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how long do your chains last? i think i'm going on 6k miles on mine...

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how long do your chains last? i think i'm going on 6k miles on mine...

Old 09-16-13, 05:49 AM
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mattkime
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how long do your chains last? i think i'm going on 6k miles on mine...

I'm no saint when it comes to chain maintenance but i try to do my best. i think i have about 6k on my KMC X10.93 chain. I have SRAM Force/Rival and ride in the NYC area.

about how many miles do you get to a chain?
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Old 09-16-13, 06:24 AM
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Depends on your riding...

But to find out if yours is worn, take a ruler and put the "0" in the center of a chain rivet...the "12" should be on the rivet or within 1/16th of an inch. If it is over that, replace the chain.

Worn chains, seriously worn chains (over 1/16th) mean you also need to check the rear cassette for wear. Put a now chain on a worn casette and it will skip badly.

I can get about 2,000 miles out of a Dura Ace chain FWIW.

I use a Park Tool chain measuring tool. If it is worn, off the chain goes right away. I start checking at about 1,500 miles.
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Old 09-16-13, 06:30 AM
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Kmc and shimano seem to last a lot longer than sram chains.
I had to replace a sram after 1000 miles.
My mtb has almost a year with the same kmc chain and there seems to be no real wear ( I don't measure miles with the mtb)
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Old 09-16-13, 06:38 AM
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Yes, I've measured and used a go/no go chain wear tool and they seem to be in agreement - i have another month or so on the chain.

just seems like a fair amount of life out of the chain - then again, its not weight weenie class.
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Old 09-16-13, 06:48 AM
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I've gotten as little as about 1K and as much as around 6K.
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Old 09-16-13, 06:58 AM
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6000 miles out of a 10 speed chain? You can't be measuring correctly. Unless you ride in 39-25 and spin 125rpm
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Old 09-16-13, 07:01 AM
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I'm at 2,400 miles right now on a tiagra 10spd chain and it's doing some pretty sketchy gear changes... I am switching to a Quarq crank this week and will probably throw in there a good ultegra / Dura Ace chain.
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Old 09-16-13, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Danielle View Post
6000 miles out of a 10 speed chain? You can't be measuring correctly. Unless you ride in 39-25 and spin 125rpm
Its possible that I've forgotten about a chain swap but i'm definitely measuring correctly. I guess this is why I started the thread - to see if my results are abnormal or mistaken.
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Old 09-16-13, 07:16 AM
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Keep in mind that a worn chain can damage the cogs in a cassette and chainrings in a few hundred miles. Chainrings and cogs are durable if the pitch of the chain is an exact match to the pitch of the chainwheels. If the pitch of the chain is longer than the specification due to wear, it will produce a crescent shaped wear pattern on the cogs and chainrings. Each tooth will develop a hooked shaped wear pattern. Once this happens: the chain, cassette and possibly the chainrings need to be replaced as a group. Installing one new item on a drivetrain with well worn parts will quickly damage the new item.

Chains are a wear item and are meant to be replaced on a regular basis. Getting more than 4000 miles from a 10-speed chain would require ideal operating conditions and lubrication, IMO. A bicycle chain is rarely used under ideal condition.
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Old 09-16-13, 07:25 AM
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Are there different qualities in chains for normal riders? Would my bike ride differently with a different chain? How much are they?
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Old 09-16-13, 07:33 AM
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I had nearly nine years on my chain before replacing it. I ride an average of 2500 miles per year on that chain, wet roads and winter riding goes to my cross bike with full fenders for an additional 500 to 700 miles per year, for an average of 22500 miles.
The chain was fine but I replaced the chain and cassette during a routine maintenance.
I don't believe there is a "life span" to a chain with the exception for breakage and even then you can generally remove one or two links before the average chain is too short.

Typically chains are replaced when they reach a certain "stretch point". Upon hitting and exceeding this point the cassette cogs begin to wear to the chain links as they stretch. If you allow a chain to exceed the stretch point for long enough the cassette will be worn to a point where a new chain will create a skipping...not a pleasant way to ride...and the main reason people replace chains regularly.

I've always replaced my chains within 2000 miles of wear but this time I was curious to see how long a chain would last and decided to use my chain and cassette as the test bed. The bike was still shifting perfectly at the time of replacement. I've put the chain and cassette away...did not measure stretch...in case it is needed.

The chain is a Campy Record and the cassette is a Campy Chorus...both are 9 speed and were purchased/installed in '99.
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Old 09-16-13, 07:38 AM
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There are people in here who claim to get 1,500 miles out of chains, I personally have gotten at least 5k on every chain minimum from SRAM, Shimano, and KMC. I'm still under the impression that a lot has to do with maintenance.
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Old 09-16-13, 07:41 AM
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Most people here don't get anywhere near 6000 miles on their chains because they use solvents on it every other day and completely remove the lubicant from places that it can't be replaced easily.

I always get 6000 miles or so on my Shimano chains by just doing the lube and wipe off technique every other day or so (and measure them regularly tor eplace at the correct time).
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Old 09-16-13, 07:46 AM
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You're spinning high rpms to get 5000 out of a chain. No way you get that kind of mileage I you are pushing 80-90rpm. You should be replacing at .75
At 1 wear mark its getting to the point where you are wearing stuff out.
It's like clockwork, once you start getting to 1500 miles the gauge starts to get closer to .75.
Ill tell you another thing too. I've documented all of this over years o changing my own chains. If you use a quick link, it will always wear prematurely in that 5-7 inches of chain. Always use a pin. When I was using those quick links I was stumped as to why te chain was wearing in 1000 miles. It took me a couple chain changes to realize the quick link was the problem. Don't believe me? Measure yourself,,,
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Old 09-16-13, 07:57 AM
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>>No way you get that kind of mileage I you are pushing 80-90rpm.

I do tend to spin. I haven't watched my ride average rpm but i know that on stronger efforts i keep it over 100. also - few hills.
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Old 09-16-13, 08:14 AM
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I'm going on ~4,000 miles on my Ultegra 10 speed chain. A tiny bit of measurable stretch but not enough to swap it out yet. I ride solely on flat roads, don't weigh very much, spin and keep my drivetrain extremely clean. I use ProLink Gold exclusively on the chain which seems to do a great job keeping everything spotless. I've found that Shimano chains generally last a bit longer than other brands.

BTW, I have ~20K miles on my chainrings and probably 10K miles on the cassette on my training wheels. Chainrings basically never wear out as far as I can tell.
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Old 09-16-13, 08:42 AM
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Yeah. If you lube frequently and seldom ride in the wet, a chain can go for a pretty long time. I couple of years ago starting out with new chain, cogs and rings I hit 6000 miles before the chain elongation was 1/16". I put a new chain on and got skipping in a couple of the cogs due to their being worn. Since then, I replace chains at 1/32" wear which typically takes ~3000 miles. That's measuring very carefully with a steel machinist's rule. If I have the chain off, I'll measure over 3' to get more resolution.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
I had nearly nine years on my chain before replacing it. I ride an average of 2500 miles per year on that chain, wet roads and winter riding goes to my cross bike with full fenders for an additional 500 to 700 miles per year, for an average of 22500 miles.
The chain was fine but I replaced the chain and cassette during a routine maintenance.
I don't believe there is a "life span" to a chain with the exception for breakage and even then you can generally remove one or two links before the average chain is too short.

Typically chains are replaced when they reach a certain "stretch point". Upon hitting and exceeding this point the cassette cogs begin to wear to the chain links as they stretch. If you allow a chain to exceed the stretch point for long enough the cassette will be worn to a point where a new chain will create a skipping...not a pleasant way to ride...and the main reason people replace chains regularly.

I've always replaced my chains within 2000 miles of wear but this time I was curious to see how long a chain would last and decided to use my chain and cassette as the test bed. The bike was still shifting perfectly at the time of replacement. I've put the chain and cassette away...did not measure stretch...in case it is needed.

The chain is a Campy Record and the cassette is a Campy Chorus...both are 9 speed and were purchased/installed in '99.
I'd like to see pictures of what the chain and cassette look like.

Chains and cassettes do wear in together so if you keep the same chain and cassette and ride them to the point where it starts to skip you can get some pretty incredible mileage but your jockey wheels and chain wheels will wear prematurely and when that chain decides it can't hold on anymore and skips, it will probably do that when you are hammering up a steep grade.

I get 4000 km - 8000 km on my multi speed chains, single speed bikes tend to get much better chain life, and if the chain is enclosed in a full chaincase you might just forget about it altogether.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:22 AM
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I am a decent wrench and easily get 4000-5000 miles not k's on my 10 spd. I live in the flatlands and keep it clean and lubed. I do not ride in the rain unless by accident but I could easily get 5000 miles on a chain and 3 chains to one cassette. I all depends on your conditions and care.
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Old 09-16-13, 10:02 AM
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32 years and counting. Miles wise no way to tell. The bike was my only method of transportation for 4 years or so. There was some down time when I didn't ride so much. I started riding about 20-40 miles a week about 4 years ago, call it 600-1000 miles a year. I lub it but I don't pay any attention to it beyond that. I don't think it would be out of the question that there is more than 10K miles on the bike and it could be more

The bike is a 12 speed. I suspect the new bikes with more gears are more of an issue
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Old 09-16-13, 10:24 AM
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I got 1800 miles out of my last SRAM chain.

My buddy used his chain measuring tool on it and thought the tool was broken...my chain was maxed out.
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Old 09-16-13, 10:36 AM
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Do not use chain measuring tool. A good metal straight edge ruler is much more accurate.
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Old 09-16-13, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dave1442397 View Post
I got 1800 miles out of my last SRAM chain.

My buddy used his chain measuring tool on it and thought the tool was broken...my chain was maxed out.
Which model? The hardened pins on the nicer models seem to make a big difference in chain life.
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Old 09-16-13, 10:48 AM
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Running 105 chains: 10 speed 1500 miles Max but right at 2000 on my 9 speed.
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Old 09-16-13, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Which model? The hardened pins on the nicer models seem to make a big difference in chain life.
I'm using PC 1091R, which is what my friend recommended.
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