/ Mountain bike chain life?

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How long do you expect your chain to last? (wet/mud/grit Peak conditions)

A certain geek of my acquaintance suggested I should have 3 chains on the go, rotating them every 200 miles, with an iphone app to remind me when to swap them over... and then replace all 3 chains + cassette at the same time once they stop working.

My first chain is already at 270 miles and the chain checker says it is at 0.75% wear, although to be fair I didn't try the chain checker when the chain was brand new, so I don't know how accurate it is.

How do you manage your bike chains? Thanks
jonnie3430 - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

I ride until it starts slipping (make sure the slipping is from wear, not poorly adjusted gears,) when heavily loaded (my chain wear indicator,) then change it. If the new one is slipping, then change the cassette and middle chain ring (takes ages for it to wear this much in my experience unless you have really light kit.) Your geek has a nice idea, but it is a faff (I used to be a geek at 13-17, but now just ride the bike.) Lightweight gear is more prone to wear so I run LX to stop having to replace stuff too often.
balmybaldwin - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

Depends a lot on useage, but as chains are the cheapest bit to replace, it works out cheaper to replace them more often than to lev it too late and have to replace cassettes, chainrings etc.

Another factor that makes a huge differnce is how often you clean your chain - if you do it straight after every ride, you'll extend the life of it by about a month.

Remember that Cassette and chain ring wear are minimal until the chain has stretched to the 0.75% mark, after that you start looking at an expensive repair bill, and running a new chain on worn components can also reduce the life of the new chain.

Sand is probably the worst thing for a chain, especially in the winter wet conditions, I would say 3 months use per chain in the winter (at 100 miles per month), closer to 6 months in the summer.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm changing my chain this week on a bike I bought at the end of August.
balmybaldwin - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Oh, and wrt the rotating thing, some say it's a good idea, but probably not essential, just make sure you change it regularly and before it gets to teh .75% mark

(so change yours now!)
ChrisJD on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

> A certain geek of my acquaintance suggested I should have 3 chains on the go, rotating them every 200 miles, with an iphone app to remind me when to swap them over... and then replace all 3 chains + cassette at the same time once they stop working.


Changing your acquaintance will be cheaper and easier
ebygomm - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

My bike is 5 years old, I've had two new chains and one new cassette in that time. I replace when they start to slip.

Chris the Tall - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

> A certain geek of my acquaintance suggested I should have 3 chains on the go, rotating them every 200 miles, with an iphone app to remind me when to swap them over... and then replace all 3 chains + cassette at the same time once they stop working.

Hey, that's sounds almost exactly like what I do.....

Oh, i see.....

For those who think it's a faff I'd say it's pretty easy once you get the hang of powerlinks and powerlocks (which you have will probably depend on whether you have a 9 or 10 speed). However my way of doing it doesn't appear in any videos on YouTube, and is a bit hard to describe - basically involves putting the chain on the outer ring, rucking it up by one cog so you've got a point where the powerlock is and tapping it gently with a small hammer. Powerlinks can sometimes be done by hand, but this technique works if they are stubborn

Oh, and maybe only applies to SRAM chains.

Anyway, works for me and seeing as you are probably going for the platinum coated, hand crafted titanium chains, it will save you money in the long term
Orgsm on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

I get about 2500 miles out of a mtb chain. Wipe down / clean after each ride. Unless using power links don't keep taking chains on and off as it will drastically weaken that link before the chain is due to be replaced. At 0.75% I'd replace then cassette or chain rings shouldn't need doing. At 270 miles that not very far, but if riding in Peak during wet days a gritstone paste can go through components in no time...d
Chris the Tall - on 12 Nov 2012
In reply to A Game of Chance:
> (In reply to Nick Smith - UKC)
>
> Wipe down / clean after each ride.

This is pretty good, seems to work as well as the tools
http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/fenwicks-chain-cleaning-item188339.html

>Unless using power links don't keep taking chains on and off as it will drastically weaken that link before the chain is due to be replaced.

My advise to Nick was based on the assumption that all chains came with powerlinks or powerlocks these days. I wouldn't use one that doesn't. I also carry a couple of spares to fix a broken chain (only happened to me once).

Bimbler - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html Article on reliable chain wear tools are.
Epic Ebdon - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

Do you have 8, 9 or 10 speed? With 10 speed, I'd say you're about getting to the point where it needs changing, with 8 speed you've probably got a few more rides in it yet.

Changing your chain more often is the safer option - I wouldn't leave it until it starts slipping under load, particularly if you've got a relatively high value groupset on it, but on the other hand, I think 3 chains is excessive - put it's personal preference where you draw the line. Why doesn't your friend have 5, or 10 and rotate them? On the other side, if you change the chain now, then you will have an old chain that's not totally knackered, ready for when you need a couple of spare links at some point.

Tim
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC: Thanks for all the advice from everyone. My chain is a SRAM 10 speed. I've got a new one on order, so it will be interesting to see what the chain checker says about it.

Cheers
Chris the Tall - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:
Give it a good clean and light oil before you remove it, then pop it in a bag marked Chain 1
Rollo - on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC:

Can always use a ruler if you don't trust your chain checker!!
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Horatio on 13 Nov 2012
In reply to Nick Smith - UKC: Probably not much use to you Nick but I recently switched from 9 to 8spd, it's got bigger shifting tolerance, lasts longer and costs about 30 quid for a new cassette and chain. I think these 10spd systems are only really worth it for racing, being of a frugal nature I don't bother with all this lightweight drive train stuff on either bike. An 11-32 cassette with a 28-36 gives me all the range I need and has the same gaps as most 10spd cassettes fitted.

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