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Picked up 3 mph thanks to drivetrain.

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Picked up 3 mph thanks to drivetrain.

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Old 02-23-09, 06:44 AM
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mjw16
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Picked up 3 mph thanks to drivetrain.

I typically replace my entire drive train once a year, usually in March, however, this year I should have done it sooner. I mistakenly thought that my new tires were the culprit when I installed them back in December and proceded to drop 4 to 5 mph from my average commuting speed (I was struggling to average 15 mph). In addition, hills were much tougher than they should have been and I couldn't keep up with more modest riders, my legs were tiring way too soon as well. It didn't occur to me until a couple of weeks ago, that regardless of how much I cleaned or lubed my chain, I couldn't get it to stop squeeking and squeeling. The pedalling resistance was enormous (relatively speaking), and shifting was degraded too. So, I replaced everything yesterday: big chain ring, chain, and cassette. I didn't realize how much everything was worn until I compared it with the new stuff. This morning's ride in was sweet. I picked up 3 mph, into a headwind no less. I still think the tires contribute to a slight loss of speed but, much less than I previously suspected, probably 1 to 2 mph to be honest. As much of a difference as this made this year, I think I'll clean my chain and cassette once a week as part of my normal maintenence routine.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:26 AM
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You might try replacing your chain when it wears out. Check it at 1,000 miles. Bike shops have special tools or you can try the ruler method.
http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
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Old 02-23-09, 07:29 AM
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Your replace your drivetrain every year??

How many miles do you ride?
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Old 02-23-09, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by lambo_vt View Post
Your replace your drivetrain every year??

How many miles do you ride?
He must ride a bunch.
I got 8,000 out of my first chain and still have the cassette at 12,000 miles.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:41 AM
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Sure the 20-30mph winds today didn't have anything to do with it?

Sorry, I find a problem with the fact new bits alone being worth 3mph, unless you changed the gearing and/or tires...
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Old 02-23-09, 07:42 AM
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I guess what I mean is that I find it hard to believe that chain, chainring, and cassette sped you up at all without some change in gearing.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:48 AM
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Between year 'round commuting, loaded on/off road touring, and centuries (and occasional training), I average over 6K a year. I know it's not as much as others but I also, admittedly, tend to neglect my drivetrain. As a commuter I ride in all kinds of weather and just don't have the time for daily maintenence, the bike is often "ridden hard and put away wet". Even with regular cleaning my big ring and cassette will show significant wear by year's end. In addition, I heard it's best to replace everything at the same time as these parts tend to wear together, I want to avoid problems with slipping/skipping chains, etc. So, for about $100 a year, I get a whole new drivetrain, however, this year things seemed to wear much quicker than usual. The difference has been so significant this time that I'm thinking of a weekly parts cleaning to extend the life back out to at least a year.
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Old 02-23-09, 07:56 AM
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Sure the 20-30mph winds today didn't have anything to do with it?

Sorry, I find a problem with the fact new bits alone being worth 3mph, unless you changed the gearing and/or tires...
Between new, slower rolling, deeper treaded tires and drivetrain wear my avg. speed dropped from 19/20 mph to 15. I was cruising along this morning at 18 mph-into the headwind. Gearing stayed the same.
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Old 02-23-09, 08:05 AM
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I only have to replace my drivetrain if I screw up and don't replace my chain when it's worn out. I typically have to replace my chain every 1800 miles, but that's because I ride in very dirty conditions, so dirty that it's not really worth cleaning the chain. A clean chain is totally mud encrusted again within 2 miles of my house on wet days.

I can get a few hundred miles more in the summer if I clean the chain and the weather is dry for a while, but in general it's not worth it.

BTW, you can double the life of your drivetrain by flipping all the cogs over and wearing out the other side of them before replacing. May not work with some types of chainring.
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Old 02-23-09, 08:35 AM
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Proper fenders with mudflaps will greatly extend the life of your drivetrain. Much cheaper than replacing everything too!
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Old 02-23-09, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
Proper fenders with mudflaps will greatly extend the life of your drivetrain. Much cheaper than replacing everything too!
I've got full fenders and a mudflap that comes down to within about 3 inches of the road (it's about 7 inches long). It certainly does reduce the level of mud on my feet and the drivetrain by quite a lot, but for me, even 1% of the mud getting flung up by the tires getting on the chain means a filthy chain in a matter of a mile. Without the fenders and mud flap, I look like a mud monster after a couple of miles. With it, my shoes and the drivetrain are fairly muddy.

Theoretically, a front mud flap should stop about everything. Theory doesn't account for the fact that you turn your wheel occasionally, there are crosswinds, and there are things that the mud splashes off of and back at you.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:26 AM
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fwiw I've found spinning low gears (plus pb cascadia fenders) more helpful in extending chain life than extensive/intensive maintenance program. We have nasty gritty rain that really can't be maintained away at all though. Just throw more lube on if the rain/wind calm down enough for me to hear the squeaking (or if it squeaks loud enough to hear it over the rain/wind) (although I do take pains to remove excess lube when I do add it)
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