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How concerned should I be for my drivetrain?(14 posts)

How concerned should I be for my drivetrain?PmbH
Dec 8, 2003 11:01 AM
Yesterday I had my first VERY muddy race. After a half-a-practice-lap, my chainrings, rear der, and cassette were all covered in mud. For the race, my drivetrain performed flawlessly, shifting great, even with all the mud. But the whole time I was pedaling, there was a constant crunching of grit and mud in my chain/cassette/chainrings. I am thinking this can't be good for aluminum chainrings... In all my mountain biking, I've never had a drivetrain clogged with mud, so I'm not sure what kind of damage this can do.

How much damage does muddy cross racing do to the drivetrain? Should I use steel chainrings for the season? I think that a new chain every season is a no-brainer. What else should I be concerned about?
re: How concerned should I be for my drivetrain?Nightengale
Dec 8, 2003 2:15 PM
You should be extremely concerned that you are this worried about it. It is a cross bike not a set of fine china. It will get muddy and that does make it wear out faster. That is why you have it, so you can ride in mud. That's what a cross bike is for. If you don't want it to get chipped, don't eat off it. I understand you want to keep your equipment for as long as possible, but at some point you must realize what it was created for, and act accordingly.
let me rephrase my question...PmbH
Dec 8, 2003 2:36 PM
How often do you replace your chainrings? your chain? your cassette?

If the wear from cross racing means replacing these parts every season, then I'll buy the cheapest stuff I can find.

If the wear from cross racing means replacing these parts every three seasons, then I'll buy nice lightweight chi-chi parts to help me ride a little faster.

I already have accepted the fact that the bike takes a beating... I just need to know how to spec my drivetrain.
do you MTB?laffeaux
Dec 8, 2003 2:51 PM
How often do you use your CX bike in the mud? and how many miles do you put on it?

Do you also ride a MTB in mud and dirt? As a comparision, I put 1,000+ miles on my MTB before changing my chain, and swap out cassettes and rings as needed (which is not often). Bike components wear faster in adverse conditions, but still last a long time.
I can get almost one year out of MTB rings & chainPmbH
Dec 8, 2003 3:11 PM
and I can get about two years out of a cassette if I change chains a little more frequently. These figures come from my days of doing only MTB riding... I put less miles on the MTBs now that I do other types of riding more than I used to.

But I hardly ever MTB in the mud because I feel it errodes the trails too much. The whole mud-in-the-drivetrian thing is what is new to me, since this was my first season of cross.

My cross bike will probably see 1500 "clean" miles per year, and 10 - 15 races per season. I'll probably also do some cross training in the mud/dirt, but nothing like the conditions I raced in yesterday.

I don't want to pour a bunch of money into parts that need to be replaced every season. Two new rings, new chain, and cassette would set me back ~$200 if I go with high-end stuff.

The more I think about it, inexpensive drivetrain parts are starting to make a lot of sense for this bike.
Surf City?outofthesaddle
Dec 8, 2003 3:04 PM
The Surf City course yesterday had huge mud bog. The mud coupled with the resdual sand from Coyote Point last week made for some really aweful sounds coming from my drive train. I try not to listen.
Bingo... (nm)PmbH
Dec 8, 2003 3:12 PM
lol... I was there toolaffeaux
Dec 8, 2003 3:55 PM
It was quite a mess. I skipped Coyote Point the week before, but I'd guess the sand on that course was much worse for your drivetrain than Felton's muck.
let me rephrase my question...Nightengale
Dec 10, 2003 6:41 AM
Salsa makes some nice rings that are $20 and fit 5-9 speed. They are stiff, and although they don't have ramps and pins they still work well. I could stomach replacing a cassette every year if I rode a ton in the crud. And even chainrings at that price. But only get top of the line if you are really fast enough to make it worth it. I agree with the advice of cleaning after every ride (if yucky) and replacing the chain often. Under those circumstances you can afford to retain a nicely shifting cassette, and only relace it two or three years.
re: How concerned should I be for my drivetrain?dlbcx
Dec 8, 2003 4:04 PM
Did the masters race. You might get a season out of the aluminum cogs, at most. So, it might be worthwhile just to use steel for cross; save the aluminum cogs for drier conditions.
I didn't even do a practice lap. When I got to the bog, I figured I would learn the course during the race. Since I have done the Felton race a few times so I had an idea what the course would be like. I didn't try to ride very far in the muck; I went in as far as I could before I lost too much momentum then jumped off and ran. Good thing I had spent some time running with the bike.
Rust - how to avoid rust on the cogs?outofthesaddle
Dec 9, 2003 9:33 AM
I still haven't gotten all the crap off my bike. I rinsed right after. I didn't have time to do the full cleaning but hosed off again Sunday evening. I threw some lube on the chain. Yesterday I noticed some rust on the cassette. Does anyone else have this problem - if not, how do you avoid it?

I rode the bog during practice. During the race I didn't even try - I figured I was faster off the bike. Turned out to be a really long run (through the bog - down the hill - around the corner - over the barriers - up the hill. I was dragging by the last time through.
Rust - how to avoid rust on the cogs?MShaw
Dec 9, 2003 10:23 AM
Don't worry about rust on the cassette. It'll come off the teeth, and the rest isn't worth worrying about.

The chain's a different matter...

One trick I learned way back is using a high pressure wash to clean your chain. If you use this method MAKE SURE you go re-grease everything. Basically, the high pressure hot soapy water does wonders getting dirt off chains and cassettes. Shift so that your chain's in the middle of the cassette. If you aim the spray at the cassette right it'll spin backwards so you can get the crap out of the chain's little spaces. Did I mention that you need to MAKE SURE that you re-grease?

My rule of thumb is that anytime you dunk your hubs under water, re-lube.

That help?

Yes - thanks.outofthesaddle
Dec 9, 2003 11:01 AM
Fortunately, no rust on the chain because I dumped lube on it. I still a ton of crap everywhere else. I'm not racing this weekend so I'm planning a "clean the bike" project.
Clean the bike project. A good thing.MShaw
Dec 9, 2003 6:30 PM
EVERY time I go offroad on my mtn bike or cross bike, the bike gets cleaned and lubed. To do anything less is to invite little gremlins along on your ride: missed shifts, broken stuff, etc. Those little gremlins make for a "bad ride."

Gremlin repellent is convieniently sold in many forms: bike lust, degreaser, Triflow, etc. Liberally applied to your bicycle they keep the gremlins away. Make sure that you read the directions on the containers, those gremlins are pesky critters and can be hard to exorcise!