Alright folks, heres the deal. I went a long time, over 5500 miles on my bike since it was new. I never replaced the chain. the cassette autoshifts when theres too much load on it, and I have a feeling that the chain is so freakin stretched it isn't even funny (though I haven't measured it). I'm going to replace the whole shebang, and I was wondering if I should replace the chainrings also. If it makes a difference, its an ultegra cassette, shimano chain, 105 crank and rings, and very old dura-ace shifters.
Not being able to see the wear involved it's really hard to say. Here's a guide that should help. (Scroll down to see the wear demos) http://fagan.co.za/Bikes/Csuck/
I'd suggest snagging a set just to be on the safe side.
Sounds like your chain is gone. Don't be too sad: 5500 miles is a lot for one chain, probably too much. In order to enhance the lifespan of my cassettes, I change chains earlier: after about 3000 miles or so. Your cassette is likely to be in need of replacement too. Chainrings, however, go a long way. Chances are that they are still in good shape.
Since I wrecked an expensive Ultegra cassette by staying with the same chain too long, I regularly employ the Rohloff Caliber to check whether my chain has stretched over the limit. It's a very helpful tool.
yea, I know I need a new cassette. Its in the thread title. Its the originial, and it wasn't until today that it really started to piss me off a lot. Luckily, I just bought a twice-ridden 12-27 from a guy on the bike team (used it to ride the app. state road race then took it off...) for $30 bucks...heh good deal, eh? I now just need a new chain. I didn't want to wreck a new chain and a new cassette with worn out rings. but if you guys say that 5500 miles is ok...then ok. this is on a road bike, BTW.
also, as for the autoshifting...I dont need new shifters, do I? Its in the cassette, thats the problem, right?