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Running your drivetrain to the ground

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Running your drivetrain to the ground

Old 07-23-07, 06:58 AM
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borderline
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Running your drivetrain to the ground

I managed to wait too long to change my chain and so when I put on the new chain it was slipping in the back on 2 of the gears. I had replaced the entire drivetrain about 2000 miles ago (I think it was a year ago and at 6000 miles for the system). I know, I should have been more careful but actually my chain length tool said it was only at 75% (it recommends replacement between 75-100%). Anyway, I put my old chain back on (same brand of chain and length BTW) and all is well again.

I did get a new cassette but economically speaking, it seems like it would make more sense to use my old combination for as long as possible before putting a new chain/cassette back on. Does anyone have a sense of how long I can run a worn cassette/chain (that shifts perfectly fine with the old chain) before I am causing damage to the chainrings?

Also, I'm sure there are people out there who just ride their entire system to the ground and get over 6000 miles. I used to replace my chain more frequently but still only got 6000 out of the cassette and chainrings. So if I could have probably saved money by not even bothering to change the chain 4+ times. Does anyone use that "maintenance" system?
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Old 07-23-07, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by borderline View Post
I managed to wait too long to change my chain and so when I put on the new chain it was slipping in the back on 2 of the gears. I had replaced the entire drivetrain about 2000 miles ago (I think it was a year ago and at 6000 miles for the system). I know, I should have been more careful but actually my chain length tool said it was only at 75% (it recommends replacement between 75-100%). Anyway, I put my old chain back on (same brand of chain and length BTW) and all is well again.

I did get a new cassette but economically speaking, it seems like it would make more sense to use my old combination for as long as possible before putting a new chain/cassette back on. Does anyone have a sense of how long I can run a worn cassette/chain (that shifts perfectly fine with the old chain) before I am causing damage to the chainrings?

Also, I'm sure there are people out there who just ride their entire system to the ground and get over 6000 miles. I used to replace my chain more frequently but still only got 6000 out of the cassette and chainrings. So if I could have probably saved money by not even bothering to change the chain 4+ times. Does anyone use that "maintenance" system?
I rode the same drivetrain for many years, 7+, didn't keep track of the miles but it was many,many miles. When I changed over, I had to replace the chain and freewheel, and the chainrings, which were really shark finned and made a horrible noise when I replaced the chain and FW.

So its doable, to just leave the same drivetrain on forever, but then you can't change gearing, or even use another wheel without replacing at least the chain and cassette.

On the other hand, if you regularly replace the chain before it gets to the wear limit, the cassette and rings will last a long, long time.

Chains are cheap.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
I rode the same drivetrain for many years, 7+, didn't keep track of the miles but it was many,many miles. When I changed over, I had to replace the chain and freewheel, and the chainrings, which were really shark finned and made a horrible noise when I replaced the chain and FW.

So its doable, to just leave the same drivetrain on forever, but then you can't change gearing, or even use another wheel without replacing at least the chain and cassette.

On the other hand, if you regularly replace the chain before it gets to the wear limit, the cassette and rings will last a long, long time.

Chains are cheap.
+1 If you never change chainrings, rear wheels/casettes to suit different riding conditions, then just leave the original bits in place and let them wear together.

Last edited by ExMachina; 07-23-07 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 07-23-07, 09:02 AM
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The longest I've ever heard of was a friend who got 25,000 miles (yes 25 thousand and miles, not K) on an Ultegra cassette, chain and chainrings. Of course, everything was junk by the time he finally got around to replacing it.

I've usually get 5000 to 6000 miles on a cassette/chain and replace them both together. Cassettes, particularly Shimano 105 or Campy Veloce, aren't that expensive and paying for three or four chains to protect the cassette seems to be poor economy. If you use Dura Ace or Record Ti cassettes ($$$), the economics are far different.

That distance doesn't hurt the chain rings and I've gotten 30,000+ miles on chain rings even with the 5000-6000 mile chain life.
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Old 07-23-07, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The longest I've ever heard of was a friend who got 25,000 miles (yes 25 thousand and miles, not K) on an Ultegra cassette, chain and chainrings. Of course, everything was junk by the time he finally got around to replacing it.

I've usually get 5000 to 6000 miles on a cassette/chain and replace them both together. Cassettes, particularly Shimano 105 or Campy Veloce, aren't that expensive and paying for three or four chains to protect the cassette seems to be poor economy. If you use Dura Ace or Record Ti cassettes ($$$), the economics are far different.

That distance doesn't hurt the chain rings and I've gotten 30,000+ miles on chain rings even with the 5000-6000 mile chain life.
If I can get 5000 miles on a single chain/cassette that definitely comes out more economical than changing the chain 4+ times during that time since a cassette is only 2x the cost of a chain for me. That is based on the assumption I change my chain every 1000-1200 miles ($15) and cassette ($30) after 5000 miles and given that I am not ruining my chainrings dramatically faster. Note, I am using the cheap SRAM chains and SRAM PG-970 cassette which I usually find for $30 when on sale at Performance.

I guess I could see why it would be different if you were using Dura-Ace cassettes with cheap chains. This is a commuter bike so I am going for economy and I always use the same gearing...
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Old 07-23-07, 10:55 AM
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One thing I noticed when I moved to singlespeeds, is that the drivetrain components last much longer. Not as much the chain itself, but I still get at least 5000 Km out of a chain. This, using the cheapest 1/8" chains imaginable. With steel singlespeed sprockets and 1/8" chainrings, (in a different thread I illustrated how my 1/8" chainring outlast 3/32" multiple times) I save a ridicolous amount of money of drivetrain components.
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