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Google search says to change chain every 2-3 thousand miles

Old 02-22-21, 02:16 PM
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I lot of this discussion leaves me shaking my head...

If you ride a lot, then take care of your bike. That means cleaning and lubrication, inspection and fixing. Measuring the chain elongation is a quick and routine task. Every couple of months, whenever the bike is up on the stand.

Also, don't use a "chain checker". Use a good steel rule.

I can't fathom why this is even being discussed so obtusely.
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Old 02-22-21, 02:55 PM
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A slight tangent. Since my roadie is in the shop for the next week, I was kinda bummed that I wouldn't be able to bike commute. But then I realized I could use my MTB. Took a little longer. 48 minutes instead of 40 min. Sweatier when I got to work. On the flip side, my tires were cleaner after biking on the road. Very happy to use my back up to commute, but it is slower.
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Old 02-22-21, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I lot of this discussion leaves me shaking my head...

If you ride a lot, then take care of your bike. That means cleaning and lubrication, inspection and fixing. Measuring the chain elongation is a quick and routine task. Every couple of months, whenever the bike is up on the stand.
+1

Also, don't use a "chain checker". Use a good steel rule.
I've found a chain checker is useful as an early warning system. [Insert rant about old age and bifocals here.]

I can't fathom why this is even being discussed so obtusely.
Time of the year. It's February. Within a month, half of the people "discussing" these "issues" will be able to get out for a bike ride. The other half may take another month to six weeks. Then we'll have real riding to discuss!
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Old 02-25-21, 07:44 AM
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If you look after it it will last longer. I tend to give my chains a routine spray with Muc-Off Silicon Shine.
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Old 02-25-21, 09:26 AM
  #30  
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pdlamb wisely stated: >>>Time of the year. It's February. Within a month, half of the people "discussing" these "issues" will be able to get out for a bike ride. The other half may take another month to six weeks. Then we'll have real riding to discuss!<<<<

The New York wintertime is when I often post questions that are geared more toward having conversation than actually getting answers.

I, personally, am not as pre-occupied as many others with counting miles and servicing my bike accordingly, but there are people who enjoy doing this, as well as people who are obsessive about taking care of their bikes. As I noted earlier, I have more of a "zen" approach to things like sensing when a chain is at the end of its life; but if others need to follow a service schedule and/or use gadgets to know when it's time to perform certain services, let 'em have fun.
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Old 02-26-21, 01:51 PM
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Got my bike back. $35+10 for new chain. $40+10 for new cassette. $110 for service/clean(which it definitely needed. LBS owner said he would change the chain every 1000 miles to preserve the cassette, but that some people just bike 4-5k miles and then just replace both, which is what I accidentally did. But probably will try swapping out chains ever 2k interval and see how it goes.
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Old 02-26-21, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
Got my bike back. $35+10 for new chain. $40+10 for new cassette. $110 for service/clean(which it definitely needed. LBS owner said he would change the chain every 1000 miles to preserve the cassette, but that some people just bike 4-5k miles and then just replace both, which is what I accidentally did. But probably will try swapping out chains ever 2k interval and see how it goes.
I hate to be "that guy," but I have to say that I think your bike shop charged you top dollar for this service. Have you considered learning to do these things yourself?
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Old 02-26-21, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I hate to be "that guy," but I have to say that I think your bike shop charged you top dollar for this service. Have you considered learning to do these things yourself?
Thanks for the heads up. At this time in my life, I'd prefer to just pay someone to do it right. I'm saving money on electricity by biking to work
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Old 02-27-21, 10:17 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
LBS owner said he would change the chain every 1000 miles to preserve the cassette...probably will try swapping out chains ever 2k interval and see how it goes.
Sounds like the LBS owner likes to sell chains. As others have noted, if you change the chain when it reaches a moderate amount of elongation you will prolong the life of the cassette *and* save money on chains.
It's easy to change a chain and "do it right" at any time in your life.
1) Get a chain checker. These tend to over-estimate chain wear, but are very easy to use.
2) Check your chain monthly.
3) When the chain checker indicates wear close to the limit (usually 1%), proceed to...
a) confirm chain elongation with a ruler. If less than 1%, go back to 2)
b) replace the chain yourself, or...
c) have your shop replace it.
I'd be surprised if you don't get more than 2,000 miles out of a chain if you're giving it a little attention once in a while, and your cassette will last for 3 or 4 chain changes or longer.
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Old 02-28-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Sounds like the LBS owner likes to sell chains. As others have noted, if you change the chain when it reaches a moderate amount of elongation you will prolong the life of the cassette *and* save money on chains.
It's easy to change a chain and "do it right" at any time in your life.
1) Get a chain checker. These tend to over-estimate chain wear, but are very easy to use.
2) Check your chain monthly.
3) When the chain checker indicates wear close to the limit (usually 1%), proceed to...
a) confirm chain elongation with a ruler. If less than 1%, go back to 2)
b) replace the chain yourself, or...
c) have your shop replace it.
I'd be surprised if you don't get more than 2,000 miles out of a chain if you're giving it a little attention once in a while, and your cassette will last for 3 or 4 chain changes or longer.
Ordered a chain checker on amazon. Baby steps.
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Old 03-06-21, 10:28 PM
  #36  
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A professional shop charging money to do a job is a good thing. Just because you can do it at home doesn't mean a shop shouldn't charge what they charge to do the work. Pulling off everything and cleaning in a parts washer and re-installing is work but in addition it is money to pay the employee, pay for the parts washer, keep the lights on, pay the distributor for the parts, pay taxes and other business fees... Unfortunately a lot of folks think that bicycles should be repaired purely out of charity and may not fully understand the cost of business and things like inflation and different places will be able to charge differently based on location and costs for their space and employees and such. Sure back in thickety two it costs two nickels and you got 82 gumballs, a full tank of gas and a meal for the whole family at Robert's Enlarged Male Child but sadly things do change. I am all for paying someone to do the job right and hey if someone is going to clean my drivetrain and put it back together so I don't have to get dirty and spend that time, that is not a bad thing. Time is money and especially on a heavily used commuter bike I would rather let a mechanic do it as I rely on that machine and don't want to have it laid up for a while at my place while I try to fix it. Granted not talking me specifically because I work at a shop and have many tools at home and enjoy working on bikes but sometimes I do give work to my co-workers either because I want it done better than I could or because I am not as skilled in that area or just need a second opinion or second set of hands getting it done or would rather buy a 6 pack of good beer than do it myself for time issues..

In terms of chains I would replace more frequently but certainly keep things clean and properly lubed and check it regularly with a chain checker as others have mentioned. I am not looking for max life on a chain I am looking for practical life so I can continue using my chainrings, cassette, pulley wheels...If absolutely needed be I could save the chain, clean it super well and wax it and put it away for an absolute emergency but honestly chains are easy to get (beyond these pandemic/bike boom shortages) and having a spare or two isn't a bad thing. If you are like me and have
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Old 03-16-21, 08:22 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
How do you guys even keep track of how many miles you've ridden? My bike is 25 years-old and has been pedaled into the ground every one of those years; yet, I couldn't even BEGIN to estimate how many miles I have gone in all this time, or even how many miles I rode last week.

Is this something I should be keeping tabs on?.
If it weren't for Strava I wouldn't have a clue what my annual mileage was. As far as tracking how many miles I get out of chains or other wear parts, fuhgeddaboutit. I try to slip a chain checker on there every now and then and change it before it gets too worn.
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Old 04-16-21, 06:10 AM
  #38  
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It is difficult to name the exact number of kilometers because all cyclists have different weights and heights, they ride differently, someone switches more often, and someone less often, develop different power, ride on flat or hilly terrain, in different conditions (dirt, sand, water), whether the chain is maintained or not ... all of this creates many variables for assessing wear. In general, the chain will last from 3000 km to 8000 km, but this figure can fluctuate in one direction or the other.
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Old 04-16-21, 04:16 PM
  #39  
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I don't keep track of mileage, so on the bikes that I ride a lot end up getting a new chain every six months. On the ones that get ridden less, I replace them half as often. Chains are cheap compared to cassettes and chainrings, and a chain checker is even cheaper.
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Old 04-16-21, 05:26 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
How do you guys even keep track of how many miles you've ridden? My bike is 25 years-old and has been pedaled into the ground every one of those years; yet, I couldn't even BEGIN to estimate how many miles I have gone in all this time, or even how many miles I rode last week.

Is this something I should be keeping tabs on?.
I use a Week-at-a-Glance pocket calendar. I record distance, time, average speed, and bicycle identity (I’ve had as many as 13 bikes but currently only have 8). At the end of the year, I put the mileage into a spread sheet for each day ridden, then tabulate the data into miles ridden, percent time on a bike, and percentage of total mileage. I haven’t really ever done anything with the time or average speed. I have calculated the total average speed based on the time a few times and have always come up with a disappointing 12mph average each time I’ve done it.

I also take all the data and figure out how much gasoline I haven’t used, how much money I’ve saved, and how much carbon dioxide I haven’t spewed into the air by commuting to work on a bike. I don’t include weekend rides in that total. I also use the data to estimate how much soap I’ve used, how much shampoo, shaving cream, and number of towel changes.

I’ve done this since 1988 when I first started using cycling computers. I have 33 pocket calendars in a file drawer and 33 separate Excel (some converted from Lotus 123) files.

In 39 years of commuting by bike, I’ve saved 7100 gallons of gas, $12,500 (based on an average of $1.75/gallon), and, most importantly, almost 70 tons!!!!! of carbon dioxide.
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Old 04-22-21, 09:32 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
Got my bike back. $35+10 for new chain. $40+10 for new cassette. $110 for service/clean(which it definitely needed. LBS owner said he would change the chain every 1000 miles to preserve the cassette, but that some people just bike 4-5k miles and then just replace both, which is what I accidentally did. But probably will try swapping out chains ever 2k interval and see how it goes.
Some people keep 2 or 3 chains and rotate them every 1000 miles, until both the chains and cassette are worn out. It makes more sense than the LBS recommendation, since the cassette lasts 2-3 times as long as a chain and they still work well together when evenly worn.
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Old 04-28-21, 01:10 PM
  #42  
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There is no rule of thumb as to when to replace the chain, there is instead a chain rule you can buy to measure your chain wear. My chains typically last around 8,000 miles, I have on one of my bikes about 5,000 miles on the chain and according to my chain wear checker I'm half worn. I'll be damn if I had to replace a chain every 1,000 miles, that's insanity, a chain made of steel having to be replaced at least 3 times more often then a set of tires made of manmade rubber? I don't think so. I would be replacing chains every month if I used the 1,000 mile rule. Get the Park Chain Checker tool and know exactly when to replace your chain. I measure my chain wear about every month, but I don't replace the chain.

And for sake of having fun here, the chain DOES NOT stretch.

Another way to check for chain wear, this was the method we use to do for many years, but someone gave me the tool so I use it, but all you need to do is shift the chain to the smallest cog in the rear and into the largest chainring, then grasp a link on the Chainring and pull it up but not so far up you pull the derailleur, the derailleur should not come into action at all, if the links by your finger lift off the chainring then the chain is worn out. This method is not as exact as using the measuring tool but it does work. The Park tool is made for narrower chains found on todays bicycles.

You also shouldn't have to replace your cassette till the third chain is replaced.

I found this site to help you with measuring your chain wear: https://cyclingtips.com/2019/08/bicy...ecking-for-it/
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Old 04-28-21, 04:24 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
There is no rule of thumb as to when to replace the chain, there is instead a chain rule you can buy to measure your chain wear. My chains typically last around 8,000 miles, I have on one of my bikes about 5,000 miles on the chain and according to my chain wear checker I'm half worn. I'll be damn if I had to replace a chain every 1,000 miles, that's insanity, a chain made of steel having to be replaced at least 3 times more often then a set of tires made of manmade rubber? I don't think so. I would be replacing chains every month if I used the 1,000 mile rule. Get the Park Chain Checker tool and know exactly when to replace your chain. I measure my chain wear about every month, but I don't replace the chain.
No, there is no rule of thumb. But 8000 miles is excessive in my experience. That’s more than twice what I normally get and what others claim.

Your comparison to a tire isn’t a good comparison. It comes down to surface area. A tire has lots of surface area to wear off. The pins on a chain have only a very little amount of surface area. The force of pedaling is spread out over the very tiny area while the same force is spread out over two tires with contact patches that are vastly huge by comparison. The rubber also deforms so the wear is spread out even more. Additionally, the rubber is cushioned.

And for sake of having fun here, the chain DOES NOT stretch.
The magic of English is that we can use many words to explain the same thing. Yes, a chain “elongates”. Synonyms for “elongation” are drag out, draw out, extend, lengthen, outstretched, prolong, protract, and, yes, stretch. You could do a whole 10,000 word treatise on chain wear or you could just go with the flow and call it “stretch”. People will probably know what you are talking about.

You also shouldn't have to replace your cassette till the third chain is replaced.
That would depend. Going much past about 3000 miles on a chain often results in skipping gears on a cassette. Certainly going past about 0.75% “elongation” will usually result in skipping gears. Depends on the bike.

I found this site to help you with measuring your chain wear: https://cyclingtips.com/2019/08/bicy...ecking-for-it/
Not a bag article but they tout that a ruler is the “most accurate” way to measure chain wear and even show a picture. You can not have “accuracy” if you are estimating over the range of the instrument. And “estimate” is a guess. You can’t look at the pin being off the end of the scale and say “I estimate that is a 1/16”” and be “accurate” about it. 0.5% wear is 12.065”. 0.25% wear is 12.031” (12 1/32”). 0.8% wear is 12.094” (12 3/32”). I dare anyone to “accurately” estimate 1/32” by sight alone.

All of the above aside, bottom line, chains are cheap. Or, rather, you only need to use cheap chains. Expensive chains don’t wear any less or any more than cheaper versions. If you change a chain and it still has 500 miles left on it, what’s the harm? Better to change the chain often than to have to change the cassette often.
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Old 04-28-21, 04:46 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
No, there is no rule of thumb. But 8000 miles is excessive in my experience. That’s more than twice what I normally get and what others claim.


Your comparison to a tire isn’t a good comparison. It comes down to surface area. A tire has lots of surface area to wear off. The pins on a chain have only a very little amount of surface area. The force of pedaling is spread out over the very tiny area while the same force is spread out over two tires with contact patches that are vastly huge by comparison. The rubber also deforms so the wear is spread out even more. Additionally, the rubber is cushioned.


The magic of English is that we can use many words to explain the same thing. Yes, a chain “elongates”. Synonyms for “elongation” are drag out, draw out, extend, lengthen, outstretched, prolong, protract, and, yes, stretch. You could do a whole 10,000 word treatise on chain wear or you could just go with the flow and call it “stretch”. People will probably know what you are talking about.



That would depend. Going much past about 3000 miles on a chain often results in skipping gears on a cassette. Certainly going past about 0.75% “elongation” will usually result in skipping gears. Depends on the bike.



Not a bag article but they tout that a ruler is the “most accurate” way to measure chain wear and even show a picture. You can not have “accuracy” if you are estimating over the range of the instrument. And “estimate” is a guess. You can’t look at the pin being off the end of the scale and say “I estimate that is a 1/16”” and be “accurate” about it. 0.5% wear is 12.065”. 0.25% wear is 12.031” (12 1/32”). 0.8% wear is 12.094” (12 3/32”). I dare anyone to “accurately” estimate 1/32” by sight alone.

All of the above aside, bottom line, chains are cheap. Or, rather, you only need to use cheap chains. Expensive chains don’t wear any less or any more than cheaper versions. If you change a chain and it still has 500 miles left on it, what’s the harm? Better to change the chain often than to have to change the cassette often.
As long as the chain checker shows that the chain is good, then it's good, I've never had a chain break, nor wear out my gears prematurely.

Fine, but technically and scientifically the chain does not stretch, and technical and scientific language is more accurate than humans making up words to say something.

NO, NO, NO. There is no magical mile when things start to happen, it only happens depending on how the chain is abused. On a touring bike a chain is abused the most than on any other type of road biking, and most touring people that I spoke to get 3,000 to 4,000 miles out of a chain, if you're getting a 1,000 miles out of a chain then I suspect that your either cross chaining too much of the bikes chain line is not aligned correctly, or failure to clean and or lube the chain properly, or big guy who likes to grind in slow gears. Heck I've known people to get the same sort of miles I do on a chain so it's not remotely unusual. Here is a forum discussion from chain users: https://forum.bikeradar.com/discussi...mment_15134068 Even pros in the TDF won't change their chains except for every 2,000 to 3,000 miles whether they need to or not and they get chains for free, so if you're only getting a 1,000 miles out of chain then something is wrong.
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Old 04-29-21, 12:31 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
As long as the chain checker shows that the chain is good, then it's good, I've never had a chain break, nor wear out my gears prematurely.
I would agree that as long as the chain checker says the chain is good, the chain can be used. But, in my experience and in the reported experience of many, many, many people here and on Google, 3000 miles is about average. Seldom does anyone claim more than about 4000.

Fine, but technically and scientifically the chain does not stretch, and technical and scientific language is more accurate than humans making up words to say something.
Who else makes up words? As far as we know, the only animals that use a complex language on planet Earth are humans. Does a chain stretch like a rubber band? No. But a rubber band doesn’t really technically “stretch” either. It elongates when the coiled and bunched molecules undergo elongation due to tension. Chains undergo elongation through wear of the metal due to friction. Both the rubber elongation and the chain elongation are mouthfuls of words that are easily explained...if slightly incorrectly...by the word “stretch”. No one is going to be confused if that term is used.

NO, NO, NO. There is no magical mile when things start to happen, it only happens depending on how the chain is abused. On a touring bike a chain is abused the most than on any other type of road biking, and most touring people that I spoke to get 3,000 to 4,000 miles out of a chain, if you're getting a 1,000 miles out of a chain then I suspect that your either cross chaining too much of the bikes chain line is not aligned correctly, or failure to clean and or lube the chain properly, or big guy who likes to grind in slow gears. Heck I've known people to get the same sort of miles I do on a chain so it's not remotely unusual. Here is a forum discussion from chain users: https://forum.bikeradar.com/discussi...mment_15134068 Even pros in the TDF won't change their chains except for every 2,000 to 3,000 miles whether they need to or not and they get chains for free, so if you're only getting a 1,000 miles out of chain then something is wrong.
i agree that there is no magical mileage but there is an average. The vast majority of people in your link report 3000 to 4000 miles. There are a few outliers but that is similar to the many discussions that occur on these forums as well. I agree that 1000 miles is too low and many be due to user error or user measurement error. I get more than 1000 miles on off-road chains which have to deal with high torque and dirty conditions.

In my experience, the mileage I get using wax based lubricant (like White Lightning) is the same as oil based lubricant or hot wax methods others use. Based that, I feel that lubrication has very little impact. My hypothesis is that dry lubricants like White Lightning allow for a bit more metal-to-metal contact where as oil based lubricants trap more grit. Both result in a similar wear rate.

The only difference between the two is that the wax based doesn’t require constant cleaning. I clean a chain once, when it is installed. It never needs cleaning after that nor does the rest of the bike. I’m not constantly wiping off oil drips. Same mileage, less work.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:16 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Does a chain stretch like a rubber band? No.
Well, *strictly* speaking, the chain *does* stretch... a bit. Steel is an elastic material, and when it's under tension between the top of the cassette and the top of the chainring it stretches. Once the tension is released, somewhere on the lower section heading back to the derailleur, it goes back to its original length.
Of course, this isn't the "stretch" we talk about, as you and others have more than adequately pointed out.
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Old 04-29-21, 08:29 PM
  #47  
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I have a mid drive e bike its not a monster a bosch powered bike and if course I have heard how they go through chains. first chain it came with a kmc lasted 1200 miles but it was raining a lot middle of winter andI rode every day. I used a wet lube and the chain got gunky though I wiped it down every week. the second chain a Shimano 10 speed e chain I got 2000 miles with dry lube. third chain I got 3000 miles not sure if It was my shifting or that I did not need as much assist. 4 chain I was testing a cheap kmc chain and I got 2000 miles in the middle of winter. not as much rain and I used a dry lube. I now have 9000 miles on it and shifting is getting a bit clunky but its ok still. I am also able to put out a lot more watts so that may have shortened the chain life. but put at least 150 miles a week on the bike.
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Old 11-04-21, 09:51 AM
  #48  
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It's been about 2500 miles. My chain checker is indicating that it's elongated and my chain is starting to slip again. Sign to get the chain changed?
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Old 11-04-21, 10:58 AM
  #49  
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I have a 42 year old bike. I have no idea how many miles it has gone. The last time the chain was changed was when my son did it about 10 years ago. Then the gears started to skip. So I had to change the cassette too.
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Old 11-09-21, 11:58 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by burritos View Post
It's been about 2500 miles. My chain checker is indicating that it's elongated and my chain is starting to slip again. Sign to get the chain changed?
Yes, or maybe it's past time. You will probably need to change the cassette as well.

I replace my chains before they're fully worn, and as a result, my cassettes last a long time, about three chains.
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