time to replace chain and cassette?
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  1. #1

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    time to replace chain and cassette?

    My current Campy 10 chain and cassette have about 5000 miles on them and I have ordered a new replacement set. The first Campy chain I had on my bike snapped at the "permalink" right at the 5000-mile mark, so this seems like a good replacement interval. However, I thoroughly cleaned and lubed the chain and drivetrain last weekend, and the old chain and cassette are now shifting very well.

    Part of my motivation for changing the chain right now is that I have a long ride planned in the mountains this Saturday, more than 6000 feet of climbing over about 65-70 miles. I have this nagging fear of the chain snapping again during a long climb, even though the current chain seems to be working fine. I use a Connex link rather than the Campy product and have had no problems with it, replacing it about every 3000 miles.

    Should I leave well enough alone and keep using the old chain and cassette until the shifting begins to suffer, or go ahead and replace them? BTW, I have had no luck using a new chain with my old cassettes -- even when I have tried replacing the chain at the 2500-3000 mile point. Shifting always is sloppy when I try a new chain on an old cassette, which is why I try to stretch the mileage as long as possible and then replace the chain and cassette together.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Replace the chain when it shows some stretch, measure it carefully. A 1/16th inch stretch over a 12 inch length of chain is more than enough to warrant a change. A Park chain checker, if used properly, is also a good way to check wear.
    Almost any road bike cassette should go 15,000 miles or more.

  3. #3

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    One cassette will last as long as a few chains, but only if you replace the chains at the 1/16" stretch point. If you let your chain wear and further, it will ruin your cassette.

  4. #4
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    5k is pushing it for a Campy ten....

    I replaced my Campy chains at 3K. One of the wrenches at my LBS says he replaces his Campy chains at 2K. I don't measure mine, I can tell then start to shift funny. Last year my LBS was out of Campy ten's and all they had in stock was Wipperman stainless. I'm on my second Wipperman (I used a Mavic ten in between, which did not work for beans, 800 miles). Mine is set to be replaced at 4200 miles. I'm still on my original Campy Chorus cassette (14K). I guess I might be doing overkill on the mileage, but I find it's just easier to replace the thing at set intervals. I remember you talking about a Wipperman Nickel which did not last. I think the Mavic chains are the same as the Wipperman Nickel plated. But you should try a Wipperman stainless. I think the Campy chains function just a little more smoothly, but I've never had problems with a Wipperman stainless, other than installing the connecting link upside down the first time around. The Wipperman's cost more, but you have to compute the math for mileage. They claim to last 40% longer than other chains.
    Lennard Zinn says you can use a SRAM 9 speed chain on a Campy ten cassette and it will work fine. I've never tried it.

  5. #5
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    Slightly off-topic

    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel
    Part of my motivation for changing the chain right now is that I have a long ride planned in the mountains this Saturday, more than 6000 feet of climbing over about 65-70 miles.
    Are you riding the 3 Mountain Metric? Email me off-line ([email protected]) if you are - it's in my backyard and one of my favorite rides every year. Don't want to let an opportunity to meet a fellow RBR'er pass by.

    As to your original question, I usually replace my chain a minimum of once a year, but check it pretty much every month with the Park chain checker and replace at the first sign of significant stretch. My Steelman has the original cassette on it (approx. 15k miles) and I've had no significant wear issues (skipping, poor performance). I've done some short-term swapping of cassettes for specialized events (replacing the 12-25 with a 12-27), but this probably accounts for less than 500 miles of the total mileage. I think this is due to several factors:
    • I keep my bike very clean and am somewhat of a maintenance freak - I ride in just about any weather conditions, so drivetrain maintenance is key
    • My local rides are never flat, so my riding pretty much spans the entire cassette vs. rides where someone could be in the same gear for miles and miles
    • I don't try to save money on chains by getting too much mileage out of them
    • I've had good luck with SRAM chains on my D/A drivetrain (Ultegra cassettes)

  6. #6

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    re: 3 Mountain Metric

    Mike -- Yes, I'm riding the 3 Mountain Metric with several friends. I sent you an email.

    Regarding chains and cassettes, I don't know why I have such problems, but I had very poor performance and wear from Wipperman nickel chains. The first one I used was shot after about 2000 miles and had stretched about 1/2" longer over that period than my previous Campy chain did over 5000 miles. My second Wipperman chain was shot after about 1500 miles. By shot I mean it was shifting very poorly and stretched. I changed the cassette when I put on the second Wipperman chain and it also apparently messed up the new cassette in only 1500 miles, because when I tried to use that cassette with a new Campy 10 chain it didn't shift properly.

    After that, I went back to using C-10 chains with a new cassette, figuring I had learned my lesson. I tried installing a new chain on that cassette after about 2500-3000 miles, but it didn't shift properly, so I reinstalled the used chain and have been using it since then. That chain and cassette combination now has about 5000 miles on it and is still working fine. It hasn't stretched much when measured over 12 inches, but has much more side-to-side play than a new chain.

    Based on my previous experiences, what seems to work best for me is to go ahead and replace the chain and cassette at the same time, and then keep using them until they are worn out, replacing them as a unit. Others reports getting 10K or more from a Campy 10 cassette, but I don't know how they do it. I could probably refurbish the used cassettes by replacing selected cogs that have a lot of wear, but that might cost as much as buying a whole new unit.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Prince
    Are you riding the 3 Mountain Metric? Email me off-line ([email protected]) if you are - it's in my backyard and one of my favorite rides every year. Don't want to let an opportunity to meet a fellow RBR'er pass by.

    As to your original question, I usually replace my chain a minimum of once a year, but check it pretty much every month with the Park chain checker and replace at the first sign of significant stretch. My Steelman has the original cassette on it (approx. 15k miles) and I've had no significant wear issues (skipping, poor performance). I've done some short-term swapping of cassettes for specialized events (replacing the 12-25 with a 12-27), but this probably accounts for less than 500 miles of the total mileage. I think this is due to several factors:
    • I keep my bike very clean and am somewhat of a maintenance freak - I ride in just about any weather conditions, so drivetrain maintenance is key
    • My local rides are never flat, so my riding pretty much spans the entire cassette vs. rides where someone could be in the same gear for miles and miles
    • I don't try to save money on chains by getting too much mileage out of them
    • I've had good luck with SRAM chains on my D/A drivetrain (Ultegra cassettes)

  7. #7

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    To take the guess work out of chain wear get one of these:
    http://www.rohloff.de/index.php?lang...CALIBER%202&d=

    (safest is to change chain when the 0.075 drops in)
    http://www.rohloff.de/index.php?lang.../Handhabung&d=

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Nice links, especially the second one. Was wondering what the difference between 0.075 and .1 was. Thanks.

    The rohloff might be hard to find, Park tools makes one (cc-3, me thinks).

  9. #9

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    Does new Campy 10 chain need their tool?

    I popped a link on my Campy Chorus 10 chain. I bought a new Campy chain and the instructions insist that I only use a Campy 10 Chain Tool ($100!!) to install it. Is this necessary. Am I risking damage using a regular chain tool?

  10. #10
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    campy tool not necessary....

    A good quality chain tool like the Park CT-3 works fine to install the Campy HD-L pin. Just drape the chain around the bottom bracket to eliminate any tension on the chain while you install the pin, per campy's directions, from the left side.
    Last edited by C-40; 06-04-2004 at 03:43 AM.

  11. #11

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    Provided my calculations are correct the Rohloff 0.1mm gauge is still less than 1/16" over 12" or 12 links of chain. The Park 0.75% setting on the other hand is almost 50% more than 1/16". Either way these things in my opinion are much better to measure a chain compared to relatively cheap mechanical systems with moving parts.

    I also found that they have a US site at: http://www.rohloffusa.com and www.speedgoat.com has them for sale but quite pricey compared to Europe.

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