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Change your Chain?(34 posts)

Change your Chain?Wink
Nov 13, 2001 2:48 PM
LBS advised me that I should replace my chain at 1,000 miles intervals. Anyone have any comments on this? I have 1,200 miles on the bike that I bought this past May. Does anyone have any input on this? Seems too soon to be changing.
They want to be paid to yank your chain. :) nmcioccman
Nov 13, 2001 2:53 PM
That is way too often. Get a chain wear checking toolMB1
Nov 13, 2001 2:59 PM
and save yourself lots of $$$. Get a chain tool, learn to use it and save even more.

I change the chains on our tandem without fail every 2,000 miles just because (I probably over maintain the tandem but we ride it pretty hard). Our other bikes usually about 4-5000 miles. YMMV
STOP SAYING THAT!!!!Woof the dog
Nov 13, 2001 10:57 PM



I perfer the chain checking tool(nm)gwilliams
Nov 14, 2001 3:32 AM
Nice photo, Woof. I thought you were much taller though! ;o) -NMTig
Nov 14, 2001 6:36 AM
Mighty fine canine, Woofdavidl
Nov 14, 2001 7:14 AM
As proud owner of that circus chihuaha "Nacho", and admirer of the breed in general, let me compliment you on this dog.
Mighty fine canine, Woofdavidl
Nov 14, 2001 7:15 AM
self esteem rising through the roof now!Woof the dog
Nov 15, 2001 5:29 AM
I knew I was a good looking canine.....and you confirmed it. It is not my picture, however, because I don't have any dog friends who would take a pic of me without biting my ears off in a fun-fight. I found the pic randomly on the internet...the closest I could to my mirror image. Thank you for kind words.


Woof the dawg.
Sounds early to me; here's a quick checkcory
Nov 13, 2001 3:12 PM
There are a couple of quick ways to check a chain, both of which have worked fine for me. The first is to put the center of one pin of the chain at the zero mark on a ruler, then stretch the chain to the 12-inch mark. If the pin there is more than 1/8-inch past the mark, replace.
The other is to put the chain on the big ring, then squat next to the bike and pull the chain away from the chainring at 3 o'clock (straight ahead). But I can't remember what comes next... No, I think if you can expose more than half a tooth on the chainring, the chain's worn out. They don't actually stretch, but all the parts wear and they get longer. It's a pretty cheap, easy job to replace one.
Yeah, right. And I got a bridge for sale real cheap, too! (nm)Rusty McNasty
Nov 13, 2001 4:27 PM
Liars and thievesKerry Irons
Nov 13, 2001 4:52 PM
A chain should be replaced when it has elongated 0.5% (conservative) to 1%. How many miles this will be depends on the quality of the chain, how well you've kept it cleaned and lubed, how much you weigh, and your riding style and conditions, so there is no hard replacement mileage figure. The conservative elongation benchmark is pretty much required for 9 & 10 spd systems, whereas 1% always worked for 6 & 7 speed systems. These elongation amounts correspond to 1/16 inch in 12 inches and 1/8 inch in 12 inches, respectively.

You don't need a chain checker - a decent ruler is just fine. When you change the chain, change at least the most used cogs on the cassette too. Typically, if you need to change more than three cogs, you might as well replace the whole cassette, and you probably need to replace the whole cassette at least every other chain replacement.

For reference, my last Campy Record 9 chain lasted 12K miles (lubed every 300-350 miles with ProLink, steady riding at a high cadence, mostly flat roads, 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.
you are clearly insanegtx
Nov 13, 2001 8:45 PM
Like you said, it depends. You're an experienced cyclist with a smooth pedal stroke and top quality equipment which you maintain well. When I was working in shops, I'd see trashed chains and cassettes on some bikes that hadn't been ridden all that much--especially on mtbs, but this includes road bikes that hadn't been kept properly lubed. I don't think the 1000 mile rotation is all that bad for a lot of people, especially for the average guy who isn't anal about maintenance and who has a poor pedal stroke (this is two years worth of riding for a lot of people). And your average 105 or whatever equipped bike has a pretty mushy drivetrain. I tend to replace my chain about every 2-3000 miles without bothering to measure (sometime, I let it go longer but then after a while I get some mild slipping in low gears when I really stand on the pedals). 7/8speed Sachs chains are pretty cheap. I weigh 140, have a smooth pedal stroke and use Prolink, too. I also have two Dura Ace 7 speed freewheels with about 50,000 between them and have replaced only one cog. There is no doubt that shops do try to upsell a bit in the service department, but that's life...

-Hank (can't use that as my handle anymore)
you are clearly insaneDINOSAUR
Nov 14, 2001 7:47 AM
How about "The cyclist formerly known as Hank"? Does the GTX handle mean what I think it means??
I guess I've got one heck of a smooth pedal stroke. I think half the battle is to keep it clean and lubed...
you are clearly insanegtx
Nov 14, 2001 10:19 AM
GTX is wishful thinking.

Yeah, it's all about keeping it clean, and 1000 probably only applies to mtbers with lower end bikes who don't do any maintenance. I'd still say 2000 for your average roadie.

Still got that Satellite (I hope)?

you are clearly insaneDINOSAUR
Nov 14, 2001 10:50 AM
Yes clean is mean. Yep, it's still for sale. No buyers yet.

Welcome backmickey-mac
Nov 14, 2001 1:36 PM
The board always needs Thelonious Monster fans, whatever name they're using.
Sounds like they want to sell you a chain.look271
Nov 13, 2001 4:53 PM
I replace mine every year-have over 3500 mi on mine now.
Mine broke at 2200 milesgmc
Nov 13, 2001 5:38 PM
My Campy-10 chain broke after about 2200 miles. Shop warned me to replace every 1500, and I thought it was bunk. Measured no appreciable stretch at 2000 miles. Regular cleaning, mostly dry riding conditions, prolink once a week, and the chain gave out on me on a climb. At least I didn't break any teeth.

Never, ever had a Rregina chain break, with high thousands of miles on several of them. Ah, well, such is "progress"...
Mine broke at 2200 milesCliff Oates
Nov 13, 2001 6:09 PM
Did it break at the permalink? If so, then I'd question the quality of the installation. If not, then either you have the power of a steam locomotive or the chain was defective and you probably ought to collect a bit more experience with the replacement chain before forming a definitive opinion.

I replaced my C10 chain when my shifting degraded around 3600 miles. There was no measurable elongation in the chain and other adjustments were having no effect on solving the shifting problems. Replacing the chain solved all my problems. FWIW, I'm 190 pounds, I ride at a moderate cadence (85-110), and my rides are generally over hilly or mountainous terrain. I lube the chain every couple of weeks. I used to use Boeshield but I've relatively recently switched to Prolink. I don't clean the chain beyond wiping it down with a clean dry rag.

Peter C. over in counsels people to replace C10 chains every 2500 miles. They tend to be pretty conservative over in
Cliff, how is it going with Dick Schwinn.MB1
Nov 13, 2001 6:16 PM
I've been awfully happy with my Gunnar-except for those G#$%^&* decals. What is happening with yours?
Cliff, how is it going with Dick Schwinn.Cliff Oates
Nov 13, 2001 6:30 PM
The ball is in my court at this point. Schwinn hasn't responded to the first letter & photos I sent. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he never received them. I will be sending them again via certified mail with a return receipt (signature) requested on Friday. My LBS is shaking his head trying to understand why there's a problem. He's been selling Schwinns since 1965 and this transaction is puzzling him. He sold me the frame at a substantial discount and he and his guys are pretty much great, so my beef is with Waterford/Gunnar. If I have to eat this frame, I will make an effort to let the world know.

My decals are OK. I sure wish my axles were parallel in all dimensions. I like the bike, but it seems like it's less efficient than my Waterford, more so than it ought to be.
My Crosshairsnova
Nov 14, 2001 1:28 PM
Really sorry to hear about your experience with the Gunnar. Hopefully the lack of response is just an oversight which could be the result of the recent craziness in the postal system. Given the Waterford reputation, it is surprising that your frame arrived misaligned like that.
Have you tried sending him an email as well?

I bought a Gunnar crosshairs frame and fork in September and built it up with an Ultegra triple, Avid Shorty 4 canti brakes, Salsa Bell Lap bars, Ritchey stem, etc.

The bike as been great. It takes a pounding and handles well off road and on. I'm about 190 pounds right now, and over the weekend I ran smack into a tree limb that was laying on the ground, hidden by fallen leaves. It was at least 4 inches in diameter, and even with my questionable off-road skills I never felt like I was going to lose it.

For me, the design and construction of the bike have left me satisfied so far. One complaint is that the paint came with a small chip on the right chainstay.

The only other complaint is the lack of a rear brake cable hanger. I had to improvise with old parts.
My CrosshairsCliff Oates
Nov 14, 2001 3:05 PM
In my experience, Waterford does not respond to emails. Glad you like your bike. I've got some paint missing from my frame too, on the dropouts where the folks at Waterford didn't attach the frame straightening tool they didn't need to use because the frame is in perfect alignment.
As a matter of fact...gmc
Nov 14, 2001 6:30 AM
...I DO have the power of a locomotive. I also leap tall buildings in a single bound. Working on eradicating evil, but I seem to spend too much time on the bike to make any headway.

But seriously, you're right, I actually did think it was a defective chain. Didn't break at the permalink. I really didn't think that I was drawing any conclusions in my post, just wanted to give one man's experience. (One steam locomotive's opinion?) New chain has 2K miles on it, almost. It shows no signs of stretch, and I don't plan on replacing it until it does.

Cliff, you said you replaced your when shifting got worse? What was that like? What should I expect?

As a matter of fact...Cliff Oates
Nov 14, 2001 8:08 AM
It was skipping lightly under a load and I couldn't dial it out through indexing adjustments or other tweaks. The only thing left to try was the new chain sitting in my parts box. That did the trick. My Park chain checker (yes, I know a ruler will work but it's MY money to piss away on tools, dagnabbit) indicated there was no significant elongation of the chain, so maybe there was some play in the permalink or sumpin'? I've no idea. 3600 miles from a chain is pretty good in my book.
My Tipgrzy
Nov 13, 2001 6:06 PM
Take care of it on a semi regular basis, but off it as soon as it starts to misbehave. There are so many variables that a one size fits all formula just doesn't work. I finally got my buddy to install a new chain after four years of very solid riding. he noticed an improvement in shifting, but other than that thought it was no big deal, but he's fairly lihgt and a spinner, not a masher. On the MTB I'll go through a couple chains in a season - more if I race.
re: Change your Chain?DINOSAUR
Nov 13, 2001 6:14 PM
I might hold the world record for chain and cassette life. I just changed my Shimano Ultegra cassette and chain at 15K. I'm a true believer in keeping your driveline clean and lubricated. I cleaned and lubed my chain after every ride. I decided to change it when it started to skip when I was in certain gear combinations. Also a chain is easy to replace, you don't need your LBS to do it, all you need is a chain tool and be willing to get your hands dirty. I'm not suggesting that you wait until 15K to change your chain, but the common rule of thumb is around 2.5K, but there are a lot of variables involved. 1k is too soon, it takes about 200 miles for a chain to get broken in and meshed with the cassette.
Nov 13, 2001 7:55 PM
My C10 chains have been lasting well over 6K miles with less than 1/32" stretch.

I use Prolink lube.

Bike Chain Gang Songbreck
Nov 13, 2001 8:23 PM
To Phil Harris:
There's one kind guy gets under my skin,
won't change that chain thru thick or thin.
Says the LBS as a matter of fact sold em
that bike right offa the rack; never said a
thing bout bringing it back, so why should
he do it and what'ta we knows; ain't gonna
change that chain, don't care if it snows.

LBS chorus:
change change change, change that chain!
change change change, change that chain!
change change change, change that chain,
till you change yourself to death!

Well i don't know but i been told, you should
change your chain fore you grow old. Yet he
won't do it and can tell you why, cause he's
gonna wait till the bye and bye, and says st.
peter will let 'em in if that old chain is worn
real thin; says he's got this info real first hand
from that old priest corner of east and grand.

LBS Chorus repeat:
change change change, change that chain!
change change change, change that chain!
change change change, change that chain,
till you change yourself to death!

Well one fine night while ridin' late, that old chain
broke but he couldn't wait; pushed that bike right
up the hill, then down he went and looked like a
thrill. Friend he said before too long gonna change
that chain if i wanna get home. If you gotta chain
breaker i'll buy that chain, hate to make you help
me standing here in the rain. Well he done it, Yea.

LBS Chorus last time:
change change change, change that chain!
change change change, change that chain!
change change change, change that chain,
till you change yourself to death!

'Pologies to old Phil, RIP.

Odd story. Mebee like the 3,000 mile oil change recommend by the truck/auto/suv dealer "service" salesman brought up on Old Spindle Top 30wt. Dino Oil & Scam Filters when you are using Mobil 1 Tri-Synthetic 10W-30 and Mobil One Filter; no stop and go driving ..."our recommendations are blah, blah, blah ... and that'l be $60 pleeze. Thank you very much. Service with a smile and a complementary bar of soap on the string for your next visit so's you want have to bend over so far. TA TA :)

Either way, you will have to change the chain if you ride the bike. If you change it yourself wait twice as long as the dealer would, and if you have the dealer change it, wait twice as long as you would, etc. At least this is a game plan.

Soree guyz but it's late and leaving for Houston Town in the morn to pik up a mate for Sam Houston, my pet Texas Long Horn Steer, who's been bummed out lately. Know it's a serious question, but do not have the definitive answer as always. And rusty ain't so rusty, heh heh ...wink :) wink:) Later.

Dangerous advice.Bikeshopaccountant
Nov 14, 2001 3:38 AM
1,000 miles is FAR too long - as posted above, the chain starts to loose its integrity after as little as 200 miles. And you should have the LBS do a MAJOR overhaul of the machine at the same time. Only the EXTREMELY FOOLHARDY would not change the BB at the same time, together with rear gruppo and front rings, to ensure clean meshing. This will INVARIABLY lead to fraying at the end of cables, so they should be changed too. Removal of the BB produces EXTREME TORSIONAL strain on the frame, so as a precaution this ought to be replaced too. Change of the frame will ALMOST CERTAINLY lead to POTENTIALLY CATASTROPHIC loosening of seat bolts and headset components THESE MUST BE REPLACED IN FULL. As it will be more cost-effective for you to purchase an ENTIRE GRUPPO, rather than purchase the majority of the parts seperately, you should also replace BRAKES, CRANKS and SHIFTERS. Although the shifters can, theoretically, continue to function to mileages in excess 2,000, to SAVE LABOR COSTS, these may as well be fitted directly to NEW BARS, thus eliminating POSSBILY FATAL wear on stem bolts. As SOME OF THE GREATEST STRAIN on your cycle is borne by the TINY SADDLE RAILS, in HIGH-STRESS mounting combination with the SEAT POST and CLAMP, it would be UTTERLY RECKLESS no to replace these items. To AVOID MASSIVE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY FAILURE LIKLIHOOD, wheels should be rebuild with replacement spokes utilizing the new gruppo hubs. Given the SMALL ADDITIONAL COSTS involved, rims should be swapped out at this stage also.

Your existing bar tape may be fine though.

I trust this clarifies the postition.
Way too funny for an accountant! (nm)MikeC
Nov 14, 2001 5:36 AM
re: Change your Chain?charliec
Nov 14, 2001 6:06 AM
The 1000 mile interval recomendation probably comes from the (pretty well-regarded book) Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance. However, it is just a rule-of thumb. Like the other posters have pointed out, how much the chain has "stretched" is really the proper indicator on when to change your chain. I would suggest that after 1000 miles, you should definitely have the chain checked for wear.

I don't think your LBS is "pulling your chain" so to speak. While 1000 miles is pretty conservative (depending on how hard you ride), it certaintly doesn't hurt to have your chain changed (they'll probable clean your drive chain as well) and it probably won't cost more than $20 - $25 bucks or so. Remember, if you let it go too long, then you could damage your cogs and they would be more expensive to replace than your chain.

So, at 1000 miles check your chain and if it has not stretched too much (other posts have suggested how to do this) don't worry about it. But keep an eye on it occasionally and as you get more experience you will better be able to judge how far you can go before chainging your chain.
re: Change your Chain?merckx56
Nov 22, 2001 6:05 AM
a chain and cassette do indeed become "married" after about 2000 miles. i change my chain about every 1500 miles. that way you don't have to but a new cassette. if you have multiple sets of wheels, it really helps to change the chain this often. i have 7 sets of wheels, all with 9 speed shimano cassettes and haven't had to replace a cassette in literally years. chains are comparatively cheap, when you take into consideration that a ultegra cassette is $50. if you ride shimano, use dura-ace chains. they seem to last longer!