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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 12-17-06, 10:01 PM   #1
Air
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Clyde Chain/Free Wheel/Cassette Wear

Do you keep the chain on until both the chain and free wheel/cassette are wiped or do you swap out the chain with a new one when it starts to wear? Or rotate a few chains?

I put a new freewheel on in September. I've ridden about 700 miles on it and put a new chain on at the same time.

I just got new cranks. I figured I'd swap the chain with a new one, soak the old one and then flip flop them to stretch the cranks out. But on todays ride (just changed it this morning) when I needed more power it was slipping. I use Ice Wax pretty much before every ride, wipe the chain down once a week, etc....

So here's my dilema. Do I keep the new chain on, let it 'wear in' and then swap them back and forth or will that just eat the free wheel? When I put the new and old chains next to each other there was about a half a link difference over the length of the chain if that (don't have a chain tool yet and there's way too much room for error with the tape measuring method!).

Or should I keep the old chain on and wear it till I need a new free wheel? I figure eventually this will be a foul weather bike but with winter coming that could be for a few months. Is that going to kill the cranks?

I was surprised that there was a difference at all with only 700 miles on it - how long do your chains usually wear?

I know there's a bunch of debates about this over in Road but was curious if the extra torque we exert on the drivetrain eats the chains a lot more or if it's neglible.

Thanks!
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Old 12-17-06, 11:06 PM   #2
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I usually change 3 chains before replacing the cassette. I run shimano and they are usually stretched at 2000 miles cuz I weigh 230 pounds.
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Old 12-17-06, 11:35 PM   #3
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When you put the new chain on though you don't get any slippage?
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Old 12-18-06, 06:27 AM   #4
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When you put the new chain on though you don't get any slippage?
Depends....you did say you keep up with the lubing, so it shouldn't trash the cassette or Freewheel, whichever you have. I have 2300 miles on my chain and freewheel currently on my bike. I use a wet lube from Pedro's, myself. Freewheel is in excellent shape and the chain probably has another thousand in it. I keep the dirt and grit out of the chain with frequent cleaning. That helps.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:15 AM   #5
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Most of where I ride is dusty/dirty so I've been sticking with the ice wax. I love watching the clumps of crud fall off!

So, should I ride with the new chain and deal with some slippage or ride the old chain until everything wears out. I have a freewheel if that makes a difference. The old freewheel/chain lasted for almost 10 years (well, 6 were in a basement) but I must have put a few thousand miles on it during that time. Maybe.

The freewheel cost about $5 more than the chain at the lbs so I was just hoping to keep the chain cleaner by soaking it every other few weeks or so - easier that way then using the chain cleaner (which is handy for a quick cleaning). Actually more concerned about the cranks.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:36 AM   #6
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Most of where I ride is dusty/dirty so I've been sticking with the ice wax. I love watching the clumps of crud fall off!

So, should I ride with the new chain and deal with some slippage or ride the old chain until everything wears out. I have a freewheel if that makes a difference. The old freewheel/chain lasted for almost 10 years (well, 6 were in a basement) but I must have put a few thousand miles on it during that time. Maybe.

The freewheel cost about $5 more than the chain at the lbs so I was just hoping to keep the chain cleaner by soaking it every other few weeks or so - easier that way then using the chain cleaner (which is handy for a quick cleaning). Actually more concerned about the cranks.
Good question, I've always just changed out chain and freewheel because when they get some miles on them, the freewheel and chain kind of wear into each others irregularities, and the new chain doesn't fit just right...hence slippage.
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Old 12-18-06, 10:26 AM   #7
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I get about 3 chains out of a cassette. whe nI get slippage thats time for a new cassette
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Old 12-18-06, 10:27 AM   #8
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Slippage on a new chain or old chain?
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Old 12-20-06, 01:24 PM   #9
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How does the new chain run? Are you noticing any skipping? If none, then you're good to go, just ride. Freewheels are more durable than cassettes I believe so you could potentially run the same freewheel for a very long time - something like 50,000 miles isn't out of the question provided you do change your chain when it wears.
As for your question about extra torque the short answer is: "YES". The long answer about the extra torque that heavy people exert on chains is more a factor of the finesse and efficiency of the rider. You could be skinny and apply the wrong kind of torque too often and prematurely ruin the chain. But the opposite is true as well. Cycling can be such a smooth form of exercise, and one of the challenging things for me is to spin smoothly and always be in the right gear for the terrain, wind and road conditions and your personal fitness level. Accelerations should be of the "smooth and progressive" variety. Riding in too big of a gear at too slow a cadence I believe strains the system, a lighter effort at a higher tempo is easier on your parts AND your bike parts. You can monitor this by getting a cyclocomputer with cadence. I've found that if I can keep my cadence at ~ 85 rpm or higher, things just sing a little sweeter.
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Old 12-20-06, 07:49 PM   #10
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I swap out chain and cassette at the same time, since they do tend to wear together. When I first tried and old chain on a new cassette I had slippage and problems. Same thing with new chain on old cassette.

I clean my chain on the bike with a chain cleaner about once a week (about 120 miles). Once a month (about 500 miles) I take the chain off and soak it and thoroughly scrub it down. On that pattern I get about 3000 miles on a chain and cassette. More work than that seems to be pointless since neither the chain nor cassette is that expensive.
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