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Are people changing their chains way too often?

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Are people changing their chains way too often?

Old 10-08-21, 09:55 PM
  #51  
cyclezen
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
All my bikes are over 10 years old. But since I have never had any issue of chainrings skipping, I guess my NOT changing chains for less than 3000 miles (more like ~4000 mi between chain change on average) has little negative effect to the longevity of chainrings.
Those of you who change chains every 1000 miles, I hope your bikes last more than 20 years! Better yet, you ride 10,000 a year to justify the "saving" of not needing to change chainrings. Me? I'd rather ride than change chains every other month.
Everyone can and does their own thing... In the Old days, worn chainrings were actually a common occurance if you were doing 8K+ miles/yr. Soft alloy, heavier chains (5 & 6 spd) , smaller cog sets meant less teeth to wrap around - all that added to having to replace chainrings every couple seasons - if you kept the bike that long...
Modern rings are way sturdier - but also way more expensive !!! as Racing Dan notes below... Same greater expense for cassettes (because getting replacement cogs is impossible !)...
With a 9K mi year, I would likely be replacing my 10 spd chain 3x/yr - and happy to do that ! (Looking forward to having that 'expense' again, starting with this year !!! - yeah!)
I'm also picky about my gears/Drivetrain - getting the cassette ranges I like are v-hard to get these days... Well worth replacing the chain when worn, rather than flog everything into dust...
I do change my chain when my Park CC3 tells me it's at .75 or a hair beyond...
Iff'n you keep the old chain and old cogs and old chainring together, on the old bike... maybe you can all go to the grave together... LOL!
wouldn;t that be special...?

Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
Good questions, but you are right. Replacing the chain before it elongates "too much" does protect the chain rings as well. I believe much of the debate originate in the fact that some chain rings and cassettes are Very expensive, thus you can defend replacing a $20 chain early to let the $200 rings and $100 cassette live a little longer. Maybe if you are on a old 9sp bike with plenty cheap parts around you may not care as much or a different approach is better/cheaper. - Me, I like to replace chains often (2x a year) as I believe it all runs a little smoother. "New chain day" - Is that a thing ? :-)
WORD! Changing the chain is cheap insurance for a pricy drivetrain ! And, like you say - There's nothing like "New Chain Day"! Always get a cheer at the post-ride coffee BS session!
I also try to match that day with New Tires all the way around !!! I mean... the bike feels and rides like NEW and the legs seem to have that old punch again !!! LOL!
... and iff'n I'm feeling really good towards 'the ride', I'll do NEW bar tape !!!
Ride On
Yuri
EDIT: Maybe a good segway to the next 'off-season' topics - "changing Brake Pads", "Changing Gear & Brake Cables" (but that can also be pre-empted by a "When to get new Batteries" thread... "changing rotors" - the threads can be limitless !!!
...wondering where the Event Horizon is for threads...

Last edited by cyclezen; 10-08-21 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 10-09-21, 07:46 AM
  #52  
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I don't actually do "preventive" maintenance! I just don't!

I change cable when the shifting gets sloppy. Change chains when they start skipping (on random cogs, change cassette if it skips on "some", most commonly used cog). Basically, only replace components when there's "symptom"!

So far, I've never had chains skipping on chainrings! And almost all my bikes are over 10 years old. (granted, I have several bikes so each only got used a "partial" of my yearly mileage). But I also didn't intend to keep my bikes for more than 10 years initially either, except they kept on working quite well so far. So at this point, I'm far far behind the current "state" of bike technology (I'm still riding 8-9 speeds, rim brakes. ) I could use an excuse for a new bike upgrade if any of them needs a new chainring!

So I'm not convinced the "saving" of early replacements of chains and cassettes.

Last edited by atnyc; 10-09-21 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 10-09-21, 08:21 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
All my bikes are over 10 years old. But since I have never had any issue of chainrings skipping, I guess my NOT changing chains for less than 3000 miles (more like ~4000 mi between chain change on average) has little negative effect to the longevity of chainrings.

Those of you who change chains every 1000 miles, I hope your bikes last more than 20 years! Better yet, you ride 10,000 a year to justify the "saving" of not needing to change chainrings. Me? I'd rather ride than change chains every other month.
I am not sure why you are directing your opinion to me. I get 4-5K out of a chain on an upright and 10K on a bent and that is at 0.4% wear (1.0% is generally considered a limit). Sometimes, this is a month but usually more like 3-4 months. It cannot be easier to put a new chain on with quicklinks. It is true that poorly maintained cheap chains can go south in under 1,000 miles.

As mentioned in one post, zerofriction has some interesting analysis for the total costs of maintenance or lack of maintenance.

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/
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Old 10-09-21, 11:02 AM
  #54  
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These Preventative Maintenance discussions are interesting for a retired maintenance professional and understandably confusing in cycling. You either practice breakdown maintenance or PM; however, some consider a cog skipping a sign that preventative maintenance is needed and to others like me that is a breakdown. My old Mavic hubs w/ the plastic bushings need overhaul often (1,000 to 2,000 miles max.) but my Campagnolo hubs can go many times that.
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Old 10-09-21, 03:27 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
I don't actually do "preventive" maintenance! I just don't!
I change cable when the shifting gets sloppy. Change chains when they start skipping (on random cogs, change cassette if it skips on "some", most commonly used cog). Basically, only replace components when there's "symptom"!
...
So I'm not convinced the "saving" of early replacements of chains and cassettes.
For me and possibly others who do PM, the 'maintenance' side is not only to prevent possible 'failure' - and chain skipping, to me, is not a 'symptom', it's failure...
The really good reason to do things, like chain replacement or tire replacement, is to get the best performance, which degrades long before failure...
'Performance' to some is not a consideration, I guess... But given the weakness of bicycle engine/motor, every gain in performance can be very noticeable and make riding more enjoyable, in a fashion, to some. I get that 'performance' is not the end all and be all for every rider. Hence I also find great 'enjoyment' in riding my vintage stuff, with the obvious lesser 'performance'.
But even the vintage stuff is more fun to ride when it's operating in top condition.
The possible slightly higher cost of keeping the machine in best operation is way offset by the greater enjoyment/performance.
For most of us, cycling is very much recreation. If it really impacted my 'work', I'd even be more diligent.

Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
These Preventative Maintenance discussions are interesting for a retired maintenance professional and understandably confusing in cycling. You either practice breakdown maintenance or PM; however, some consider a cog skipping a sign that preventative maintenance is needed and to others like me that is a breakdown. My old Mavic hubs w/ the plastic bushings need overhaul often (1,000 to 2,000 miles max.) but my Campagnolo hubs can go many times that.
Certainly, way back when, maintenance was critical to keep the stuff running at all. Bottom Brackets taken off and cleaned at least 2x a year. Same for pedals, hubs. Brake pads replaced, RD pulleys cleaned and lubed, cables replaced so that you could get the best shifting performance on those old DT friction shifters - friction shifters cleaned also. Even headsets were on a regular maintenance schedule.
I find the modern stuff way easier to maintain and requires this much less than the older, now 'vintage' stuff.
Those of us who understand and value our 'vintage' stuff, did and continue to do maintenance. Riders looking for the max performance will also do maintenance to prevent lesser performance...
I think those on the extremes of the maintenance spectrum prolly don;t understand each other...
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 10-09-21, 06:20 PM
  #56  
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As someone that spent a fair bit of time in the Navy, there is a reason that the Lockheed P-3 Orion's (A-C variants); that I flew in, have remained in service for over 50 years, well the C are the more long lived, but the A and B models, did some serious time as well. That reason is Scheduled and Periodic Maintenance. When I was in the service, the planes in 4 of the 6 squadrons at my base, were already more than 20 years old, and most remained in service in the US Navy until 2004-ish until they started to retire some of the older models and reduce the number of squadrons due to the fall of the iron curtain. They then update the electronics and sold them to the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and others, as well as move some over to Homeland Security to help with the drug interdiction flights in the Caribbean and around Panama. The planes are not the fastest in the sky, but they are dependable and could take a beating in the weather. Its the same frame and engine setup they use for Hurricane Hunters in the NOAA side, the Air Farce, , uses the C-130.

I figure if I can eliminate future issues by doing to quick maintenance now, then it is worth it to me. I do the same on my vehicles as well as my house, why not your bikes.
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.







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Old 10-09-21, 06:59 PM
  #57  
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80's Shimano UG chain will last forever.

think of all the bikes that never get a new chain. beach cruiser's that stay in the family for 60 years, sturmey archer ball buster 3 speeds that you used on the paper route in the 60's, still going strong on the same chain,

however, if people are willing to work in deplorable conditions, then i will spend the $10.99 and enjoy "new chain day" as often as possible.
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Old 10-09-21, 07:09 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
The possible slightly higher cost of keeping the machine in best operation is way offset by the greater enjoyment/performance.
Except time is money too. That's the most expensive part of "PM"!

For those who can detect such tiny performance differences, I solute you.

But for those who advocate replacing less expensive parts to "save" the potential replacement cost of the major parts, I think that's highly questionable, especially once you factor in the time cost of the frequent replacement of parts that are still in working order.

Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
As someone that spent a fair bit of time in the Navy, there is a reason that the Lockheed P-3 Orion's (A-C variants); that I flew in, have remained in service for over 50 years, well the C are the more long lived, but the A and B models, did some serious time as well. That reason is Scheduled and Periodic Maintenance. When I was in the service, the planes in 4 of the 6 squadrons at my base, were already more than 20 years old, and most remained in service in the US Navy until 2004-ish until they started to retire some of the older models and reduce the number of squadrons due to the fall of the iron curtain. They then update the electronics and sold them to the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and others, as well as move some over to Homeland Security to help with the drug interdiction flights in the Caribbean and around Panama. The planes are not the fastest in the sky, but they are dependable and could take a beating in the weather. Its the same frame and engine setup they use for Hurricane Hunters in the NOAA side, the Air Farce, , uses the C-130.

I figure if I can eliminate future issues by doing to quick maintenance now, then it is worth it to me. I do the same on my vehicles as well as my house, why not your bikes.
I think those on the extremes of the maintenance spectrum prolly don;t understand each other...
No, we don't. Especially when an airplane is used as an example of why preventive maintenance is a good idea. Bicycles don't fall out of the sky just because the chain skips, you know.

Last edited by atnyc; 10-09-21 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 10-09-21, 07:40 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
Bicycles don't fall out of the sky just because the chain skips, you know.
But if you are out of the saddle when it skips you can go down and hit the pavement.
To me, cleaning and maintaining my bike is part of the experience
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Old 10-09-21, 07:51 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
But if you are out of the saddle when it skips you can go down and hit the pavement.
To me, cleaning and maintaining my bike is part of the experience
How often are you out of the saddle?

Unless you're racing, and are sprinting out of the saddle in a pack, a skipped chain should not cause anyone to go down. Sure, you'll wobble a bit. But any competent rider will be able to recover.

The most often out of saddle for most people are climbing. But going uphill at 5mph, even a fall is no biggie.
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Old 10-09-21, 07:54 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
No, we don't. Especially when an airplane is used as an example of why preventive maintenance is a good idea. Bicycles don't fall out of the sky just because the chain skips, you know.
yea well, I understand that, it was more of an analogy of where my maintenance mentality comes from. Ok, a bike reference for you then. If it wasn't for me doing said PM, I would not have discovered that I had bad bottom bracket bearing on a fairly new bike. I would not expect that, but I went through 2 bearings on the drive side, so I ended up replacing the bottom bracket entirely to eliminate that issue in the future. So my bike will now not fall out of the sky.
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Old 10-09-21, 08:03 PM
  #62  
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I just found these excuses and justification for early chain/cassette replacement bordering old wife's tale. A holdover from days when bike components were flimsy and don't last.

Sure, if you enjoy tinkering, and the process of cleaning and maintaining the bike is part and parcel of the cycling experience for you, I totally understand. Do it as often as you want, you don't need any justification beyond just the "new chain day" whether the bike needs the chain or not.

There's a time I was obsessive about it too. But I'm a recovered bike-a-holic. I know the difference between the two. I reject the excuse for unnecessary maintenance work. I only do it when 1) I just feel like doing it! Or 2) it NEEDS to be done, As I no longer "feel like" doing it just for the heck of it frequently any more, I soon discovered the truth: it doesn't "need" to be done half as often as many would have us to believe!

Last edited by atnyc; 10-09-21 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 10-10-21, 05:40 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
But going uphill at 5mph, even a fall is no biggie.
You first, at my age I rather not hit the pavement.
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Old 10-10-21, 06:13 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
How often are you out of the saddle?

Unless you're racing, and are sprinting out of the saddle in a pack, a skipped chain should not cause anyone to go down. Sure, you'll wobble a bit. But any competent rider will be able to recover.

The most often out of saddle for most people are climbing. But going uphill at 5mph, even a fall is no biggie.
Commuting, riding in traffic and starting out when at stoplights when the light turns from red to green is another critical time for standing (for me). I had never worn out a chainring before and when I had chain slippage off the middle ring on my Ultegra 6603 triple crank I had no idea what was going on. It happened with a new (9 speed) chain. I was freaked out and blamed the chain. So I went with another brand of new 9 speed chain and it still did it. I eventually was able to diagnose that the 39 tooth triple specific ring was throwing the chain when under torque! When this would happen my foot would be at the top of the pedal stroke and completely give way making for several near accidents. I located a replacement middle chainring but shimano is no longer supporting ultegra or dura ace triples unfortunately. Turns out that the Taya 9 speed chain that was slipping so much is a really nice chain and the issue was the worn chainring.
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Old 10-10-21, 06:24 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
How often are you out of the saddle?
I ride fixed gear and singleseed and I spend a lot of time out of the saddle,
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Old 10-10-21, 06:27 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
I just found these excuses and justification for early chain/cassette replacement bordering old wife's tale.
I haven't seen any posts in this thread that show folks replacing parts "early." It seems most folks replace chains when they are worn to established limits and cassettes when they no longer work. I think you are getting agitated about some practice that doesn't actually exist.
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Old 10-10-21, 10:18 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Change your cassette when a new chain skips or otherwise acts up. Most people get two or three chains per cassette.
I'm always surprised when I read that people get two or three chains per cassette.
I keep my chain pretty clean and check it regularly for wear.
I get ~2,500 miles on a chain and change it at most a couple of hundred miles early.
This may seem like low mileage on a chain, but I ride a lot of hills & shift frequently.
I use a Sram PC Red22 on my 11-speed Sram Red drive train.
I'm at ~14,000 miles on a XG-1190 cassette, and it looks like it's new, no skipping or bad shifts whatsoever.
I switch to an Ultegra cassette for the fall/winter, and that's got t least 15,000 miles on it, and shifts as if it was new.

I figure that by changing the chain just before it's time, I use one extra chain over two seasons.
That costs me ~$40, but gets me thousands of more miles on each cassette.
So I pay ~20/yr to save $100's on cassettes.
This also saves $100's on chain rings.
Even if I change my chains far before needed, it still amount to short money over two years to save quite a bit on cassettes, chain rings & derailleur pulleys.
Aside from that, I don't have any degradation in shift quality.

Last edited by Dancing Skeleton; 10-10-21 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 10-10-21, 11:51 AM
  #68  
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Just curious if anyone has seen the lightweight steel cnc milled cassettes being marketed by Prestaflator? They claim to be as light as Dura Ace but much longer lasting.
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Old 10-10-21, 12:03 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
How often are you out of the saddle?

Unless you're racing, and are sprinting out of the saddle in a pack, a skipped chain should not cause anyone to go down. Sure, you'll wobble a bit. But any competent rider will be able to recover.

The most often out of saddle for most people are climbing. But going uphill at 5mph, even a fall is no biggie.
People break $hit falling at 0 mph
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Old 10-10-21, 12:35 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
You first, at my age I rather not hit the pavement.
Roger that! I reminded myself two months ago that Iím very allergic to hard falls on pavement. My hip, elbow, knee and ankle all seem to have a very unwelcome reaction to falling on hard pavement from riding out of the saddle, even at low speed. Very curious.

Otto
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Old 10-10-21, 12:48 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by atnyc View Post
How often are you out of the saddle?
Fairly often, including around others.

If everyone was casually neglecting their setups - not worrying about drivetrain slips because it usually doesn't cause a crash, or not worrying about bottle cages that sometimes launch bottles because it usually doesn't cause a crash, etc - the rate of serious problems in a group ride context would not be low.

Sure, you'll wobble a bit.
I'd rather not.

But going uphill at 5mph, even a fall is no biggie.
Depends on the landing. A road bike is a fairly high place to fall from, without good means of arrest. Low-speed crashes are often no big deal, but occasionally they break bones.
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Old 10-10-21, 02:57 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Dancing Skeleton View Post
I get ~2,500 miles on a chain and change it at most a couple of hundred miles early.
This may seem like low mileage on a chain, but I ride a lot of hills & shift frequently.
.
Actually, I'm curious on what the consensus is regarding shifting frequency, reliance on fewer rear cogs, or not shifting much at all, and how there's an impact on chain or cassette wear.
For example, a flatlander Floridian.. who, once they're up to speed and cruising their ride in a pretty narrow range, are they experiencing the longest chain life, but the shortest cassette life (less shifting, but most of the miles are spent in 1-2 of the rear cogs). OTOH, someone doing a lot of shifting, using a lot of gears -- does this mean more wear on chain, but much more even distribution of wear on the cassette's cogs?
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Old 10-10-21, 03:01 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Actually, I'm curious on what the consensus is regarding shifting frequency, reliance on fewer rear cogs, or not shifting much at all, and how there's an impact on chain or cassette wear.
For example, a flatlander Floridian.. who, once they're up to speed and cruising their ride in a pretty narrow range, are they experiencing the longest chain life, but the shortest cassette life (less shifting, but most of the miles are spent in 1-2 of the rear cogs). OTOH, someone doing a lot of shifting, using a lot of gears -- does this mean more wear on chain, but much more even distribution of wear on the cassette's cogs?
isn't it the rollers and bits they are mounted to that are wearing? If so then chain wear would be governed by miles and not shifting. No?
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Old 10-10-21, 03:07 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Just curious if anyone has seen the lightweight steel cnc milled cassettes being marketed by Prestaflator? They claim to be as light as Dura Ace but much longer lasting.
Yikes, 200 to 250 for a cassette...
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.







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Old 10-10-21, 03:09 PM
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Digger Goreman
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
Roger that! I reminded myself two months ago that Iím very allergic to hard falls on pavement. My hip, elbow, knee and ankle all seem to have a very unwelcome reaction to falling on hard pavement from riding out of the saddle, even at low speed. Very curious.

Otto
My last three falls (fortunately spread over eight years) have all been under 5 mph and shed a fair amount of skin and blood. The most recent one landed me face down in a shallow ditch. All my fault, but I got hugely lucky on the last one: A little less distance and likely massive damage on a sharp concrete edge. A little further and face first into a huge root. Slack maintenance and increase those chances? No thanks.

I am also reminded of my brother's childhood friend who fell at ~5 mph without helmet. TBI and disabled for life
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