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Old 06-26-10, 08:40 PM   #1
Lenkearney
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How long does a bike chain last?

and how do you know when you should replace it?

My chain has been on my bike over ten years and my bike computer says over 5K miles.

Len
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Old 06-26-10, 09:21 PM   #2
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Yo probably need more than a chain by now. Chain, cassette and possibly chainrings.

Wear is measured by the amount of stretch in the chain. Park Tool makes an inexpensive gauge.

I'll bet @ 5k and that age if you try to put just a chain on it, it'll skip on the rear sprocket.
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Old 06-26-10, 11:24 PM   #3
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+1 to CCrew

I have the inexpensive Park tool and have had a 8 speed chain on a road bike go well over 2,000 miles before showing wear. I also have a cyclocross bike I use as my wet weather commuter. It's showing 1,500 miles and is on its third! chain. Long way of saying the conditions it's subjected to and the care it receives makes a huge difference in how many miles it will last.
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Old 06-27-10, 10:38 AM   #4
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The Park chain checker is a piece of junk. Use a 12" rule to measure chain elongation. It's quite likely that a new chain will skip on one or more of the most-used cogs, but the chainrings are probably just fine.

Do a search on chain life. This subject has many threads an hundreds of posts.
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Old 06-27-10, 11:49 AM   #5
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As long as the bike parts didn't rust on you the age itself doesn't matter. Only the mileage. Measure with a ruler as mentioned. With the start end of the ruler on a pin lined up exactly pull the chain along the ruler and look at where the pin at the 12 inch end lines up. If the pin is past the end of the ruler by 1/16 or more then it's way dead. If it's between 1/32 and 1/16 too long then it's on it's last legs and if you replace it now the rear gearing will likely be OK. If it's between a perfect match and 1/32 longer then it's fine.

If it's really greasy then you may need to clean it in solvent or degreaser before you can measure it accurately.
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Old 06-27-10, 08:09 PM   #6
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Do a search on chain life. This subject has many threads an hundreds of posts.
+1 This has been discussed many many times. Use a good steel ruler.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenkearney View Post
and how do you know when you should replace it?

My chain has been on my bike over ten years and my bike computer says over 5K miles.

Len
A LBS can look at it for you.

On my huffy it was covered in black, gunky grease and i cleaned it. It seems to be ok. My nishiki was rusted to heck and back. Cassette too. I had to replace all of it.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:50 PM   #8
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typically 5 - 6K miles, but have gotten 10+K miles...

depends on conditions.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:52 PM   #9
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I'll second DaveSSS. Use a ruler. 12 links measuring 12 1/16" and the chain is due for replacement and the cogs probably also. Buy a new chain and see if it works without jumping or slipping. (The chain, at 1/16" stretch, is far from dead. The problem is that a stretched chain will wear the teeth to match the stretched condition. With multiple cogs, your most used cogs will fit that worn chain, the others not so well. Changing relatively cheap chains well before the cogs wear is cheaper in the long run. (This statement gets less true if you are using very expensive chains.)

(Fix gear chains can go past 1/8" stretch with no issues since it always runs on the same front and rear teeth. The teeth become pointed and all will have to be replaced when the time comes, but distance like 20,000 miles is not unheard of. I changed the chain, ring and cog on my fix gear at 17,000 miles of the bike. Last done when the bike was quite new. I replace my good fix gear's chain much more often, ~1/6" since I run a bunch of different cogs on it. $20 per chain. 13 cogs at $35+ each.)

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Old 09-22-16, 09:04 PM   #10
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About six years and three months.
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Old 09-23-16, 05:34 AM   #11
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5k is a reasonable chain life, and it's time to replace it now
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Old 09-23-16, 05:38 AM   #12
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my chain life is about 3k miles, probably due to mashing 215 pounds up climbs.
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Old 09-23-16, 05:54 AM   #13
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About six years and three months.
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Old 09-23-16, 06:09 AM   #14
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I am using one that is 13 years old.

and a 2nd one that is 6 years old.
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Old 09-23-16, 07:53 AM   #15
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my chain life is about 3k miles, probably due to mashing 215 pounds up climbs.
Ditto
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Old 09-23-16, 08:02 AM   #16
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Details skipped .. Chain width , And Operating condition (always clean and oiled to never oiled or cleaned)
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Old 09-23-16, 08:05 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenkearney View Post
and how do you know when you should replace it?

My chain has been on my bike over ten years and my bike computer says over 5K miles.

Len
It probably needs to be replaced, the real question is though, if it's become too worn, you may need to replace your cassette and chainrings as well, as riding too long on a over worn chain damages those. If that is the case, as my local wrench says: might as well ride it until it breaks now!
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Old 09-23-16, 08:11 AM   #18
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9 Speed on both.

Bought both Used.

First with 400 miles
Second with 150 miles.
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Old 09-23-16, 08:25 AM   #19
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3500 to 5500 miles per chain for the last half dozen that I've replaced, so if your mileage estimate is right it's probably time. My cassettes last for two or three chains. Were I you, I'd replace the chain now and if it skips on the cogs then replace the cassette.

I've recycled stretched chains onto a worn cog (they can still work together) onto a second bike, but only because I'm really cheap. It's probably a good idea to just replace both the chain and cassette now - but measure it first. No use worrying about less than 1/16" stretch, but more than 1/8" you might as well just write it off.
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Old 09-23-16, 08:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I am using one that is 13 years old.

and a 2nd one that is 6 years old.
I wouldn't think that age is as relevant to wear as usage. Who knows how long that new replacement chain has sat on a suppliers shelf? New bikes sitting on the floor do not wear chains either but I might think that a bike sitting outside, even if not being used might still age and wear due to the elements and dust/dirt.

I know that you didn't mean your post that way though.
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