changing chains to maximise cassetet life

JamesB Posts: 1,184
edited November 2011 in Workshop
Anyone know ----what is better course of action

Start of the year had new campy Veloce cassete + new chain; changed chain (chain 1) at 1000 miles to new one (chain 2 );
chain 2 has now done 1 200 miles, neither chain1 or 2 shows any sign of wear as measured with accurate steel ruler pin centre to centre over 10 links.

As it is now going into winter when wear rates are going to be high should I put chain 1 back on as it had bedded into a slightly newer cassette or stick with chain 2 until it is finished and maybe hopefully return to chain 1 in spring hopefully keeping existing cassette; or will it actually not matter a jot which chain I use for next 1 000 miles or so?
thanks :)


  • Chain 1 did 1000 miles, then replaced, but youve later bedded it into another newer cassette. That won't make it any better unfortunately, you can't undo wear.
    1000 to 1200 miles is about what i get to a chain before its showing 0.75%.
    My 'new' cassette (Veloce) is well into its 2nd chain and not showing any problems and i hope to get a third chain on it. 3 chains to one cassette is the accepted norm if chains are replaced sensibly.

    If the second chain has done roughly the same mileage as the first, there's no real point in putting it back on.
    Another 1000 miles on either chain will realistically see the end of the cassette.
    But then if you put a new chain on, the cassette will be done by the time youve done 1000/1200 miles on it there's not much point in putting a new chain on (roughly speaking).

    Then you have to consider your riding style. Do you push on, get out of the saddle, put a lot of stress through the chain ?
    If you do, do you want to do it on a even more worn 2nd chain (your current one)? Perhaps if you do stress the transmission, a new chain is the safer option, but realistically (although not definately) you'll be replacing that new chain in the spring...and the cassette anyway.

    Its six and two threes....some people get a lot more than 1000/1200 miles from a chain, i know i dont.
  • I was going to try swapping chains this summer, rotating three chains and changing every 250 miles. Didn't bother in the end - I simply stuck with the one chain to see how I'd get on. After 5000 miles the chain is only worn to about half of where it's recommended to swap, so in theory I might get 10000miles on the chain. The cassette is even older. But I don't use Campag, so you might not want to take my advice! :wink:
  • mrdsgs
    mrdsgs Posts: 337
    edited November 2011
    this may seem a bit ocd but i use THREE chains and replace all of them when i change the cassette. I then swap/rotate each chain every 500 miles. This way all of them wear evenly and are mated to the cassette. i usually get 5 uses of each chain on summer bike and 4 on mtb and winter. (i.e. 7,500 miles or 6,000 miles) before the chain gauge says 0.75%. At which point I would change cassette and chain so as not to overly wear front chainrings.

    I am doing this on campag record chains/centaur cassettes and Dura Ace 10 speed and Sram Pc-971 9 speed chains with ultegra cassettes.

    If you buy in bulk you save a bit and if you do the sums it works out loads cheaper than new cassette and chain, second chain at about 1,000 miles and third chain at 2,000 miles by which time it will probably jump on a 2000 mile worn cassette.
    Colnago Addict!
  • JamesB
    JamesB Posts: 1,184
    ALL interesting stuff :) I suppose it also depends on teh value of the cassette as to the cost / benefit of wearing out whole cassette and chain as a unit or trying to eek out every mile on a more expensive one (so far I`ve got at least 4 000 miles out of a Chorus 13-29 block, used extensively on continental 6 day pyrenees / alps trip, with 3 x chain changes)

    On bulk buying chains anyone know if Mavic 10s available ? were some fab bargains on CRC at £10 each :) ----I bought a few and they work very well---CRC seem to hev discontinued them. Have once tried Miche = rubbish :( ; otherwise using Camp Record on best bike

  • Largely a myth,

    I have never noticed improvement or quicker deterioration of the cassette upon frequent or infrequent changes of chains.
    As a cassette costs more or less like a chain (unless it's top end), change them together when they are tired... give them 18 months of abuse or 3 years of textbook use
    left the forum March 2023
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    My £10 bargain CRC Mavic 10s chain seems to be lasting forever. Be interesting to see what shape the cassette is in when it finally succumbs to the wear checker.
  • JamesB
    JamesB Posts: 1,184
    My £10 bargain CRC Mavic 10s chain seems to be lasting forever

    Yes I`m really impressed too with the Mavic chains, I can`t tell difference in shifting performance between them and Campy Record on best bike.

    Just wish I`d bought more than I did---such a bargain :)

    I don`t agree though about cassettes and chains costing similar Chorus cassettes are £100 - 130 depending on ratios and seller--chains as above at £10, or mid range Campy at £30
  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    I'm in a similar predicament. I have a Chorus cassette with a chain that has come to change time after around 3000 miles (measured it a few times last weekend). Trouble is the KMC missing link chains are around £50, the cassette is around £80.
  • Ugo when you write
    Largely a myth,

    Do you actually mean ' Not something I have seen in my experience'.

    Changing a chain before a certain extension of it's length certainly does work, moreover it works really well. Bushless chains of a certain quality move very little on the cassette so most of the damage is caused by point forces on the teeth when chains have lengthened to a point where the load is no evenly spread across all the teeth that should be engaged with the sprocket. A very dirty chain, or one which is contaminated with very hard material will cause wear by friction, but that is another debate.

    Campag I think benefits well from this kind of treatment, I have a 10 spd and an 11spd bike, and both cassettes have rolled through 3 chains well on their way to 7000km. When you change chains is a matter of some debate- mine were supposed to be changed out at 2000kms but life and inertia get in the way! I have always put a new chain on but I believe I can now use the 2000km old chains to get another 1000kms each out of chain. Either way that's not bad going for a single cassette each.

    Buying chains cheap and frequently is the key, even at 30 quid cheaper than a cassette it's still worth it.