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  1. #1
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    What's With My 10speed Chain Wear??

    I recently purchased a Giant OCR-C3 with 10 speed 105 group. I've since put around 500 miles on the bike, maybe a little more. Real happy with the bike.
    I did my quarterly check of my bikes which includes checking chain wear using a Park CC-2 Chain Checker and found the 10 speed chain shows significant wear with a reading of 0.75 (.25-.5= new chain, recommended replacement at 1.0). I usually replace at .75 wear mark. That means I only got 500-600 miles from this chain! This is a real expensive PITA if I have to change chains every 500-1000 miles. I'm very easy on chains. As an example, my old Cannondale, with 105, 9 speed has about 1000 miles on the chain and is still reads below 0.5 = new chain specification.
    So what's with the 10 speed? Any thoughts? Oh, I use chain lube every two to three rides.
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    Chain wear checkers have a "checkered" history and many give misleading readings. I have no experience with the Park CC-2 but my Park CC-3 does seem to correlate well with the "standard" technique using a good quality ruler to measure chain wear.

    You measure between the centers of two pins 24 half-links apart. The distance on a new chain should be exactly 12.0". A measurement of 12-1/16" is considered the limit for chain wear before it starts to damage the cogs and 12-1/8" means you will have to replace both the chain and cassette.

    I agree 500 miles is much too soon to have worn out a chain for a non-abusive rider. Try the "ruler" measurement and see if it gives a better number.

  3. #3
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I believe there have been some reports that the chain checker tool doesn't give valid readings with 10 speed chains for some reason. I use a ruler to check mine, maybe try that and see if that reading is consistent with the chain checker. I would trust a ruler over the chain checker-

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    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Digital calipers work nicely for this. Same principle as the ruler, just more exact. You can find these on Amazon.com (same exact model Park want $$$ for) for @$15 including shipping. Then, if you have one, check those results against the chain-checker.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
    I recently purchased a Giant OCR-C3 with 10 speed 105 group. I've since put around 500 miles on the bike, maybe a little more. Real happy with the bike.
    I did my quarterly check of my bikes which includes checking chain wear using a Park CC-2 Chain Checker and found the 10 speed chain shows significant wear with a reading of 0.75 (.25-.5= new chain, recommended replacement at 1.0). I usually replace at .75 wear mark. That means I only got 500-600 miles from this chain! This is a real expensive PITA if I have to change chains every 500-1000 miles. I'm very easy on chains. As an example, my old Cannondale, with 105, 9 speed has about 1000 miles on the chain and is still reads below 0.5 = new chain specification.
    So what's with the 10 speed? Any thoughts? Oh, I use chain lube every two to three rides.
    Use a 12" ruler.
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    Just replace your chain at 1.0

    From my experience, the difference between .5 and .75 on a CC-2 is .25 worth of grease. So I would wait to replace your chain until it is actually at the 1.0 mark. If you want as many miles out of your chain before you hit that point use a non-solvent based lube and don't soak your chain in degreaser. A chain comes from the factory lubed with a very durable grease, this grease keeps the chain bearings rolling smoothly and tightly on the pins. Once this grease wears away no liquid lube will stick around long enough to keep the two parts from wearing each other down.

    Rulers, by the way, are great ways to measure chain stretch, but don't work so hot to measure bearing wear. So I would keep using your CC-2, but keep an eye on what the baseline measurement is on new chains. As this tool ages, the pins can bend the slightest amount (its a good idea not to push for a 'more accurate' measurement as this will make the problem worse). You can compensate for this later by subtracting the deviance form the measurement.

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    Buy a thin 12inch stainless steel engineering scale. You can put the end on the slight protusion of a rivet, and measure the chain wear, I've used it for the past 30 years. A few months ago I bought a Performance brand chain checker, and it works fine as well.

    I replaced my Ultegra 10s chain, at between .75% and 1% wear, at 4500 miles. I clean the chain every 600 miles or so, and don't ride in the rain. I doubt that your chain is worn out after 500 miles on a road bike.

  8. #8
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Chain wear checkers have a "checkered" history and many give misleading readings. I have no experience with the Park CC-2 but my Park CC-3 does seem to correlate well with the "standard" technique using a good quality ruler to measure chain wear.

    You measure between the centers of two pins 24 half-links apart. The distance on a new chain should be exactly 12.0". A measurement of 12-1/16" is considered the limit for chain wear before it starts to damage the cogs and 12-1/8" means you will have to replace both the chain and cassette.

    I agree 500 miles is much too soon to have worn out a chain for a non-abusive rider. Try the "ruler" measurement and see if it gives a better number.
    Thanks, I should have remembered the ruler method. I used it to check the chain and it's right on the money 12.0 inches. Guess I can't use the CC-2 to check my 10 speed. I'll have to look for one of those CC-3s.
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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Rulers, by the way, are great ways to measure chain stretch, but don't work so hot to measure bearing wear.
    Exactly. The ruler method gives zero data on roller wear.


    Tangentially... for long chain life, keep the chain, cassette and chainrings ruthlessly clean if you can. Not just lubricated. I know this is nearly impossible if you have to ride in wet/rainy conditions, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Exactly. The ruler method gives zero data on roller wear.


    Tangentially... for long chain life, keep the chain, cassette and chainrings ruthlessly clean if you can. Not just lubricated. I know this is nearly impossible if you have to ride in wet/rainy conditions, though.
    I realize the inter-pin distance doesn't directly measure roller wear but the correlation is still good. If the pitch distance is within acceptable limits, the rollers should be ok too.

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    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I realize the inter-pin distance doesn't directly measure roller wear but the correlation is still good. If the pitch distance is within acceptable limits, the rollers should be ok too.

    +1.....use a ruler to measure chain wear. No need to make things unnecessarily complicated-

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    Check your chain checker against a new 10 speed chain of the same kind.
    What does it show?

  13. #13
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I realize the inter-pin distance doesn't directly measure roller wear but the correlation is still good. If the pitch distance is within acceptable limits, the rollers should be ok too.
    I've used both techniques over the years, but I prefer to measure both factors at once. At work, I use the Rolhoff Caliber 2.

    In the bigger picture, drivetrains can surprise a guy sometimes. The chain-checker readings have to be taken with a grain of salt. I've replaced chains and had them skip when the measurements indictated they shouldn't, and not skip when it looked likely that they would. It's always an exciting part of my job, taking bikes out for a "full-load test" after replacing a worn chain...

  14. #14
    Senior Member capwater's Avatar
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    Low mileage, but be aware that 10 speed chains wear out significantly sooner than 9 speed ones. Just wait until you get into 11 speed ........

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I've used both techniques over the years, but I prefer to measure both factors at once. At work, I use the Rolhoff Caliber 2.

    In the bigger picture, drivetrains can surprise a guy sometimes. The chain-checker readings have to be taken with a grain of salt. I've replaced chains and had them skip when the measurements indictated they shouldn't, and not skip when it looked likely that they would. It's always an exciting part of my job, taking bikes out for a "full-load test" after replacing a worn chain...
    Which is why you almost never sell a customer just a chain or just a freewheel. Unless it *really* looks like they have close to no miles on either component. For us, that's a rarity seeing as how we're a commuter store.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Really? When I worked in shops the real reason to replace both at once despite their appearance was an additional $30 bucks and some time saved in not having to test. That said, it is important to test each cog, or at least the one you use most often for wear, Rollhof makes a tool that works great.

    A couple of people have mentioned keeping your chain clean, but keep in mind the method you use for cleaning. Submerging the chain solvents, especially simple green (corrosive) is a terrible idea and not recommended by any chain manufacturer. Instead, use a lighter solvent, I prefer WD-40, applied to a rag to wipe any dirt or debris off your chain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjeder View Post
    That said, it is important to test each cog, or at least the one you use most often for wear, Rollhof makes a tool that works great.
    Even chains that show almost no wear can skip on the one or two cogs, usually small ones, that the rider uses most. I remember changing a chain at 1500 miles with absolutely no measurable stretch and having it skip on the 15T and 17T cogs. Of the 1500 miles these two cogs probably had over 1000 miles between them. All the others (13, 14, 19, etc.) worked flawlessly.

  18. #18
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjeder View Post
    A couple of people have mentioned keeping your chain clean, but keep in mind the method you use for cleaning. Submerging the chain solvents, especially simple green (corrosive) is a terrible idea and not recommended by any chain manufacturer. Instead, use a lighter solvent, I prefer WD-40, applied to a rag to wipe any dirt or debris off your chain.
    I have a couple cleaning methods. For a chain that has a master link and isn't obscenely dirty, I put the chain in an old waterbottle with some Finish Line Citrus Degreaser, shake it until clean, then flush it with water & dish detergent, rinse with hot water, air-dry it and relubricate. While I'm drying the chain, I scrub down the cassette and chainrings with some Simple Green foaming degreaser and/or dish detergent and hot water.

    For customers whose chains haven't been getting regular cleanings, I use a Park Tool Cyclone with the Finish Line citrus degreaser to scrub through the accumulated gunk, then use hot soapy water for the "rinse cycles."

    After 3000 miles on my commuting bike, my el-cheapo SRAM PC-951 still measured almost exactly the same as a new PC-951, thanks to this keep-it-clean routine. I replaced it anyway, and the cassette didn't skip a beat. Dry weather helped vastly, of course; now it's the rainy season, and I can't keep the chain clean for ten minutes at a time with the roads like they are

    Anyways... routine lubrication is good. Strict cleanliness plus lubrication is great.

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    Anyways... routine lubrication is good. Strict cleanliness plus lubrication is great.
    I agree, cleanliness is critical, but I reiterate the importance of the grease inside the bearings of a chain. This is less my quirky suggestion, than the service suggestion of every major chain manufacturer. Shimano, SRAM, KMC and Campagnolo are unanimous in advising riders not to 'degrease' chains in solvent. For the reasons I stated above.That said, in some situations the greaseless chain is less a problem than in others, but as a general rule it should be avoided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
    I'll have to look for one of those CC-3s.
    Or save your money and just keep using the ruler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    ... It's always an exciting part of my job, taking bikes out for a "full-load test" after replacing a worn chain...
    I was known in a couple of the places I worked as the 'guy-who-can-make-your-chain-skip/break/bind/make noise-if-there-is-the-slightest-problem.'

    I still have the gravel buried under my skin to prove it.

  22. #22
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    There are a lot of misconceptions about chain and cog wear among these postings.

    Retaining the original grease on a chain is not critical to it's total life. Campy does NOT make any reference to this in their chain instructions. No lube can avoid becoming a grinding paste after a couple hundred miles at most. The real key to long chain life is frequent lubrication with a solvent diluted oil that will help flush out the old dirty lube and replace it with clean lubricant.

    Chains and cogs that wear-in together should never skip. New chains skip on worn cogs.

    Chain wear that comes from the pins and bushings causes elongation and can be measured with a scale. Roller/bushing wear the requires calipers to measure the distance between rollers. Not all chains measure the same between the rollers when new. Campy chains may measure .200 inch, while Shimano or KMC chains measure about .210 inch. To know how much wear has occurred, you have to check the chain when new.

    Some brands of chains, like Shimano, suffer from elongation the most and will elongate beyond the generally recommended 1/16" per foot or .5% before the rollers are excessively worn. Campy chains elongate very little, but the rollers still wear nearly as much as Shimano. That makes the scale reading for elongation of little value with a Campy chain. Regardless of the type of wear, using any chain for too long on one cassette can result in chain skip when a new chain is installed. Unfortunately there is no value for elongation or roller wear that will guarantee maximum cog life. At some point, you'll put a new chain on a used cassette and it will skip on one or more cogs.

    The best way to get maximum cog life is to alternate the use of 3 or 4 chains. The idea is to get some wear on each of the chains before enough mileage accumulates on the cogs to cause chain skip with the last new chain in the rotation. With campy chains, you could probably use each chain for 2000 miles before changing, but with faster elongating chains, you might need to rotate as early as 1000-1500 miles. After each chain has had it's first use, the rotation continues until for at least a second rotation of similar length. These partially worn chains will rarely skip until the cog wear is extreme. When cogs become extremely worn, the point of contact rises toward the tip of the cog teeth and may actually break off a tooth. That's when you know that you really pushed a cog to it's limit.

    My rule of thumb for Campy chains is to trash one when the distance between rollers increases from .200 inch to .235-.240. That usually take 5-6,000 miles. At that point, the elongation is usually a fraction of the allowable .5%, but the chain is shot. Campy's official recommendation is to change a chain when the rollers are only worn to about .220 inch. You can do that, but after three chains you can put the old ones back on and get nearly twice the mileage, rather than continuing to buy new ones. The cog life will be about the same in the end, but you will have spent half as much on chains.
    Last edited by DaveSSS; 11-18-08 at 02:00 PM.

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