Does going from an 11-25 to 11-28 mean a new chain?

prhymeate Posts: 795
edited September 2014 in Workshop

I currently have an Ultegra 6800 11-25 cassette on my bike and am looking to change it to an 11-28 for an upcoming holiday. I'd like my lbs to give the bike a once over too, so I'm going to take the 11-28 cassette along for them to fit for me. The bike has seen about 1300 miles in the dry and doesn't look very worn at all. I called them up and they said I'd need a new chain which would be ~£30, plus labour at ~£16.

Does that sound about right? I appreciate it's impossible to tell without seeing the bike, but I'd rather try and save a bit of money and have them see if there is enough slack in the chain already, and if not maybe look at adding a link rather than a whole new chain.


  • heez29
    heez29 Posts: 612
    Seems very steep moneywise but apart from that they're just covering themselves. 1300 miles should be ok but it could still skip on you or potentially you may need it as the current chain may be too short anyways.

    Personally speaking, I'd always replace the chain when replacing a cassette if it's had a bit of use through it. Right or wrong I just would.
  • NeXXus
    NeXXus Posts: 854
    No :)
    And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made.
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    £16 to fit a chain? I'm possibly in the wrong business…
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    May be you need a new chain, probably not. Can you post a photo of the rear derailleur with the chain in big-big combination? That will show roughly how much slack capacity the RD has.
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  • dj58
    dj58 Posts: 2,221
    If the chain has been cleaned and lubricated regularly then at that mileage you would probably be ok, though it may need a couple of links adding. You may be better keeping the 11/25 and existing chain as a matched pair and have a new chain to use with your 11/28.

    I don't know how practical you are, but for the future if you want to save money buy the necessary tools to do the job yourself, buy the parts in advance of when you need them when there are offers on.
  • Thanks for the replies. That's a pretty good idea to keep the 11-25 and existing chain as a matched pair, I didn't really think about that.

    Just to clarify, it isn't £16 to just fit the chain, it'd be the new cassette as well.

    This is a picture of the RD in big-big combination and a close up to show how much wear there is on the current cassette. I'm no expert, but it looks like there isn't much slack there? I'd love to just do it myself, but I tried changing a cassette on my old bike last year and I had to take it to the shop in the end anyway. This is my first 'proper' road bike after my Triban 3, so I'm weary of messing anything up.


  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    I reckon there's no enough slack there for 3 additional teeth, so would suggest a new chain.
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  • Thanks. Do you think it's bad form to just buy one online and take it there? I'm all for supporting your lbs and I buy the odd thing here and there and take it for a service now and then...but paying at least £30 when I can buy it online for £20 is a bit frustrating.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    Yes its bad it online, buy the necessary tools and learn to do it yourself, its not that hard.
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  • Changing your cassette is really easy. I actually found the chain more difficult first time as it is a little fiddly holding it all together until you get the joining pin in.

    Just buy the tools. This bundle from Wiggle will sort you for changing the cassette ... ip-bundle/ and it's only a few quid more than they want in labour. Search for a how-to on YouTube if the paper instructions don't leave you feeling confident and you'll be laughing as you can change your own cassette at a moments notice if you're about to do a ride that needs something else.
    2012 Cube Agree GTC
  • You will need a new chain. I suggest buying the tools and fitting it, and the cassette yourself, its pretty easy. Shopping around online you should be able to buy all you need for not much more than paying for the single fit. If you stick with road biking you will use the tools many times. The prices you are quoted are fair, the lbs has to make a living, its not a hobby. Running a shop/workshop is not a cheap thing to do, though some people think it costs nothing. Rob
    Hills do make I sweat a lot
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Changing a cassette is very easy if you have the right tools - as linked above.

    My neighbour brought his around to change when he'd had to replace a damaged wheel. I think his response was - wow was that it - when I did it for him.

    You would expect a LBS to put a mark up on parts and charge you some labour so they aren't taking the wee wee.
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  • brettjmcc
    brettjmcc Posts: 1,361
    If you are near me (Essex), pop by mine with the bits and I will do the change for free (well maybe for a pint). 10 mins max
    BMC GF01
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  • Thanks for the offer Brett, that's really kind of you.

    I'm actually feeling pretty happy right now as I decided to take it on myself and just got back from a little test ride up and down the street. Everything seems ok as far as I can tell...fingers crossed it doesn't break on me when I head over to Wales this weekend. It took forever because I was double checking everything and tried a couple of different methods of measuring the chain for size (ended up using the park tools equation).

    I don't know if it's just the placebo effect, but I'm sure everything feels a bit tighter. I'm surprised the chain/cassette might have worn that much in just 1300 miles. Neither look worn to the eye and the old chain pretty much matched up exactly with the new one.
  • I did the same thing as you when i needed to change cassette and chain. Was so worried about breaking something and then after pretty much everybody on here saying how easy it was i just bought the tools and did it myself.

    the first time it took me forever - i didnt want to put too much pressure on the chain whip as thought i might snap something and checked and checked and checked again the chain before I finally put it on the bike.

    My bike didnt fall apart and all was well and now wouldnt think twice about changing them over in a few minutes.

    I have found that most tasks can be done yourself with a bit of patience and a few youtube videos and if you buy the tools as you require them you gradually build up quite a substantial tool kit over time.
    Cannondale Caad8
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  • That LBS sounds like a robbing bar steward ;)
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