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  1. #1
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    Worn out cassette - who is to blame?!

    Hello everybody,

    I am new to the forum, so I am sorry if it was discussed before (i checked most of the topics, but didnt find the answer)

    I have following problem. A year ago I have bought X-tools chain wear indicator and when it showed that the chain is worn i have changed it. It was after 3000 km and I have assumed that the sprockets were worn, that was the case (even thought the tool just after 3000 fit in the chain gaps). so i had to change the cassette too.

    Now after 1500 km, when my wear indocator didnt even show minor wear (!) i have decided to change the chain. AGAIN - cassete sprockets were worn (skips on two smallest sprockets), and now i have to OR change the cassette OR change back to old chain and drive till it splits.

    My question - what is the reason of all this? Is the wear indicator bad? May the fact that I drive mainly on two smallest sprockets influence that? (what should i do then?) were the cassette or chain bad? Or is there some other variable in this equation?

    My setup:

    Cassette: Shimano Deore HG61 9 speed
    Chain: Shimano Deore HG53 9 speed

    Grateful for any input!

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the site.
    If you're always riding the same gears of coarse that'll make them wear faster.
    IMO if you want the chainrings and cassette to last keep the chain better than 50% of what the measure tool tells you.
    Keep the chain fairly clean and lubed.
    Once the chain wears it's gonna make the rest of the drivetrain wear faster. Once the cassette or chainrings get worn, they work better with an equally worn chain. So at some point you must change everything or change nothing.
    You should get about 3 chains per cassette, and even more chainring life.
    Are you sure the derailluer and hanger are adjusted and not bent?
    Round and round we go

  3. #3
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    This annoys me too, and the best solution I've found is:

    When I buy a new cassette I also buy 3 (or 4, or 5) chains.

    Use chain 1 for about a month
    Switch to chain 2, and use it for about a month
    Switch to chain 3, and use it for about a month
    Switch back to chain 1 and repeat.

    With quicklinks it's really easy (so I generally don't use shimano chains, although you can use quicklinks with them if you want).

    You never have to worry about putting a brand new chain on a worn cassette, and by the time all 3 chains are stretched out you've gotten your money's worth out of the cassette.
    Last edited by newfangled; 05-22-2013 at 03:17 PM. Reason: misread something

  4. #4
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    Ive had an issue similar to this. I had a worn out chain and replaced it with a new one and the new chain would skip on the cassette. however, after a few rides the skipping stopped. so really all you need to do is just ride the bike until the cassette becomes mated with the new chain and then it will work fine.

  5. #5
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    When you are riding heavily, several times a week, and on the weekends, a few months can be the lifespan of your chain, and a cassette might last the "season". That is normal. Even in bike shops, it's rare to use those wear indicators. We usually used a ruler and measured 12" from link to link. Look this up, it's a very common way to gauge the wear. We had the wear indicator tools of course, both for chains and the rohloff cassette tool, but they really aren't necessary and just an extra step. I don't think just miles is a good way to judge wear, as the gears you are using and how aggressive you are make a difference.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by grimasa View Post
    May the fact that I drive mainly on two smallest sprockets influence that? (what should i do then?)


    If it's a 1 by 9 you should change the gearing so that your most used gears are near the middle of the cassette. If it's a 2, or 3 by 9 make sure you aren't using those small cogs in the middle or small front chainring. If in the big ring you are still using the small cogs the most then get a bigger ring.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    We usually used a ruler and measured 12" from link to link. Look this up,
    Chain Maintenance
    Round and round we go

  8. #8
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    Puzzling. I lube the chain every other ride. New chain every 800 miles or so. My XT cassettes last about 5000+ miles. But I don't ride in the rain. Doing that is brutal on the drivetrain. At least not on purpose.

    Do you ride in rain and mud?

  9. #9
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    I do 2 chains per cassette. In very dry and dusty so cal conditions. About 1000 miles per chain.

    Expensive yes but cheaper then a cardiologist!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Are you sure the derailluer and hanger are adjusted and not bent?
    I was wondering the same thing.

  11. #11
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    The abrasive quality of your soil is a factor
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  12. #12
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    If the cassette is relatively new and the old chain is between .5 and .75, just ride the new chain for a few rides until the skipping works itself out. It's normal. A cassette should last about a year, you can probably make it last 3 chains if you do it right. No ones to blame, stuff just wears out.

  13. #13
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    Re: Worn out cassette - who is to blame?!

    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    This annoys me too, and the best solution I've found is:

    When I buy a new cassette I also buy 3 (or 4, or 5) chains.

    Use chain 1 for about a month
    Switch to chain 2, and use it for about a month
    Switch to chain 3, and use it for about a month
    Switch back to chain 1 and repeat.

    With quicklinks it's really easy (so I generally don't use shimano chains, although you can use quicklinks with them if you want).

    You never have to worry about putting a brand new chain on a worn cassette, and by the time all 3 chains are stretched out you've gotten your money's worth out of the cassette.
    Best idea ever, I'm doing this.
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  14. #14
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    If you use the chain 'til it wears out, you will need to change both the chain and cassette. If you change the chain long before it shows wear, your cassette will last many chains.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cm374 View Post
    If the cassette is relatively new and the old chain is between .5 and .75, just ride the new chain for a few rides until the skipping works itself out. It's normal.
    Ride it out? Not normal, not good.


    I still think the fact that you are usually in the 11 or 13 cog is an issue. Combine the fact that people who ride big gears tend to be torquers, not spinners with the problem of small cogs not having many teeth to distribute load and you have a recipe for quicker than normal wear. This is not an uncommon problem.

  16. #16
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    Thank you all for the answers – now i have much better image on the issue.

    A year ago when I first changed the chain I used 12” measurement method – was the same situation as now..

    I have adjusted my derailleur after changing the chain; I have changed all the cables and cages as well, so it is not an issue. I guess the fact that it shifts perfectly and that the chain does not skip on 4-9 sprockets also proves that.

    My driving style is aggressive - prefer to push as hard as I can and since some years ago I had an old bike with shifting problems I got used to pedal using mainly 3 gears (shifting only on front chainrings). So at this point I think J.B. Weld is right – constant load on small cogs just “ate” them and I should shift more or simply buy a bigger chainring. ANYWAY somehow I don’t like shifting while climbing, since I am afraid that something will break Is it a false assumption?

    @ Mr5150 – I rarely ride in the rain or mud, max 5 times a season. Dust as for any mountainbike is of course inevitable. I have to confess that maybe I lube my chain not enough (weekly, or if it is really messy, then I clean and lube), so maybe in the future I will lube every ride.

    But for now I will try sagealmighty’s suggestion and try the new chain for a while – see if it stops skipping. For the future I will inform on the chainrings and I guess go on 3 chain with quicklinks system that newfangled proposed.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    This annoys me too, and the best solution I've found is:

    When I buy a new cassette I also buy 3 (or 4, or 5) chains.

    Use chain 1 for about a month
    Switch to chain 2, and use it for about a month
    Switch to chain 3, and use it for about a month
    Switch back to chain 1 and repeat.

    With quicklinks it's really easy (so I generally don't use shimano chains, although you can use quicklinks with them if you want).

    You never have to worry about putting a brand new chain on a worn cassette, and by the time all 3 chains are stretched out you've gotten your money's worth out of the cassette.
    This is what I do - plus each chain is in its own ziploc bag that is numbered.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagealmighty View Post
    Ive had an issue similar to this. I had a worn out chain and replaced it with a new one and the new chain would skip on the cassette. however, after a few rides the skipping stopped. so really all you need to do is just ride the bike until the cassette becomes mated with the new chain and then it will work fine.
    Horrible idea.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Horrible idea.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I am just saying what i did. Let me just clarify, there seems to be a stigma with some people that cassette will only last the life of one chain. I decided to do an experiment to see if this was totally true or not. Worst case scenario was that I wasted $30 on a new chain. And in the end, I can honestly say it has worked out for me. I have been using the bike since late last summer and it is still going strong. The chain did not wear out prematurely like I have been otherwise lead to believe. Feel free to take my advise with a grain of salt but that is my experience.
    Last edited by sagealmighty; 05-24-2013 at 02:24 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    plus each chain is in its own ziploc bag that is numbered.
    It's funny, because that's exactly what I do.

  21. #21
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    I wanted to ask newfangled and 006_007 what combination of cassette and chains you use? that is which manufacturers and models. Thanks!

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