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  1. #1
    Flat Ire
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    Chain replacement

    I found this advice at "Bike Repair Tips from Kopp's Cycles":

    5. Change chains. Most riders don't install new chains every 1,400 to 1,800 miles, or at least once a year. Ride long enough with an old chain, and it will wear your cassette and chainrings, so you have to shell out to replace everything, not just the chain.

    I do not change chains by mileage, I use a gauge to check the "stretch" of the chain, and change at .075" .

    Is this a good method, or should I incorporate the mileage method also?

  2. #2
    Senior Member PedalingFool's Avatar
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    1,400 to 1,800 miles?
    Seems like overkill to me but I don't know much anyways.


  3. #3
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    Discussing chains and chain care is dangerously close to religion for some riders, so expect a lot of strong opinions and few hard answers.
    If you want to be level-headed about it, it becomes a question of relative expenditure. Frequent chain replacements will stretch the life of your cassette/freewheel and to a lesser extent chainrings. But you have to keep paying for the chains, and spend the time doing the maintenance. Eventually there's a break point where you end up paying money to save money.

    If your method works, ie it lets you keep using the cassette, there's little to no benefit for you to look at the miles as well or instead of stretch.

    As long as you have a cyclocomputer, tracking mileage is easy and definite. Measuring chain wear is not. Plenty of people here have reported replacing chains in what they thought was in time, only to be plagued by skipping and whatnot that wouldn't go away until they've replaced at least the cassette too.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    A foot of chain, measuring 12.075" over, in comparison to 12.000"new,
    is better than waiting till 12.125".
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-14-12 at 12:53 PM.

  5. #5
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If you can type a question on an Internet forum, you can probably do this:



    But a gauge is better than just using mileage.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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    "But a gauge is better than just using mileage." +1 But a rule is better than either, IMO.

    Get and use a good steel rule. Get one with both inches and millimeters and you can use it for lots of stuff besides chains. I distrust chain checkers, myself; I question their methodology. A good rule is very accurate and measures over a larger section of the chain, averaging out local irregularities which might fool a checker. I also highly recommend closing your chain with a master link for ease of removal and replacement for cleaning and other maintenence. A pair of master link pliers is inexpensive and makes the job a literal snap. You are more likely to do it if it is easy.

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    http://draco.nac.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8d.2.html
    I just cleaned and lubed mine after 800 miles. I usually go 650 miles between servicing it.The chain has 3000 miles on it and shows no streatch (wear).
    Last edited by davidad; 09-25-12 at 05:10 PM.

  8. #8
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    Changing chains when your gauge says to will work just fine. bk

  9. #9
    Mechanic/Tourist
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    If you can type a question on an Internet forum, you can probably do this:



    But a gauge is better than just using mileage.
    FYI: On a derailleur equipped bike you're better off measuring on the top run of chain with some pressure on the pedal.
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

  10. #10
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    FYI: On a derailleur equipped bike you're better off measuring on the top run of chain with some pressure on the pedal.
    That's an option, but I just prefer to shift into the big ring and measure the lower run, using my left hand to put tension on the RD cage and support the end of the ruler -- the FD doesn't get in the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  11. #11
    Flat Ire
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    Thanks for the responses everyone. I think I will continue using the gauge, and use also a ruler to see how they compare. Lotta money invested in divetrain parts to take this lightly!

  12. #12
    Junior Member CAK's Avatar
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    The best way is to use a chain checker tool. When they did that article they left out the part about how to check it. I have tried every chain measuring tool I can find and the best is still the Rohloff Chain Wear Indicator. The park that gives an exact measurement is ok until you bend the pin. 314cCYyVxWL._SS500_.jpg
    Charlie @ Kopp's

  13. #13
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAK View Post
    The best way is to use a chain checker tool. When they did that article they left out the part about how to check it. I have tried every chain measuring tool I can find and the best is still the Rohloff Chain Wear Indicator. The park that gives an exact measurement is ok until you bend the pin. 314cCYyVxWL._SS500_.jpg
    Charlie @ Kopp's
    No. Chain checkers include 2x the roller wear on top of actual chain elongation which leads to replacing the chain very prematurely. I've even spoken with one manufacturer of a chain checking gauge about this and they agree! A ruler give the best indication of chain elongation and when to replace the chain.

    Common recommendations are to replace at 1/16" elongation over 12" but I replace my chains @ 1/32" elongation to save wear on the cassette and rings. I just replace a chain this morning after 4200 miles on it.
    Last edited by Looigi; 09-25-12 at 09:27 AM.

  14. #14
    Flat Ire
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    1/16" elongation over 12" amounts to about 0.5%, and 1/32" would of course be half that. The type of chain checker I use has feelers for 1.0% and 0.75% . So your standard is quit high by comparison. Then another issue is how much elongation is the trigger to change the chain, which amounts to cost of replacing chains to replacing the chainrings and cassettes. I will definitely use both my gauge and a ruler, if for no other reason to check calibration on the checker.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?q=chain...9,r:5,s:0,i:94

    Just ain't no simple answer.

  15. #15
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesiz View Post
    1/16" elongation over 12" amounts to about 0.5%, and 1/32" would of course be half that. The type of chain checker I use has feelers for 1.0% and 0.75% . So your standard is quit high by comparison. Then another issue is how much elongation is the trigger to change the chain, which amounts to cost of replacing chains to replacing the chainrings and cassettes. I will definitely use both my gauge and a ruler, if for no other reason to check calibration on the checker.

    Just ain't no simple answer.
    Since the chain tool includes roller wear, its "0.75%" and "1.0%" markings aren't really meaningful when the rest of us are discussing chain elongation. Unfortunately, due to the nature of Internet discussions, it's unlikely to ever become a simple answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  16. #16
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    I love chain checker vs steel ruler threads.

    I also love my Park chain checker. I may have replaced a few chains with 0.9% instead of 1.0% elongation - I'm OK with that.
    I also have a 16 GB SD card that only holds 14.4 GB of actual data... I'm OK with that too.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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