the wife catch you putting your bicycle chain in the oven, it dose'nt matter to her HOW clean it is, and she will only think that you have completely lost it this time and it will all end up in tears !!
    Velosophy#1: It is better to have a bicycle and no money , than money and no bicycle ! Velosophy # 2 : "Winning is simple, but not easy." #3: "Give a man a fish and he shall eat for a day , teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day"

  14. #14
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I live in a mild climate, weigh less than 140lbs, and use White Lightning regularly on my chains. Possibly because I do alot of hill work, I often reach Sheldon's elongation limit in about 3500 km. I find that my cogs and chainrings outlast several chains, however, possibly because I reserve the small cogs for high-speed cruising.
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    My brother's bike has the same problem. He has had his bike for less than 9 months. It's a Shimano cassette with the ridiculous MegaRange gear in the back. Aluminum, I'm afraid. I went to replace it with a steel cassette, but drat it, I don't have a SunRace lockring remover. (Just when you think you have the right tools for the job....)

  16. #16
    Mister Slick Matadon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by diamondback
    maintenence isn't so cheap, the average person does 12K miles per year in a car, maint assuming everything else is good to start with is 4 oil changes = $80, 3 if you stretch it = $60



    Bicycle

    1000 miles = chain $__

    2000 miles = chain & tires $__ + $__

    3000 miles = chain & cassette $__ + $___

    4000 miles = chain & tires $___ + $___

    etc.. to 12K

    The average person does more than 12K miles per year; the number is somewhere between 15K and 17K. Furthermore, you can add the costs of wear items like clutches, brakes, belts, and tires into the list. Proper auto maintenance, like proper bike maintenance, is much more involved than just changing the oil every three thousand miles. Things like cleaning throttle bodies, changing spark plugs, and changing air filters need to be done regularly; and big overhaul items, like timing belts and top-end cleans, musn't be overlooked.

    One musn't also forget the costs of fuel and insurance. If I didn't own a car, I'd save about $300 a month in miscellaneous automotive costs.

  17. #17
    Dazed and confused Ellie's Avatar
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    That comment about bikes being as expensive as cars got me thinking. Well, that and my car being in the garage today.

    In the last 4 months, I've driven 7000 miles. Approx. My car has been broken into 3 times. I've had to replace the steering wheel and have the steering column re-welded twice as a result. My oil needed changing, and my windscreen washers stopped working. My front headlight was smashed in one of the break-ins, and a bulb stopped working through normal wear and tear. Today whilst fixing the windscreen washers and the front headlight, the garage also discovered that my water pump for my cooling system is broken.

    Total in repairs cost in four months, in the region of £400. Petrol for the 7000 miles, approx £665. I don't pay the insurance, because my parents are very generous. The car is worth maybe £50, if I could find anyone to buy it! It's going to need a new MOT certificate and road tax in March, which I need to get rid of it before!

    My bike, on the other hand, cost me £50 6 months ago. Since then I've bought new rims for £50 (no need, just fancied them) and a new inner tube. And some degreaser and oil. I know I haven't done 1000 miles even, but the lack of hassle and cash wins everytime.

    Ellie

  18. #18
    Mister Slick Matadon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ellie
    My bike, on the other hand, cost me £50 6 months ago. Since then I've bought new rims for £50 (no need, just fancied them) and a new inner tube. And some degreaser and oil. I know I haven't done 1000 miles even, but the lack of hassle and cash wins everytime.



    Ellie
    Precisely the reason why I'm getting rid of my current car, buying a beater-esque one (likely an early 80's BMW), and moving closer to work. An hour's relaxing bike-ride over a forty-five minute smog-choked commute any day.

    I think I'm the only twenty-year-old (twenty-one in nine bloody days) who is actually *happy* to be replacing a not-so-cheap car with a cheap car and a bicycle.

    One of the other big advantages of bicycles, maintenance-wise, is the lack of space required to work on them. To work on a car (and save the metric arseload of money that is charged in labor costs), you need a garage, air compressor, pneumatic impact wrenches, and a whole slew of tools and chemicals. To work on a bicycle, you need about twenty tools, five chemicals, and a bike stand. You could completely re-build a bike in the park on a sunny day.

  19. #19
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    I saw a fellow bikeforum member at the weekend, and he's been doing a serious tour. He pointed out the wear on his chainring (which looked like a nunchukka sp?) and his chain.

    A combination of heavy load and Scottish road grit. Maintenance will cope with most things, but if you ride in bad conditions increased wear is a given.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

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