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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 06-05-12, 03:56 PM   #1
rdtompki
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Chain wear

In an earlier thread discussing chain wear here I had mentioned getting grit in a brand new chain which I considered unrecoverable. Some months ago I resurrected the zombie chain, given it a thorough cleaning and pronouncing it healed.

Six weeks ago I switched cassettes (11-36) and never could get it completely dialed in. I was considering trying my spare RD, lubing the cable, etc. when in a moment for tardy inspiration I got out my low tech chain checker: the 1% gauge dropped in easily.

Now this chain cannot possibly have more than 1500 miles on it, I be surprised at more than 1000 (I'm about to get book keeping religion). Maybe a simple green soak would have actually resurrected the chain. Maybe wife and I produce massive amounts of power when climbing, maybe tandems can just be hard on chains.

Lesson learned - when in doubt check the chain. It takes 47.5 nanoseconds to do so and I spent hours with the tandem on the stand trying to get the shifting dead on. This is a basic truth when troubleshooting anything; always, always hit the low hanging fruit first.
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Old 06-05-12, 08:42 PM   #2
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I've been using Finish Line Ceramic Wet for years. It's the stuff. I'm amazed at how little chain wear I get, even riding all winter in the PNW. I use one of those brush-box cleaners with paint thinner, wipe dry, dry with a heat gun, then apply the lube while warm, run the chain for another couple of minutes while heat-gunning, then wipe dry. After the first ride after cleaning, I apply more lube, again with heat and wipe dry. Then it's usually good until it starts looking groady, when I restart the process. If I get a lot of riding done in clean conditions, I might reapply again between cleanings. Mostly I just wipe it after a ride and don't reapply.

I had a chain suck last ride, really bad. Had to reset the N-Stop which got rotated around. I hate it when that happens and everyone disappears in the distance, never to be seen again. Shifted like a charm the rest of the ride. Tomorrow's project is to take all the rings off and look for burrs to file.
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Old 06-05-12, 09:52 PM   #3
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We just don't ride in the rain down here. Lighthouse wasn't even a rain, just fog/mist and damp, gritty shoulders. In any event I was thinking about changing lubes since the Rock n Roll Gold seems to really attract dirt. I apply the lube and really wipe the chain down extremely well, but there is enough left on the chain to attract dirt.
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Old 06-05-12, 10:05 PM   #4
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Curious . . . what brand of chain?
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Old 06-05-12, 10:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
I was considering trying my spare RD, lubing the cable, etc. when in a moment for tardy inspiration I got out my low tech chain checker: the 1% gauge dropped in easily.
Unless your checker is the Shimano TL-CN41, pitch it and use a ruler to measure the chain.
The other checkers are primarily for *selling* chains, not measuring real wear.
Explanation here: http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html
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Old 06-06-12, 07:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
Unless your checker is the Shimano TL-CN41, pitch it and use a ruler to measure the chain.
The other checkers are primarily for *selling* chains, not measuring real wear.
Explanation here: http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html
FWIW, I measured the chain with a steel rule and came up with 100%. Obviously, wear patterns for different brands and riding conditions will vary, but I would think it possible to design one of these simple gauges to provide a go/no-go based on typical wear, taking into account the erroneous contribution of some of the component wear.
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Old 06-06-12, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
Unless your checker is the Shimano TL-CN41, pitch it and use a ruler to measure the chain.
The other checkers are primarily for *selling* chains, not measuring real wear.
Explanation here: http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html
As the link states, the other checkers are conservative, which is good enough for me (I use a Park CC-3, FWIW).

I'd rather error conservatively on replacing a relatively cheap chain, than get every last bit of use from a chain and perhaps end up replacing an expensive cassette or chainrings more often necessary.

YMMV.
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Old 06-06-12, 03:30 PM   #8
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Shimagnolo -

Thanks for the link - quite educational.

My technique for measuring chain wear is to use a 6" digital caliper (which I already have). If I use the inside - inside part of the caliper I can open it up to measure 6 full links. The roller diameter is nominally 0.300". So, 6" of chain minus one roller diameter should be 5.700" for a perfect (new) chain. If I use the 1% rule on 6" of chain, this is 0.06". So, a chain worn to 1% would measure 5.760".

This may not be exact per the link you posted but it is an easy way to multiply the 1% to something easily measured.

Does this sound like a reasonable approach?
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Old 06-06-12, 05:18 PM   #9
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Or 1/8" in 12 inches is just a snitch over 1%. In my case I was over 1%, just was too dumb to check the chain first.

Many years ago I was following a diagnostic procedure (in a manual) on one of my cars. After 2-3 hours I got down the tree to a 10 minute test that discovered the failed relay. I hope the guy who wrote the procedure found another line of work. Oh, wait, it might have been me.
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