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Who wears a chain out faster................(13 posts)

Who wears a chain out faster................Len J
Mar 17, 2003 3:32 PM
a slow cadence masher or a high cadence spinner?

Riding Bud & I were trying to figure this out yesterday in the middle of a 3 hour base ride.

A Masher may be rotating the chain less frequently but they are putting more pressure on the chain which should increase stretch.

A Spinner while putting less pressure on a chain is rotating it more frequently (for the same milage).

So which do you think gets longer chain life?

Any engineers out there?

I would have to say the masher!nmthe bull
Mar 17, 2003 3:46 PM
Second that motion...MrCelloBoy
Mar 17, 2003 3:50 PM
The masher is putting more lateral strain on the chain and rollers.
The chain s going further with a spinner, but it's at a low stress level.
re: Who wears a chain out faster................Rich_Racer
Mar 17, 2003 3:56 PM
I thought that it had been shown that chain wear was independent of use in that respect but related to the amount of grit that gets in to the chain. Hence the answer is neither.?
Agreed... It's mostly a matter of maintenanceGeardaddy
Mar 18, 2003 8:28 AM
I doubt that there is a significant difference due to rider's style. It makes more sense that a much larger rider may wear the chain more. However, these issues are small potatoes compared to difference between a well maintained vs. poorly maintained chain. My personal experience with MTB riding and commuting through sand, mud, snow, and rain have certainly demonstrated how quickly bike components can deteriorate.
A head scratcher...benja15
Mar 17, 2003 3:57 PM
After thinking about this for a minute, it occurs to me that the forces on the chain (when compared to machinery capabilities) are relativly small.

The force of the masher is greater than the spinner but by how much.. and is this additional force relative in calculating chain wear?
-these are some of the quetions that arose to me

I am not sure of a definate answer but i would think that chain wear would not differ much

just my two cents
I'm a masher, and I wear 'em out faster than most here ...Humma Hah
Mar 17, 2003 4:14 PM
... claim to.

Singlespeeding is rough on chains. I usually trash 'em before they are badly stretched, because they start developing a bad side-to-side sway that makes pitching a chain more likely.

The added stress of mashing would not so much wear the chain, or physically stretch the links, as make it more prone to breakage and damage. A singlespeed that derails a chain will usually damage the chain as it jams, and you can sometimes feel the damage if you continue using the chain. A derailleur and chain shifted under load will experience more damage at mashing pressures.
Im a spinner and my chains last forever.nmthe bull
Mar 17, 2003 4:37 PM
The masher, but maybe not for the reason you thinkKerry
Mar 17, 2003 5:44 PM
It could be argued that the force on the chain is proportional to the bike speed, not inversely proportional to cadence. The main reasons the masher would wear out a chain faster are 1) the masher will be riding smaller cogs, and so have fewer teeth engaging the chain and therefore a higher load on any given chain link and 2) the masher is LIKELY to not have as smooth a pedal stroke as the spinner and therefore higher peak loads. Some would even argue that the masher is likely not as experienced a cyclist and therefore possibly not as good at maintaining the chain. For two riders of the same power output, level of chain maintenance (in proportion to weather conditions) is the primary determinant of chain life.
I'd say the weight of the rider is a bigger factor.MB1
Mar 17, 2003 7:25 PM
Miss M mashes and I spin, I weigh 50lbs more than her.

I replace our chains at about the same rate.
re: Who wears a chain out faster................smokey422
Mar 18, 2003 1:42 AM
answer; the rider who does the best job of chain maintenance. that's more important than the style of riding.
i'm a 235# clydesdale and neither spin high cadences nor mash the pedals, but i would probably be classified as slightly closer to a masher. i always remove my chain from the bike (SRAM powerlink is a big help) and clean it in a container filled with citrus degreaser, as recommended by sheldon brown. then i give the cassette and chain rings a quick cleaning while it dries. i spray the chain with amsoil heavy duty metal protector and let that dry, then put it back on the bike. usually a lubing will last at least a month and i ride 10-20 miles daily. my chains wear about 1/32" in a year's time. a lighter rider that spins should get the same or maybe even better results.
Mechanical engineer here....Alexx
Mar 18, 2003 5:29 AM
I'm surprised that none of you guys understands the basics about chain elongation. For those who are still clueless, here it is:


It's the interface between the pins and link that WEARS, causing ELONGATION. If the metal in a chain were to actually stretch .5%, it would likely rupture (considering the hardened nature of the metal), leaving your @$$ laying on the pavement!
The term "stretch" is a misnomer.
Right ...Humma Hah
Mar 18, 2003 6:58 AM
The elongation is due to pin/bushing wear. For me, the tendency for a chain to become more flexy side to side, due to pin wear, is more objectionable than overall elongation, which makes singlespeeds and fixies more likely to derail if minimal chain slack is not maintained.

Where the mashing damage occurs is during a chain jam, or during shifting under power on a derailleur, when high chain tension makes it possible to ding sprockets or bend the chain. Running with a small rear cog is the key ... high power and small cogs equals high chain loads, and the ability to do damage.

Folks who let chain elongation get measurable are accelerating cog wear. Worn cogs, in turn, accelerate chain wear and cause bizarre chain behaviour, such as inch-worming.

It would be fun, one day, to give someone a nitinol chain, heat-treated so that it COULD stretch (in the pseudoelastic range) up to about 8% without breaking. Then, when they complain about chain stretch, you could hit the chain with a heat gun, take out the stretch, and ask tell 'em they are crazy, the chain is fine! (Expensive gag -- I'd guess the chain would cost about $10,000.)