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-   -   Chain Life? (https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/945939-chain-life.html)

Tandem Tom 05-02-14 07:17 AM

Chain Life?
 
While touring how long do you get out of chain? Just replaced mine yesterday after about 2,500 miles.

staehpj1 05-02-14 08:10 AM

About 4 times that. I replace when 12 links measure 12-1/16".

sstorkel 05-02-14 09:20 AM

It all depends on the chain. The first chain I put on my touring bike was a KMC DX10SC. After 750 miles, it was done! Switched back to my standard SRAM chains and I typically get 2500-3000 miles if I do some occasional chain maintenance (lube, clean, etc).

fairymuff 05-02-14 03:03 PM

I think it depends on a number of things. The main ones being how anal you are about cleaning them, and what conditions you ride in. If you see a lot of rain and mud when out riding your chain will suffer more. If you don't clean it, it'll need to be replaced earlier. To me, 2,500 miles doesn't sound odd. I probably get less, but I live in the rainy UK.

You might get more miles out of a chain if you're more serious about maintenance. Then again, chains are pretty cheap, and when you factor in the price of degreaser and lubes (as well as your time), a high maintenance regime may quickly become a false economy.

fietsbob 05-02-14 03:53 PM

I just ritually replace the chain when I return from the trip.

seeker333 05-02-14 04:06 PM


Originally Posted by Tandem Tom (Post 16721202)
While touring how long do you get out of chain? Just replaced mine yesterday after about 2,500 miles.

The general rule on chain stretch (erosion actually) is 1%; that is replace chain when length increases 1%.

This works out to 1/16" in 12 links (12x0.5" chain pitch=6", or 1/16/6*100=1.04%), or 1/8" in a foot of chain (24 links), or 1/4" in 2 feet of chain (0.25" in 24").

I personally measure stretch by hanging a degreased chain from a small nail on a wall, measuring 24" from a pin to the next pin @ 24"+ away, and the extra length >24" is the amount of "stretch", usually 1/8-1/4". Measuring across a greater length makes it easier to ascertain the small amount of stretch. Hanging the chain works better than laying it on a bench, since gravity takes all the slack out and gives you a truer measure of elongation.

I've found that a brand new chain usually measures 24 1/16" long for 48 links right out of the package. There is a small amount of play even in a brand new chain, so you start out with 1/16/24*100=0.25% stretch before you've even ridden the new chain.

I usually retire my chains at 0.50%-0.75% stretch (1/8-3/16" in 24") because I find the chainrings and cassette cogs are already showing signs of wear at this point.

The whole point of measuring and replacing the inexpensive steel chain is to prevent premature wear of the more expensive rings and cassette.

I've gotten 20,000-25,000 miles chain life on unloaded road bikes using the above guidelines, plus a serious chain cleaning/lubing procedure. On tours you will get less because of the added load, plus it's harder to make time to fuss with bike maintenance regularly when you're on tour. Figure 5,000-10,000 miles for pavement touring with reasonable maintenance, and less on dirt sections.

staehpj1 05-02-14 04:27 PM


Originally Posted by fairymuff (Post 16722756)
You might get more miles out of a chain if you're more serious about maintenance. Then again, chains are pretty cheap, and when you factor in the price of degreaser and lubes (as well as your time), a high maintenance regime may quickly become a false economy.

I always figured that I got long life out of my chains because I avoid aggressive cleaning. I figure that cleaning with solvents or detergents shortened the live of a chain by allowing grit to penetrate deeper into the chain and also because it kills the lube there. I try to get by with only relubing and wiping my chain off if at all possible.

Doug64 05-02-14 05:30 PM

We usually get between 3000 and 3700 miles on our touring chains. A lot depends on riding conditions. I generally start any major tour with a new chain.

This tour had a lot of dirt roads and trails, and a lot of rain. Really tough on chains.
http://i783.photobucket.com/albums/y...c592b8cb69.jpg

andrewclaus 05-03-14 06:34 AM

Between 2,500 and 5,000 miles. In addition to the chain and the conditions, it sometimes depends on when I can find a new chain.

bikenh 05-03-14 11:05 AM

I've always heard 1/8" stretch is acceptable above that you should replace or plan on replacing the cassette sooner. As I result I normally get around 13-14,000 miles on a cassette and around 2500 miles on a chain.

Topic open for debate:

I typically ride bigger gearing than most people. Since I recent pretty much switched all the way over to single speed riding, even down to riding a single speed chain now, I've been riding 53x15 all the time. I keep wandering does the gear choice also determine the chain stretch over time...aka the bigger the gear the more power you have to apply to the pedal/chain and the sooner you end up having to replace the chain as a result. Does that idea make any sense or am I crazy for thinking that thought?

beerbaron2002 05-03-14 11:18 AM

I get way less than that but I ride a fixie in all weather which is hard on the chain and gears. I never counted miles but every 2 months or 3 months I replace the gears and chain at the same time.

Louis Le Tour 05-06-14 03:13 PM


Originally Posted by fietsbob (Post 16722901)
I just ritually replace the chain when I return from the trip.

Yeah, I'm riding from Seattle to Miami next year and the chain get's replaced in Miami and again when I get back. I don't plan on spending a BUNCH of time maintaining my chain.

beerbaron2002 05-06-14 03:19 PM


Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour (Post 16734557)
Yeah, I'm riding from Seattle to Miami next year and the chain get's replaced in Miami and again when I get back. I don't plan on spending a BUNCH of time maintaining my chain.


Id replace it more than that chains are dirt cheap

Louis Le Tour 05-06-14 03:56 PM


Originally Posted by beerbaron2002 (Post 16734582)
Id replace it more than that chains are dirt cheap

So, to be on the safe side a 2000 mile interval between new chains?

fairymuff 05-06-14 04:00 PM


Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour (Post 16734684)
So, to be on the safe side a 2000 mile interval between new chains?

You can get a chain wear gauge. Check your chain wear in seconds, and retire when required. No faffing about measuring n number of links.

http://www.biketiresdirect.com/produ...0/ptcc32-1.jpg

beerbaron2002 05-06-14 04:31 PM


Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour (Post 16734684)
So, to be on the safe side a 2000 mile interval between new chains?

Change it half way to miami at then half way back and at seattle its only 40 bucks in chains small expense on a long journey to kinimize headaches.

wahoonc 05-06-14 05:44 PM

I get ~2500-3000 out of my multispeed chains, 10,000 or so out of my IGH chains. I only buy bushing chains, typically KMC 410 series type chains. I have a couple of Reynolds chains from the UK that are heavy and very solid, I use them on my three speeds.

Aaron :)


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