Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Chain Life?

Old 05-02-14, 07:17 AM
  #1  
Tandem Tom
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 1,903

Bikes: 1992 Serotta Colorado II,Co-Motion Speedster, Giant Escape Hybrid, 1977 Schwinn Super Le Tour

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 222 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Chain Life?

While touring how long do you get out of chain? Just replaced mine yesterday after about 2,500 miles.
Tandem Tom is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 08:10 AM
  #2  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,228
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
About 4 times that. I replace when 12 links measure 12-1/16".
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 09:20 AM
  #3  
sstorkel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 5,427

Bikes: Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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).
sstorkel is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 03:03 PM
  #4  
fairymuff
Senior Member
 
fairymuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
fairymuff is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 03:53 PM
  #5  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,408

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6705 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 121 Times in 102 Posts
I just ritually replace the chain when I return from the trip.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 04:06 PM
  #6  
seeker333
-
 
seeker333's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,737

Bikes: yes!

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 231 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
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.
seeker333 is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 04:27 PM
  #7  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,228
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by fairymuff View Post
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.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-02-14, 05:30 PM
  #8  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,475
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 762 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
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.

Last edited by Doug64; 05-03-14 at 10:57 AM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 06:34 AM
  #9  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO, Scottsdale, AZ
Posts: 1,483

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 620

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 207 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
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.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 11:05 AM
  #10  
bikenh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,194
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 107 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
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?
bikenh is offline  
Old 05-03-14, 11:18 AM
  #11  
beerbaron2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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.
beerbaron2002 is offline  
Old 05-06-14, 03:13 PM
  #12  
Louis Le Tour
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Currently living in Oakdale, CA about 20 mi. NE of Modesto in the hot central valley.
Posts: 388

Bikes: Surly LHTD with a YAK trailer. I may have to ditch the trailer and go to panniers but I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
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.
Louis Le Tour is offline  
Old 05-06-14, 03:19 PM
  #13  
beerbaron2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour View Post
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
beerbaron2002 is offline  
Old 05-06-14, 03:56 PM
  #14  
Louis Le Tour
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Currently living in Oakdale, CA about 20 mi. NE of Modesto in the hot central valley.
Posts: 388

Bikes: Surly LHTD with a YAK trailer. I may have to ditch the trailer and go to panniers but I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by beerbaron2002 View Post
Id replace it more than that chains are dirt cheap
So, to be on the safe side a 2000 mile interval between new chains?
Louis Le Tour is offline  
Old 05-06-14, 04:00 PM
  #15  
fairymuff
Senior Member
 
fairymuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour View Post
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.

fairymuff is offline  
Old 05-06-14, 04:31 PM
  #16  
beerbaron2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Vancouver BC
Posts: 82
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Louis Le Tour View Post
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.
beerbaron2002 is offline  
Old 05-06-14, 05:44 PM
  #17  
wahoonc
Membership Not Required
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On the road-USA
Posts: 16,854

Bikes: Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
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
__________________
Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
wahoonc is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.