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How often do chains need replacing?(12 posts)

How often do chains need replacing?MalandMo
Aug 15, 2001 2:42 PM
I'm new to the road game, I have had my bike for about a year and a half. It has about 3000 miles on it. Shifting is getting a little sluggish and I was wondering about replacing the chain. Any help?
re: How often do chains need replacing?Lone Gunman
Aug 15, 2001 2:55 PM
You should do it fairly soon. Alot depends upon how the chain was maintained during it's lifetime. Some people say to measure for stretch, but it is something that is, next to bearings moved the most. 3K to 4K is expected.
Measure it!Kerry Irons
Aug 15, 2001 4:30 PM
How hard is it to lay a ruler up to the chain and see how much it has elongated in 12"? If it's less than 1/16", then your problems are elsewhere. If it's greater than 1/16" but less than 1/8", it probably needs replacement. More than 1/8" and you've let it go far too long. Chain life depends on the chain quality, maintenance, riding conditions, rider weight, and riding style. My last Campy Record 9 chain lasted 12K miles (lubed every 300-350 miles with ProLink, steady riding, mostly dry weather with minimal dust, and I weigh 180 lb.) My wife rides in the same conditions with the same maintenance, but weighs 125. Her current Regina SX chain has close to 15K miles on it, and still has less than 1/16" elongation.
Measure it!kilimanjaro
Aug 15, 2001 4:50 PM
I am a bit confused on how you measure the chain. From where to where do you measure to see if the chain has elongated in 12"

Confused newbie
Measure it!Rich Clark
Aug 15, 2001 5:10 PM
Center of pin to center of pin. Pins are exactly 1/2" apart on a new chain, so it'll be obvious if you put the 0" mark centered on one pin, whether the 12" mark is right on the center of another pin.

Make sure the chain is not curved when you do this.

Try a Park Chain Checker Tool (CC-2)Jacko
Aug 16, 2001 4:32 AM
It has a nifty gauge on it that tells you how much stretch is in your chain.
Take your measureKerry Irons
Aug 15, 2001 5:16 PM
A bicycle chain pitch is 1/2". Therefore, 24 links in a new chain is exactly 12". If you have a decent ruler (1/16" or 1/32" divisions) that is at least 12" long, you hold the ruler up to the chain (derailleur is providing tension so the chain is straight) with a 1" division centered on a link pin, and clamp it in place with your fingers. Then look down the ruler, 12" from the "starting" link pin. You can easily see if the "ending" link pin is more or less than 1/16" more than 12" from the "starting" link pin. While I have a nice stainless engineering ruler I can use for this, a normal carpenter's metal tape works fine too. Use your calibrated eyeball to get the measure of things, and double check that your ruler is dead centered on the "starting" link pin. You don't need a huge amount of precision to do this, since chain wear is a progressive thing, and performance doesn't fall off a cliff the second the elongation is greater than some number.
re: How often do chains need replacing?Tig
Aug 15, 2001 3:07 PM
Lone Gunman said it right. One thing to consider is the environment the chain is exposed to and the maintenance you give it. Sandy, dusty, or rainy (dirt carried by the water into the bearings) rides wear a chain quicker. Cleaning and frequent lubing with good stuff like the lubes from Pedro's helps as well. I've been told that Campy 10 speed chains should be replaced every 2500 miles.
Just say no to Perma LinkJohnG
Aug 15, 2001 6:38 PM
I've got about 4000 miles on my C10 chain and it has less than 1/32" longation. I also ride in horrible conditions. LOTS of beach sand and salt .... yuk! Trick is PRO LINK. I probably apply it every 100 miles. Chain stays clean and quite. :) I figure I'll get 8K miles+ with this procedure.

ride hard
re: How often do chains need replacing?jtolleson
Aug 15, 2001 3:35 PM
I shoot for about 2,500 - 3,000 miles, which equates to my amount of riding as about once a year. The old 12" measurement is a good rule of thumb, but the bottom line is that chains are relatively cheap (even good ones), you've got the bike once a year for a tune anyway (or you are handier than me and doing it yourself), and a broken chain STINKS!

Anyway, at 4,000 miles why take chances. Kiss that old friend goodbye and cough up $30 for a nice replacement.
re: How often do chains need replacing?Rich Clark
Aug 15, 2001 5:19 PM
I don't agree with this. Wear is really the only criterion by which to measure the condition of a chain. Chains wear through friction: the pins rotating inside the bushings wear away, becoming smaller, causing the links to pull farther apart.If this hasn't happened, there's no reason to replace the chain.

But there's no good way to know if it's happened unless you measure. And because there are so many factors that can affect chain wear -- rider weight, road conditions, riding style, weather, the condition of other parts of the bike -- if you wait until some pre-set interval to measure, you may wait too long.

Riding a worn chain will damage cogs soon thereafter, of course, and can easily result in the need for a new cassette.

So measure early and often, IMO. Every 500 miles after the first 1000 is what I do.

Aug 15, 2001 7:24 PM
as long as we're talking about lubes:

What ever happened to Phil Wood Tenacious Oil. In my book, that stuff was the best ever.