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Regular use of a chainwear indicator and chain stretch.

RafflesRaffles Posts: 1,137
edited June 2012 in Road beginners
I got a chainwear indicator that was made by a company called X Tools, it looks exactly like the park tools indicator , but is about 50% cheaper. It shows the 0.75 and 1.0 % levels of chain stretch as does the park. Since using it I had to order a new rear cassette and am having new chain and cogs fitted on friday. Im guessing that 2000 miles is gonna be beyond the useful life of a chain and if you run it that far, you are paying for a new chain and cassette every time. If I paid more attention to chain stretch and used the tool say every couple of hundred miles, could I reasonably expect to significantly extend the life of a rear cassette and only be paying for new chains each time ?
2012 Cannondale CAAD 8 105
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Posts

  • rpd_steverpd_steve Posts: 361
    The best way to extend drive train life is to keep everything clean. And by clean that means no grit, no dirt and no dirty crud. Make sure you give the chain a wipe over externallt with your cleaner of choice (GT85, WD40, TF2 ect) and then re-lube, and wipe of any excess 10 mins later.

    IMHO 0.75% is too much stretch to allow to happen before changing - you have seen so by the fact you need to change the cassette too. If you change at 0.5% then you should not need to change the cassette for at least 5 chains. The best way is to measure the pins on the side plate with a ruler - 12 (half) links should be 12" when new - change it when it gets to 12" 1/16".

    If you keep things clean you should easily get 2000 miles out of a chain before 0.5%. If you dont, look out for things you may have been doing to accelerate chain wear, such as cross-chaining your gears ect.
  • DmakDmak Posts: 445
    I got done by the exact same thing. Replaced at .75 and the chain slips. The old chain is going back on until it slips.

    A new cassette at £16 isn't TOO much.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    2000 miles on mine before I got the Park Tools measurer - just less than 0.5% but I changed anyway. Cassette still fine but I think there may be a little wear on the big chainring at the front, which is aluminium and almost the only ring I use. I guess the cassette is spreading those miles over 10 cogs, most of which get used - whereas the front chain rings almost all the wear is on the big one. Its still OK though and I am just going to run it until I change the next chain in another 2000 miles unless something happens, by which time I am expecting to be changing the cassette too. Or I may get a third chain from both of them - who knows...

    I think I prefer the park tools measurer, which is 0.5 and 0.75 - if yours starts at 0.75 that may already be too late...
  • DmakDmak Posts: 445
    Bozman wrote:
    I've had a good rant about this before but i don't see how people only get 1500 miles or less out of a chain, i generally use Dura ace but i'm using a fsa slk on one bike at the mo and after 1500 miles they still run like new..

    I mentioned the subject to a mate of mine who's cycled for 30yrs. He laughed "i don't swap a chain until it skips or snaps, they last thousands of miles if you look after them, they must have more money than sense" This guy has thighs like Hoy, he's built like an ox and loves hills.

    Quote from http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40004&t=12770551.

    I'm personally going to go with the wisdom of the experienced cyclist. "until it skips or snaps".
  • rpd_steverpd_steve Posts: 361
    That said if your running DA or Campag SR then a cassette is £250+ and £50 on a chain is good preventative maintenance.
  • RafflesRaffles Posts: 1,137
    but the best way to REALLY get into the dirt and crud is what ?

    My chain hasnt got a powerlink so I have to do my cleaning with chain on bike. I put degreaser on a rag and run it over both sides of the chain and then hose it off. Id then run a dry rag over the cloth and then apply some wet lube. Is there anything else I could do to get the dirt that accelerates wear out and gone ?
    2012 Cannondale CAAD 8 105
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    Raffles wrote:
    but the best way to REALLY get into the dirt and crud is what ?

    My chain hasnt got a powerlink so I have to do my cleaning with chain on bike. I put degreaser on a rag and run it over both sides of the chain and then hose it off. Id then run a dry rag over the cloth and then apply some wet lube. Is there anything else I could do to get the dirt that accelerates wear out and gone ?

    Sounds like you're cleaning the part of the chain that doesn't matter (the bits you see) and ignoring the bits that do (the pins). Suggest getting a chain cleaner like the park tools one; failing that buy some connecting pins and take the chain off once in a while and clean it properly.
  • Cleat EastwoodCleat Eastwood Posts: 7,510
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Raffles wrote:
    but the best way to REALLY get into the dirt and crud is what ?

    My chain hasnt got a powerlink so I have to do my cleaning with chain on bike. I put degreaser on a rag and run it over both sides of the chain and then hose it off. Id then run a dry rag over the cloth and then apply some wet lube. Is there anything else I could do to get the dirt that accelerates wear out and gone ?

    Sounds like you're cleaning the part of the chain that doesn't matter (the bits you see) and ignoring the bits that do (the pins). Suggest getting a chain cleaner like the park tools one; failing that buy some connecting pins and take the chain off once in a while and clean it properly.

    I do the same as Raffles and no matter how much I clean it I can still see specks of oily dirt between the links - if I went down the chain/connecting pins what do you do; just take it off and stick in a bowl of degreaser or do you go over it in detail with a brush and cloth?
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • uptheroaduptheroad Posts: 1
    Don't really get why you should need to change a chain after 2000 miles, as long as its cleaned and lubed well, along with looking after or servicing the rest of the chainset it should last much longer. I've put up 9k over the last year in all types of weather, and mine it seems fine.
  • wilshawkwilshawk Posts: 119
    uptheroad wrote:
    Don't really get why you should need to change a chain after 2000 miles, as long as its cleaned and lubed well, along with looking after or servicing the rest of the chainset it should last much longer. I've put up 9k over the last year in all types of weather, and mine it seems fine.

    I agree, and actually I dont even clean mine all that often. Its the manufacturers and retailers who start these sort of recommendations about renewing stuff every X months/miles, to keep people buying. Folk are burning cash on unneccessary replacements and filling up landfills with the old stuff for no good reason.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    New chain cost me all of £13 I think - so I bought a few. My chain was still less than 0.5 after 2000 miles and I could happily have run it longer but didnt see the point when a new one was so cheap and chanrings are so expensive.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,685
    Specks of dirt aren't going to make any difference to chain life. It's a bike chain, not a wedding dress!

    If you let a chain wear until it skips on the cassette then you will have shortened the life of both the cassette and the chainring. An expensive alternative to replacing the chain a bit more often (£20-30 for 10 speed, rather less for 8/9 speed). 105 cassettes are about £40, Ultegra £50-60, DA £100+. I didn't dare look at the price of chainrings.

    Using a chain bath or degreaser will shorten its life. I clean mine with some WD-40 on a rag and then relube.

    KMC:
    "NEVER EVER use a so-called ‘chain washing machine’ in combination with solvent. This is the one and only sure way to instantly ruin your chain.
    Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from the chain’s bearing."
    http://www.kmcchain.eu/?en/maintenance/

    The product manager for chains at SRAM:
    "The reason why we do not suggest leaving chains in a solvent tank is because it takes out all the lube between the pin and the inner plates. If we could make sure that people would then use a liquefied grease, then let it cool, we might suggest that people clean chains in a solvent tank. This is how we do it at our factory. We recommend that the user use cleaners that only attack the outer surfaces of the chain to take away the dirt and grime then re-lube. I personally have only used a rag to clean my chains for years and stay away from solvent tanks and jet washers."
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=3805
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    Side note - I've started getting through chains a lot less quickly since I upped my cadence to 90-110 rpm.
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    using my chain measuring device, ALL chains I've bought for years, start at 0.5%.

    I use until 0.75%, then replace. If, for some reason, I have missed checking, and the chain goes past 1%, I leave it on until it snaps or starts skipping, then replace chain, cassette and sometime middle ring (on my mtb).
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    using my chain measuring device, ALL chains I've bought for years, start at 0.5%.

    Sounds like you need a better chain measuring device, or to stop buying second hand chains then...! :?
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    apreading wrote:
    using my chain measuring device, ALL chains I've bought for years, start at 0.5%.

    Sounds like you need a better chain measuring device, or to stop buying second hand chains then...! :?

    funny guy,

    i'm just trying to help. from what I've read, all new chains measure between 0.25% and 0.5%.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • Father JackFather Jack Posts: 3,508
    Simon E wrote:
    Specks of dirt aren't going to make any difference to chain life. It's a bike chain, not a wedding dress!

    If you let a chain wear until it skips on the cassette then you will have shortened the life of both the cassette and the chainring. An expensive alternative to replacing the chain a bit more often (£20-30 for 10 speed, rather less for 8/9 speed). 105 cassettes are about £40, Ultegra £50-60, DA £100+. I didn't dare look at the price of chainrings.

    Using a chain bath or degreaser will shorten its life. I clean mine with some WD-40 on a rag and then relube.

    KMC:
    "NEVER EVER use a so-called ‘chain washing machine’ in combination with solvent. This is the one and only sure way to instantly ruin your chain.
    Avoid the use of solvents, not only are these bad for the environment, they remove lubricant from the chain’s bearing."
    http://www.kmcchain.eu/?en/maintenance/

    The product manager for chains at SRAM:
    "The reason why we do not suggest leaving chains in a solvent tank is because it takes out all the lube between the pin and the inner plates. If we could make sure that people would then use a liquefied grease, then let it cool, we might suggest that people clean chains in a solvent tank. This is how we do it at our factory. We recommend that the user use cleaners that only attack the outer surfaces of the chain to take away the dirt and grime then re-lube. I personally have only used a rag to clean my chains for years and stay away from solvent tanks and jet washers."
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=3805

    By not using a chain bath, you don't get rid of the fine grit that has worked deeper into the chain. If I just use a rag and wipe, it pushes dirt and old grease in further, you just put new lube ontop of that. Usually still quite loud and gritty sound when pedalling, compared to bath and re-lube. One drop per link should work itself in deeper, thanks to capillary action.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    apreading wrote:
    using my chain measuring device, ALL chains I've bought for years, start at 0.5%.

    Sounds like you need a better chain measuring device, or to stop buying second hand chains then...! :?

    funny guy,

    i'm just trying to help. from what I've read, all new chains measure between 0.25% and 0.5%.

    Sounds like you need a better chain measuring device, or to stop buying second hand chains then...! :?
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    i'm just trying to help. from what I've read, all new chains measure between 0.25% and 0.5%.
    Sounds like you need a better chain measuring device, or to stop buying second hand chains then...! :?

    What's the matter with you guys? why are you knocking someone who trying to help?

    it's easy to do, but hard to understand.

    I'm using a park tools chain wear device, this shows new chains, not second hand, are at between 0.25 and 0.5% out of the box. There are other people who see this too. Just giving a heads up that changing a chain at .5% as shown on a chain checker, may not be a good idea.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    i'm just trying to help. from what I've read, all new chains measure between 0.25% and 0.5%.
    Sounds like you need a better chain measuring device, or to stop buying second hand chains then...! :?

    What's the matter with you guys? why are you knocking someone who trying to help?

    it's easy to do, but hard to understand.

    We're trying to help too. You appear to be doing something wrong, because every modern chain when new is has links exactly an inch long. Look - Sheldon Brown agrees and he knows (er, knew) everything http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html
  • RafflesRaffles Posts: 1,137
    So some are pro-degreaser baths and some are anti-degreaser baths, which is typical of what you find in internet fora. After my 53 mile club run this morning ive taken a blue tesco disposable rag and sprayed some wd40 on it. I wrapped the damp rag around the chain and spun the pedals letting the chain run over the rag. My brand new chain which I had fitted a couple of days ago came up spotless and Im hoping to minimise wear on my brand new cassette. Ill give the solvent bath a miss and see how things fare using the rag and wd40 technique. I applied some wet lube to the chain after the cleaning was completed as well.
    2012 Cannondale CAAD 8 105
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    P_Tucker wrote:
    ...

    We're trying to help too. You appear to be doing something wrong, because every modern chain when new is has links exactly an inch long. Look - Sheldon Brown agrees and he knows (er, knew) everything http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

    When you and apreading suggest I: "stop buying second hand chains..", it does not come across as helpful advice.

    Now, suggesting I check my chain checker, is good advice, but it is tainted by the rest of your sentence and comes across as arrogant and unhelpful.

    I've not used any other chain checking device, and it would be interesting to see what measurement the common devices give on a new chain that is packed with grease.

    I know using a good ruler to measure the pins is supposed to be the best, but the method of doing so is quite difficult when the chain is under tension on a bike, and almost impossible to do when off the bike.

    it comes down to fractions of a mm while holding an 'accurate' ruler to the middle of the pins, while keeping the chain under tension on a stable surface in good light and reading the fractions.

    this is assuming you have the same level of cleanliness and lube in the chain, at the same temperatures each time you measure.

    it can't be done in the home, you are trying to come up with precise and accurate figures that need almost cleanroom conditions to measure. Instead you have to pretend you are measuring the precise centres with everything the same as the last time you measured.

    my chain checker gives consistent results that i can work with. it may not be accurate, but it is repeatable, quick and easy to do.

    the most accurate, repeatable and easy method I have seen, is to use vernier calipers, but again to be sure of the results, you have to make sure the chain is in the same state of cleanliness each time it is used.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,566

    I know using a good ruler to measure the pins is supposed to be the best, but the method of doing so is quite difficult when the chain is under tension on a bike, and almost impossible to do when off the bike.

    it comes down to fractions of a mm while holding an 'accurate' ruler to the middle of the pins, while keeping the chain under tension on a stable surface in good light and reading the fractions.

    this is assuming you have the same level of cleanliness and lube in the chain, at the same temperatures each time you measure.

    it can't be done in the home, you are trying to come up with precise and accurate figures that need almost cleanroom conditions to measure. Instead you have to pretend you are measuring the precise centres with everything the same as the last time you measured.

    my chain checker gives consistent results that i can work with. it may not be accurate, but it is repeatable, quick and easy to do.

    the most accurate, repeatable and easy method I have seen, is to use vernier calipers, but again to be sure of the results, you have to make sure the chain is in the same state of cleanliness each time it is used.

    This is all needless. Your experience with the Park gizmo shows why these things are worthless- they are simply measuring the wrong thing, which introduces a random error greater than the range being measured.

    You don't need resolution smaller than a sixteenth of an inch to determine if a chain is worn out or not. A cheap rule held against 12 pins on the bike takes a second and reveals all. I don't see where you find all the complexity.
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    balthazar wrote:
    ...

    You don't need resolution smaller than a sixteenth of an inch to determine if a chain is worn out or not. A cheap rule held against 12 pins on the bike takes a second and reveals all. I don't see where you find all the complexity.


    yes, I am taking things to the extreme there.

    but 16th of an inch is a small and hard to see distance, for me at least. and if you aren't measuring the 'exact' centre of the pins, this procedure is also worthless. it will give you an idea of wear, it will not give you how much wear as there are so many variables.

    and you still have to make sure the chain is under tension by the same amount every time, and is at the same level of cleanliness.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    P_Tucker wrote:
    ...

    We're trying to help too. You appear to be doing something wrong, because every modern chain when new is has links exactly an inch long. Look - Sheldon Brown agrees and he knows (er, knew) everything http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

    When you and apreading suggest I: "stop buying second hand chains..", it does not come across as helpful advice.

    Now, suggesting I check my chain checker, is good advice, but it is tainted by the rest of your sentence and comes across as arrogant and unhelpful.

    I've not used any other chain checking device, and it would be interesting to see what measurement the common devices give on a new chain that is packed with grease.

    I know using a good ruler to measure the pins is supposed to be the best, but the method of doing so is quite difficult when the chain is under tension on a bike, and almost impossible to do when off the bike.

    it comes down to fractions of a mm while holding an 'accurate' ruler to the middle of the pins, while keeping the chain under tension on a stable surface in good light and reading the fractions.

    this is assuming you have the same level of cleanliness and lube in the chain, at the same temperatures each time you measure.

    it can't be done in the home, you are trying to come up with precise and accurate figures that need almost cleanroom conditions to measure. Instead you have to pretend you are measuring the precise centres with everything the same as the last time you measured.

    my chain checker gives consistent results that i can work with. it may not be accurate, but it is repeatable, quick and easy to do.

    the most accurate, repeatable and easy method I have seen, is to use vernier calipers, but again to be sure of the results, you have to make sure the chain is in the same state of cleanliness each time it is used.

    Mother of god. Here's some more useful advice - get a grip.
  • balthazarbalthazar Posts: 1,566
    balthazar wrote:
    ...

    You don't need resolution smaller than a sixteenth of an inch to determine if a chain is worn out or not. A cheap rule held against 12 pins on the bike takes a second and reveals all. I don't see where you find all the complexity.


    yes, I am taking things to the extreme there.

    but 16th of an inch is a small and hard to see distance, for me at least. and if you aren't measuring the 'exact' centre of the pins, this procedure is also worthless. it will give you an idea of wear, it will not give you how much wear as there are so many variables.

    and you still have to make sure the chain is under tension by the same amount every time, and is at the same level of cleanliness.
    Measure from the edge of the pins, and check that the chain is visibly straight- the ordinary fitted tension is enough. Exactness is not needed as the chain is not elastic on the scales we care about, and dirt in the chain doesn't affect it's length, only it's longevity. I can only see that you're finding problems in a plain and simple procedure to support your alternative preference.
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    balthazar wrote:
    balthazar wrote:
    ...

    You don't need resolution smaller than a sixteenth of an inch to determine if a chain is worn out or not. A cheap rule held against 12 pins on the bike takes a second and reveals all. I don't see where you find all the complexity.


    yes, I am taking things to the extreme there.

    but 16th of an inch is a small and hard to see distance, for me at least. and if you aren't measuring the 'exact' centre of the pins, this procedure is also worthless. it will give you an idea of wear, it will not give you how much wear as there are so many variables.

    and you still have to make sure the chain is under tension by the same amount every time, and is at the same level of cleanliness.
    Measure from the edge of the pins, and check that the chain is visibly straight- the ordinary fitted tension is enough. Exactness is not needed as the chain is not elastic on the scales we care about, and dirt in the chain doesn't affect it's length, only it's longevity. I can only see that you're finding problems in a plain and simple procedure to support your alternative preference.

    I've never seen anything quite like it. I've just ordered the andrewjoseph guide to boiling an egg - comes with its own mahogany presentation shed.
  • t.m.h.n.e.tt.m.h.n.e.t Posts: 2,265
    P_Tucker wrote:
    ...

    We're trying to help too. You appear to be doing something wrong, because every modern chain when new is has links exactly an inch long. Look - Sheldon Brown agrees and he knows (er, knew) everything http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html

    When you and apreading suggest I: "stop buying second hand chains..", it does not come across as helpful advice.

    Now, suggesting I check my chain checker, is good advice, but it is tainted by the rest of your sentence and comes across as arrogant and unhelpful.

    I've not used any other chain checking device, and it would be interesting to see what measurement the common devices give on a new chain that is packed with grease.

    I know using a good ruler to measure the pins is supposed to be the best, but the method of doing so is quite difficult when the chain is under tension on a bike, and almost impossible to do when off the bike.

    it comes down to fractions of a mm while holding an 'accurate' ruler to the middle of the pins, while keeping the chain under tension on a stable surface in good light and reading the fractions.

    this is assuming you have the same level of cleanliness and lube in the chain, at the same temperatures each time you measure.

    it can't be done in the home, you are trying to come up with precise and accurate figures that need almost cleanroom conditions to measure. Instead you have to pretend you are measuring the precise centres with everything the same as the last time you measured.

    my chain checker gives consistent results that i can work with. it may not be accurate, but it is repeatable, quick and easy to do.

    the most accurate, repeatable and easy method I have seen, is to use vernier calipers, but again to be sure of the results, you have to make sure the chain is in the same state of cleanliness each time it is used.
    Did your head contact something hard repeatedly,recently?
  • andrewjosephandrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    OK guys, I won't bother anymore on this thread. you do your way, I'll continue to do mine.

    I'll also continue to give my views and opinions.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    :lol: and I'll continue to mock you - not for being wrong (its impossible to know everything) but for refusing to accept that you're wrong in face of that rarest of things - consensus on an internet mongboard
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