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Should I replace my drivetrain along with my chain?

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Should I replace my drivetrain along with my chain?

Old 09-01-19, 09:34 PM
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schonnk
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Should I replace my drivetrain along with my chain?

Hello,

I'm thinking about replacing my chain because I've been experiencing some grinding that I'm pretty sure is the result of chain wear. Do I need to replace the chainring and rear cog along with the chain as well? Will the new chain be compatible with the old cogs?
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Old 09-01-19, 11:20 PM
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Mikefule
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First, check that your existing chain is clean and well lubricated, and that the chainring and sprocket are also clean. They can pick up road dust and grime which mixes with the lubricant and creates a paste that can make a grinding noise and cause wear. A good clean may get rid of the grinding noise.

Second, if you need to replace the chain, it does not mean that you automatically need to replace either the chainring, or the sprocket, or both. Look at them to see if they need replacing.

An aluminium chainring or sprocket will wear faster than a steel one.

Look at the teeth: are they still symmetrical, or have they started to to wear into hooks? If they have started to hook, then it is time to replace.

Chains are a routine item to replace; chainrings and sprockets less so.
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Old 09-02-19, 06:56 AM
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Invest in a $10 Park chain checker and check the wear in your chain. Cheaper to replace a worn chain than it is on a new cassette/chainrings.
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Old 09-02-19, 07:32 AM
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schonnk
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
First, check that your existing chain is clean and well lubricated, and that the chainring and sprocket are also clean. They can pick up road dust and grime which mixes with the lubricant and creates a paste that can make a grinding noise and cause wear. A good clean may get rid of the grinding noise.

Second, if you need to replace the chain, it does not mean that you automatically need to replace either the chainring, or the sprocket, or both. Look at them to see if they need replacing.

An aluminium chainring or sprocket will wear faster than a steel one.

Look at the teeth: are they still symmetrical, or have they started to to wear into hooks? If they have started to hook, then it is time to replace.

Chains are a routine item to replace; chainrings and sprockets less so.
Great, thanks! This explains a lot. I do think my chain is pretty worn out, as I've cleaned it really well and lubricated it while the grinding still persists. I've peeked at my sprocket teeth and they look in fine shape, so I think I'll firstly replace the chain and see if that solves the problem.
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Old 09-02-19, 12:34 PM
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In addition to above, make sure your chain isn't tight/binding anywhere in the rotation of the cranks. Tight chains are loud chains.
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Old 09-11-19, 12:19 AM
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Some say that you should do this because your chainring wears to your chain, and a new chain will also try to wear itself in in it's own way, but I personally think it's way overkill.
Can you imagine replacing $1-200 (or more) worth of parts everytime you change your chain?

Maybe in extreme circumstances you will have problems like chains coming off the drivetrain because it skips a tooth or something, but I think this is one of those things that only pros worry about when/if they're trying to get the smoothest possible drivetrain for whatever reason.

Cogs/Frewheels are almost always made of hardened steel (not always, i've snapped aluminum ones that I assumed were steel) so there won't be much wear there for the most part (check anyways).

Chainrings are made of aluminium so will definitely wear when rubbing against steel. I'd say it's only an issue if your chainring is already incredibly worn after like several years of use or a couple of months of really bad maintanence (you shoudl be cleaning and lubing your drivetrain often).
I'd change the chain, then just kinda be aware of it and a taad more careful while you break in the chain. If you're not skipping around or it doesn't have too much play, you're pretty much good to go.
And like the other poster said, check for "sharktooth" (sprocket teeth worn down and thin to the poitn of being sharp).
That's the only reason I've ever had that really justified replacing a chainring.

Last edited by BicycleBicycle; 09-11-19 at 12:23 AM.
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Old 09-12-19, 11:33 AM
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I went through like 5 chains before I replaced my cog and chainring. I'm not saying to do the same thing, but I feel like it answers the question of "Do you need to". And my drive chain wasn't overly loud at all, you might need to spend hundreds of dollars before you get a really quiet drive chain sometimes even really expensive components end up not being quiet. So it's up to you if it's worth it or not.

Last edited by Philasteve; 09-12-19 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 09-16-19, 01:35 AM
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If you can, replace all 3 together will be the most quiet drive train.

You don't have to. Depends how much noise you are willing to put up with, and the quality of the parts.

I have a bike where the chainring and chain have worn together for 2-3 years, and then a cog (surly cog which seem to already be loud) which came from another bike with 3-4 years wear. Loudest drive train ever. But works just fine.

Also if you ever have to rotofix something off, don't ride that chain.

When I do change the chain on my main ride, I change the cog too since its cheap. Have a tree lite sprocket on that one which is still looking good so haven't replaced it. Drivertrain is very quiet on this bike. I change the chain every 1-2 years. Usually when it starts to pop its times for a new one.
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