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Chain choice

bucklbbucklb Posts: 296
edited May 2013 in Road buying advice

I've been using pc-870 for chains for a while, but I'm now wondering if it's the best choice.

I have a courier hybrid (8 speed at back, single chainring at the front) used almost exclusively for commuting - 14 miles each way. I seem to get maybe 1,000 miles from the chain, less over winter and more over summer. It's more than I got from the "workshop chain" from the LBS, but probably not brilliant either.

Is the pc-870 a good choice or is there another chain I should be looking at?

So it goes ...


  • owenlarsowenlars Posts: 719
    In my experience it is probably almost irrelevant which chain you use as long as it fits and it has the connecting system you want (Shimano pin or KMC/SRAM power link). Far more important is to keep it clean and lubricated.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    It may be related to the single chainring at the front, as you would be subjecting the chain to a wide range of angles (assuming you use the full range).

    I use the same chain on a triple but it rarely moves from the main ring to 4/ 5 or 6 at the back and I get 3,5 - 4k out of it and that's year round riding 30 - 45 miles per day. It gets cleaned every 2 - 3 weeks and relubricated with wet or dry lube depending upon the time of the year and is never put to bed wet.
  • bucklbbucklb Posts: 296
    Thanks for the replies.

    I spend 90% of my time in gears 5 & 6 (using 4 to go up the occassional railway bridge & 7 to go down it). The other gears only get use when there's a really significant head or tailwind (rather too common in the North East :( ). I shouldn't be putting it through too many severe angles.

    Sounds like I ought to be paying more attention to cleaning it. In truth I should START cleaning it. Maintenance currently consists of regular lubing & occassional wiping down with an old cloth. Might be interesting to see how much extra life I'll get if I show my chains some love ...
    So it goes ...
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,811
    I run a 1x9 commuter* and the first chain lasted 2,000miles before needing replacement as it was rusted to heck (wet day after salting and not enough oil on the chain!) though I still managed to get another 300miles out of it until the end of winter, it was still well within wear limits on the parktools guage.

    Why did the chain needed replacing?

    *Gearing was set by me and for my commute, so 46T front and an 11-26T rear which I use the full spread of.
    Currently riding a Whyte T130C, X0 drivetrain, Magura Trail brakes converted to mixed wheel size (homebuilt wheels) with 140mm Fox 34 Rhythm and RP23 suspension. 12.2Kg.
  • bucklbbucklb Posts: 296
    The chain was showing worn on my tool (it was between the starting to wear & needs replaced NOW positions (can't remember what the actual measurements are)). I may well have been able to eke out a fair few more miles, but it seemed like a sensible time to replace it.

    I reset my tripmeter when I replace the chain & start checking when I'm around 1,000 miles on the clock. Am I perhaps replacing the chain too early?
    So it goes ...
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    I have a theory that as the chain has more moving parts than anything else on the bike, to minimise friction I'd buy the best you can afford, although where price increases stops being less friction and become "shinier" or lighter I don't know.

    Certainly keep it well maintained - cleaned and lubed regularly.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
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  • NaugasNaugas Posts: 10
    The best way for most to increase drivetrain life is to avoid getting water on the chain. A long fender and mudflap (really long, 1-2 inches from the ground - something like this) to avoid water spray from the tire is top priority. Also, since you have a single chainring in front, it's pretty easy to mount a chainguard. Personally, I never clean my chain but only oil it now and then (one drop on each roller) the day after biking in heavy rain, when the chain has gotten a little natural cleaning despite my long front fender...
  • bucklbbucklb Posts: 296
    May be a daft question, but how often should I be cleaning my chain (I'm currently doing 120-150 miles a week)? Is it a matter of every "n" miles, every couple of weeks or similar. I assume that the cleaning schedule should also be tightened during winter when everything is much wetter and saltier.

    I have to admit that there's a part of me that thinks that if I can get a chain for about £10, am I really bothered about increasing its life span by spending time & energy removing it, cleaning it, re-lubeing it, refitting it etc.
    So it goes ...
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    As long as you buy a recognised brand and look after it, don't go thinking dearer necessarily means longer lasting. Dearer chains are generally treated / plated which helps them resist corrosion, but after that you're paying for hollow pins and slotted side plates which only reduce weight, and then only a bit.
  • northpolenorthpole Posts: 1,499
    I'm not great on chain cleaning but I think there is an element of common sense you can apply.

    If you are out in wet weather, you should wipe your chain down every evening and apply fresh lube. It's amazing the amount of cack that can build up from a single ride in the wet. Particularly if you aren't running with mud guards. Reducing the amount of grit will help prolong the life of the chain, cassette, jockey wheels and front ring. It should also make for less effort turning the pedals.

    If you have a patch of dry weather, then all I do is have a look at the chain every two or three days to check for dirt build up/ overly dry links and I only wipe off/ re-lube when necessary - usually not less than once a week on my short commute (10 miles a day total).

    I find by cleaning with a cloth and lube, I don't need to deep clean the chain more than every two or three months (the same frequency some people replace their chains!).

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