Replace chain after 1,000 miles?



li rider

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Oct 11, 2004
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March issue of Bicycling magazine, in the cue sheet article, recommends replacing your chain if it has gone more than 1,000 miles.

Is this standard maintenance on a road bike?
 
You don't need to replace a chain unless it's stretched more than 1/8" over twelve links. For most people this is going to take well over five thousand miles. Throwing out chains based on an arbitrary mileage estimate is a waste of time and money.
 
li rider said:
March issue of Bicycling magazine, in the cue sheet article, recommends replacing your chain if it has gone more than 1,000 miles.

Is this standard maintenance on a road bike?

Artmichalek is correct but the main problem is most people don't bother to check their chain. In some environements like dusty ones there is more chain wear, so, as a rule of thumb it is not too bad an idea. Chains are inexpensive compared to cassettes and chainrings. The danger in letting things go too long is that the tooth profile will be so worn on the cassette or chainring that when you do change your chain you immediately begin to experience chain skipping. Better to be conservative and get the chain replaced at a thousand miles. This applies if you are the type that has no clue why you would ever need to change your chain.
 
Yeah, if you get free chains from Shimano of course your should have them replaced every 1000 miles (by your pro team wrench). Now for the rest of us poor roadies, just measure it for where and toss it when it exceeeds specified length. New cassette with old chain may effect shifting. Simply wearing out should not effect shifting as everything will wear together (that's the point to replace before it gets too worn so it doesn't trash your cassette and rings).
 
Shifting,
cable stretch is more likely to be a problem in near new bikes. Also FD Low and RD High limit screws may need a tweak, I have seen this on a lot of flat bar road bikes.

Chains, has anyone turned their chain over on a regular basis? It seems to me the nice sharp top edges of the side plates may be open to less wear and better shifting if swapped around once in a while, just food for thought.
 
li rider said:
March issue of Bicycling magazine, in the cue sheet article, recommends replacing your chain if it has gone more than 1,000 miles.

Is this standard maintenance on a road bike?
I noted that lame advice in Bicycling Mag also. What a waste of resources and money. Makes about as much sense as replacing tires every 1000 miles, or brake pads, regardless of whether they are worn or not.

Chains can be checked with a ruler easily. Since they are all 1/2" pitch links, 24 links will measure exactly 12" pin-to-pin on a new chain. Industry recommendations I've read say to replace the chain when you measure between 1/16" and 1/8" of "stretch" over this 12" distance (0.5-1% wear). Even with 1% wear, you're not going to hurt the chainrings or cogs.

Or, just buy a $9 Park CC-3 gauge, and drop it on the chain whenever you are re-lubing it. Takes about 10 seconds to check this way, much quicker than the time it takes to inspect your tires for wear, cuts, punctures. I keep mine right next to the bottle of chainlube so it's easy to remember.

I got 6000 miles from my last PC-99 chain before the 0.75% wear side of the gauge dropped in, so buying a new chain every 1000 miles would be a total waste.
 
dhk said:
Even with 1% wear, you're not going to hurt the chainrings or cogs.

Or, just buy a $9 Park CC-3 gauge, and drop it on the chain whenever you are re-lubing it. Takes about 10 seconds to check this way, much quicker than the time it takes to inspect your tires for wear, cuts, punctures. I keep mine right next to the bottle of chainlube so it's easy to remember.
Totally agree, the $9 park cc-3 gauge is the best way to tell if the chain needs to be changed. I check mine at least once a month. If you are riding 1000miles every 2 years it might be a good idea but if you are riding 3K+ per year it would get expensive to change the chain every 1Kmiles. Buy the tool and check the wear.
 
Also keep in mind that if you take care of your drive-train ... the moving parts should wear longer. Every 30-35 miles I completely wipe down my chain(top/bottom/sides) and re-lube with Pedros Ice Wax. Not to mention, cleaning front rings / and cassette every so often(about once every-other month).

Yeah, the 1K mile limit is a bunch of bull-honky.
Isnt there supporting evidence that 10-speed chains do wear FASTER then say a 9-speed chain ? I've also heard that 8-speed chains have been known to go.. and go .... and go.... last a very long time. More narrow = less durability - right :confused: ;)
 
Adam-from-SLO said:
Yeah, the 1K mile limit is a bunch of bull-honky.
Isnt there supporting evidence that 10-speed chains do wear FASTER then say a 9-speed chain ? I've also heard that 8-speed chains have been known to go.. and go .... and go.... last a very long time. More narrow = less durability - right :confused: ;)
I haven't seen any tests, but qualitatively this may be true. The only thing that's been done to make the newer chains narrower is making the plates thinner. While the manufacturers have probably been using higher strength steel to compensate, the overall strength has probably been somewhat compromised. It still doesn't justify an arbitrary replacement mileage.
 
If 10sp. chains are wearing faster than 9sp chains, then no one has told my Campy C10. Every 100 miles or so, mine gets wiped down and has oil drizzled over it.

FWIW, I think someone being unable to do basic drivetrain care on a bike--like wiping down a chain and oiling it--is like a car owner not being able to keep his tires inflated or is unable to check his oil. An LBS ought to be able to show this stuff to newbies.

As some others have said, replacing a chain every 1000 miles just "because" is resource stupid and irresponsible.
 
dhk said:
I got 6000 miles from my last PC-99 chain before the 0.75% wear side of the gauge dropped in, so buying a new chain every 1000 miles would be a total waste.

I wish I new what your routine was because I must be doing something wrong. I only got 7,000 Km from an entire drivetrain and 2 chains and now I need a third chain after 3,000 Km on the replaced drivetrain!
 
Steve22 said:
I wish I new what your routine was because I must be doing something wrong. I only got 7,000 Km from an entire drivetrain and 2 chains and now I need a third chain after 3,000 Km on the replaced drivetrain!

I've got over 5000 miles on my C10, with plenty of life left in it.
 
Steve22 said:
I wish I new what your routine was because I must be doing something wrong. I only got 7,000 Km from an entire drivetrain and 2 chains and now I need a third chain after 3,000 Km on the replaced drivetrain!

What components are you using... , and what conditions are you riding in ?
 
Mine: 105 9spd chain, >8000km, <<1/16"/foot wear, relubricated whenever I start to hear it rattling a bit (~monthly), often ridden in the rain.
1000miles/1610km?? What a crock!!!!!
 
artemidorus said:
Just a thought - would mashers wear faster than spinners?

Sure would. There's a direct analogue in the motorcycle world: when Suzuki started racing the TL1000R motorcycles (a two cylinder engine....so this is like a masher on a bicycle) they started snapping chains that the 4 cylinder guys (like spinners on a bike) were using just fine.
 
artemidorus said:
Just a thought - would mashers wear faster than spinners?
Yup. And the same person riding in flats all the time versus daily 15% grades will make all the difference in the world too.;)
 
Steve22 said:
I wish I new what your routine was because I must be doing something wrong. I only got 7,000 Km from an entire drivetrain and 2 chains and now I need a third chain after 3,000 Km on the replaced drivetrain!

Chain is PC-99 SRAM, drivetrain is FSA rings, DA cogs. My routine is simply to wipe down the chain with a rag when it looks dirty, and relube about every 100 miles. Using Finish Line w/teflon, one small drop per bushing, the 4 oz bottle lasted the entire life of the chain...6000 miles. Tried the Finish Line Krylon, but that's wax-based, not my favorite as it's stiff in winter. Just got a bottle of ProLink which I like much better.

Did use a chaincleaner machine a few times when I wanted the chain to look shiny for big events, but I don't believe that adds anything to the life. My theory is that regular lube, applied correctly to the bushings will force the old lube out the sideplates where it can be wiped off easily. Harsh cleaning (eg, soaking in solvent) is risky business, IMO, unless it's done 100%.

10-15% hills are all over here; one leads up to my house so it's a daily climb. The triple drivetrain on the new bike may help, since I no longer need to stand and grind on every steep climb. Not really sure how loads affect a properly-lubed chain, ie, if there is any metal-to-metal contact.
 
li rider said:
March issue of Bicycling magazine, in the cue sheet article, recommends replacing your chain if it has gone more than 1,000 miles.

Is this standard maintenance on a road bike?


How long a chain will last depends on the quality of the chain.

eg: a low quality shimano will last 1500 miles, while a high quality will last 7000 miles.

It aslo depends on how well the chain is cared for.
 

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