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07-28-2012, 07:18 PM #1
How to get the most miles out of chains?
Ok, I read this from Sheldon Brown. http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html but still have some questions.
Do lubes matter that much, really? I use Tri-Flow because its cheap and it stays on the chain longer than dry lubes. With dry lubes, I need to stop and re-lube every hour or so before it starts squeaking.
Do 10 spd chains wear out quicker than 9 spd? I'm willing to give up the extra gear if I can get more miles out of my drive train.
Is my chain checker too sensitive? I'm using the Pro-Link gauge (the curved L looking tool).
I ride in Tahoe which is mostly bone dry dg. I do ride a lot but I think I should get more than 6-8 weeks out of a new chain (or is this normal?). The entire drive train was new a year ago and I've replaced the chain 3 times already. Ride season for me is late May through Oct.
07-28-2012, 09:26 PM #2
I always have 2-3 good chains around, and rotate them frequently, along with wheels, cogs, cranks, etc. you can get years out of a drivetrain this way.
But I am a complete and total bike nerd.
So there's that.
07-28-2012, 09:48 PM #3
I do about 6K on the road bike every year and just buy a new chain (and new cables) in Jan. Cheap enough.
07-28-2012, 10:02 PM #4COWHAMPSHIRE PARADISE
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
don't cross chain. keep the chain in line. big ring? never go up cassette past mid. mid ring? use middle gears. small ring? use lowest 3 or largest cogs in back.
i always prefer an 8 speed setup for mtb. a surly stainless steel ring won't wear out, 8 speed chains are cheap, 8 speed cassettes are cheap. both are durable. i replace my 8 speed chains twice yearly at 10 bux each. done. surly ring is 6 years old and cassette is 2 years old and costs 20 bux.
rogSKI THE EAST
love it for what it is, love it more for what it isn't.
07-29-2012, 10:33 AM #5
I think I was actually replacing my chain too often, so I got a chain checker.
I try not to shift under load.
I use 3in1 Oil and sometimes use some Simple Green first. Always wipe thoroughly with a rag.
And yeah, don't cross chain.
My cassette is going on 4 years, so is my granny gear. Had to replace the middle ring because it was so bent, and put a bashguard on the outside since I almost never use the big ring and it just gets bent and occasionally stabs me.No longer stuck.
07-29-2012, 11:13 AM #6Registered User
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Southeast New York
I know I don't ride often enough but I get years out of chains and cassettes. Yeah, good lube makes a huge difference. On my HT I started with polymer based lubes right from the get go and it is still running the original bits. I rode that bike consistently from 2000-2008 through every possible condition and still ride it a dozen times a year and it runs perfectly. Never even experiences chain suck. On my squishy bike I've been using Chain-L since new and it too runs perfectly. It's had a few issues, all der. related, but is still on the original XTR chain and cassette. This bike has been through hell more than a few times, gets DH'ed a half dozen times a year and has the chain opened up at least twice a year to replace the rear der.
07-29-2012, 11:38 AM #7
Are you replacing the chain every 6-8 weeks because it breaks or because it's 'stretched'?
I assume you are cleaning the chain before you lube, and wiping down the chain after lubing? How often do you clean/lube?
I do mine after ~4 hours of riding. I clean with the shake method in Sheldon's article, hose off, let dry, lay out on a piece of cardboard and apply a spray lube. Wipe down the excess and put back on the bike. Takes about 15 minutes, excluding the dry time.
You don't really need a chain checker tool, just a metal ruler at least 12" long with at least 1/16" marks. If 12 links are more than 12 1/16" long, replace the chain.
Ten speed chains have slightly thinner links so they will wear a little faster, but you should still get more than eight weeks out of a chain.
Is there any shark finning on the cassette or chain rings? That will accelerate wear too.
07-29-2012, 12:06 PM #8
10 sp chains are more pricey than 9sp chains and they wear out faster.
A chain checker is $10.
In my book, that's worth not doing the shit with the ruler.
I buy this:
For <$20 a chain, why do you care so much? I've never been given a compelling reason to buy more expensive chains. Never even been given a not-compelling reason.
rideit, when you say you rotate through 3 chains do yo mean that you'll go back and forth with the same ones for the life of the cassette? I guess in theory that would work better than using one until it stretches and then switching to an unstretched one?
07-29-2012, 07:04 PM #9
Yup. I just always switch out between a few 'good' chains, and with 2-3 wheels with different cassettes, disc rotors, and tires, I'm always rotating those around as well. I can make disc rotors last years...and believe me, I ride a lot of vert around here....
Also, 2 bikes with switchable wheels and drivetrains doesn't hurt either. That'll change this fall, though.
Last edited by rideit; 07-29-2012 at 09:26 PM.
07-29-2012, 08:03 PM #10
07-29-2012, 10:49 PM #11
6-8 weeks is not right. you are measuring wrong or your chain gauge sucks or something. A chain will last thousands of miles.
And this whole rotating components around thing is ridiculous. You're not changing the rate at which parts wear. Just let the wear out, throw them in the trash, and replace them. Stuff will probably last longer that way because you're not constantly mixing chains and cassettes with different amounts of wear.
07-29-2012, 10:55 PM #12
My 30 years of experience in shops, including owning one, leads me to stand behind my own opinion, and related observable wear characteristics, in regards to this matter. Literally, your mileage may vary!
However, I am only relaying my experience with this, as I am constantly changing things around, and rebuilding my bikes for all sorts of reasons. As stated, it is a bike nerds' POV. And nothing more.
And don't be throwin' that stuff in the trash! It still has life, ye philistine!
PS: Missoula is a smoggy, trash laden traffic-riddled pit, with itty bitty bits of drive to singletrack!
07-30-2012, 01:28 AM #13
I usually get two chains out of a cassette and chainring set. Mileage on the chain varies, but I've never got less than a full season out of one, and the average is more like 1.5-2.
07-30-2012, 09:48 AM #14
Pedaling characteristics play a large role in chain wear as well. 'Mashers' shouldn't expect their chains to last as long as 'spinners.'
On road bikes, chains will typically last between 1,500 and 2,500 miles before it's good to replace them. For some riders, that's once a year, or every other year. For others, that may mean 3 chains a season.
It's not uncommon for mountain chains to wear a little more quickly than road chains - typically road chains have a much more constant/even pressure applied/transmitted through them, whereas mountain chains are often subjected to quick or sudden bursts of power/acceleration. My mountain chains are typically replaced every 800-1600 miles, with the exception of those I use on my single speed.
07-30-2012, 09:54 AM #15pump track nation
- Join Date
- Mar 2005
- Golden, CO!
It's all that power being put down out there. Take it easy Toad! Will we see you guys this fall? I'll even bring a chain
07-30-2012, 10:01 AM #16
new chain and cassette every spring. run them till they are burred and toasted, then replace.
07-30-2012, 10:14 AM #17
There you go. Many correct answers for this.
07-30-2012, 10:58 AM #18Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
Sheldon talks(ed) about this I think, in his chain wear section -- eventually your chain/cogsets 'wear out' together, but you can mitigate this by swapping chains periodically.
07-30-2012, 11:16 AM #19
07-30-2012, 04:14 PM #20
I would just be one of those Jackson/Aspen/Boulder people and get a whole new bike when the chain gets squeaky.
07-30-2012, 06:38 PM #21
^^^ snicker.In search of the elusive artic powder weasel ...
07-30-2012, 11:45 PM #22
I usually just cut last season's bike up with an angle grinder so that little people like Creaky can't possibly use them.
07-31-2012, 01:05 AM #23
With my low engagement shimano hubs I can hear my chain stretch when the pawls catch. Sounds like a guitar string being tuned, my chains don't last long. Interestingly though my bike with Hadley hubs the chain lasts way longer.But Ellen kicks ass - if she had a beard it would be much more haggard. -Jer