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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 02-09-06, 01:06 PM   #1
oboeguy
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Chain checker FTW

Yikes! am I glad I just got a chain checker (the "go / no-go" Park CC-3, IIRC). I had no idea that the chains on two of our three bikes are ready for chain heaven. I'm off to the shop around the block...
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Old 02-09-06, 01:35 PM   #2
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Might be looking for some new cassettes too. They tend to form a matching pair if you don't change your chain very often or wait until it's absolutely necessary to get a new chain.

That's just my experience. I hope you don't find that to be the case.
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Old 02-09-06, 01:41 PM   #3
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yeah if they are reeeeaaaallllllly stretched i'd just ride your old stuff as long as possible cause a new chain is just gonna make everything skip...

i replace my chains twice a year on the commuter even though they barely register any stretch. might be a good practice if you don't wanna go buying new cassettes and rings with every new chain.

i found (back before i started riding singlespeed) on a geared bike, even with only a little stretching it is sometimes too late.
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Old 02-09-06, 01:54 PM   #4
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Yeah I'm going to see how it goes with the new chains. I'll be riding one of the bikes today to see how things are. I wonder where I'd find a replacement cassette for a my folder (pretty wide spacing).
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Old 02-09-06, 02:02 PM   #5
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Do you know how old your chain is?
A chain checker is probably something I should get too. I still have limited experience with bikes and I'm not sure I'll know when it's time to change it.
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Old 02-09-06, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
I wonder where I'd find a replacement cassette for a my folder (pretty wide spacing).
wide like 11x34 gear range wide or wide like more than 9 gears wide???

i am pretty sure our cassette is probably just an mtb cassette as opposed to a road cassette (but maybe not).
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Old 02-09-06, 02:14 PM   #7
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Wide like 11x34. Don't remember exactly.

One chain is about 2-2.5K miles old the other at most 1.5K miles.
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Old 02-09-06, 03:02 PM   #8
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Those chain checkers are not an accurate way to measure chain wear. The trouble is, they measure the sum of roller clearance, which is not relevent, and pitch change, which is. Measuring with a ruler over 12 link pairs is far better. If you want to keep your cassette, change the chain when 12 link pairs measure 12-1/16"
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Old 02-09-06, 06:24 PM   #9
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How is eyeballing with a ruler going to be any more accurate to (1/16)" than sticking a chain check thingie in there? I don't know what roller clearance and pitch change are. Anyhow, your measurement suggestion would indicate replacement after 0.52% stretch. Isn't the magic number between 0.75% and 1%?
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Old 02-09-06, 07:48 PM   #10
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Just buy a pair of calipers. You can use them for other stuff too plus you can measure your chain to within .01" (unless you have a 12" caliper, then its .005)
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Old 02-09-06, 07:52 PM   #11
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Well so far I like the brainlessness of sticking the chainchecker on to the chain. I barely takes longer than finding it in the tool drawer to know if the chain is OK or not.

So what other uses are there for calipers?
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Old 02-09-06, 08:01 PM   #12
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Heh, everything. Truing your wheels, making sure your brake pads are the right thickness, checking the position of various components, seeing if your machined parts are within tolerances, measuring yourself, etc, which is why I always get 8" calipers instead of 6".
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Old 02-09-06, 08:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
So what other uses are there for calipers?
You could measure stuff that you don't know the dimensions of and that don't lend themselves to easy measuring using a ruler cuz of their goofy shape. Like your peepee.


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Originally Posted by peregrine
I'm not sure I'll know when it's time to change it.
I find when it falls off alot is a good time to change it. Just make sure it falls off near a bike shop that's open.
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Old 02-09-06, 08:28 PM   #14
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Oboeguy -- I agree the chain checker is about the easiest thing imaginable and probably more than sufficiently accurate for most of us. Calipers could be useful if you do a lot of your own maintenance (or want to see how you measure up) but probably aren't necessary for chain checking.

As soon as Nashbar comes through with parts and tools I'll be replacing my chain and cassette since they've reached that magical wear point. Until I started commuting daily I never thought about wearing out a chain!
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Old 02-09-06, 08:45 PM   #15
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I went about 6 weeks between checks over late Dec and January. During the summer that's not a problem but with the warm January, the chain was running full of sand the whole time. When I finally checked it, it was > 2mm longer than max wear on the gauge.

I immediately dropped in a new one and...skipping teeth like crazy; it wrecked the freewheel. Luckily freewheels are cheap, $13 and a couple of days to ship from aebike and I spun a new one on this evening. I guess it was a cheap lesson.

Also I got to get rid of the worthless 34T sprocket on the shimano freewheel and replace it with a 28T big sprocket. I have only had it out for a 400 foot test down the road, but it feels good.
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Old 02-09-06, 08:50 PM   #16
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I changed my first chain out at 1800 miles, and I think that was about right.
The last one stayed on for 2800 miles, the last 600 or so in very dirty, sandy, wet conditions. It was way too long. I think in the future I'm just going to change at 2000 miles.
Slvoid: Harbor Freight has a 12" digital caliper for $35 for the rest of us :-)
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Old 02-09-06, 08:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Harbor Freight has a 12" digital caliper for $35 for the rest of us :-)
That'd measure the width, but for length, I find satellite imagery to be accurate enough. :-D
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Old 02-09-06, 09:46 PM   #18
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So I picked-up a couple of chains at my local guy, installed one on the folder and off I went a few minutes later. I have an SRAM 8-speed silver link around but it doesn't seem to be the right size for the 7-speed KMC chain, oh well.
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Old 02-09-06, 09:48 PM   #19
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You might want to get your thing out of the east river, it's blocking boat traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jyossarian
That'd measure the width, but for length, I find satellite imagery to be accurate enough. :-D
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Old 02-09-06, 10:10 PM   #20
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You might want to get your thing out of the east river, it's blocking boat traffic!
I'm gonna need that 20000 ton jack...
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