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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    How long should a chain last?

    How long should a chain last? Last September I had some chain trouble and my LBS put a new one (SRAM 85P PC850) on for me. I did 1,220 miles before the roads got too wintery-bad. I took the bike back to the LBS today for "Pre-Spring TuneUp," and while logging the work in the mechanic said he thinks I "need a new chain." Do chains wear out that quickly or am I being scammed? (Bike is fairly ordinary with 3 on crank set, 7 at rear, Shimano derailleurs.)

  2. #2
    Guadzilla JayC's Avatar
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    Buy a chain stretch gauge and you'll know if youre being scammed. That seems like a short amount of time to me.

  3. #3
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    yeah get a gauge and decide for yourself.

    or ask them to show you how bad it is with theirs.
    cat 1.

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  4. #4
    It's ALL base... DScott's Avatar
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    Measure 12 complete links with a good ruler. Replace if > 12 1/16" - 12 1/8".

    See here: What's With My 10speed Chain Wear??

  5. #5
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    Chain wear depends on a lot of factors, including how often you clean and lube your chain. Also your weight, power output, and the condition of your drivetrain. A worn cassette will wear your chain more quickly.

  6. #6
    Senior Member eandmwilson's Avatar
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    I got the exact same line from the "reputable" CHB here in DC. Told my chain and cassette were toast, and "oh by the way, I can give you a good deal today on a new cassette and chain while you are here".

    My Spider sense went off and I passed--checking the chain when I got home (and later against a brand new same brand chain) the stretch was less than 1/4 inch--for the entire length of the chain! To be fair, some gauges supposedly don't work well with 10 speed chains. BUT, a good wrench should know that, and pull out a damn ruler before sliming up to a csutomer recommending several hundred dollars in uneeded repairs.
    Don't disturb my circles!

  7. #7
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Measure. 12 links should be 12" when new. Most agree that once you hit 12-1/16" that you should consider replacing it.

    A chain is a great and inexpensive way to restore great performance to a drivetrain.

    How long should they last? How long should $100 last? If you're in the middle of a desolate dessert I would say the $100 should last quite a long time. If you're in a Vegas strip club I'd say you only have a minute or two.....but when the $100 is gone it's gone.

    Measure your chain.

    Your mileage WILL vary.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    Chain wear depends on a lot of factors, including how often you clean and lube your chain. Also your weight, power output, and the condition of your drivetrain. A worn cassette will wear your chain more quickly.
    Excellent point. My habit has been to clean the chain (with a toothbrush) after every ride and lube it with Pedro's Extra Dry lubricant every fourth ride. I wipe the gears with a rag and/or the toothbrush after few rides.

  9. #9
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    What's your time worth? Having a clean drivetrain is the bees knees, but good quality 10spd chains can be had for $25. I use ProLink Gold which cleans as it lubes. 1 drop per link and then a wipe down to remove grime and excess. Aftr every rain/messy ride, after every wash or about every few hundred miles whichever comes first.

  10. #10
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadrider65 View Post
    Excellent point. My habit has been to clean the chain (with a toothbrush) after every ride and lube it with Pedro's Extra Dry lubricant every fourth ride. I wipe the gears with a rag and/or the toothbrush after few rides.
    Man. I bet your car still smells new!

  11. #11
    Born too slow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadrider65 View Post
    Excellent point. My habit has been to clean the chain (with a toothbrush) after every ride and lube it with Pedro's Extra Dry lubricant every fourth ride. I wipe the gears with a rag and/or the toothbrush after few rides.
    Holy cow....thats pretty hardcore. I think I clean and lube my chain after two weeks, unless I ride in the rain. Mine last about 3,000 miles.

  12. #12
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    I have put more than 2500 miles on this one and my shop told me im still within the limit but most likely by seasons out. I am still planning it long before than, but at least I know they were honest. He showed me the gauge and the the limits.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

  13. #13
    AEO
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    in winter with a lot of salt and sand on the road, you pretty much have to lube after every ride.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  14. #14
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    A chain will last until it is worn too much. Buy a chain wear indicator. BTW, if the chain is too far gone (beyond .75) you'll need a new cassette as well.
    VeloWeb | VeloWebLog

    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind." ~William Saroyan

  15. #15
    Banned. timmyquest's Avatar
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    For the price of a park tools chain wear indicator you can almost buy a new chain. Hmmm

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmyquest View Post
    For the price of a park tools chain wear indicator you can almost buy a new chain. Hmmm
    Yeah, once. And when you use a chain too long and have to buy a new cassette the next time you get a chain, then the cost of the chain wear tool makes a little more sense.

  17. #17
    AEO
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    all you really need is a plastic 12" measure, scratch 1/16' past the 12 and 1 and you are set to measure any bike chain.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  18. #18
    Junior Member apfaffman's Avatar
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    i think it's important to point out that if you're riding a used bike, or if you've let the chain stretch beyond the 1/16th" without replacing, it will wear wider grooves between the teeth in your rings and cogs at pretty much the same rate it lengthens.

    i think this means that as long as your chain isn't skipping over your cogs on hard efforts, there's really no sense in replacing the whole chain. i suppose if the chain is skipping, you need to replace the whole drivetrain.

    but if you're using a worn chain, just clean, re-lube, and stick with it. but you'd better tidy up your chain maintenance before the problem worsens.

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Chains last at least a couple years ... my chains have lasted 20,000 to 30,000 km.

  20. #20
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    Whether or not you mash and/or cross chain has a lot to do with determining chain life. Mashing regularly in 1x10 will wear a chain down in a hurry.

  21. #21
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    A Park chain checker is a poor tool for measuring chain wear. A precision 12" machinist's scale costs far less, but all it checks is elongation. That's OK for Shimano chains that elongate quickly, but worthless for Campy chains that can show 1/64" of elongation when they are shot. You need calipers to check roller wear.

    If I don't get 5,000 miles from a 10 speed chain, I'm disappointed. I would expect 3500-4000 from Shimano 10 chain and 5-6,000 from a Campy 10. With the new Campy 11, anything over 4,000 is probably acceptable, but I'm hoping or 5,000.

    A chain should rarely just start skipping on a used cassette, unless it is so elongated that the contact point with the cogs rises to the very tip of the teeth. That would be far more than .5%. Chain skip normally occurs when an new chain is first installed on worn cogs.
    Last edited by DaveSSS; 02-24-09 at 05:20 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member tanguy frame's Avatar
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    Caliper to measure roller wear? What are we looking for? What's the OD of a new roller? What's the OD of a worn roller?

    THanks!
    -Tanguy Frame

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
    Chain wear depends on a lot of factors, including how often you clean and lube your chain. Also your weight, power output, and the condition of your drivetrain. A worn cassette will wear your chain more quickly.
    Good post. To that I'll add your riding style - whether you spin high or use low cadence as well as amount of steep hills.

    To the OP, you should get much more milage than that. A 7 speed chain has wider plates than an 8/9/10 or 11 speeds.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  24. #24
    AEO
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    5000miles from a 10sp chain, you must meticulously clean it every 100miles and never ride in foul weather...
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
    http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm

  25. #25
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    To many engineers on this forum! Buy a cheap wear measuring tool. Replace chain when indicated. Clean and lube according to your own meticulous or slovenly inclinations. Don't worry if you get 2000 or 5000 miles from a $25 wear item, it isn't worth it.

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