Mileage out of Campy chains?
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  1. #1
    Adrenalina Italiana
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    Mileage out of Campy chains?

    I recently started riding Campy as of July of this year and I can't get over 1000 miles out of a chain before it needs to be replaced. My Dura-ace chains on the other hand can exceed well over 3000 before it stretches....what gives? I don't want to start a heated debate over both brands because I like both the same, but I was wondering If it is only me that finds Campy inferior to Shimano in this department? How many miles do you get out of your Campy chains before you replace?
    " the odds are good, the goods are even odder."

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    it's only you....

    You must practice very poor maintenance. My chains show no more than 1/2 of the allowable 1/16" stretch after 3000 miles. I could easily get 6000 miles from a chain, perhaps more.

    Here's a technique that will guarantee this type of chain life.

    I use a mixture of 4 to 5 parts mineral spirits to one part synthetic motor oil to "clean and lube" the chain. Apply the mixture heavily, to the lower section of chain between the rear derailleur and the crank. An old Prolink bottle or contact lens solution bottle work great as applicators. Catch the excess with a paper towel, folded 8 layers thick, held under the chain. Wipe each section of the chain, before rotating the crank to the next section. When the entire chain has been lubed, spin the cranks several turns, wiping with the wet towel. The wet towel can also be used to clean the cogs, derailleur pulleys and chainrings. Follow up with a dry towel. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes. If done at least once a week (more often in dirty conditions), the chain will never need removal for additional cleaning and there will never be any lubricant build-up. If you happen to neglect the chain for more than a week, apply the lube twice, to enhance the cleaning effect. The lubing should be done after riding, to allow time for the mineral spirits to evaporate (leaving only a thin coating of oil) before the next ride. This stuff is a wet lube, so expect a wet/black look to the chain after riding. A wipe with a dry towel after each ride will keep the chain looking good.

    When I ride on dirty roads (almost always around Denver) I apply the lube after every ride, which is probably excessive, but I don't get a buildup problem and my chains show virtually no elongation after 3000 miles. I probably use a quart of this mixture every season.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    The secret to long (chain) life

    Ways to make chains last a long time:

    1. Keep the chain clean and well-lubed. It's the gunk on the chain that acts as a grinding compound and destroys the chain. I use ProLink, with the standard procedure, every 300-350 miles. This also means a quick re-lube if you get caught in the rain. IME, wax lubes do not meet this requirement.

    2. Spin a high cadence. Those who stomp stress the chain far more.

    3. Ride in the big ring when you have a choice. Keeping the chain on the larger cogs greatly reduces stress and there is less chain angle in the 53/18 than in the 39/13.

    4. Ride in non-dusty regions. The grinding paste that forms on the chain is a combination of lube and dirt. If your local climate is dusty, this problem will be far worse and your chain will wear that much faster.

    5. Buy good quality. IME an SRAM 99 series chain lasts about 60% as long as a Campy Record 9. Cassette cogs and chain wheels wear at different rates too, and this influences chain wear.

    6. New chain = new cassette cogs. Many will argue for frequent chain replacement to save their cogs, but the cogs still wear, even with a new chain. The partially worn cogs will cause faster chain wear. The math on chain/cassette replacement (for me) looks like this. Campy 9 speed chain, $25, Chorus 9 cassette $60. Total miles, 10K. Cost per 100 miles = $0.85. The math for people who say to replace the chain every 2500 miles to avoid wearing the cogs too fast: DA chain $24, DA cassette, $75. Assuming ZERO cassette wear (bad assumption), cost per 100 miles = $.96.

  4. #4
    Adrenalina Italiana
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    Will definately try out some of your suggestions.

    However I don't fit any of the sterotypes that you have suggested. I keep my chain clean and lubed every 150 miles or so with Whitelightning and I never remove the chain to clean. I don't crosschain(on purpose anyway) and try to stay in the big ring majority of the time.
    I will however give a nod to the lube prolink, been meaning to give it a shot, seeing how alot of people use it here. Just looks messy and not as clean as the wax.
    Thanks again for your suggestions. Both of you (Kenny and C-40) are such an asset to this forum. I've learned alot from your posts. Thanks!
    " the odds are good, the goods are even odder."

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Dry lube may be the problem...

    also get a least a few thousand miles out of C10 chains and have had no problems with them, but use wet lube. Also, FWIW, just put a Dura Ace 10sp chain on my bike and it works perfectly w/ the Campy 10sp driveline...and the booklet that comes with the chain says wear will be much higher w/ dry lube.

    Quote Originally Posted by SPINDAWG
    However I don't fit any of the sterotypes that you have suggested. I keep my chain clean and lubed every 150 miles or so with Whitelightning and I never remove the chain to clean. I don't crosschain(on purpose anyway) and try to stay in the big ring majority of the time.
    I will however give a nod to the lube prolink, been meaning to give it a shot, seeing how alot of people use it here. Just looks messy and not as clean as the wax.
    Thanks again for your suggestions. Both of you (Kenny and C-40) are such an asset to this forum. I've learned alot from your posts. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Tommasini
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    Chains wear - they don't really stretch

    Quote Originally Posted by SPINDAWG
    I recently started riding Campy as of July of this year and I can't get over 1000 miles out of a chain before it needs to be replaced. My Dura-ace chains on the other hand can exceed well over 3000 before it stretches....what gives? I don't want to start a heated debate over both brands because I like both the same, but I was wondering If it is only me that finds Campy inferior to Shimano in this department? How many miles do you get out of your Campy chains before you replace?
    Chains get longer becaues of wear in the tight area of the rollers and mating surface fo the sideplates - not becuase of any significant stretch.

    Thinking along those lines has for years kept me away form any lubes that I don't believe can do a good job of getting into and staying in the smallest nooks and crannies of the roller area.....whilte lightning is one I used for a time and won't go back to. Pro Link and simlar wet lubes rule. I had gotten about 4K miles out of 9 spd campy chains and have nearly 3k on my first 10 speed Ultra hollow pin with much life to go.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Wipperman Nickel plated chains and Slick Willy Bike Lube. The Slick and Dry lube rocks for all but the most epic conditions. The guy who makes the lube has a PhD in Chem and man, it stays on there for a long time.

  8. #8

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    I'm doing slightly better, but not much...

    IRD black is worn out after ~2250 miles. I think my problem was lube choice. I have been using Phil Wood Tenacious lube. It made the drivetrain nice and quiet, but I read the stuff is too thick to penetrate inside the chain, which is where the lubrication is needed.

    The other day I tried Tri-Flow, because it's recommended and sold by lickbike.com. Wow, the chain was so quiet. I'm going to use Tri-Flow or the Slick Willy product mentioned previously. In the archives, guys mention getting 4000-10k miles out of chains, so it's obvious I'm not doing enough/proper maintenance.
    Jurgen

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    TriFlow problem

    TriFlow is an excellent lube, but it really picks up the dirt. As a result, your chain gets pretty grimy, and all that gunk acts as a grinding compound that chews up your chain. ProLink is MUCH better in this regard.

  10. #10
    flinty-eyed moderator
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    Yeah, tri-flow is the world champion gunk attractor, but is good in certain applications.

    I use Prolink and get pretty good life out of my Campy chains. However, when I am buying- I go with the Wipperman 10 speed chains.
    Dr. Cox: Lady, people aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings. But I don't find them half as annoying as I find naive bubble-headed optimists who walk around vomiting sunshine.

  11. #11

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    Well, thanks for setting me straight. I had the can of Tri-Flow in the shop, and when I saw it on Lickton's web site, a light bulb turned on in my brain. ProLink and Wippermann chains it shall be. Thanks again.

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