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  1. #1
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    Chain wear question?

    How much wear does it take to be able to see the difference in the old and
    new chain?

    .001 per link would be .114". nearly an eighth of an inch. ?

    I have a chain with 8000 miles known, got the bike used. I am doing a total
    rebuild and got a new chain, laid them side by side and you can't see any
    difference in the overall length. Well, maybe and half a hair.





    Am I missing something here or is this a great spare chain?

  2. #2
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    I usually measure my chains while they are on the bike. THe derailleur has a more-or-less constant pull and this will ensure that any pins or bushings that are worn will settle into their worn grooves. THat is my theory, anyway.

    Try hanging the chains instead of laying them down. Maybe you will see more of a difference then.

    Also, if you install the new chain, and it does not skip on the old cassette, then your old chain was not excessively worn. If you install the new chain and it skips under load then the chain was worn and the cassette is worn to match.

  3. #3
    spathfinder34089 spathfinder3408's Avatar
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    looks good to me. The manuals always claim when you put on new chain rings or rear gears put on a new chain also. Reason for that is if the chain is stretched it will not sync with teeth perfectly causing wear on the teeth. I would keep that as a spare chain, but don't mix it with new gears if you want them to last a long time

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a great chain. My 8 sp chain has 11500 miles on it and shows 1/8" in 48".

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    Thanks for the quick reply. I tried hanging them and it is about the same. New chaining, and cassette. Old parts went on a
    flipper bike.

    It is a 91 Trek Multi Track I bought used in April and rode 8k miles this summer, I love the bike, just the right size and all.
    Decided to make it new. Wheels, tires, tubes, chaining. went to a seven on the back and a cassette in place of the
    freewheel. New BB and head set bearings. Complete new brakes, cables, housings. Frame, seat, +tube and fork are
    all that remains of the original bike.

    I am keeping the shifters and derailleurs as they work perfect. First sign of a problem and they will get replaced.

    Went from a 700cX35 to a 700cX28.

    We are having some real crap weather so I have plenty of time to piddle...

  6. #6
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    I don't think increased OAL of the chain is the main issue; wear occurs at the contact points (i.e. the cylindrical chain rollers) with the gear teeth; these rollers wear down in diameter. So-called "chain-elongation" guages, like the $10 Park model, measure a short section of chain (measuring between the rollers) and are easy to use. My point is that there can be a lot of total wear on the rollers with very little increase in chain OAL.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by neurocop View Post
    I don't think increased OAL of the chain is the main issue; wear occurs at the contact points (i.e. the cylindrical chain rollers) with the gear teeth; these rollers wear down in diameter. So-called "chain-elongation" guages, like the $10 Park model, measure a short section of chain (measuring between the rollers) and are easy to use. My point is that there can be a lot of total wear on the rollers with very little increase in chain OAL.
    I had that in the back of my mind. The old chain is much looser side to side movement.

    Work in progess....



    New Raleigh... About 750 miles so far and really enjoying it.



    Beater flipper built from spare, left over parts. Going to help pay for
    the rebuild of the other MT.



    Asking $200, any offer over $100 is going to own it. It is really a pretty
    nice bike, I have ridden it about fifty miles so far and no problems at all.
    It is just a bit too big for my likings.

    Thanks again for the quick come backs and sound advice.
    Last edited by BHOFM; 11-30-11 at 08:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    buy the Park Tool Go/No Go chain checker - that'll eliminate any doubt.

  9. #9
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    P ark chain checkers exaggerate elongation by combining it with the wear from the roller at each end of the measurement. Roller wear can be as great as the elongation, so the result is an inaccurate measurement. Use a 12" precision rule if you want an accurate measurement of elongation.

    Post brands, except Campy, elongate a a relatively rapid rate, such that the rollers are about shot around the time that the chain elongates by .5%. With a Campy chain, you'll get little elongation, so roller wear must be monitored.

  10. #10
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    Roller wear is not a factor in chain life unless they wear through.

  11. #11
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    That's not really true. Although most brands of chains will elongate excessively either before or around the time that the rollers are suffering from excessive wear, a Campy chain will show little elongation, even when the rollers are shot and the side clearance excessive. It's been published that only excessive elongation (change in pitch) will cause chain skip, but this is not true. When I used a Campy 10 chain for 6,000 miles, it had .15% elongation, but the rollers were shot and a new chain skipped on the most worn cogs, even though this was the only chain used on the cassette.

    When you have a cassette that only skips on one cog (with a new chain), you'll find that a chain with only a few hundred miles of use on it will work just fine with that cassette.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
    That's not really true. Although most brands of chains will elongate excessively either before or around the time that the rollers are suffering from excessive wear, a Campy chain will show little elongation, even when the rollers are shot and the side clearance excessive. It's been published that only excessive elongation (change in pitch) will cause chain skip, but this is not true. When I used a Campy 10 chain for 6,000 miles, it had .15% elongation, but the rollers were shot and a new chain skipped on the most worn cogs, even though this was the only chain used on the cassette.

    When you have a cassette that only skips on one cog (with a new chain), you'll find that a chain with only a few hundred miles of use on it will work just fine with that cassette.
    I run the cheapest chains I can buy. I clean them off of the bike every 650 to 700 miles. My 7sp on the tourer has 10900 miles on it and shows about 1/32" wear. The 8sp has 11523 miles and shows the same. The rollers are fine. If you can do better with a Campy chain more power to you.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    I run the cheapest chains I can buy. I clean them off of the bike every 650 to 700 miles. My 7sp on the tourer has 10900 miles on it and shows about 1/32" wear. The 8sp has 11523 miles and shows the same. The rollers are fine. If you can do better with a Campy chain more power to you.
    I haven't used 8 speed since 1997. Comparing ancient 8 speed chains to modern 10/11 speed is apples and oranges.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
    I haven't used 8 speed since 1997. Comparing ancient 8 speed chains to modern 10/11 speed is apples and oranges.
    It is still a bicycle chain and they still sell them. My friends run 9 and 10 speed chains and with proper maintaince they also last a long time.
    I'm the only one using an ultrasonic cleaner at the moment and that has doubled the life of my chains.

  15. #15
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    pm'd, BHOFM.

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    how do you get that many miles on a chain without wearing out the cassette? I get barely 3000-4000, in good conditions, before the chain is stretched 2/16th - 3/16ths.

  17. #17
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    exactly reggieray, I want to know what these guys are doing to get 8k miles and 11k miles out of a chain? do tell Mr. BHOFM and davidad!
    Riding my Computrainer during the "off" season, with open source software: GoldenCheetah

  18. #18
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
    How much wear does it take to be able to see the difference in the old and
    new chain?

    .001 per link would be .114". nearly an eighth of an inch. ?

    I have a chain with 8000 miles known, got the bike used. I am doing a total
    rebuild and got a new chain, laid them side by side and you can't see any
    difference in the overall length. Well, maybe and half a hair.





    Am I missing something here or is this a great spare chain?
    I had a bike that would not shift reliably in the back regardless of adjustment, derailleur alignment or anything else. Replaced the chain -- problem solved. The chain was NOT significantly longer than the replacement, but had far more sideways flex. Apparently the rear derailleur would properly pull the chain towards the next sprocket, but the chain was content to flex in the short span between derailleur and sprocket rather than move over.

    Don in Austin

  19. #19
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    Those who report extreme chain lives are usually talking about much wider chains that have more bearing surface. If you ride in clean conditions on modest terrain and don't put out a lot of power, your chain will last longer.

    A chain can be used far beyond .5% elongation, but at some point, the most-used cogs will wear enough that they will not mate with a new chain. If you get to that point, you might as well keep using the chain longer. When the elongation reaches 1.5-2% the chain will eventually start to ride over the top of the teeth, and skip. This is an entirely different type of chain skip than the common new-chain skip.

    As I noted eariler, different brands wear at different rates and in different places. I've done chain wear tests on Campy, Shimano and KMC 10 speed chains, riding in the Colorado mountains in relatively gritty (but dry) conditions. A Campy chain, if well lubed, will never elongate significantly, before the side clearance and roller wear are excessive (5-6,000 miles). A Shimano DA 7800 chain would reach .5% elongation in about 3500 miles and the KMC DX10SC chain took about 4,000 miles to reach .5% elongation.

    As far as maintenance is concerned, I use a typical homebrew lube; 3-4 parts mineral spirits and one part motor oil or even 80/90W gear lube, applied very frequently. In gritty conditions, the idea was to try to wash out as much grit as possible. I also took my chain off for a serious cleaning, every couple of weeks. A different approach suggests the use of a very thick lube, applied infrequently. I would think that this approach would result in a gritty grinding paste after only a few rides, since the rollers and pins are not protected from the intrusion of dirt. I never tried this, however.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
    Those who report extreme chain lives are usually talking about much wider chains that have more bearing surface. If you ride in clean conditions on modest terrain and don't put out a lot of power, your chain will last longer.
    Thats what I was guessing

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
    As far as maintenance is concerned, I use a typical homebrew lube; 3-4 parts mineral spirits and one part motor oil or even 80/90W gear lube, applied very frequently. In gritty conditions, the idea was to try to wash out as much grit as possible. I also took my chain off for a serious cleaning, every couple of weeks.
    How do you clean your chain?

    I have been oiling with a lube that is wax and oil this time hoping that it will help make my chain last a little longer.
    Riding my Computrainer during the "off" season, with open source software: GoldenCheetah

  21. #21
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    I clean my chains by placing them in an old water bottle, about half full of mineral spirits. Shake vigorously for at least thirty seconds. Pour the dirty solvent into another container for storage and later reuse. At that point, you can repeat the process with another batch of clean solvent, or try hot soapy water, followed by a final hot water rinse. I've done it both ways and it seems to work. If hot water is used, wipe the chain down after rinsing, then apply homebrew lube immidiately. It will displace any remaining water and rust will not be a problem. Some people apply WD-40 to displace the water, but it also contains a poor quality oil, which will then mix with whatever lubed is applied.

    Mineral spirits can be reused many times. After it's set for awhile, the dirt settles to the bottom of the storage container. Just pour clean solvent off the top.

  22. #22
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    Every Sunday I clean and lube the chain and clean the debris from the cassette. I use Brake Clean spray and then 3N1 oil.

    I don't stand and mash very often. I don't ride off road at all. I seldom ride in the rain.

    I just checked, the chain has at least 8300 miles and the cassette shows no wear at all I can see.
    Comparing it to the new one I just bought. The chaining shows a bit of wear but not any thing to
    get worried about.

    My bike really doesn't get that dirty. I ride in an industrial park quiet a bit and get blobs of grease now
    and then that come off the big trucks.

    I rode an $88 Wallly bike over 5k miles with no problems but brake pads and tires.

    I do an extensive pre-flight before each ride as well. I check the tire pressure every day.

    The Bonterage H1's on the bike have 8300 miles as well. They are still good enough for a
    flipper bike. Had one flat BTW! Glass sliver.

    I bought a parts washing cabinet and water base solvent I will be using in the future to
    clean the chain. I have a Scram power link and two chains now.

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