Mileage / Wear For SRAM Red 22 Chain
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    Mileage / Wear For SRAM Red 22 Chain

    I've been monitoring the wear on my SRAM Red 22 chain with the Park CC-1 Chain Checker. After 2,700+ miles, I'm still showing just a hair more than .25% chain wear. This is telling me the chain is still basically like a new chain. I did hot wax the chain before putting it on the bike, after cleaning the packing lube off, and I do wipe it down after a dirty road ride, but I've not done anything since.

    Am I measuring the wear properly or is this normal mileage for these chains? I know the chain will eventually wear enough to warrant replacement, and I plan on switching to a Wipperman at that time, but for now, I'm amazed at the mileage I have on this chain.

  2. #2
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    Chain checkers like this can be all over the place in readings.

    Use a ruler. See below how to do this:

    Chains
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    Post questions like this in the proper section of the forum: Components/Wrenching.
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    While I do not dispute you can use a ruler, the CC-1 works fine with my other two bike's chains, so I do not think this is a reading error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OV_Dragonman View Post
    While I do not dispute you can use a ruler, the CC-1 works fine with my other two bike's chains, so I do not think this is a reading error.
    You might want to check your chains with the CC-1 and then check them with a ruler for comparison. You may be surprised.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



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    Or replace it anyway. Take it off BEFORE it starts elongating and getting loosey goosey. The cogs will also last longer.

    I read TDF mechs change chains every 2000 miles. They claim a set of freewheel gears will last up to 8000 miles on 4 chains, rather than wear down the cogs on one chain to the point where a new chain will skip, and break rider's nuts. Of course the gods are torturing their drivetrains a whole lot worse than we mortals. Still, I only get around 3000 miles on SRAM chains before they start to feel rougher after lubing, rather than smoother. That's 90% city and MUT riding, no racing or high power group rides. The hills will do it every time.

    Chains wear out and are replaceable parts, like tires and handlebar tape. If you got the money, luxuriate in that Wipperman. If all you want is a chain that'll work perfectly for 2000 miles, keep going on SRAM and save some money. Then again, what fun is that?
    Last edited by Fredrico; 01-07-2019 at 07:30 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Or replace it anyway. Take it off BEFORE it starts elongating and getting loosey goosey. The cogs will also last longer.

    I read TDF mechs change chains every 2000 miles. They claim a set of freewheel gears will last up to 8000 miles on 4 chains, rather than wear down the cogs on one chain to the point where a new chain will skip, and break rider's nuts. Of course the gods are torturing their drivetrains a whole lot worse than we mortals. Still, I only get around 3000 miles on SRAM chains before they start to feel rougher after lubing, rather than smoother. That's 90% city and MUT riding, no racing or high power group rides. The hills will do it every time.

    Chains wear out and are replaceable parts, like tires and handlebar tape. If you got the money, luxuriate in that Wipperman. If all you want is a chain that'll work perfectly for 2000 miles, keep going on SRAM and save some money. Then again, what fun is that?
    The mechanics I know that work for men's teams change chains out well before 2000mi. I don't even lets the girls chains get that many miles. I never see worn out cassettes on race bikes. Pretty much doesn't happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    The mechanics I know that work for men's teams change chains out well before 2000mi. I don't even lets the girls chains get that many miles. I never see worn out cassettes on race bikes. Pretty much doesn't happen.
    So there ya go! Well, this was one mech quoted by a magazine 15 years ago, and I believe he changed the chains on the race bikes way sooner than 2000 miles. He did mention the distance, though, now I'm not sure in what context.

    Interesting how the cogs last so much longer, huh? What interval would you recommend for moderate club riding? 800-1000 miles?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Interesting how the cogs last so much longer, huh? What interval would you recommend for moderate club riding? 800-1000 miles?
    I have to wonder how much money you really save by a 1000 mile replacement. How long do you expect a cassette to last with 1000 mile chain replacements vs. letting the chain and cassette "marry each other" and changing them together at say 8000 miles. Mike T. on these forums gets over 10,000 miles out of his chains.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Or replace it anyway. Take it off BEFORE it starts elongating and getting loosey goosey. The cogs will also last longer.

    I read TDF mechs change chains every 2000 miles. They claim a set of freewheel gears will last up to 8000 miles on 4 chains, rather than wear down the cogs on one chain to the point where a new chain will skip, and break rider's nuts. Of course the gods are torturing their drivetrains a whole lot worse than we mortals. Still, I only get around 3000 miles on SRAM chains before they start to feel rougher after lubing, rather than smoother. That's 90% city and MUT riding, no racing or high power group rides. The hills will do it every time.

    Chains wear out and are replaceable parts, like tires and handlebar tape. If you got the money, luxuriate in that Wipperman. If all you want is a chain that'll work perfectly for 2000 miles, keep going on SRAM and save some money. Then again, what fun is that?
    Back when SRAM chains were still Sachs/Sedisport, you could buy chain in bulk packaging with something like 25 or 50 powerlinks and something like 5000 links of chain in a cardboard box-worked great when I was keeping a fleet of messenger bikes running through wet, miserable North German winters.

    Wippermans were very popular for those running fixed/single gears-their track chains were regularly in use by roidzilla sprinters who came up in the East German era.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OV_Dragonman View Post
    I've been monitoring the wear on my SRAM Red 22 chain with the Park CC-1 Chain Checker. After 2,700+ miles, I'm still showing just a hair more than .25% chain wear. This is telling me the chain is still basically like a new chain. I did hot wax the chain before putting it on the bike, after cleaning the packing lube off, and I do wipe it down after a dirty road ride, but I've not done anything since.

    Am I measuring the wear properly or is this normal mileage for these chains? I know the chain will eventually wear enough to warrant replacement, and I plan on switching to a Wipperman at that time, but for now, I'm amazed at the mileage I have on this chain.
    Chain wear is determined by many factors, so "typical" is meaningless for your specific situation. Clean environment, propoer lube, quality chain, smooth cadence, skilled shifting, and relatively low rider power output can mean very long chain life. Very short chain life can come from some or all of these factors being less than optimum. For me, 2,700 miles would not represent long chain life, but that's me.

    As Lombard has noted, chuck the chain checker and get out a ruler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    How long do you expect a cassette to last with 1000 mile chain replacements vs. letting the chain and cassette "marry each other" and changing them together at say 8000 miles. Mike T. on these forums gets over 10,000 miles out of his chains.
    That's my philosophy for my road bike and commuter too. My road bike is working fine on it's original chain/gears (I'm guessing it's 13 years old with about 8k miles) but I ride that only in nice weather and don't race.

    The commuter is an 8-spd so parts are cheap and, depending how sloppy our winter is and how much I commute, it's less hassle to just assume everything will need replaced together every few years.

    The new 1x11 MTB is a different story. I'll need to settle on a fixed chain replacement interval for that as those cassettes are pricey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    I have to wonder how much money you really save by a 1000 mile replacement. How long do you expect a cassette to last with 1000 mile chain replacements vs. letting the chain and cassette "marry each other" and changing them together at say 8000 miles. Mike T. on these forums gets over 10,000 miles out of his chains.
    Some people like to maintain good shifting and in my experience that fades when the chain is cooked.

    And you know the chain touches the chainrings too, right? So if you do an economic analysis it's not just the cassette subject to shorter life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Some people like to maintain good shifting and in my experience that fades when the chain is cooked.

    And you know the chain touches the chainrings too, right? So if you do an economic analysis it's not just the cassette subject to shorter life.
    You point is well taken here. However, considering there are more teeth on chainrings, load will be spread out and they will wear less quickly. And even when they do wear, because there is a more even load due to more teeth, you will be less likely to have shifting problems like ghost shifting.

    Of course you could argue that you spend much more time in a single chainring than a single cog, so it evens out, right? But somehow cassettes always wear out much faster than cranksets.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    You point is well taken here. However, considering there are more teeth on chainrings, load will be spread out and they will wear less quickly. And even when they do wear, because there is a more even load due to more teeth, you will be less likely to have shifting problems like ghost shifting.

    Of course you could argue that you spend much more time in a single chainring than a single cog, so it evens out, right? But somehow cassettes always wear out much faster than cranksets.
    What does wearing out slower than cassettes have to do with this? The topic at hand is wearing things out quicker than they would have if you replaced a chain. And chainrings will wear out quicker with a fried chain. The fact they wear out slower than cassettes is irrelevant to that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    What does wearing out slower than cassettes have to do with this? The topic at hand is wearing things out quicker than they would have if you replaced a chain. And chainrings will wear out quicker with a fried chain. The fact they wear out slower than cassettes is irrelevant to that.
    My point was this:

    1) Worn chainrings won't cause shifting issues (unless they are really worn) as easily as worn cassette cogs will.

    2) By the time your chainrings wear out to where they will cause shifting issues, how many chains will you have gone through if you change your chain sooner vs. later?

    Dollars and cents (and sense), what will the cost be one way vs. the other? See below for cost of items in question:

    https://www.jensonusa.com/shimano-cn...CABEgK-tvD_BwE

    https://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-105-CS-R7000-Cassette

    https://www.starbike.com/en/shimano-...utPD_BwE#23473

    So cost wise, two chains equals one cassette. Six chains is greater than one crankset.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    My point was this:

    1) Worn chainrings won't cause shifting issues (unless they are really worn) as easily as worn cassette cogs will.

    2) By the time your chainrings wear out to where they will cause shifting issues, how many chains will you have gone through if you change your chain sooner vs. later?

    Dollars and cents (and sense), what will the cost be one way vs. the other? See below for cost of items in question:

    https://www.jensonusa.com/shimano-cn...CABEgK-tvD_BwE

    https://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-105-CS-R7000-Cassette

    https://www.starbike.com/en/shimano-...utPD_BwE#23473

    So cost wise, two chains equals one cassette. Six chains is greater than one crankset.
    Craigslisting the brifters, brakes, and derailleurs from a UK sourced groupset at roughly $400 would almost be the moneyball move if your rings, chain, and cassette are all toasted.

    https://www.merlincycles.com/shimano...et-118524.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bremerradkurier View Post
    Craigslisting the brifters, brakes, and derailleurs from a UK sourced groupset at roughly $400 would almost be the moneyball move if your rings, chain, and cassette are all toasted.

    https://www.merlincycles.com/shimano...et-118524.html
    Arrgggghhhhhh...shifters!!!
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  19. #19
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    chain wear will depend on maintenance and riding habits. i'm not on sram but i'm on a new chain every 2k. riders that do more even and flat riding seem to get more use

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trek_5200 View Post
    chain wear will depend on maintenance and riding habits. i'm not on sram but i'm on a new chain every 2k. riders that do more even and flat riding seem to get more use
    Yep. In the rollings hills around the Potomac River, the chain wears out on the climbing gears. Maybe that's a good enough reason to have a bunch of them.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 01-09-2019 at 01:07 PM.

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    Let's keep things simple and stick to chain discussion only!


    I don't necessarily subscribe to changing out a chain after a fixed amount of mileage / kilometers, be it 1000 mi / 1600 km, 2000 mi / 3200km, or whatever, but yes, I see the merit in replacing the chain before it actually wears out. To that end, SRAM suggests 0.50% is when a chain is worn out, so I will probably go with replacing it when it nears 0.35% to 0.40% chain wear.

    The reasons I don't subscribe to a fixed mileage basis is: 1) those teams mentioned are factory sponsored, but I have to pay for the chains, 2) being retired, I do need to curb some expenditures, and 3) we all ride in different conditions.

    When I lived in the Pittsburgh area, I rode primarily on the Montour or Great Allegheney Passage trails and they were surfaced with crushed limestone. I regularly cleaned my drivetrain and yet I was barely able to get 1500 mi / 2400 km from a chain. The dirt from the trail was a finely powdered, invasive, abrasive grit. You don't want to know what it was like if it rained! Now I live in the Tucson area and ride on nicely paved roads or fully paved bikeways, and the weather is much drier.

    I appreciate the advice on measuring the chain with a ruler, but that's not going to happen any time soon as I just waxed the chain and I do not want to have to replace the connecting link again . . . and that's a separate discussion!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Chain wear is determined by many factors, so "typical" is meaningless for your specific situation. Clean environment, propoer lube, quality chain, smooth cadence, skilled shifting, and relatively low rider power output can mean very long chain life. Very short chain life can come from some or all of these factors being less than optimum. For me, 2,700 miles would not represent long chain life, but that's me.
    Well, that is certainly encouraging! While I am working on getting more power out, the rest of your rider / riding description fits my situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    The mechanics I know that work for men's teams change chains out well before 2000mi. I don't even lets the girls chains get that many miles. I never see worn out cassettes on race bikes. Pretty much doesn't happen.
    What difference does the sex of the rider have to do with it? ALL riders deserve well maintained bikes, especially if they race!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OV_Dragonman View Post
    To that end, SRAM suggests 0.50% is when a chain is worn out, so I will probably go with replacing it when it nears 0.35% to 0.40% chain wear.
    If you use the Park CC-1, a new chain registers 0.50% from the get go. Another reason to use a ruler.

    Quote Originally Posted by OV_Dragonman View Post
    I appreciate the advice on measuring the chain with a ruler, but that's not going to happen any time soon as I just waxed the chain and I do not want to have to replace the connecting link again . . . and that's a separate discussion!
    You do not need to remove the chain to measure it with a ruler. Did you read the article I linked to before?

    Chains
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by OV_Dragonman View Post
    I appreciate the advice on measuring the chain with a ruler, but that's not going to happen any time soon as I just waxed the chain and I do not want to have to replace the connecting link again.
    Your tunnel vision is impressive indeed. No offense, but has it occurred to you that you can simply lay the ruler alongside the chain and measure the distance from pin to pin? 0.5% elongation is 1/16" over 24 links (12" original chain length).

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