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Old 08-27-06, 02:19 PM   #1
sour01
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New chain...what a difference

I guess I am naive---but I put a new chain on my bike and I could not believe the difference it made. A year ago when I pulled my vintage Univega out of the back of my garage to begin riding again for the first time in 15 years and 80 pounds overweight---a friend recommended that I get a new chain. I did and it immediately started skipping so I had to find a new freewheel as well. Not easy since it was a Suntour freewheel and they are out of business and no one makes them in the spacing I need---but I found one. I put on a SRAM PC-48 chain and it did fine. I put about 2000 miles on that chain. I was beginning to hear clattering/grinding "noises" especially when in one gear---but only attributed them to just having an old bike. I had the bike in the shop the other day for a new rim and had them check the chain for wear. They recommended a new chain (It was in the red). Seeing that it is so hard to find freewheels, I had them change the chain and upgraded to the SCRAM PC-58 (A whopping $7 more expensive).

What a difference! The shifting was much crisper (I am still using downtube friction shifters). The ride was quieter in all gears. It almost seemed like a different bike---all because of a new chain.

I have decided to get a chain checking tool and keep a closer watch on chain wear. I already clean and lube my chain every week or two (I'm riding around 100 miles a week). Chains are just not that expensive to replace---even the top of the line chains. Seems well worth it to me even if I had to replace them more than once a year.

This may be common knowledge and I'm just now getting a clue---but I wonder how many put up with noises and sloppy shifting when all they need is a new chain.
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Old 08-27-06, 02:46 PM   #2
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Yes indeed. Keeping your chain clean and lubed and changing it before it starts wearing out freewheel cogs and chainrings just makes good sense. I don't understand why you needed to find a Suntour freewheel if you are using friction shifting. Any of the currently made freewheels with the right number of cogs and the size you want should work fine.
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Old 08-27-06, 03:33 PM   #3
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It's the little things in life that make a difference! I think the most I've ever gotten out of a chain was about 2000 miles. Usually, they get stretched enough for replacing between 1500 and 1800 miles. Enjoy the smoothness while you can!
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Old 08-27-06, 03:43 PM   #4
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It's the little things in life that make a difference! I think the most I've ever gotten out of a chain was about 2000 miles. Usually, they get stretched enough for replacing between 1500 and 1800 miles. Enjoy the smoothness while you can!
+1

I watch my chains like a HAWK!

It's a lot cheaper to replace a chain than the rest of the stuff. I, too, learned this the hard way!
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Old 08-27-06, 04:51 PM   #5
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BlueDawgs---I may be wrong on this so correct me if I am. My bike needs an "ultra" spaced freewheel which was a concept introduced by Suntour in the 80's to allow a six speed freewheel on a 5 speed hub. 120 mm vice 126 mm. The first freewheel I tried was a regular spaced freewheel which of course did not fit. I actually had to use a 5 speed freewheel for a while until I finally found the 6 speed that I wanted that was "ultra" spaced. To the best of my knowledge---most 6 speed freewheels that are available on the market today are regular spaced freewheels. I could get into changing the whole drive train set up---but I'll get a new, more modern bike before I go to all that trouble.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:04 PM   #6
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The bike shop told me change mine every 7 to 800 miles. Is that too soon?
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Old 08-27-06, 05:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NOS88
It's the little things in life that make a difference! I think the most I've ever gotten out of a chain was about 2000 miles. Usually, they get stretched enough for replacing between 1500 and 1800 miles. Enjoy the smoothness while you can!
I don't think I've ever changed my chain more than once a year. For me, that means my chains have lasted between 8 and 15 thousand miles, and I usually changed the free wheel with the chain. I have never had any shifting problems caused by worn out chains. Mind you, you may well ride harder than I did.

-a.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:32 PM   #8
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I have about 3500 miles on my sram chain and just checked it and it has exactly .50 wear on the park chain checker. I have used white lightning lube weekly on the drivetrain since new and ride 125 to 175 a week. I do have a very slight click in the drivetrain I can't pinpoint latley. Should I replace now or do chains have to be worn out more to cause the gears to wear more? I have a spare new chain.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:33 PM   #9
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It depends a lot on the chain and the number of gears.

As I understand it, nine and ten speed bikes have narower chains, much more susceptible to wear. Folks who have chains on less geared cassettes get to go many more miles between changes, and some can't believe that changes are required so often on nine and 10'rs.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:43 PM   #10
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Maybe it's time to look for another bike shop. Or do it myself.I remember that years ago they had a master link is that still so? Or do I need a special tool?Thanks George
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Old 08-27-06, 06:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
It depends a lot on the chain and the number of gears.

As I understand it, nine and ten speed bikes have narower chains, much more susceptible to wear. Folks who have chains on less geared cassettes get to go many more miles between changes, and some can't believe that changes are required so often on nine and 10'rs.
Type of chain makes a difference too.... I use nothing but Whipperman stainless steel. I get a lot longer wear on them and they shift like silk.
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Old 08-27-06, 10:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sour01
BlueDawgs---I may be wrong on this so correct me if I am. My bike needs an "ultra" spaced freewheel which was a concept introduced by Suntour in the 80's to allow a six speed freewheel on a 5 speed hub. 120 mm vice 126 mm. The first freewheel I tried was a regular spaced freewheel which of course did not fit. I actually had to use a 5 speed freewheel for a while until I finally found the 6 speed that I wanted that was "ultra" spaced. To the best of my knowledge---most 6 speed freewheels that are available on the market today are regular spaced freewheels. I could get into changing the whole drive train set up---but I'll get a new, more modern bike before I go to all that trouble.
I do believe you are right. Pretty much any 5-speed would work, but only an ultra 6-speed will fit in the space of a 5-speed. At the prices I've seen for NOS ultra freewheels, I think I'd be tempted to go with 5 gears.
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Old 08-28-06, 02:20 AM   #13
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I ride offroad and my chains go through it. All the mud and dust acts as a grinding paste on the chain and they do not last long. Problem with running a worn chain is that the Sprockets and cassette will get worn as soon as the chain wears. So you now have a worn chain and do not realise that the cassette is worn. Put on a new chain and the chain slip over the worn sprockets is horrendous. What started out as a cheap chain replacement is now very expensive. Imagine wah it was like on the Tandem? Front crossover chains requires 2 chains and the rear drive is one more so 3 chains. Then the rear cassette and 2 of the front Chainrings required changing too. Then looking at the Crossover rings- They ought to be changed. My initial thought of just changing the 3 chains at a total cost of around $70 finished up costing around $300. And I did not find out about this till I got out and rode it after just changing the chains.

One tip that I do on the solo and that is I have a run in chain in the spares box. I have never used it but I saw a rider lose a chain on a ride this year. Bought a new chain from a trade stand and found the rear cassette was worn aswell. No- one had a replacement cassette so another rider swopped chains with him. The run in chain worked fine and the rider he swopped with had a new chain.

I normally change chains on a frequent basis, but on the Tandem- everything had just worn a bit too much. It has done a fair few miles so I was prepared to spend a bit of money on it but it was the time factor of fitting new sprockets and getting them run in so we had trust in the new parts that got me.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by George McClusky
Maybe it's time to look for another bike shop. Or do it myself.I remember that years ago they had a master link is that still so? Or do I need a special tool?Thanks George
700-800 miles seems like not many miles, but it depends on the rider, chain, conditions, lubing, etc.; everyone is different. I would definitely start checking it at that point.

Shimano and Campy chains (in other words, most OEM chains) require a special chain-breaking tool to remove and replace the pins. For example, look here to see the specifics. SRAM, Wipperman, and others make chains which use a "power link" that doesn't require a special tool to remove/replace. Many people use these links with Shimano and Campy chains, although Shimano and Campy claim this is not kosher.

I've typically used Shimano chains, but I'm going to replace mine with a Wipperman based on a talk I had with a pro team mechanic who claims they last 2-3 as long. Lots of opinions abound about chains...
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Old 08-28-06, 03:26 PM   #15
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The bike shop told me change mine every 7 to 800 miles. Is that too soon?
Do they tell you to throw away tires and tubes every time you get a flat also?
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