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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    New chain - new cassette - and new tools?? ad infinitum???

    Hey guys

    I am a sad noob with low end stuff. Please don't tell my to just go buy Saint stuff

    Just to set the scene, I do most of my tough going on the fire trails in Lane Cove Park. Mostly dusty, sandy and small rocks. Buggers keep pouring cement on the good downhills. Often, even after a week of leaving off after heavy rain, there is some isolated wet/muddy stuff to spray through. Overall, gritty, nasty stuff for chain drives.

    PART 1 Do you need a new cassette with a new chain?
    Original gear: KMC Z-51. 1/2"x 3/16" 116 links
    Got myself a new chain (Shimano Hyperglide CN-HG70) and after doing a couple of very short test rides noticed that it seemed to be 'missing' when I put a bit of power on, eg on an uphill. Was a bit dark, so I couldn't work out exactly where the 'clang'/slip was coming from, though I suspect the rear end. There are serious hills where I am, and I couldn't ride the bike as it is now. It would be call the ambalance

    I've been reading some stuff and it seems that some/most people suggest changing the rear cassette with a new chain. Others say that's rubbish and just give it a couple of rides for them to get 'used' to each other. The cassette I have is a SRAM PG730 12-32T 7speed. Rear derailleur has always shifted perfectly, though I haven't adjusted it since the new chain was installed.


    PART 2 Options and tools
    Researching into some new cassettes, seems like I'm pretty limited with a 7 speed. Who'd a thunk it? I'm basically limited to:
    * SRAM PG730 12-32T
    *Shimano HG50 have several Ts 12-21T OR 12-28T, 13-30T or 13-34T. Damn, that's short! 12-28 or 13-30 probably best.
    *Shimano HG30 11-28T $
    *Shimano CS-HG41 11-28T.
    Personally I'd prefer a longer gear than the current 12T as I run out of puff at about 40-odd km/h.

    I'm not even sure that I could use the chain I just bought with a new PG730 (assuming my existing cassette is the problem).

    What I am concerned about is that if I buy a shimano cassette, I have to pay out for a shimano cassette tool as well. I dunno about the SRAM cassette and tools, or if there are any other alternatives.

    This is turning into a major bugbear of mine. There is vendor lock-in coming in. Eg, I buy a BRANDX chain, and have to buy BRANDX cassette. Then I need BRANDX shifter and BRANDX derailleur. And I need BRANDX tool to bloody install and remove each one of BRANDX parts. It pisses me off no end. When I had an old crappy road bike I paid bugger all for, all I needed was standard tools that EVERYONE had in their shed. I didn't have to buy special tools for each and every part. I realise I am putting my MTB thru a hell of a lot more, but the parts are still fundamentally the same!

    I am feeling that I am paying way more in tools than in the parts for the bike and it just feels so wrong! Any advice welcome!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Get some Sai...oh

    About the argument of chain only or chain and cassette. I'm on the page of chain, cassette, AND rings (at least your most commonly used ones...small and mid?).
    The drive train functions as a system and each part beds into the other. Screw up one part, the whole system is affected. You know those old timey machines w/ more gears than bolts...mess w/ one of those elements and see what happens to the whole machine. You can get away w/ just the chain after putting up w/ the skipping for a bit, but all you're doing is damaging the new chain (and maybe earning a new scar or three on your shins when your feet slip off the pedals from one of those skips).
    As for the tools, is it a freewheel or something else? Cause if memory serves me correctly, the spline tool for the cassette lock ring hasn't changed in yeeeeeeears! You'll also need a chain whip and an adjustable wrench for the spline tool.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by db_Is_Me View Post
    Hey guys

    ...I haven't adjusted it since the new chain was installed.


    Before buying anything else, I would sugggest you confirm that all adjustments are correct. New parts won't help poorly adjusted set-up.
    I was gonna stop by and see you, but the Jehovas witnesses came by. When they left I started drinking. Voicemail from Paul

  4. #4
    Picture Unrelated
    Reputation: zebrahum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    If you regularly check your chain for stretch and you replace it before it gets stretched then you can usually get a couple chains through a cassette and chainrings. If you run the chain to the point of being stretched then you must change them as a whole (except the big ring, you almost never need to change that thing).

    You can run any chain (except maybe Campy, not that you would use that) on any cassette provided it is the correct speed spacing (i.e. if you have a 9 speed shifter you run 9 speed chains). I typically get Shimano cassettes (for no apparent reason other than they're readily available at my shop) and run Sram chains (like their quick links) with Shimano rings (it's a Shimano crank, they came with it). Other bikes I have KMC chain running on a Shimano cassette with a Salsa single front chainring (actually a 9spd chain running on a 8 speed cassette), Sram chain on Salsa ring with a White Bros freewheel... you probably get the idea.

    Some companies make parts that you'll like better in certain parts of your drivetrain. Don't be afraid to try them out just because the names don't match.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fireball_jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I don't know that I would go through the effort of replacing a 7-speed cassette unless it was replacing it with a single speed. As for doing the whole kit at once, I think you have to assess where the cost is. If you're replacing a $15 chain and it wears a bit faster because the gears are old, no big deal. If you're going to slap on a $400 crank, yeah, maybe you want to minimize wear as much as possible so you get a new cassette and chain at the same time.

    Most of the time though, moderate wear on any of the components won't mess up the functionality of the drivetrain. Did you install the new chain yourself? It sounds like one of the pins isn't seated correctly and the chain is binding. That will often go unnoticed until you put some pressure on the drivetrain. If you turn the system you would notice the chain hop over the rear pulleys.

  6. #6
    Reputation: pimpbot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Depends on how worn it is. If you let the chain wear too much, you'll have to replace it with the cassette, and maybe rings.

    Like the other poster said, I do a few chains before needing to replace the cassette or rings. Then again, since I stopped using SRAM chains, I've been getting a few seasons out of a chain.... probalby around 600-800 miles before it hits the wear limit.

    XTR chains with SRAM Powerlink is the bomb setup. Stuff lasts for frickin evar when used with DuMonde Tech lube and don't clean it with degreasers. Heck, I stopped cleaning my chain, and they last twice as long. I just rag it off and relube it. The Deore level or LX/105 level chains can be had in 8 speed, which is the same as 7.

    If your drivetrain is worn enough for the chain to skip, it probably needs a new cassette as well... .assuming it is skipping because of wear, and not because its misadjusted.

    And remember to keep your chain well lubed. If you hear your chain making that 'chain sound' at all, it means the lube has failed and the parts are rubbing metal to metal... the lube is no longer has enough film strength to keep them apart. If the chain is making noise when well lubed, something is worn out. I love thick sticky lubes. Who cares if your chain is dirty on the outside. Doesn't effect anything.

    7speed, eh?

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: KAZU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    I had this problem and decided to fix it this week. Months of riding with the gears jumping and adjusting every time I went out. I had money to blow so I bought everything. I suspected the chain so I started there.

    Since I was in the mood I decided to clean everything too. Just the chain and the cleaning solved it.

    I work on cars a lot and generally you start with the easiest fix and go from there 9 times out of 10 it's the easy stuff. .

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Thanks for help/advice guys.

    Ended up buying an Icetoolz Essential Tool Kit. Seems to have the things I need... at least so far. And it was on special and less than double what I had been told it would cost for JUST a cassette tool!! Sold!

    Picked up a replacement PG730 cassette. Not so easy to find 7spd stuff . Installed and it's working great! Didn't even need to adjust the rear derailleur So seems like for me, it turned out to be the chain/cassette combo.

    Woohoo!! I think I have a bike again! Really looking forward to getting out and having a proper ride!


  9. #9
    Movin' to Montana soon
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    What is that cassette tool made of,gold?I just bought one yesterday for 7 dollars.

    I'm doing all this for the first time too,hope you get your bike going soon.

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