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  1. #1
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    Life of drive system

    My Trek 1.1 which I bought in 2010 (a year ago last spring) has been a very enjoyable bike to ride. I am concerned however, about the life of the drive system (the chainrings, rear sprockets and chain). Had them replaced this spring for a cost of $210. This seems to be hard to understand when I used my old Centurion Le Mans for many many years and never even replaced the chain. I am told by the LBS that in two or three thousand miles I will have to replace everything again. Is this normal on modern bikes?

    On the flip side the Bontrager front tire has shown little signs of wear in three thousand miles or road cycling. This surprises me because all the reviews I read talked about these being cheap tires that should be replaced. (I did replace the rear tire with a slightly more expensive tire). I am always careful to keep the tires inflated and brush off any debris before and after riding.
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

  2. #2
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    at 3k miles i would expect maybe a chain replacement if you do your part in lubrication. the chainrings last a long time if you replace the chain at reasonable intervals. cassette will go 2-3 chains. front tires dont wear as fast as rear tires. when the rear tire shows cords i rotate the front to the back and new one goes in the front. i would shop for a different shop

  3. #3
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    Your shop ripped you off unless you badly abused your bike or there was other physical damage. I would NEVER go back there.

    A chain and cassette will require replacement periodically and you have two ways to approach it. Either run them until the chain is "stretched" about 1%(it will measure about 12-1/8" over 24 pins while a new chain will measure 12" exactly) and then replace both. Or replace the chain every 1500-2000 miles and get three or more chains per cassette. I do the first and get 6000 to7000 miles on a chain and relatively low cost cassette like a 105 or Veloce. Chainrings last for much longer with over 30,000 miles being common even with my 6000+ mile chain life.

  4. #4
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    I have an old Trek 720 Multi Track I bought in April and went completely through it
    before riding it. New tires, Bontrager H1 ECOs. All new cables, brake pads, pedals.
    Checked and cleaned, packed all bearings. New rear wheel.

    The bike had the original tires and showed little wear, just sat for years.

    I just turned 6000 miles on it. I have cleaned and oiled the chain once a week.
    Cleaned the sprockets and lubed every thing at the same time.

    I rotated the tires at 4000 miles, they look fine. Adjusted the RD once.

    Nothing shows any signs of wear yet. LBS checked the chain, said it was
    like new.

    How are you people wearing out, and tearing up things in half that distance?
    I ride pretty hard at times, average about 17+ mph and hit 30+ almost every
    ride. I don't stand and mash very often. I do keep the bike clean and stored
    indoors.

  5. #5
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    6-7-8 speed chains last a lot longer. The 9-10 speed chains are narrower and don't last as long. Also different component groups have different materials for the cogs or the rings. Not always. My 9 speed Dura ace drive train has soft titanium big rear cogs they wore out quickly. The next group down, Ultegra does not have ti big cogs and will last longer. The technical books I have list all the differences between the groups.
    The wear is also highly dependent on how you ride, and the enviroment. Rididng in the rain will wear out parts faster for instance. Riding in one gear a lot will wear out that one gear early. Many different factors for wear.
    My 7 speed tourig bike has 10,000 miles on the chain, cogs and rings, it's fine.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  6. #6
    Senior Member MudPie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Your shop ripped you off unless you badly abused your bike or there was other physical damage. I would NEVER go back there.

    A chain and cassette will require replacement periodically and you have two ways to approach it. Either run them until the chain is "stretched" about 1%(it will measure about 12-1/8" over 24 pins while a new chain will measure 12" exactly) and then replace both. Or replace the chain every 1500-2000 miles and get three or more chains per cassette. I do the first and get 6000 to7000 miles on a chain and relatively low cost cassette like a 105 or Veloce. Chainrings last for much longer with over 30,000 miles being common even with my 6000+ mile chain life.
    I'm a practitioner of the a little of both. I tend to replace chains at .75%, using both the Park chain tool measuring device and a steel machinist rule. I get ~2500-3000 miles per chain and at least two chains per cassette. I've used SRAM PC1090 chains for about 10k miles and recently switched to KMC X10SL, and cost is ~$55 per chain. I've been using SRAM 1070 cassettes (exclusively), and ~$90 per cassette. So in terms of cost, I spend about $55 every 2,500 miles, and $150 every 5,000 miles. These parts are easy to install, so perhaps you can save some labor costs here.

    Also, maintenance is the key for longevity. I lube my chain every 80-100 miles (I know, probably way more frequent than necessary). I do take the time to dab one drop on each roller.

  7. #7
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    1.1 is an 8sp and I have a real hard time imagining that you wore out the chain and cassette in a year.

    But it depends. Harsh conditions in your area? (sand, dirt, water, moisture, salt?) Ride year round, even through the nasty weather? Don't wash your bike? Don't lube your chain? If so, could very well go through chain and maybe even cassette in short order.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
    6-7-8 speed chains last a lot longer. The 9-10 speed chains are narrower and don't last as long.
    The 6000-7000 mile cassette and chain life I mentioned above is based on 9 and 10-speed chains and cassettes.

  9. #9
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    Sculptor7, I just don't understand why your chainrings would require replacement so early. I'm not so sure I'd use that LBS again.

    On my crit bike I only could get ~1K miles out of a chain and about twice that for the cassette while the chainrings were never an issue. Now that I'm older and don't bang gears like I used to I feel I can get two or three times that (I've become somewhat mechanically sympathetic).

    Brad

  10. #10
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    If you had a 10-sp drivetrain and put 3k miles on it, it would be possible that the chain would have worn enough to require replacement of both the chain and cassette. But 10-sp chains and cassette cogs are relatively thin and wear more rapidly. Your 8-sp chain and cogs are robust in comparison. With even modest maintenance, I'd be very surprised to reach 0.5% (1/16" stretch) in under 5k miles, and that minimal amount of wear would require nothing more than chain replacement (~$30 at the LBS). Unless you run your components into the ground, a cassette will last multiple chains, and chainrings should last multiple cassettes.

    If you think your maintenance procedure could be revised to extend chain life, start there. Understand how to measure your chain as wear progresses, and know how to detect a worn cassette. It's not difficult, and you'll have a greater sense of control and be far less likely to be had by an unscrupulous shop.

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  12. #12
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    Thanks for all the advice. I should have added that I pretty regularly service the chain. Not taking if off but dusting off any sand or grit and wiping it down both before and after lubricating it with a good light lubricant.
    Also, I avoid sandy or dusty conditions. I guess I don't want to believe my shop is ripping me off because I have had a pretty good feeling about doing business with them but perhaps I am not being realistic. Both the owner and at least one of the repairman both told me that the drive train would need replacing after just a few thousand miles. In fact I was told that when I bought the bike. Think I am going to get a chain wear indicating tool and start doing my own maintenance. I have not hesitated to take apart vintage bikes but have been intimidated about doing anything to this new bike. Perhaps its time to change that.
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

  13. #13
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    You gave them your business, and you gave them the benefit of doubt. You sound like you'll take this as a learning experience and move forward with the incentive of doing your own maintenance. That's a positive attitude, and I'm sure you'll find home maintenance rewarding.

    This is probably as good of a chain wear tool as you will find:

    http://www.staples.com/Westcott-15-S...product_103986

    Just follow the simple advice for measuring wear as instructed at sheldonbrown.com. Mine is marked in 1/32"; I can't tell if this particular one is. I measure from the 1" mark to the 13" mark, either positioning the mark at the center of the pin or at the edge of the pin.

    When chain replacement time eventually arrives, you'll find the task to be about as complicated as putting a pan of rice on the range.

  14. #14
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    I still had questions on my mind about this so I wrote to Trek Consumer Division and this is the answer I got:

    "Thanks for writing. Most drive components will last about 2500-300 miles before needing replacement.

    PAUL ANDREWS - TREK BICYCLE"

    So I guess my question is still this: Is this really progress? For example, there's my old garage sale bike that I used for 20 years and paid $30 for without ever even cleaning the chain (that was before I became converted) and here's this $700 plus bike that needs to have the chain, the chainrings and the rear cluster replaced every 3000 miles. Okay, maybe I did not put the kind of mileage on then as I am doing now that I am retired and have time to ride every day but still...
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

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    Chainrings last for years period. You might wipe a cassette out in 3000 miles but frankly it better be because of something completely unusual. I have just crossed the 3000 mile mark on my Motorbecane Immortal Spirit. I put a new set of tires on at 2600 but they had some life left. I have the original chain with zero stretch on my machinist ruler, and the cassettee looks new once I cleaned it up. Now I do live in the flatlands and try to spin not mash, but something is up with what the LBS said. Being an old guitar repairman I can measure down to the amount of error in the thickness of a piece of paper.

  16. #16
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    I have found I am replacing my chain every 1500 - 2000 miles. I ride several times a week on a road surrounded by beaches, and pick up a lot of sand. My first year with my bike, I went about 3500 miles and didn't pay attention to my chain (since I'd never had to replace one on my old Huffy MTB). I had to replace the chain and freewheel at that time. Last year I replaced my chain at 2000 miles and the freewheel was fine. This year, at around 7000 - 7500 miles total on the drive-train, I have a whole new drive-train.

    This was a cheap Trek 7000. My repairs last week cost almost as much as the bike, but I have much better components now. I can now replace a single chain ring on the front. My OEM set was pressed together.

    I'm not meticulous about keeping the drivetrain clean, and I ride in all weather conditions since this is my commuter as well. So some of this is self inflicted, but I believe the environment I ride in contributes to a shortened drive-train life.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
    I still had questions on my mind about this so I wrote to Trek Consumer Division and this is the answer I got:

    "Thanks for writing. Most drive components will last about 2500-300 miles before needing replacement.

    PAUL ANDREWS - TREK BICYCLE"
    I can't imagine needing to replace the chainrings in 3000miles. Maybe a chain but not chainrings.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
    I still had questions on my mind about this so I wrote to Trek Consumer Division and this is the answer I got:

    "Thanks for writing. Most drive components will last about 2500-300 miles before needing replacement.

    PAUL ANDREWS - TREK BICYCLE"
    "Most drive components", not "All drive..." was written in this purposely vague response.

    Yesterday I swapped cranksets on my crit bike to have a 39T inner chainring for my knee, the replaced crankset is the same crankset I did my gear banging with in post #9. Both are FC-6400s, one with about 4K miles and the other less than 100 (both I'd bought new). I just compared the two and they're identical WRT wear. I also compared the 13-21 cassette that recieved the brunt of those full power shifts and it's only slightly more worn than the 13-23 that's on the rear now.

    Unless there was a serious issue with the chain, which would've been evident in other problems or severe cross chaining I don't understand why the chainrings would've required replacing. Did the LBS return your worn parts to you?

    Brad
    Last edited by bradtx; 09-07-11 at 07:25 AM. Reason: corr

  19. #19
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    "Did the LBS return your worn parts to you?

    Brad"


    Actually, no. They also did not return the original clip pedals when I bought a pair of clipless, now that I think of it.
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    When one asks for a general answer to a complicated situation, there will be many, many, exceptions. The answer you got is as meaningless as the question. The real answer is, it depends on many things.

    I have a bike with 9,500 + miles on the cogs , chain, and rings. It works perfectly. I have two that are over 6,000, and others past 3,000. It varies a lot depending on the environment, the exact group components, how you ride, and how you maintain your chain. Some people have gone 20,000 miles on the chain rings and cogs. some mtb riders that ride in muddy, dirty conditions can wear out those parts in 1,000 miles.

    To quote another forum member from a long time ago, "How long is a rope?".
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  21. #21
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    The best idea here is to get a chain wear tool or good steel ruler, and check the wear yourself. It follows that chain wear will affect sprocket wear.

    BTW I ride a LWB recumbent which of course has a chain almost 3 times as long as a DF bike. At 8000 miles it still does not show .75% wear. I service the chain well, and use Mobil 1 ext to lub it.
    Last edited by rydabent; 09-07-11 at 07:32 PM.

  22. #22
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sculptor7 View Post
    "Did the LBS return your worn parts to you?

    Brad"


    Actually, no. They also did not return the original clip pedals when I bought a pair of clipless, now that I think of it.
    Ripoff merchants.

  23. #23
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    If a bike sits still and is never ridden it will last forever... the measure to be used is how many miles have you put on the bike and the question is, how did you ride enough in one year to wear out your chain rings ?

    Cassette and chain life is variable depending on quality and the conditions you ride in as well as how well you maintain the drive... generally... a cassette will last through 2 chains and a good lifespan for a cassette is 5000 - 6000 miles.

    Because they distribute load better and have more teeth a set of chain rings should last in excess of 25,000 miles unless they are cheaply made... I have chain rings on my touring bikes that have seen more than 25,000 miles and they are still in fine shape.

    Basically... your bike may have needed a new cassette and chain but think you got taken on the chain ring replacement as few peopel can ride enough in a year to wear these out.

  24. #24
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    I wouldn't be at all surprised if his rings, cassette and pedals were all on other bikes right now.

  25. #25
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    There seems to be a need for clarification as to how much I rode and the conditions I rode in. As a retiree I have a lot of time to ride and my average has been around 100 miles per week during the ride season here which is only from May to October generally. This year it has been even shorter because of a lousy spring. I bought the bike a year ago last spring and the best estimate (since one of my computers broke down) is that I had around 2500 to 3000 miles on it when I paid for the drivetrain replacement this past spring. Probably 1500 on the bike since then.
    I ride on paved roads averaging 14 mph or less and am careful to avoid shifting under load and riding with crossed gears (chain on large front, large rear or small chainring, small sprocket). My maintenance has consisted of periodically (one to two weeks) brushing down and wiping down the chain on the bike and lubricating it with a good quality lightweight oil. After oiling the chain I wipe off the excess. If this is really what is needed to own a modern bicycle I think it is excessive. In fairness to the LBS I was told about the need to replace the rear sprocket after 3000 miles before I paid for it. I was somewhat shocked but by that time I had made up my mind I was going to own this pretty blue lightweight bicycle with brake/shifters. So I guess anyone who owns a quality bike must expect to shell out a few hundred dollars each year to keep it running properly. Since mine was the lowest entry Trek at $700 I can't imagine what the guys buying the 3,4 or more thousand dollar bikes have to pay for their sport.
    Last edited by Sculptor7; 09-07-11 at 04:43 PM.
    Fuji S10S, Trek 1.1

    "The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in the detecting of delicate and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed; it notices any decline which water will run down." -Mark Twain, "Taming the Bicycle"

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