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How long should a chain last?(11 posts)

How long should a chain last?hornfan
Oct 31, 2001 11:41 AM
How many miles should I expect from a SRAM chain? The LBS says I need a new one, but this one is fairly new (just a few hundred miles on it). This one was a replacement for a Shimano Ultegra chain that got bent, twisted and mutilated.

Any experience with one brand lasting longer than another?
re: How long should a chain last?TJeanloz
Oct 31, 2001 12:39 PM
You should generally get a minimum of 1,000 miles out of a chain. Even if you never lube it and ride in the rain.

However, if you changed only your chain and not your cassette when your Ultegra chain broke, the old cassette could wear through a new chain in a matter of <50 miles.
Is this always the case?tarwheel
Nov 1, 2001 11:48 AM
Should you always replace the cassette when installing a new chain? That could get pretty expensive. I've got a Campy Chorus group with about 2,500 miles on it. Not sure if the chain needs replacing yet. But a new chain and cassette would cost over $100 from an on-line store, and probably $150 from my LBS. Whew! That's some expensive maintenance.
Nov 1, 2001 1:32 PM
If you're vigilent about changing your chain, you should never have to change your cassette. Well, not never, but only every 10 chains or so.

But if you let the chain wear too far, it will wear the cassette with it, and then the new chain won't work on the old cassette.
SRAM userzelig
Oct 31, 2001 1:31 PM
I've been using SRAM chains for a while. My 9spd SRAM chain has a little over 4,000 miles on it, changed the cassette when I installed it, and its working fine. Shifting's great and no skipping whatsoever. Same experience with 8spd SRAM chains. I ride year round in fairly wet (UK) conditions. I've used ProLink lube on these SRAM chains, cleaning them per ProLink instructions every 250-400 miles and I don't wipe down the chain (I should) after a wet ride. As tjeanloz notes, putting on a new chain with a worn cassette is a waste of time. Keeping the chain clean and lubed will also help prolong the life of both the chain, cassette and derailleur pulleys. My experience, going back to 5spd block days, is that today's narrow chains need to be kept clean and lubed on a regular basis.
Oct 31, 2001 1:49 PM
It won't last a day if you put it on a trashed drive train and then mangle it when it sucks into the seat stays. Otherwise you should get a fairly long life out of it with just a little TLC. One might suspect that your drivetrain may not be in good shape if new chains aren't lasting. It's easy to think that a new chain can solve all of your problems, but it's more like a symptom and not the cause. It always amazes me the number of broken chains you see on the early MTB races - like all the abuse from last season and then defereing the maintenance over the winter will some how allow the chain to mend. I must admit I've been as guilty of this as anyone, but now I start MTB season with a new chain, clean and lube it frequently and stay on top of any drive train wear. MTB is a more extreme environment, but it's sort of like acclerated testing - all the same things can happen on a road bike, it just takes longer.

I prefer SRAM chains with the Power Link, I think Shimano is OK, but doesn't last as long, and have bad experiences with IRD chains (plus their quick link is also hard to use).
It dependsKerry Irons
Oct 31, 2001 5:01 PM
on how you ride, how you maintain, and what you buy. You don't say what model of SRAM - my current PC99 has about 6K miles on it, and is not worn out yet. You don't say how well you maintain it - a clean/relube with ProLink every 300-350 miles in "normal" riding conditions, more often if you get caught in the rain or ride in dusty conditions. You don't describe your riding style - smooth spinning and using the large chainring instead of the 39/13, not repeatedly shifting under heavy load, and keeping your shifters properly adjusted so they don't drop/jam the chain. Finally, how did the LBS determine that the chain needs replacing? A simple measurement (0.5% elongation) will tell whether it needs replacing. If you replaced the cassette when you replaced the chain, it should last a lot longer than "a few hundred miles."
It dependshornfan
Nov 1, 2001 2:36 PM
It is a SRAM PC-99, replacing an OEM Ultegra chain after a nasty chainsuck incident. That cassette only had 700-1000 miles on it, so I did not replace it. I only ride in dry conditions, and use White Lightning religiously.
I'm a 150 lb spinner -- don't have the muscles to mash. I do mostly easy club rides, and only average 750 miles/year. The new chain has 500-800 miles, and the LBS tells me it has stretched. It just seems like it should last longer than that.

Arnold Swarz'burgerCyclorocket
Nov 2, 2001 8:54 AM
Your LBS has lied on stretching


You have a problem somewhere else (cassette, chainrings, pulleys) Meaby your derailleurs are misajusted too...Make a good tupe-up then check what's wrong.

A chain do last more then 800 miles even if you are Arnold Swarz'burger !
depends on what kinda legs you haveCyclorocket
Nov 2, 2001 8:49 AM
Check if chain has grown ! If it is longer then when it was new : trash-it

If you DON'T have a HIGH output, the chain should last +3000 miles on flat. Else there is a problem somewhere else (cassette or chainrings or pulleys)

If you train in hilly terrains you should change chain each year (3000 miles).
I change mine (ultegra) 3 times like this and no problems since.

I know one crazy guy doing much harder hills then me and much more often and he changes his Dura-Ace 2 times a year. He got twice my output and ONLY do hills.

I don't know why people are talking about changing cassette, meaby becuz they wait until they'v takin all that they could from that chain.

Chain and cassetteKerry Irons
Nov 4, 2001 6:22 PM
I always change the chain and cassette (or at least replace the "most popular" cogs) at the same time, and have done this for the past 30 or so years. In the old days, a chain was considered worn at 1% elongation (1/8" in 12") and today that is 0.5% (1/16" in 12"). Unless you change the chain "very often" (whatever that means) you will see cog wear. That cog wear will cause faster chain wear. There really is not much economy in frequent chain changes to "save" the cogs. And the cogs are wearing even if you put a new chain on every week, so you will have to replace them eventually. So then, how do you decide to change them? If you change the cogs (about 2X the cost of the chain) when you change the chain, every thing will work out pretty well - you'll not spend any extra money and you will preserve good shifting.