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  1. #1
    In dog years, I'm dead.
    Reputation: burtronix's Avatar
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    How long should a chain last?

    The original chain on my bike is severely stretched after only 1 year. It's a cheap OEM KMC 8-speed. I've probably put about 1000 miles on it. Much of my riding last year was in mud, but I cleaned & lubed nearly every time out. This year I haven't hit the mud as much, so I usually lube every 1 or 2 & clean every 3 or 4 rides. I clean using a Park scrubber that works while the chain is installed. Is 1000 miles to be expected, or is it the cheap chain, or am I not doing enough maintenance?

    I've already ordered an SRAM PC-68 with Power-Link for replacement. I'll be using the Power-Link to take it off & give it a thorough bottle-bath. Can I expect the better chain & cleaning to give me more than 1000 miles? How much more is reasonable?
    Last edited by burtronix; 06-19-2007 at 01:47 PM.
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

  2. #2
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    I'm honestly not sure how long a chain is supposed to last, but I can say that the specifics of your riding environment can make a huge difference in this regard, so this question is difficult to answer. That said, cleaning it while off the bike will get it a lot cleaner.

    Just make sure you don't "soak" the chain in the degreaser for an extended period since this can actually corrode the metal. Swish it around in degreaser, then water, and repeat a few times until the solution stays clean.

    Larry

  3. #3
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    I have had a chain last 3 weeks, with lots of snow mud and salt, up to several months, of dry conditions.

    It varies with your riding.

    I ride between 500 to 1200 km a month.

    Get a chain checker or a set of calipers, change at 1% streach.

  4. #4
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    here in the UK chains usually last 300-500 miles before 1% stretch in the winter, more in the summer and less if we have weather like we've been having recently for an extended period of time.

  5. #5
    College Boy
    Reputation: Timeless's Avatar
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    for a mtn chain the going rate is 600-1000mile depending on riding conditions

  6. #6
    i am, therefore, i ride
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    1000 miles and you want more? You're lucky it lasted that long considering you rode it in mud.....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalittle
    I'm honestly not sure how long a chain is supposed to last, but I can say that the specifics of your riding environment can make a huge difference in this regard, so this question is difficult to answer. That said, cleaning it while off the bike will get it a lot cleaner.

    Just make sure you don't "soak" the chain in the degreaser for an extended period since this can actually corrode the metal. Swish it around in degreaser, then water, and repeat a few times until the solution stays clean.

    Larry
    from SRAM
    Q.What's the best way to clean my chain?

    A.Having been involved in chains for a long time, we have come up with a method of maintenance that works best for SRAM Powerchains. Of course, with any type of bicycle maintenance program, the frequency that you perform the maintenance will vary greatly on your riding conditions.

    Here are steps to cleaning your chain:

    A. We suggest leaving the chain on the bike.
    B. Wipe off any excess dirt, water, etc.
    C. Apply your favorite bio-degreaser, agitate and then rinse/wipe it off.
    D. Apply a coat of your favorite chain lube (hopefully something with at least a little Teflon in it) and then be sure to let it dry or at least sit for a bit.
    E. Using a rag/shop towel remove any excess lubricant and "clean" off the side plates of the chain.
    - lastly, feel free to repeat steps C and/or D more than once. You may find a combination that works better in your area.

    Additionally, a lot of people that replace their chains often would actually skip step C and just go straight to step D. Also, if you feel the need to degrease the chain while it is off the bike, we would warn against letting a chain sit in solvent of any kind (kerosene, gasoline, SimpleGreen, bio-degreasers, etc.) for any length of time. And be sure to follow all dilution recommendations found on degreasing products.

  8. #8
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    My last chain (Shimano HG-93) lasted for about 350km on my bike before it was too worn to use, using the campagnolo method of measuring the stretch. I even cleaned the chain after every ride, lubed throughoutly and wiped the excess oil off. So I don't think that cleaning was the issue here.

    But it seems that in wet and muddy conditions my lube (TF-2 teflon lube) wore off in about 15-20 km of riding. Water + mud + sand just isn't the ideal lubricant to the chain.

  9. #9
    A wheelist
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    How long should a chain last?
    As long as it takes for the chain to wear (elongate) 1/16" over 12". Your riding conditions will determine how long that is.
    Mike The Bike's home wheelbuilding info - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilder information and motivation.

  10. #10
    In dog years, I'm dead.
    Reputation: burtronix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    As long as it takes for the chain to wear (elongate) 1/16" over 12". Your riding conditions will determine how long that is.
    I'm noticing tooth spacing mismatch on the large chainring. When I hold the chain on both the top & bottom of the ring, there is a gap between the front of the ring & the chain. I guess I've been long overdue for a new chain. I'll get a chain guage & budget for replacement chains a couple times a year.
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

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