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Thread: Chain wear

  1. #1
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    Chain wear

    Hi guys,

    Recently Ive been noticing increasing chain noise & it its getting worse. Basically I can hear the chain going around all the time & it sounds like grit is in there.
    If I clean the drive chain & oil it, it sounds pretty smooth for about 10 mins, but the gritty sounds will come back soon enough.
    Ive noticed some clunks & slip sounds too, especially after coasting for a while & then peddling again I get a clunk or creak.

    (The indexing should be fine, Ive checked carefully & it seems optimal. I get noticeable chain catch if I adjust it too far in either direction from the current. I dont have any chain clicks from bad indexing right now in any gear.
    I understand 1x11 is more likely to rub in some gears, but im posting because the sounds & feeling im getting is much more than ive been used to for the past 10 months or so)

    I ride on the road most of the time, so its not as if the drive chain is actually dirty. Although it is super hot here right now. (30º~35º)

    I measured the chain links & it seems perfect with no stretch (25.4 cm / 10 inches exactly)

    I was thinking to buy a new chain & I understand I should replace the chain ring too in this case. Do you think it looks worn? I don't think so.

    The trouble is it seems 32T RF direct is totally sold out & may never be back, so I could move to 34T... hmm (27.5 11-speed)

    The noise is kind of annoying the hell out of me, so I want to resolve it.

    Many thanks for your advice.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chain wear-img_3283.jpg  

    Chain wear-img_3284.jpg  

    Chain wear-img_3285.jpg  

    Chain wear-img_3286.jpg  


  2. #2
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    Buy a chain wear checker or go to your lbs and get them to measure it. Using a ruler isn't very accurate. I'm guessing your chain is worn out but I'd also check the jockey wheels and make sure they're tight and clean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by warpdatframe View Post
    but I'd also check the jockey wheels and make sure they're tight and clean.
    Thats interesting because my feeling was that is where the noise is coming from, but.. its hard to be sure of course.
    Are jockey wheels something that wears out more often?

    SO. I removed, cleaned & re-greased the jockys.
    One of them had a lot of dark brown rusty grindy stuff in there. it wasnt rust because it cleaned up nice & shiny, but anyway.
    After riding in the street ~ it may have improved it a bit, but there is still gritty noise. So cant be sure until I ride it again properly.

  4. #4
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    You have wear on some of your cluster gear teeth and on the chainring. I'd replace them and the chain. I have had to replace the outer jockey wheel from wear. Also check that your hub bearings and pawls are working smoothly. Take off the wheel and move the hub off the bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by warpdatframe View Post
    Buy a chain wear checker or go to your lbs and get them to measure it.

    actually a ruler is a very accurate way to measure a chain.

    Cassette looks good to me, how many miles on it? The chainring looks a little worn but not too bad. What's your clean/lube method?

    If it were me I'd probably just replace the chain and see how it rolls on the cassette and ring.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You have wear on some of your cluster gear teeth and on the chainring. I'd replace them and the chain. I have had to replace the outer jockey wheel from wear. Also check that your hub bearings and pawls are working smoothly. Take off the wheel and move the hub off the bike.
    Whatchyatalkinbouteb1888, that drivetrain looks near pristine; if anything it's too new. An easy way to tell if the cassette is starting to wear is that the load-bearing side of the teeth start developing flanges as the metal plastically deforms rather than grinds away. I can see no evidence of this, but what I can see a little of is a few rough burrs that are remnants of the cog stamping-out process during manufacturing. These will cause a bit of noise and rough shifting until they get worn down. Cure: go out and ride.

    I'm not convinced of the effectiveness of chain checking tools for reasons too tedious to go into (some are better than others, that's for sure) and a rule isn't really suitable for accurate checking. I like to use a digital caliper - even a cheap $20 one should be good enough. For a 11-speed chain the max chain stretch spec is +0.5%, so set your caliper for 10.05" (or 255.27 mm) and measure 10 links of the chain when it's under a little bit of tension. Over 10 links there's only 1/20" (1.27 mm) between a new chain and a +0.5%-worn chain so best to measure pin-to-pin as there's not much margin for error.

    As to odd clunks etc., I reckon hanger alignment and cable stickiness would be good areas to investigate first. If they're OK then B-limit screw adjustment and RD bearing slop would be next to look into. It doesn't take much deviation from the ideal to throw out an 11-speed setup.
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  7. #7
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    The only odd thing about the OP's description is the fact that it goes away, and comes back so quickly.

    If the noise is rhythmic, I'd have a look at the master link if you have one. Sometimes an ill-fitting quick link is just enough to introduce noise, and enough lube can hide it for a bit. Just one idea of many good ones here.

    @OP - Please post back if/when you find a fix. I hate when these threads die without any kind of resolution.

  8. #8
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    Wow...that's one pristine chain/drive setup! Mine only looks like that during installation day.

    Hard to tell visually if chain is toast but the cassette and chainring look fine to me. How many miles on the drivetrain?

    I would just try a chain and see if that helps. Also good advice by Grassington to check hangar alignment.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    The only odd thing about the OP's description is the fact that it goes away, and comes back so quickly.
    Yeah that's what I thought too. Like Grassington said the chain almost looks too clean, maybe not enough lube?
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  10. #10
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    I would say about 3000km+, (about 2000 miles)
    Ive cleaned it quite religiously. chain run through a de-greaser bath a few times a week. Soapy water & brush to clean off. Dry off water, & apply 1 chain rotation of lube. run through a rag. Try to make sure its not wet with lube, just lightly coated.
    Almost always ridden on road, a few farm tracks. Lots of steep hills.

    Im thinking it shouldnt be too bad because ive never ridden trails. Unfortunately its not possible where I live.

    I converted to tubeless about a month or so ago & after that i noticed more noise. I wondered if somehow it was caused by removing/replacing the wheel. but i dont see how. could be co-incidence.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riquez View Post
    I would say about 3000km+, (about 2000 miles)

    No matter how good you took care of it or what the measurement is that's a lot of miles for a chain. I would replace it yesterday, hopefully it will run smooth on the cogs but you'll know one way or the other right away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by phlegm View Post
    If the noise is rhythmic, I'd have a look at the master link if you have one. Sometimes an ill-fitting quick link is just enough to introduce noise, and enough lube can hide it for a bit. Just one idea of many good ones here.
    Its not rhythmic, its continuous. To me it sounds just like a rough chain going around, like sand in the chain or something like that. I would say it sounds like its coming from the rear mech area more than the chainring.
    When I pedal slowly it seems almost fine, no noise, but as soon as i start to pedal faster (in any gear) the gritty noise increases.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riquez View Post
    Ive cleaned it quite religiously. chain run through a de-greaser bath a few times a week. Soapy water & brush to clean off.
    That sounds very excessive and possibly the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    No matter how good you took care of it or what the measurement is that's a lot of miles for a chain. I would replace it yesterday, hopefully it will run smooth on the cogs but you'll know one way or the other right away.
    oh ok! I wasnt sure. Thanks.
    I can order one from amazon & have it in a few days.
    I was thinking the KMC x11 super light. The one I have now is the regular X11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    That sounds very excessive and possibly the problem.
    Could be. Some of the (top) videos on youtube say do it after every ride, others say once a month & run it though a rag only. Theres a lot of conflicting advice i notice on many topics. Im often not sure which is correct.
    Although, saying that the chain has been noise free for 8 months & only recently started getting noisy.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riquez View Post
    Could be. Some of the (top) videos on youtube say do it after every ride, others say once a month & run it though a rag only. Theres a lot of conflicting advice i notice on many topics. Im often not sure which is correct.

    There is a lot of conflicting advice and honestly I don't think there's any one "right" way to do it. I like a clean chain and hate any type of drivetrain noise or friction so I wipe down my chain pretty much every ride. I never remove it though and never soak it in degreaser, just a rag with a little isopropyl alcohol on it and follow up with lube, then wipe down with clean rag. Soaking in degreaser can leave a chain gritty feeling IME.

    Anyway I think the main problem is just too many miles, chains are relatively cheap and keeping them fresh makes a huge difference.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riquez View Post
    oh ok! I wasnt sure. Thanks.
    I can order one from amazon & have it in a few days.
    I was thinking the KMC x11 super light. The one I have now is the regular X11.
    https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/produ...-HG701-11.html
    The Sil-Tec coating reduces chain maintenance for me. It lasts.

  18. #18
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    Thank you everyone for your great advice.

    I ordered a new chain KMC X11EL (mid range one)

    I think I will chill-out on my cleaning efforts now :-)
    oh, when I said "bath" I meant the little hand held device, not removing the chain. but still, probably doing it too much.

  19. #19
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    I see you have a new chain on the way. Ditch the chain degreaser in favor of a dry rag and see how that works over the life of the chain.

  20. #20
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    Yeah. You want lube inside the chain. Excessive washing and degreasing it is likely removing the lube where you need it. And water and detergent in a chain instead of lube is especially bad. Apply lube liberally so it can wick into the links while turning the cranks backward a bunch of times. Then wipe off the external excess lube. I basically never clean my chains except of wiping off the excess lube and external gunk with it.
    Do the math.

  21. #21
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    If you aren't, allow the lube a few minutes to seep in before you wipe it down.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riquez View Post
    I would say about 3000km+, (about 2000 miles)
    Ive cleaned it quite religiously. chain run through a de-greaser bath a few times a week. Soapy water & brush to clean off. Dry off water, & apply 1 chain rotation of lube. run through a rag. Try to make sure its not wet with lube, just lightly coated.
    Almost always ridden on road, a few farm tracks. Lots of steep hills.

    Im thinking it shouldnt be too bad because ive never ridden trails. Unfortunately its not possible where I live.
    As others have written, at 3k kms, it's time for a new chain any way. I like the full nickel plated KMC chains too -- they clean up nicely, don't rust and last a long time.

    I'm kind of a fanatical chain cleaning guy too, but a few times a week is too much cleaning - especially for road riding. Maybe there's rust on the inside of the rollers making the noise.

    My personal routine is to re-lube and wipe every 100kms or so of trail riding, and clean about every 2 weeks... conditions dependent of course.
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  23. #23
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    I stepped up to the Shimano SIL-TEC coated chain, It's baked on and lasts.
    I ride this chain almost three times longer than any other. It makes my cassette last just as long.
    Bone dry, no lube this chain Is virtually silent. Takes about 1/3 the maintenance and far less lube, less is better here, always.

    Post and pre ride maintenance Is a simple rag wipe down.
    I use the Park chain scrubber now and then as needed but often I go 15 to 20 rides of 10-20 miles each between cleanings with only a post ride minimal relube as needed.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osco View Post
    Bone dry, no lube this chain Is virtually silent.

    Must be a lot different conditions there, that or maybe the 11 speed Shimano chains are a lot different than the 10 speed ones. I like Shimano (sil-tech) chains a lot but if I let mine get bone dry it's squeaky and creaky for sure. Any sort of drivetrain noise bugs me so I lube pretty much every ride.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  25. #25
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    Anyone use Chain-L before? It seems to be very popular with road cyclists and mountain bikers.

    https://www.amazon.com/Chain-L-High-.../dp/B008TXAT4C
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    Anyone use Chain-L before? It seems to be very popular with road cyclists and mountain bikers.

    https://www.amazon.com/Chain-L-High-.../dp/B008TXAT4C
    Chain-L No. 5?

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Westy View Post
    My personal routine is to re-lube and wipe every 100kms or so of trail riding, and clean about every 2 weeks... conditions dependent of course.
    ok, thanks. So im curious what you do about washing the bike. Surely you rinse off mud etc after a ride, & your chain/drive rinsed off. So then you just run the chain through a rag to dry off excess water & leave it?

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