Mileage - When should you change your chain?
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  1. #1
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    Mileage - When should you change your chain?

    1600 miles on my current chain. When should I change it? What does it feel like when your pedaling? I'm prepping for my first century Memorial Day weekend.
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  2. #2
    Power Napper
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    Typical recommendation is 3000 miles. A worn chain can affect shifting. If you have any concerns, check it. Here's a nice little tool to do it. Park Tool Chain Wear Indicator.
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    "When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government." -Thomas Paine

  3. #3
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    i wouldn't even worry about mileage.
    just keep it clean, lubed, and use the indicator above.

  4. #4
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    Mileage is meaningless, because wear varies. And those chain checkers don't work as well as a plain old ruler. Do a search; this is discussed often here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Mileage is meaningless, because wear varies. And those chain checkers don't work as well as a plain old ruler. Do a search; this is discussed often here.

    How can that be? They basically are a ruler.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Defy3Guy View Post
    1600 miles on my current chain. When should I change it? What does it feel like when your pedaling? I'm prepping for my first century Memorial Day weekend.
    There is no simple mileage rule, it all depends. Modern road chains can last anywhere between 1500 to 6000 miles at least, and a badly worn-out chain may not feel much different from a good one. As others have recommended, learn how to check for chain wear.

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    My chains last about 1500 miles. I use a chain checker tool - it's easier for me to use than a ruler. Especially if you leave the chain on the bike.

    I definitely notice shifting problems when my chain starts to wear, plus the drivetrain starts to get noisy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    How can that be? They basically are a ruler.
    Good catch.

    The argument here is that most chain checkers measure inside-to-inside on rollers; so they count roller wear / tolerance in addition to elongation, and so are less accurate.

    However, the Park model above measures somewhat more accurately inside-to-outside. It's still not ideal to some mythical standard, but it will probably be a darned sight easier than using a ruler to an equal level of accuracy.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

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    I always thought that when you changed your chain, you had to change your cassette too. But I found out that as long as you replace the chain before it's too badly worn, the new one should work fine without jumping on the cogs. I just changed my chain after just under a year of regular use. I was told by my LBS that I'd been over lubing it, so it might have lasted longer had I been more sparing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danl1 View Post
    The argument here is that most chain checkers measure inside-to-inside on rollers; so they count roller wear / tolerance in addition to elongation, and so are less accurate.
    Again, it depends. The above is the way you are supposed to measure Campy chains (otherwise you'd hardly be able to measure any wear at all), but the Park Tool still doesn't work well for those either (it will indicate that the chain is good when it's really overdue). So for Campy, the only way to check for chain wear is to follow the manual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquoricepontoon View Post
    I always thought that when you changed your chain, you had to change your cassette too.
    No, rule of thumb is three chains per (standard) cassette.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liquoricepontoon View Post
    I just changed my chain after just under a year of regular use. I was told by my LBS that I'd been over lubing it, so it might have lasted longer had I been more sparing.
    That's pretty much nonsense. Other than making a mess, over-lubing won't hurt your chain. Over-cleaning might, however.

  11. #11
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    I use a steel ruler. Don't try and try to measure from the center of a pin, you could be a little off. I measure from the back, or front of the pin and line it up with the back, or front of the pin at the other end of the ruler.

  12. #12
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    Last year I logged in 2800 miles. This year I'm at 600 miles on the same chain. My gears skip and are sometimes hard to shift into. Time for a new chain....big time. On pay day I'm going to the shop.
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

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    Ease of use

    Quote Originally Posted by tntyz View Post
    My chains last about 1500 miles. I use a chain checker tool - it's easier for me to use than a ruler. Especially if you leave the chain on the bike.
    Most chain checker tools are inaccurate, and measuring the chain while it's on the bike is super easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirx View Post
    That's pretty much nonsense. Other than making a mess, over-lubing won't hurt your chain. Over-cleaning might, however.
    More lube then necessarily generally helps to attract grit that increases wear..

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    Quote Originally Posted by scryan View Post
    More lube then necessarily generally helps to attract grit that increases wear..
    Yes, that was my understanding. The LBS said a chain with too much goo on it attracts tiny particles of metal that rub off car brakes. A lubricant containing swarf becomes an abrasive paste that wears the chain and other components it comes into contact with. Regular grit also causes wear but it's these metal particles that are particularly destructive.

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    First, I am fairly new to the sport, or atleat the technical aspects of it. Second, everyone keeps talking about using a ruler to check the chain. What measurement are we checking for? I've had the same chain on my road bike for 6 years and I ride about 500-1000 miles per year. From what everyone says looks like i need a new one as well.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquoricepontoon View Post
    Yes, that was my understanding. The LBS said a chain with too much goo on it attracts tiny particles of metal that rub off car brakes. A lubricant containing swarf becomes an abrasive paste that wears the chain and other components it comes into contact with. Regular grit also causes wear but it's these metal particles that are particularly destructive.
    This is the lamest thing I have seen today. Those guys are full of crap.
    Clean and lube your chain properly and you will be fine. A clean and properly lubricated chain will not attract anything to it.

  18. #18
    skh
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    so if i use a ruler to measure my chain with then what do i have to compare it to? i didn't take measurements of the original chain when it was new. do i go out and buy a new chain just for comparisons sake? that could be a waste of money if my old chain is still in tolerance. where are the standards found?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tihsepa View Post
    This is the lamest thing I have seen today. Those guys are full of crap.
    Clean and lube your chain properly and you will be fine. A clean and properly lubricated chain will not attract anything to it.
    Yes, but I suppose the point they were making is that an over lubricated chain isn't properly lubricated.

  20. #20
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by socalboarder View Post
    Second, everyone keeps talking about using a ruler to check the chain. What measurement are we checking for?
    Quote Originally Posted by skh View Post
    so if i use a ruler to measure my chain with then what do i have to compare it to?
    Measure like this...
    Slow Riders- now even slower: Measuring Chain Wear using a 12-Inch Ruler


    And here's everything you ever wanted to know about chain and sproket wear.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by skh View Post
    so if i use a ruler to measure my chain with then what do i have to compare it to? i didn't take measurements of the original chain when it was new. do i go out and buy a new chain just for comparisons sake? that could be a waste of money if my old chain is still in tolerance. where are the standards found?
    You compare it to the standard to which the chain was constructed. The standards were set about 110 years ago (really) and everybody knows them, and if you don't they're pretty easy to learn and remember. Half-inch. That's about it. One half-inch from one pin to the next. 24 half-links (24 pins) = 12 inches. If your chain is elongated by about 1% due to wear, the pin that should be 12 inches away will be about 1/8 inch too far away. That chain is shot, and has probably already damaged some cogs. If it's 1/16 inch out (1/2%) it's almost ready to replace.

  22. #22
    skh
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    thanks...learn something new everyday.

  23. #23
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    Interesting. So the $100 chain on my new bike might not even last me through a full season? That sucks...

  24. #24
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    Mileage is essentially useless. Conditions, terrain, and maintenance will have more of an effect on chain life that just mileage.

    Get a ruler and measure what should be a 12" section. If it measures more than 12-1/16", replace the chain.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  25. #25
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by dcorn View Post
    Interesting. So the $100 chain on my new bike might not even last me through a full season? That sucks...
    If you paid 100.00 for a chain you got taken to the cleaners.

    Big time.

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