Transmission life

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
neilob
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Transmission life

Postby neilob » 17 Jun 2008, 3:47pm

Now an old fxxt I ain't, but I started cycling about 40yrs ago. Since then I have adopted the principle of changing my chain every year or so, of course oiling and cleaning it regularly. I don't really remember ever throwing away a freewheel, probably I just changed for new ratios but they seemed to last for ever. Last week I went to my LBS who advised me that chains have a life of 1000 miles and cassettes 3000 miles. Is this advice commercial (ie sell more) or are modern chains/cassettes so much less durable? I don't want to be a cynic but sometimes you can't help it!!

fatboy
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Postby fatboy » 17 Jun 2008, 3:57pm

I read this in Matt Seaton's book and it's not really based on anything. I also raised it on here and it led to a long and lively debate!

If you keep your chain clean and well lubed it should last lots of miles. So long as you chain is changed before it wears out too much then the rest will last for lots of miles. If however you let your chain get too worn out when you change it the rear gear block/cassette will also need changing.

I haven't checked my chain recently but I've done 3500 miles on it (in just over one year). I haven't been great at cleaning it so I suspect that it may be on the way out. Chain life is drastically shortened by letting it get too dirty. Grit can work as grinding paste if you're not careful. Chains don't stretch but each joint/bushing wears. The effect is that the chain is longer than it should be.

Whatever you do, when you change your chain get one with a link that allows you to separate the chain without needing tools. Makes cleaning stuff so much easier.
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

byegad
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Re: Transmission life

Postby byegad » 17 Jun 2008, 3:59pm

neilob wrote:Now an old fxxt I ain't, but I started cycling about 40yrs ago. Since then I have adopted the principle of changing my chain every year or so, of course oiling and cleaning it regularly. I don't really remember ever throwing away a freewheel, probably I just changed for new ratios but they seemed to last for ever. Last week I went to my LBS who advised me that chains have a life of 1000 miles and cassettes 3000 miles. Is this advice commercial (ie sell more) or are modern chains/cassettes so much less durable? I don't want to be a cynic but sometimes you can't help it!!


Of course it's commercial twaddle.

My tourer gets a chain a year as that's easier than all that cleaning and is still on the original casstte and chainrings. It's done over 9000 miles in three years use and the change is a crisp as it was when new. No sign of wear on any component and as for a chain lasting 1000 miles, <exletive deleted>!

pigman
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Postby pigman » 17 Jun 2008, 4:01pm

yeah, you need a new one like they say. And dont forget the new frame, wheels etc.

Oh look! There goes Mr. Shimano in his gold plated Rolls royce..

pioneer
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Postby pioneer » 17 Jun 2008, 7:09pm

It wouldn't have been the proverbial spotty-youth who with many years of cycle experience behind him passed on this advice would it?

Chains,only a thousand miles? What are they made of,spaghetti? :wink:

hamster
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Postby hamster » 17 Jun 2008, 7:40pm

I can believe it on 10 speed setups. But it does depend on weather, road conditions, lubrication etc. I use a chain checker and swap the chain when it's too worn...3000 miles out of a Campag 9s ridden all winter. But at least it saved replacing the cassette.

Modern narrower chains do seem to last less - I think it's a combination of more sideways bending (for more gears) and narrower load bearing surfaces.

Use a chain checker.

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lauriematt
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Re: Transmission life

Postby lauriematt » 17 Jun 2008, 8:11pm

neilob wrote:Now an old fxxt I ain't, but I started cycling about 40yrs ago. Since then I have adopted the principle of changing my chain every year or so, of course oiling and cleaning it regularly. I don't really remember ever throwing away a freewheel, probably I just changed for new ratios but they seemed to last for ever. Last week I went to my LBS who advised me that chains have a life of 1000 miles and cassettes 3000 miles. Is this advice commercial (ie sell more) or are modern chains/cassettes so much less durable? I don't want to be a cynic but sometimes you can't help it!!


i recently replaced my chain after two years hard use...alot more than 1000miles. it was very worn...my lbs recommended replacing the cassette too...so that they would both run well together.

in my opinion the cassette didnt look too worn...but i went with the shops recomendation and replaced it anyway!

if a chain only lasts 1000miles...i would need to change mine every 10weeks!!! which seems a little extreme...5 chains a year?!?!?!?!
WHAT DOESNT KILL YOU .... CAN ONLY MAKE YOU STRONGER

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gaz
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Postby gaz » 17 Jun 2008, 8:31pm

I don't spend time on a regular chain cleaning and maintenance routine. It gets whatever oil I've got lying aroung the garage when it sounds a bit dry.

Back when I was mile-eating I expected 3-5000 miles from a chain and about double that from a freewheel.
Missing, presumed fed.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 17 Jun 2008, 8:51pm

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Keep things clean and lubricated with a PROPER chain lubricant, and the transmission will last for 5 to 7 thousand miles easily. No problem.

But the thing is, it has to be kept CLEAN and LUBRICATED properly. If you ride in harsh conditions, the work involved to keep everything clean and lubricated can be high. We hear of people changing stuff after 1000 miles or so because it's easier and cheaper than to spend time and effort on the maintenance of the transmission.

Time costs.
Mick F. Cornwall

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7_lives_left
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Postby 7_lives_left » 17 Jun 2008, 9:19pm

Cassettes and chain rings are expensive. Chains tend to be cheap by comparison. It's a false economy to run a chain into the ground if it damages the expensive components in the process.

This has probably been proposed before, but here is a strawman for people to pull apart. A chain ring has a lifetime of about 3 cassettes. A cassette has a life time of about 3 chains. So you go down to the LBS and buy 1 chain ring, 3 cassettes, 9 chains. Once a month you swap in a fresh cassette and chain from your pile of bits and clean the dirty ones at your leisure, then return them to the pile. After X years, all the bits in the pile will have become equally worn out, so you throw the whole lot out, visit the LSB and start again.

Practical? Convenient? Raving? Are the numbers in the right ball park?

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 17 Jun 2008, 9:24pm

7_lives_left wrote:Practical? Convenient? Raving? Are the numbers in the right ball park?


Yes.
Yes.
Yes.
Yes.

It's the time-scale/mileage that is the variable.
Mick F. Cornwall

workhard

Postby workhard » 17 Jun 2008, 9:52pm

pioneer wrote:It wouldn't have been the proverbial spotty-youth who with many years of cycle experience behind him passed on this advice would it?

Chains,only a thousand miles? What are they made of,spaghetti? :wink:


If spotty youth is used to MTB's then he is probably right - a thousand miles? In my dreams.

PW
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Postby PW » 17 Jun 2008, 10:03pm

I post this every time, but here goes...
A chain when new has the pins at 1/2" centres. As it wears the chain elongates. When a nominal foot length measures 12 1/16" bin the chain and the cassette will be undamaged. Go beyond that measurement and the new chain will skip on the old cogs. If the foot length measures over by 1/8" then the chainrings start to wear and that's when things get expensive..
How long the chain takes to elongate depends on where you ride, how clean you keep it, how often you lubricate it - though what the lubricant is apparently makes no difference when I've carried out experiments. I've run one on silicone furniture polish with no apparent increase in wear.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

stevew
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Postby stevew » 18 Jun 2008, 4:43pm

One of those little chain wear checkers is a really worth-while investment.

http://www.parktool.com/products/detail ... tem=CC%2D3
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byegad
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Postby byegad » 18 Jun 2008, 4:47pm

I use the Park tool and it has saved me from swapping my chain too often. I do swap at 0.75% rather than 1%, but it's nice to know it's worn out and I'm not wasting my money.