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  1. #1
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    Chain wear checker, anyone?

    This is long winded, but it is an earnest question for tool aficionados and people who like to save money on their equipment.

    As you all know, as the chain wears, the pin to pin distance increases eroding the 1/2" pitch that the chain is supposed to have. When this happens, the gears wear down to match the chain. This is why we generally have to change the rings and cogs when we change the chain. An expensive proposition especially if you like high end equipment and/or have multiple bikes.

    It is however possible to save the rings/cogs if one increases chain replacement frequency. Due to necessary fit tolerances, new chains do not immediately begin wearing down rings until a certain amount of "stretch" has occurred. The questions come down to:

    "Where is the acceptable wear limit before gear damage occurs?"
    "How do you measure this limit accurately?"
    "Is the riding time it takes to reach that limit reasonable?"

    So I've looked through the forums to see what people are using to check their chains for wear. The most common responses are using a Park, Shimano, Rohloff tool or a 12" ruler.

    The dedicated Park/Shimano/Rohloff/etc tools seem to get a common complaint of relying on pushing the rollers against the pins which means the manufacturing tolerances of the roller to the pin directly affect the measurement. Indeed, some users report brand new chains as measuring half worn out or worse using some of these tools.

    The 12" ruler, while of good intent, is difficult to accurately use and is therefore more of a rough estimate indicator rather than an accurate gauge of usable life left. I.E. your measurement is dependent on how still you can hold the ruler while applying tension to the chain and eyeballing the hash marks.

    I bring all of this up because for the last 17+ years, I've been using a home-brewed tool to accurately determine the wear limit and reduce my ring replacement budget. In fact, the only times I've had to buy rings in the last 15 or so years is when upgrading entire drivetrains (like 8 to 9 speed, XT to XTR, Shimano to SRAM, etc) or when experimenting with where the wear limit is. No BS, I've got rings and cogs that have 5 years of hard riding on them with no hooking or chainsucking, and they still take new chains fine. For me, this tool is the single biggest money saver in my tool box.

    So I've shown this tool to some close riding friends and some are very interested in getting one for themselves. I'm just curious if there's enough interest out there for me to get a production run going. I've already figured out the design for manufacturing and expect the cost to be $25 to $30 if bought from me directly. As a plus, I'll be building them in the US and not off-shoring it... not ever. If you are interested, please respond to this post. If I get 40 or so earnest responses, I'll hit the "go" button.

    A few other notes:

    The tool obviously does not function like the other tools, but is just as fast to apply and very accurate. It has been tested through dozens of chains of 7/8/9 speed Shimano/SRAM varieties. 10 speed has not been out long enough for me have any real data. I do expect the tool to work fine with it though.

    With this tool, you can not only save on gear components, but you can also make objective quality/strength comparisons between chain models/brands and even chain lube. For instance, for me Sachs/SRAM PC58 and 68's (8 speed) had approximately the same wear quality clocking in at 16 months. A CN7701 XTR 9 speed chain has about 9 months of life. A SRAM PC970 (2005 model) lasted a measly one month. So this tells me that 8 speed is cheaper to own since mid range product lasts almost twice as long as the top of the line 9 speed chain. But if I want to run 9 speed (and I have been) then the XTR chain still saves me money in the long run.

    Your figures will vary of course depending on your environment, riding style, riding frequency, lubricant choices, shifting style, body weight, etc. but you can determine trends using this tool. In other words, if you never lube your chain, are 300 pounds, cross chain all the time, and ride uphill 10 miles a day, you might find that replacing the drivetrain every six months is cheaper than replacing the chain every week.

    If you got this far, thanks for your time and attention span.

    H
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  2. #2
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    That sounds very interesting! If you could post a picture of the tool so we can see what it looks like? Thanks!!

  3. #3
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    What does your tool measure that the others dont?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Endothermic Cavewalker
    That sounds very interesting! If you could post a picture of the tool so we can see what it looks like? Thanks!!
    Yeah, how about a picture of the tool in use?

  5. #5
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    The short answer: A different target

    Long answer:

    It comes down to how the tool measures and what you believe a chain checker should do for you.

    The Park and Shimano tool (I have no direct experience with the Rohloff but it looks similar to the Shimano) both wedge between two rollers and push them apart inline with the chain. In doing so, these tools indirectly judge pin-to-pin "pitch" distance. This means any clearance between the roller and sideplate bushing figures into the pitch and can therefore vary widely on the same chain and even the same spot if you've got a tiny bit of gunk on a roller.

    My tool, which is based off another similar tool from way back when, directly measures the pitch spacing like you would with a ruler, but it does so with much more stability and with good repeatability.

    The other difference is the philosophical question of what a chain checker tool "should" do. The other tools on the market tell you when the actual usable limits of the chain have been exceeded. Meaning the point at which the dimensions are so far off from ideal that shifting integrity is compromised by things like chainsuck and thrown chains. However, by that point, the chain has already worn the gears in to match and a new set of gears must be bought when the chain is replaced.

    My philosophy is that the chain is the cheap part and should therefore be changed BEFORE the expensive parts get damaged. Due to the difference in execution of the other tools, they can't be accurate enough to spot that limit. Nor do I think it's necessarily in those tool makers' best interest to tell you where that wear limit is. After all, Shimano makes more money if you replace the gears too. Park sells more tools when you have to replace the gears.

    As for pictures of the tool itself and in operation, well to be honest I am a little hesitant as the design intent is easy to replicate. The last thing I want is some crap outfit in China to make bad knock offs by the boatload. However, as my intent is to help fellow riders and the actual measurement limit is not easily determined without one actually in your hands, I will post something shortly. Please give me a few days to figure out how best to capture it and show it here.

    I thought of a few other points I missed in my original post:

    Because I haven't had the need to replace rings frequently, I obviously have not tried all the available gear sets available on the market. I can tell you that it works for Shimano gears, Truvativ rings, Shimano and SRAM chains 7,8,and 9 speed. I do not know for certain that it'll work for SRAM cogsets, but I believe it should work since they are essentially reverse engineered Shimano cogs.

    I should be more precise about the damage that the tool prevents. While it will definitely help extend the life of your gears, It does not prevent the gears from eventually wearing from abrasive media like mud and sand particularly if you are using aluminum rings. Steel rings in my experience, in conjunction with this tool, last longer than you'd care to keep the equipment . Diligent use of the tool prevents noticeable physical tooth deformation from a buggered chain.

    Quote Originally Posted by nov0798
    What does your tool measure that the others dont?
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  6. #6
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    It sounds interesting...

  7. #7
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    WOW, very interesting, and fairly well delivered sales pitch for your new product, otherwise known as SPAM

    I've had no issues using a 24" steel ruler to check my chains and have only just decided to replace my 4 year old, over 12k miles XT cassette. I more decided to replace it because out of appreciation someone gave me a nice, new , shinny 32-11 XTR cassette and I wanted to try that over the 34-11. Oh and my "tool" can be used for a variety of things besides chain checking.

    Seriously. My advice to you is if you really think it's that inovative to patent the design and then try to sell it. But no one is going to buy something they can't see, Period!
    Last edited by LyNx; 02-26-2011 at 05:30 AM.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  8. #8
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    its probably a spring clamp to clip the ruler to the chain

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs
    its probably a spring clamp to clip the ruler to the chain
    these forums should get a facebook "like" button

  10. #10
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    HHMTB,

    As a mechanic I would certainly be interested in any tool that is an improvement over what currently exists. Chain gauges included. However, it is a dead certainty that it would have to meet certain criteria. A) It must be as simple and fast to use as any other tool or method out there. B) It must be competitive cost wise (yours seems to be). C) It must be at least as reliable and accurate, if not more so, than any current system.

    My suggestion to you would be the following. A) Get your design patented now! B) Get the tool into the hands of some people. That's going to be your best bet. Right now all we have is your word that it's a "better mouse trap". As a shop mechanic I'm not going to buy a tool sight unseen, with no real explanation of how it works, etc. And I'm certainly not going to spank out $30 for a tool that I don't even know works. Neither are most DIYers out there either. I've been using a machinists rule and a park tool checker for better than 15 years. I can tell with 99% accuracy with either tool when a chain should be replaced in order to prevent drive train damage. Your assertion that the park tool checker, when properly used, isn't designed to do this is false IMHO, and you should be very careful in making such statements. The machinists rule is also highly accurate and there are specific guidelines that let you know when to replace the chain for best drive train durability/longevity as well. You just have to know what you are doing.

    I'm not bagging on you. I'm just saying that I, personally, and I'm sure many others out there, aren't going to pay you $25 to $30 a pop to find out if the tool works or not. I would certainly be interested in the tool if it meets the criteria mentioned earlier. So get a patent, get some made up and get em into the hands of some consumers, both professional and home mechanics, for evaluation and get some pictures, instructions, etc. out there. I'd even be willing to be involved in the evaluation process. But I certainly wouldn't be willing to pay to be a guinea pig.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    The other tools on the market tell you when the actual usable limits of the chain have been exceeded. Meaning the point at which the dimensions are so far off from ideal that shifting integrity is compromised by things like chainsuck and thrown chains. However, by that point, the chain has already worn the gears in to match and a new set of gears must be bought when the chain is replaced.
    Not so sure about that. The Park tool has two seperate lengths that it guages, I use the lesser one labeled .75 (the other is 1.0). My guage is many years old and I have long since lost the paperwork, so I can't tell you what the measurements mean; however, I have used .75 to tell me when to change a chain, and I get years out of my cogsets. Shifting is not compromised at that point.


    My philosophy is that the chain is the cheap part and should therefore be changed BEFORE the expensive parts get damaged.
    I think you will find universal agreement with that statement

    Nor do I think it's necessarily in those tool makers' best interest to tell you where that wear limit is. After all, Shimano makes more money if you replace the gears too. Park sells more tools when you have to replace the gears.
    I don't believe Park would do this. There is nothing to be gained, a stellar reputation to lose, and no money to be made in it. Most guys who have a chain guage will also have purchased the tools necessary to swap out cogsets.

    That said, good luck ... and do post pics. I'm always looking for a better way.
    Last edited by Shuteye; 02-26-2011 at 04:00 PM.

  12. #12
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    Picture and video

    Thanks for your assessment, Squash. I think if you check out some of the other forum discussions on this topic you'll run across a lot more dissent. Here's a few:

    Which Wear Indicator Tool?
    (Speedub.Nate makes some of the same points I do but more eloquently.)
    Need a new chain, suggestions?
    (frdfandc makes a similar point about the available checker tools... he's a shop mechanic)
    Time to replace the complete drivetrain again......gerrrrr
    (Someone using the .75 mark on the Park tool and still getting skipping)
    broken chain, replace ENTIRE drivetrain??
    (An epic tech-nerd fight about rulers vs dedicated tools )

    I agree with you as to not wanting to pay to be guinea pigs or buying something sight unseen. Without further ado, it's time for a picture and a video. Picture attached, video here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=419SdrKorDw

    Notice that I put the drive side crank at 3 o'clock. It's not shown in the video but that's so I can put my right elbow on the pedal and tension the chain.

    The tool has three holes. One at the hook up end to double check that you've seated the tool right. The second to reference where a new chain should be. And the last hole at the position I've determined gear damage begins.

    The video shows how quickly I usually take one measurement. I usually check in three places on a chain to be safe. The low light condition and the size of the holes makes it difficult to show you the actual comparison in a video, but if you're a reasonable mechanic, you'll get the idea.

    This is my personal tool. Production versions, IF I make any will be a little sleeker.

    I also agree that you could theoretically figure out the exact conditions that could make the Park give you reliable measurements. Likewise, my tool is an evolution of a prior tool whose issues I had to compensate for. This tool is my attempt to remove those variables. Chain cleanliness, roller tolerances, and hand pressure don't matter.

    Let me ask you, when you replace the chain per your dedicated tool or 12" ruler strategy, do you get any "grindy" noises from the drivetrain that you can somewhat feel through the pedals for the first few rides? Granted, that noise goes away, but it is an indication that some detrimental wear has occurred to the gears. This is probably why the "chain rotation" strategy arose to deal with this same problem, but that strategy still eventually results in toasted gears. When I use my interval, no such grindy sensation occurs.

    One last thing, you have waaaaay more confidence in the patent system than I do. I've seen enough to know that it affords little protection to the little guy who can't afford to defend his patent. That's another discussion yet.

    -H
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chain wear checker, anyone?-p1030104.jpg  

    Last edited by HHMTB; 02-26-2011 at 11:59 PM. Reason: wrong picture
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  13. #13
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    I don't really see how this improves on my trusty 12" ruler. A ruler isn't at all hard to use, it gives me an accurate measurement, and I can easily monitor the ongoing wear on my chain with one. If you replace the chain once you're at 1/16 wear over 12" your drivetrain will stay nice and unworn.

    A ruler is also a lot cheaper than $30.

  14. #14
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    i guess i was not too far off with the spring clamp

  15. #15
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    You have me convinced.

    Hey HHMTB,all you needed was to post the picture and video. Your guage is more accurate than my trusty Park. PM sent.

  16. #16
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    "Notice that I put the drive side crank at 3 o'clock. It's not shown in the video but that's so I can put my right elbow on the pedal and tension the chain."

    Actually I could see that looking at the non-driveside crank, it was a 9 o'clock.

    "The tool has three holes. One at the hook up end to double check that you've seated the tool right. The second to reference where a new chain should be. And the last hole at the position I've determined gear damage begins."

    Looks simple and efficient. I am assuming that you have compensated for the change in apparent length from the seat end of the tool to the gage holes that changing the angle of the tool makes for. It likely wouldn't be much I'm sure, but it could make a difference.

    "The video shows how quickly I usually take one measurement. I usually check in three places on a chain to be safe. The low light condition and the size of the holes makes it difficult to show you the actual comparison in a video, but if you're a reasonable mechanic, you'll get the idea."

    Looks pretty simple, if the pin is centered in the New hole the chain is new. If the chain is centered in the "replace it hole" replace the chain. If it's in between your still good to go. Not bad.

    "This is my personal tool. Production versions, IF I make any will be a little sleeker."

    Pretty is as pretty does in my book.

    "I also agree that you could theoretically figure out the exact conditions that could make the Park give you reliable measurements. Likewise, my tool is an evolution of a prior tool whose issues I had to compensate for. This tool is my attempt to remove those variables. Chain cleanliness, roller tolerances, and hand pressure don't matter."

    No theory involved. If the user is astute and can read directions it works. But there's the rub, there aren't many beginners out there (and even some seasoned mechanics) that are astute (i.e. innate mechanical ability), or like to read directions. Anyway, I like your idea of removing numerical measurement from the equation, it reduces the "interpretation" factor from the measurement that even a steel machinists rule can allow for.

    "Let me ask you, when you replace the chain per your dedicated tool or 12" ruler strategy, do you get any "grindy" noises from the drivetrain that you can somewhat feel through the pedals for the first few rides? Granted, that noise goes away, but it is an indication that some detrimental wear has occurred to the gears. This is probably why the "chain rotation" strategy arose to deal with this same problem, but that strategy still eventually results in toasted gears. When I use my interval, no such grindy sensation occurs."

    Not usually, that's why I use a machinists rule not a simple Walmart ruler. The machinists rule is incremented in 32nds and is much more accurately gaged than a school ruler. I have found that if you are over the 12 1/16th (even a little bit) up to 1/32nd you will get the mild grinding feel that you mention. It does go away in a ride or two as noted. But it is certainly an indication that detrimental wear has taken place. But I've also found that the extra 1/32nd of wear may require cassette and ring replacement depending on the riders as well. Usually you can get away with it just fine for a bike that sees weekend bike path duty. But an aggressive MTB rider, or a hard pedaling roady will likely experience skipping etc. The bottom line is, it's all in the accuracy of your tools and the experience to interpret the measurements correctly. I like the idea that your tool removes the guess work. From the look of it Joe weekend warrior should be able to get the same results as an experienced mechanic, as long as they can follow simple directions that is! As for the park tool checker I use that as an initial indication type tool for check in of a bike. It's quick and easy to use. If it indicates replacement I usually examine the chain more carefully. But as long as you know how to use the tool and are aware of it's limitations it works just fine as a definitive indicator as well.

    Anway, from the look of it you well may be onto something here. Simple, easy and quick to use, etc. The only thing that I would add to the tool is a toast, indicator, and something stamped next to the holes to indicate what they mean. I'm sure you've thought of this. So you'd have three holes marked "new", replace" and "toast" or "replace cogs", or even "DUMB A$$" might work. I wold also suggest that the material used be a bit thicker, and that the holes be placed more closely together. You'd enhance durability, lessen any compensation needed for angular movement during the checking process, and you'd be able to make it a bit narrower saving material. I'd also suggest a careful choice of materials. You'll need something that will not bend and change your measurements, yet durable enough to with stand long use. Your tool reminds me of the go-no go gages that are used in the military for testing weapon chamber wear. Basically a plug the shape of the chamber that is a tad longer than the actual cartridge that fits. If the bolt doesn't close on the gage it's good to go. If it does close on the gage the chamber is stretched and it's a no-go. Not the same shape of course, but the same principle.

    After seeing the tool in operation, and getting an idea of how it works, you can put me down as definitely interested. A quick check to see if the chain needs to be replaced, if it checks beyond the "replace it" mark, a more detailed examination is indicated to determine just how far gone the drive train might be. I like it! All that remains to be seen is how well it works in practice. How accurate and reliable it is in use will be the key.

    Like I said, I think you may have something there.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  17. #17
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    Maybe because you are a "Bad Mechanic".... hahaha! Sorry, couldn't help myself.

    All kidding aside, and without a shred of malice, this tool probably isn't for you then. I will freely and openly admit, like I did above, that not everyone will benefit from this tool.

    If you can apply a ruler as quick and as accurately as I can apply my tool, then more power to you. Though I should point out that even Squash has now said something that mirrors my results: the 12.0625" measurement is not 100% foolproof. You do get a little bit of gear wear. If you are the type of mechanic who doesn't care about that minute amount of wear (which does slightly affect chain life), this tool is not for you.

    My tool, as built, is predicated on preventing all tooth deformation wear that occurs when the chain pitch grows. By necessity, this means my wear limit is a specific number and significantly less than the 12.0625" measurement. Because of this fact, hitting the distance target accurately becomes more important if one wants to squeeze the most out of each chain. With a machinist scale that has 1/32 (.03125") marks, you can theoretically mis-measure by half that amount. My holes are drilled to ± .001" positional accuracy over a fairly long distance, can you match that with your eyeballs while steadying the ruler and applying tension to the chain? If you believe you can, nothing I can say will convince you that this tool is better.

    My shorter replacement interval also works to the disadvantage of certain riders. Some particularly heavy, abusive, cross chaining, no-lube applying, cheap chain using riders will be dismayed at how quickly one can reach the limit. I certainly was when I killed a PC970 in a month according to my gauge. (And because it happened so quickly I actually exceeded the limit which caused the grindy sensation.) The point is, for riders for whom this is the case, if they don't make changes to their shifting style/maintenance/parts selection, the cost of replacing chains will negate any savings from not buying cassettes and rings.

    If you are the type that switches bikes a couple times a year (I see plenty of that type here in SoCal), pretty much no chain checker tool will be of use to you. You'll swap the equipment before you notice performance loss.

    Bike shops may or may not want riders to have this tool because they make more money selling cassettes and rings. Though if chain checking is quick and accurate, they may make it up in volume of chain sales.

    Manufacturers will likely hate this tool because for the first time, there will be an objective, accurate way to compare wear rates on their chain product. Will the thinner 10 speed chain as long lasting as 9 speed chains? How does an XTR chain stack up to a PC991? Riders will finally be able to tell for themselves with gear wear and roller tolerance taken out of the equation. And in general, the more we know, the more we can call "BS" on some of the marketing drivel we are fed. This to me is an absolute good goal.

    In all honesty, I'm really ambivalent about going through the effort of making this tool and selling it. I've got mine and it protects me in a way no other tools do. And given the above caveats that have stewed in my head for years now, it is not clear to me that this is a "killer app." There's a small subset of rider/mechanics for which this tool makes sense and that subset is probably not big enough to generate much in sales, at least not by my reckoning, and not by the results of this thread so far. If Park or Rohloff only sold chain checkers, neither would be in business, I think . The point of me starting this thread was to see if there are enough people out there interested in improving our overall component knowledge level to even warrant a run of say 300 tools. My riding buddies suggested asking the forum to find out. Without much interest, I'll save myself the trouble. Not whining, just being on the level.

    For those who have expressed unequivocal interest, Shuteye and Squash, if the interest level persists at the current low level, I'd be happy to make one each for you the way I made my current unit. No flash or frills, but totally functional.


    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    I don't really see how this improves on my trusty 12" ruler. A ruler isn't at all hard to use, it gives me an accurate measurement, and I can easily monitor the ongoing wear on my chain with one. If you replace the chain once you're at 1/16 wear over 12" your drivetrain will stay nice and unworn.

    A ruler is also a lot cheaper than $30.
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  18. #18
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    Glad to have you on board, Squash and Shuteye. Yes, I was planning on marking the holes in the production versions. And yes, well written instructions are to be part of the deal as I can't help but be thorough.

    I too was wondering if I should include the 12.125" equivalent hole on the tool since everyone is used to it. However, the tool from which my tool evolved had that hole and I never used it once since I determined the wear limit. It also sends a mixed message because it can be interpreted as "your rings are still good until you hit this hole." That's not the spirit of the tool in my opinion, because in my admittedly perfection-chasing-worldview, any wear on the rings that you can feel with a new chain is sub-optimal. It's the beginning of chainsuck issues and reduced chain life. Basically, I would recommend that if you exceed the wear limit hole, just run the whole thing until it's unworkable because you'll have to change it all anyway.

    But, since you are providing thoughtful responses, I'm willing to make this an "open source" tool of sorts and incorporate it if lots of people are for it too. (Maybe that hole should be marked "$hit!" ) That said, there's also a lot of real estate in the middle of the span that could be used for something. I haven't figured out what yet, but it can't be a prying/torquing function. Any ideas? Nothing too dramatic or it may affect price.

    I agree with your assessment that the tool must not be bendable, but good quality steel will suffice even when thin so long as no one uses the tool as a crow bar/wrench. There are other reasons not to go thicker relating to manufacturability and ease of use.

    The geometry works out that there's no compensation needed for the angular change. The tool applies only slight downward load on the roller it hooks to. That is basically perpendicular to the length of the chain so it doesn't figure into the measurement regardless of which hole you are on.
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    One last thing, you have waaaaay more confidence in the patent system than I do. I've seen enough to know that it affords little protection to the little guy who can't afford to defend his patent. That's another discussion yet.
    -H
    Doesn't hurt to talk with an good patent attorney who understands the situation. They support guys on small budgets pretty routinely. If you do actually manage to get a patent (and it seems there's a need for a better-made chain checker), rather than taking everything on your own shoulders, you may find it to your advantage to license or assign your patent to a tool maker for a little money and let them worry about defending it. Your attorney can explore the various options, and if you decide it's not worth pursuing, at least it's a learning experience.
    Last edited by kestrel242; 02-27-2011 at 11:06 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    But, since you are providing thoughtful responses, I'm willing to make this an "open source" tool of sorts and incorporate it if lots of people are for it too. (Maybe that hole should be marked "$hit!" ) That said, there's also a lot of real estate in the middle of the span that could be used for something. I haven't figured out what yet, but it can't be a prying/torquing function. Any ideas? Nothing too dramatic or it may affect price.
    $hit hole not needed and no need to complicate the picture by trying to make the tool serve for something else. My humble opinion only.

    I agree with your assessment that the tool must not be bendable, but good quality steel will suffice even when thin so long as no one uses the tool as a crow bar/wrench. There are other reasons not to go thicker relating to manufacturability and ease of use.
    Thin and light, of high quality steel would be good. No measuring tool need serve as a pry bar or screw driver.

  21. #21
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    "Thin and light, of high quality steel would be good. No measuring tool need serve as a pry bar or screw driver."

    If we are talking you and I, HHMTB, and others that have an appreciation and knowledge of tools, they're use, care etc. I would certainly agree with you. However with a production tool, if it ever gets that far, you know darned well that there is always going to some meat head that'll stuff the tool in the bottom of the tool box with 70lbs of wrenches and such. A tolerance of + or - .001 is pretty tight, it wouldn't take much of a bend to through that off siginicantly. When producing something for the general public, you need to take things like that into consideration. Howerver, if thin it must be to work right, then that's what it has to be. Me, I'd hang it on the peg board or find a hard case to fit it if I were going to carry it in my tool box. But not everyone thinks like that.

    Anyway, that was my reasoning behind that suggestion.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    Maybe because you are a "Bad Mechanic".... hahaha! Sorry, couldn't help myself.
    I was waiting for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    Though I should point out that even Squash has now said something that mirrors my results: the 12.0625" measurement is not 100% foolproof.
    I actually change the chain just before I hit the 1/16" mark to account for tolerances. Chains are cheap.

    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    Manufacturers will likely hate this tool because for the first time, there will be an objective, accurate way to compare wear rates on their chain product.
    My rulers been doing that for years.

    I think you might get a lot more interest for a tool like this in the beginner forum, where I could see a simple, easy to use, "Go / No Go" type tool being in much higher demand. Especially with the amount of user education you're obviously putting behind it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    This is my personal tool. Production versions, IF I make any will be a little sleeker.
    Uh, I used one of these just the other day! It looked exactly like that, but might have had 4 holes and might have had a non-rectangular shape. I'll look at it tomorrow and see who makes it and take a picture.

    Edit: found it online:

    Apparently it's a Speedtech CW-1089, which is no longer in production.
    http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html#speedtech

     
    Matt

  24. #24
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    Me, I'd hang it on the peg board or find a hard case to fit it if I were going to carry it in my tool box. But not everyone thinks like that.
    I would hang this tool on my pegboard also. Chain checkers don't need to go to the trailhead in my humble opinion. If I receive this tool, my Park can go in my trailhead tool box I guess. What the heII for I couldn't say
    Last edited by Shuteye; 03-01-2011 at 10:54 PM.

  25. #25
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    Yup, the Speedtech is the original tool upon which mine is based. Congratulations, Matt! You are the only person I've met so far that has even seen one in person besides me.

    I think they've been gone for at least ten years because there's only that tiny internet page of evidence that it ever existed. The photographed instruction is copyrighted 1990! (So much for getting patent protection now) From what I can remember, mine never came with that instruction sheet or the back board. It was hanging from a peg and it was a total fluke that I bought it.

    I was hoping I wouldn't have to go up against the original as it would just confuse matters, but here's where I made improvements:
    - They've got four holes. The "Good" hole is still too far out to ensure 100% protection. I never used the "Fair" or "Replace" holes once I figured out how to compensate for the "Good" hole. My "replace" hole is at that compensated distance.
    - When the Speedtech tool was designed, 7 speed systems were the norm. Because of this, the hook is not in the right place laterally to be maximally accurate on a 9 speed chain. I've also made it fit the diameter of the roller better, a valid observation from that web page. FYI, the OD of the roller is quite tightly controlled otherwise immediate grinding feelings will be present on a brand new system.
    - Mine is narrower so that low clearance chainstays to chain distances (think current APB Treks) wouldn't have problems fitting the tool.

    To Bad Mechanic: Yeah, I considered going to beginner forums, but I thought I should try with more seasoned, technically knowledgeable guys first since my experience with beginners face-to-face is a bunch of blank stares. I mean, I've spent a decent chunk of time explaining it here and you still don't think it's worthwhile. And you are pretty familiar with bike physiology and have admitted that you are also compensating for the ruler markings. How much time would it take to educate a total beginner that a tool I homebrewed is better than what the big boys make? I just don't wanna spend that much time. I appreciate the thought though.

    Any other takers? PM me if truly interested. So far I got three takers. Not enough for me to go through the hassle of a production run. I'll consider this closed in two weeks. Thank you all for your input and time.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 03-01-2011 at 12:15 AM.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB
    I considered going to beginner forums, but I thought I should try with more seasoned, technically knowledgeable guys first since my experience with beginners face-to-face is a bunch of blank stares.
    Honestly, I think you'd have a much easier time there, as "technically knowledgeable" guys tend to be more set in their ways and cynical (I know I am). If you tell them here's a simple and easy to use tool which will protect their drivetrain and save them money, I think you'd have a lot of people interested.

  27. #27
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    Well, I'd buy since I need to get a chain tool eventually. I'm guessing most people here already have a chain tool that they think is good enough, which might be a good reason to go to the beginner forum. Another option would be talking to retailers, LBSes and distributors to see if anyone is interested in selling/carrying/using them.
    Matt

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    PM sent! Exceptional explanation and a solid tool IMO. There are 11 different ways to check for wear and I have found about the best to be using a locked Starrett machinist's calliper. It can and does slip and does require a watchfull eye. I appreciate the simplicity and accuracy of this tool and as such, I am very interested. I'm not sure if that material is similar to A440 stainless but it would be nice not to have it high carbon and rusting down the road or thin aluminum and out-of-spec with one drop on my bench... I agree 100% about precision tools like this being kept out of my Camelbak...

    Thank you,
    A.

  29. #29
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    I do like the tool and am interested in one myself, looks like it would do better than my pro-link one.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    I think you might get a lot more interest for a tool like this in the beginner forum, where I could see a simple, easy to use, "Go / No Go" type tool being in much higher demand. Especially with the amount of user education you're obviously putting behind it.
    I must disagree here. Been wrenching on my own bikes since 1985 and I like this tool. Simple to use guages are cool. I think posting this thread in the Beginner Forum would have seen little interest as in "huh , I'm just trying to figure out how to keep my shifting adjusted?"

  31. #31
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    And so the interest grows!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shuteye
    I must disagree here. Been wrenching on my own bikes since 1985 and I like this tool. Simple to use guages are cool. I think posting this thread in the Beginner Forum would have seen little interest as in "huh , I'm just trying to figure out how to keep my shifting adjusted?"
    Not this exact thread obvious . Rather post up how important monitoring chain wear is to the life of the drivetrain (and saving money), explain quickly why other tools are hard to use or inaccurate, and then tell them about your easy to us and highly accurate tool.

  33. #33
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    This looks like a tool I would like to own.

  34. #34
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    I recently got back into bicycling after a long hiatus and love working on my bike. I would definitely be interested in this tool.

  35. #35
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    I take the chain off at use a reagular tape measure over a distance of 36". It is easy to see the stretch when you're looking for something on the order of 3/16" of an inch. I like to hang the chain so all of the slop is taken up by gravity.

  36. #36
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    I pmed u

    Are u Makin them or not
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  37. #37
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    So I just received my tool from HHMTB. It's simple, well made and easy to use - works like a champ. No more need for my Park chain guage as it is clear to me this tool is more accurate. Thanks, Henry! The only mod I'm going to make is to drill one more hole in it so I can hang it from my pegboard.

  38. #38
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    Good to hear.

    FYI, when you go to drill the hole for hanging it, don't unscrew the brass chip or you'll need my calibration tool to re-center it properly. I debated Loctite-ing those screws down but figured there may come a time you'll need to replace the chip. Hasn't ever happened to me, but you never know...

    So as not to confuse anyone still following this thread, I hand made a few tools for some of the guys that PM'd me since there wasn't enough interest to go full production. Production may happen later if more interest develops.
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  39. #39
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    Thanks for the heads up, Henry. I have no intention of unscrewing the brass chip. I was going to email you that the tool had arrived, but you caught my post before I had the chance. Cool tool! Thanks again.

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    I have a Speedtech in my arsenal too. Patented, so be careful about marketing them.

    I used it enough to conclude that (like every chain-stretch tool) it's not a guarantee that a new chain will or won't skip on the cassette the old chain was used with. I had a customer just last week who brought in his new chain for us to install during a tune-up. Chain-stretch meter says it ought to work, but his fourth-largest cog must be his favorite, because that one's the only one that skipped. I work with some guys who really, REALLY want to believe that they can just sell new chains willy-nilly if the chain-stretch tool says it'll work... *sigh*

    FWIW, I consider roller wear relevant, and prefer a tool that accounts for it, so the Speedtech hasn't been my go-to tool for over a decade now.

  41. #41
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    Thanks for the concern, mechbgon. However, it's a good bet that the patent has expired because it was issued 20 years ago, it's been out of production for over a decade, and I can't find the makers on the internet.

    I could be wrong, but I'm not making a bunch of them right now anyway. This thread was just an attempt to gauge interest.

    By the way, I'm a little curious how you are using your Speedtech and getting no better results than other tools. If you look at post #25 (the order isn't what I remember, what's up with that?), I explain the deficiencies in that tool and how I addressed them. If you aren't stopping short of the "good" hole, yeah, I agree skipping can happen.

    What is your preferred tool?
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    I think you might get a lot more interest for a tool like this in the beginner forum, where I could see a simple, easy to use, "Go / No Go" type tool being in much higher demand. Especially with the amount of user education you're obviously putting behind it.
    A go/no-go gage would be the best thing to use. Does anyone make them yet?
    It's one of those or a ruler for me. You don't need a go, but whenever the no-go
    will go in the links then you replace it. A one handed blind man could use it if
    it was possible for him to ride a bike in the first place!

  43. #43
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    Anyone using the park cc-2?

    They seem cheap on ebay. I was wondering if they're overkill.

  44. #44
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    Anyone who has worn 9-speed chains, feel free to mail them to my house. At minimum, I will recycle the metal. If the chains have life in them I will use them up and you will have the peace of mind knowing that your chain got fully used.

    PM me for my mailing address.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB View Post
    Thanks for the concern, mechbgon. However, it's a good bet that the patent has expired because it was issued 20 years ago, it's been out of production for over a decade, and I can't find the makers on the internet.

    I could be wrong, but I'm not making a bunch of them right now anyway. This thread was just an attempt to gauge interest.

    By the way, I'm a little curious how you are using your Speedtech and getting no better results than other tools. If you look at post #25 (the order isn't what I remember, what's up with that?), I explain the deficiencies in that tool and how I addressed them. If you aren't stopping short of the "good" hole, yeah, I agree skipping can happen.

    What is your preferred tool?

    HHMTB, are still interested in selling some? I am moving to the SoCal area soon if you are nearby. I have used the Speedtech for 9 years now and, while I am always careful to not say it is guaranteed to work if the chain isn't worn beyond "good" (I think 10 speed chains that are beyond "good" usually require new cogsets as well) I do rely on it as the best gauge. I work in a shop where many local MTBers are fabulous lab rats for worn chain issues so I am pretty experienced with what happens when a new 9 speed chain/cog is installed on a chainring that was read at "fair". The "sharktooth" issue is especially interesting (don't know if you know of it but it basically sucks the rear derailleur cage forward as the old chainring pulls the new chain for a second revolution instead of letting it track back towards the rear derailleur. I was going to have the local machinist copy the speedtech for me so I have a tool when I move (I am a bike mechanic and cannot stand any of the new measurement tools). Thanks for working to produce this tool, I have always thought the speedtech was the best even considering the roller wear.

    If I could offer one suggestion for the variety of drivetrains, stamp out multiple wear holes for 8,9,10, and 11 speed chains (or at least 8,9,10...if you begin producing them). Where the speedtech says new, good, fair, and replace, one could translate to 8,9,10 and so forth and it would be a fabulous, universal tool. Obviously an 8 speed chain can stretch much further than a 10 thus holes for the respective gear systems would help those who use different bikes know where to look. Of course this wouldn't account for MTB riding vs. road riding and the various torque loads but the individual rider can figure that stuff out.

  46. #46
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    If you have trouble counting to 12, and using a flat piece of metal, I suppose I could see how you'd find a special tool necessary.

    This is a procedure that is bafflingly easy. Were talking easier than tying shoes. Place a ruler up to your chain. Under 1/16th over 12 inches? You're good. Im surprised at the constant attention chain checkers get!

    I know it might sound like me and bad mechanic are crapping on the parade, but in the bigger sense... we're not. Save money by not buying unnecessary things. Theres a stupidly simple way to accomplish chain checking, its worked for decades and its every bit as relevant today as its ever been. Just use the ruler.

  47. #47
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    It's essentially a "go/no go" gauge. Good for a quick check. Normally a device which can give a read out in increments of linear measurement is considered superior to a simple go/no go check. In fact when working as an inspector in a machine shop many years ago any failure of a go/no go check resulted in measurement with machinist's scale, a caliper or a micrometer. Careful measurement is always a bit slower but generally provides more accurate information.

    The tool does not look like a bad idea in principal. But it is a discontinued (failed?) product, not exactly a new idea.......

  48. #48
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    It's cool. I said way up in the thread that there's just some people for whom this tool won't be a good fit.

    To reiterate, for those without the time to read from the beginning, yes, the machinist scale is a good tool, however, its reliability is based on how well you can repeatably place it on the chain. As there is no locating feature to the pin, what is your tolerance on position accuracy while you are steadying the bike and applying tension to the chain? Plus minus .010"? That's a significant percentage of my measurement target that is lost to imprecise technique. Again, my tool is to catch chain wear before any gear damage occurs, not as a "will it still work?" checker. For the latter, I agree, the scale applied as outlined above is adequate.

    You could then argue that I should take the chain off to improve measurement with the scale. You'd be right about the improvement in accuracy, but speed of measurement suffers tremendously. Heck, if you watch the video of using my tool, it's faster than using the machinist scale even if you don't take the chain off.

    And all this is without considering that the scribes on the machinist scale are usually in 1/32" increments. That's 0.03125". So because you have to stabilize the bike, tension the chain, hold the scale in place, while eyeballing the hash marks, what's the likelihood that you'll be able to read it with the 0.001-.002" accuracy that my tool produces? Like I said before, if you truly believe you can do this (and you would be wrong ), nothing I can say will change your mind. BTW, 1/16" is way too generous if you're looking to prevent elongation damage. I'm not the only one to state this in this thread.

    Since I don't want to spend the 10+ minutes to take my chain off, hook it onto a wall, run a three foot machinist scale against it, repeat the measure three plus times, reconnect the chain, and scrub all the oil off my hands, I built this tool . It gives me better accuracy than the ten minute process in under a minute. On top of that, I didn't weaken my chain by taking out a rivet pin and replacing it.

    Yes, it's an evolution of an older tool. I never denied that. You may consider it "failed," but the reality is there are a whole lot of reasons a product goes away. Functional non-performance is but one possibility, one that sadly doesn't always result in a product going away. Those of you that have been around a while can cite more than a few examples, I'm sure . I think the old tool didn't achieve wide acceptance because of lack of support and lack of effort in education. And possibly the company just stopped caring for whatever reason or was under-capitalized. None of these factors change the fact that my tool works faster, more accurately, and more repeatably than anything else I've tried.

    To MSNR, I'm not sure I understand the request for 8, 9, and 10 speed holes. The pitch is the same on all. Because 7, 8 and 9 behaved the same way with respect to the tool, I have no reason to suspect 10 will have a different target. Please, enlighten me if you've got other info.

    For all the others who have contacted me or expressed interest since I built the original six units, hang tight, I'll work something out...
    Last edited by HHMTB; 06-13-2011 at 12:57 PM. Reason: more detail
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  49. #49
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    It takes about 5 seconds to properly, and extremely accurately measure a chain with a ruler. Its quite deceiving to tell people its a 10 minute procedure that weakens your chain. The derailleurs provide all the tension you need to measure, its better to not take them off. My bike hangs on the wall and I can quickly take a measurement from there.

    Try the ruler guys.. you'll be amazed how simple of a procedure it is.

  50. #50
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    Then your technique definitely does not provide the requisite accuracy for what I'm trying to measure. I added numbers above to my last post which I forgot to do last night. Please read them. It basically boils down to: how do you measure better than +/- .003" accuracy if your tool only has increments down to .031" and your placement accuracy is +/- .010"? If you still don't get why I'm doing it this way, we can agree to disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    It takes about 5 seconds to properly, and extremely accurately measure a chain with a ruler. Its quite deceiving to tell people its a 10 minute procedure that weakens your chain. The derailleurs provide all the tension you need to measure, its better to not take them off. My bike hangs on the wall and I can quickly take a measurement from there.

    Try the ruler guys.. you'll be amazed how simple of a procedure it is.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 06-13-2011 at 02:32 PM.
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  51. #51
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    That level of accuracy is not required when measuring a chain.

  52. #52
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    Agree to disagree, then.

    It is when the measurement window is sub .030". It is an admittedly small window, but remember, I'm looking to prevent any wear to the cogs from chain elongation. If this is not something you care about, then this tool is not for you.

    You are aiming at a different target. I'm not looking for maximum usable life out of the chain before shifting issues arise. I am looking to prevent damage to the cogs. These are two very different replacement intervals in my experience, but a difficult concept for some to understand. Even at my replacement increment, I get many months of use out of a good quality chain so this strategy makes sense for me.

    To make a comparison to what we're debating: let's ask "what is the right time to change out disc brake pads?" Your analogous position would be not to change it until there's almost no material on the backing plate. Yes, you would achieve max life out of the pad and it will technically still work, but my argument is you start getting heat fade and piston retraction problems long before then, so a much earlier interval is necessary. Man, I hope I didn't just open up another can of worms with this little thought detour.
    "Adventure begins where good judgment ends."

  53. #53
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    Not correct. I replace my chain to preserve my drivetrain, not to get maximum life out of the chain. I never said otherwise, and you made an incorrect assumption. My point is that level of accuracy isn't required in either scenario.

  54. #54
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    How do you know your not wearing the sprokets? Do you have a tool to measure that also? Eventually you will need to change the sprockets, but I dont know if id be that critical. What about all the other wear items on your bike? Tires, Bearings, cables, bushings, etc, etc. I dont use anything, I just change them when they look worn, or every year in the winter. I have over 1500 miles on my current front rings, and replaced the rear sprokets and chain recently for lighter units, otherwise id still be running the old stuff. Just replace them one a year or sooner depending on your riding conditions.

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    My bad, I re-read some of your posts

    Ok then, Bad Mechanic. Enlighten me. What is your target distance? You mentioned before that you change before the 1/16" mark. How far before? What is your acceptable tolerance on that measurement? What is your measurement precision using the scale? How many years/chains have you been doing this for? Do you experience any grindiness in your drivetrain after doing it your way? What chains do you use and how much time/mileage do you get out of a chain? Are you really suggesting that being more accurate and faster is a bad thing?

    I don't get the grinding/popping sensation unless I've exceeded my wear limit by ~.005". That distance works out to .048% stretch over my sample length. And every time I come across a bike that does exceed it, there are visible flared/mushroomed/deformed areas in the pressure face of the cog teeth. When I change at or before the target, no such damage is present. So I'd be surprised if you get by with a significantly larger number than I've found without damage. Not impossible I grant you, since I haven't tried all possible part combinations, but if I were betting I'd say unlikely.


    [QUOTE=bad mechanic;7806624]

    I actually change the chain just before I hit the 1/16" mark to account for tolerances. Chains are cheap.


    ....

    Not correct. I replace my chain to preserve my drivetrain, not to get maximum life out of the chain. I never said otherwise, and you made an incorrect assumption. My point is that level of accuracy isn't required in either scenario.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 06-13-2011 at 06:57 PM.
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  56. #56
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    I change the chain when it gets about halfway to the 1/16" mark. That's it. I have no precise target distance in thousands of a inch, and for a chain I don't need one either. If you're worried about measuring a chain in thousands of an inch, you're over thinking it.

    I've been doing this for nearly 20 years now, have gone through countless chains, and "about halfway to 1/16"" has kept my cogs and chain rings in good shape all these years. I don't get any grinding. I don't count how many miles I get on my chains, since it's not important to me.

    I have no issue if you want to use such precision checking your chain. More power if it works for you. However, it's wrong to claim such precision is required to keep your drivetrain in good running order. It's not.

  57. #57
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    It's more wrong to claim better precision with faster deployment time is a bad thing.

    Yes, it's a bit overkill and esoteric for most people. I said that from the outset. I'm looking for those who care about this. You're clearly not someone who will benefit so why all the angst?

    I mean really, you are saying I'm going overboard, but you can't pin down exact dimensions and expect that to be good enough for everyone? I routinely build devices with +/-.0005" (that's 3 zeros) tolerance and have gone down to +/-.000025" on a couple occasions, "about halfway to 1/16" just isn't good enough for me. We are on opposite extremes, my friend.

    If you arrest the chain growth at the same spot every time, I agree, you can still get lots of life out of the drivetrain. BUT, if you are not super precise about it, there will be some gear tooth wear. My tool is as close to a zero tolerance tool as I could build without crazy equipment requirements. Clearly you have more tolerance.

    And for the record, I never claimed such precision is required to keep your drivetrain in good running order. Lots of people routinely run their drivetrains into the ground and the world hasn't ended. This tool isn't for them. This tool is for those that want to keep the gears as perfect as possible for as long as possible. For that, precision is needed.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 06-14-2011 at 10:03 PM.
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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB View Post
    I routinely build devices with +/-.0005" (that's 3 zeros) tolerance and have gone down to +/-.000025" on a couple occasions...
    This, actually, explains a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB View Post
    I mean really, you are saying I'm going overboard, but you can't pin down exact dimensions and expect that to be good enough for everyone?
    Sure I can, because it IS good enough. You're going for overkill, and that's fine, but it doesn't make using a ruler work any less well! Ultimately, the only advantages your tool has over a ruler is it's harder to screw up for a noob, and maybe some speed.

    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB View Post
    If you arrest the chain growth at the same spot every time, I agree, you can still get lots of life out of the drivetrain. BUT, if you are not super precise about it, there will be some gear tooth wear.
    The chain doesn't need to be changed at the exact same wear point every time. The drivetrain will wear into the chain which was allowed wear the most. In other words, if your worst chain was changed at 1/16", then you're not going to get additional wear so long as every subsequent chain is changed under 1/16". So no, you don't need exact precision, and halfway to 1/16" is perfectly fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    This, actually, explains a lot.

    Sure does. Like any good tool maker, I set out to do the job as accurately and efficiently as I could. You still haven't answered my question. Are you truly saying that more accurate and faster is not a good thing? If so, maybe your handle should be changed to "Bad Logic."


    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    Sure I can, because it IS good enough. You're going for overkill, and that's fine, but it doesn't make using a ruler work any less well! Ultimately, the only advantages your tool has over a ruler is it's harder to screw up for a noob, and maybe some speed.

    Says you, a person who has never measured accurately. You say you have, but the fact that you can't describe your tolerance band tells me otherwise. You say you aim for "about halfway to 1/16" (0.03125")" but don't comprehend that your placement and reading error is at least +/-.020". If that's accurate to you, you don't have a grasp on accuracy.

    Do you honestly think I didn't start by measuring your way? I did and found it lacking because more often than not, I got the grinding sensation and chainsuck with a new chain. So I started getting more stringent and tried different tools. Fast forward to now, and this is the result of my data collection. If you've never measured to my accuracy, the best you can say is you don't know for sure if I'm right. To say what you have been saying is intellectually dishonest and is akin to proclaiming that chocolate ice cream is the best flavor in the world when you haven't tried any other flavors.


    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    The chain doesn't need to be changed at the exact same wear point every time. The drivetrain will wear into the chain which was allowed wear the most. In other words, if your worst chain was changed at 1/16", then you're not going to get additional wear so long as every subsequent chain is changed under 1/16". So no, you don't need exact precision, and halfway to 1/16" is perfectly fine.
    Sure, you won't get additional wear to the rings beyond whatever your worst chain was, but that doesn't mean you will get as-new performance either. If your worst chain had 1/16" wear, a new chain can grind, skip, chainsuck, etc on those old gears. I'm not the only one in this thread or other threads to report this. If you haven't felt this, you simply aren't sensitive enough to detect it. That's not a criticism, just another bit of evidence that you're not who this tool is built for. I said from the beginning that the purpose of this thread was to find out if there are enough riders/mechanics who are this detail oriented to warrant a small production run of tools.

    With that, why are we still debating this? You've admitted I've got better accuracy and speed. You still don't want one? I couldn't care less. You got a problem with this tool being in other people's hands? Kinda trollish behavior if you don't mind me saying. If you want to continue debating from your weak position, I'm gonna have to bow out now because I don't have that kind of time. I'd rather be riding.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 06-14-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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    I say it again, since it appears to keep slipping by you: I have no issue with you wanting something with more precision, but I have issue with you telling other people it's needed to keep their drivetrain from wearing. It's not, and my practical experience, along with many other riders', bears this out. Stop trying to scare people into buying your tool.

    By the way, the 1/16" measurement I mentioned was simply for an example . As already stated, my chains aren't allowed to wear that much.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I have a Speedtech in my arsenal too. Patented, so be careful about marketing them.
    *snip*
    FWIW, I consider roller wear relevant, and prefer a tool that accounts for it, so the Speedtech hasn't been my go-to tool for over a decade now.
    This ^^^ FTW.

    For someone so hung up on exact measurements you seem to fail to grasp the simple concept that the contact points between the chain and the cogs are the rollers and therefore to get an accurate measurement of chain wear *as the cogs encounter the chain* your measurements need to include roller wear. Your tool leaves out one of the most important elements of chain wear. A worn chain has link stretch, pin wear AND roller wear.

    For all the others looking for a go-no go gauge all the standard chain wear tools marked .75 and 1.0 that you drop in between links are go-no go gauges. The act of dropping it down into the chain is the same as closing the bolt on a rifle to check headspace.

    For something so simple, that is subjected to so many variables, not the least being manufacturing tolerances, this is getting way too much thought.

    on a standard tool:
    .75: chain starting to stretch, change it if you are more concerned about drivetrain wear.
    1.0: if you're looking for the maximum life from the chain you just got it. Change it.

  62. #62
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    I change chains at 1/16th, completely eyeballed, completely indifferent to how accurate that is or not. If I changed to a more accurate method, I might save the cost of one cassette over 10 years, or thousands and thousands of miles.

    Key word "might". In all reality, it would make no difference what so ever, and would take a lifetime of riding to find the splitting hairs difference. Its kind of like using a foot wide hammer to drive a nail, and concerning yourself about where the nail head is exactly hitting on the hammer.

    I know some people who change chains and cassettes when they physically will not mate any longer. The point of completely ruining your whole drivetrain. The reality of it is that even doing that, the cost isnt much different than sub 1/16th chain changes.

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    MSNR and I were discussing this thread and we both agree that a 10 and 11 spd "hole" would be a welcome addition to the OP's creation. The Speedtech Checker is an awesome tool that is "foolproof". anyhow as the ruler method goes I guess it works but this tool just makes it easier!
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    Quote Originally Posted by paetersen View Post
    This ^^^ FTW.

    For someone so hung up on exact measurements you seem to fail to grasp the simple concept that the contact points between the chain and the cogs are the rollers and therefore to get an accurate measurement of chain wear *as the cogs encounter the chain* your measurements need to include roller wear. Your tool leaves out one of the most important elements of chain wear. A worn chain has link stretch, pin wear AND roller wear.
    Since you missed it in the earlier postings, please click here: Which Wear Indicator Tool?
    The way the Rohloff, Park, and Shimano GNG gauges work, there is potential for more error than my method. That's why sometimes a perfectly new chain starts at a half worn out reading. Before anyone jumps on it, I acknowledge that Speedhub Nate is also a proponent of the ruler method. However, I submit that maybe he hasn't been through this thread yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by paetersen View Post
    For all the others looking for a go-no go gauge all the standard chain wear tools marked .75 and 1.0 that you drop in between links are go-no go gauges. The act of dropping it down into the chain is the same as closing the bolt on a rifle to check headspace.

    For something so simple, that is subjected to so many variables, not the least being manufacturing tolerances, this is getting way too much thought.

    on a standard tool:
    .75: chain starting to stretch, change it if you are more concerned about drivetrain wear.
    1.0: if you're looking for the maximum life from the chain you just got it. Change it.
    FYI, the ".75" designation represents 0.75% stretch. Over 12", that's 0.090" or 3/32". You've just overrun even Bad Mechanic's limit by more than 50%... assuming you've actually got an accurate reading from the tool.

    Yes, I admit, as I did in several places in this thread, this is a niche tool that is a bit overkill for most people. If you're a garage mechanic that hates having to spend time and cash on swapping out cogsets and rings and dislikes even minute amounts of grinding from the drivetrain, this tool is for you. If you can live with either situation (grinding feelings or replacing parts) this isn't for you. Getting maximum chain life is not the point of this tool. Getting maximum cog/ring life is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I change chains at 1/16th, completely eyeballed, completely indifferent to how accurate that is or not. If I changed to a more accurate method, I might save the cost of one cassette over 10 years, or thousands and thousands of miles.

    Key word "might". In all reality, it would make no difference what so ever, and would take a lifetime of riding to find the splitting hairs difference. Its kind of like using a foot wide hammer to drive a nail, and concerning yourself about where the nail head is exactly hitting on the hammer.

    I know some people who change chains and cassettes when they physically will not mate any longer. The point of completely ruining your whole drivetrain. The reality of it is that even doing that, the cost isnt much different than sub 1/16th chain changes.
    Not actually a lifetime... just 17 years of observation using a very repeatable tool.

    I too know people who run their drivetrains into the ground. This tool probably isn't for them, at least not until they care to do a little math. Let's not consider the entry level components and stick to XT/XTR, where the cost savings are more apparent. Here in Socal, the regularly riding, run-it-into-the-ground type of rider seems to get about 12-18 months out of their top end drivetrains before they start complaining about chainsuck and thrown chains enough to do something about it. A 9 speed cassette plus 3 rings in XT is about $220 retail, XTR ~$550. The thought of ponying up that amount semi-annually on sprockets is not appealing to me. I'd rather spend $40 retail twice a year and never take the bigger hit. Call me cheap, but it saves me cash and wrenching time.

    I agree that there probably are people who could hit my target wear limit so quickly that the potential savings evaporate. I don't know how big a percentage of the population that describes. I admitted this near the beginning of this thread and outlined potential non-candidates. In this regard, I don't yet know what I don't know.

    On that note, for those who say that accuracy is not warranted, unless you've measured with good accuracy and repeatability, I respectfully suggest that you also don't know what you don't know. I'm at 25k ft, you're at base camp telling me that the view is every bit as good from down there.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 07-04-2011 at 02:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ae111black View Post
    MSNR and I were discussing this thread and we both agree that a 10 and 11 spd "hole" would be a welcome addition to the OP's creation. The Speedtech Checker is an awesome tool that is "foolproof". anyhow as the ruler method goes I guess it works but this tool just makes it easier!
    Thanks for your interest and support!

    I'm a little confused on your (and MSNR's) suggestion. Why would there need to be a 10 and 11 speed hole? How do they differ from, say a 9 speed hole, when the pitch distance is the same at half inch? I.E. The existing holes work for 7, 8, and 9. I'm just two months into testing on 10 but there's no discernible difference as yet.

    Not trying to be sarcastic, please educate me if I've missed something.
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  67. #67
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    Wow what an interesting thread. I came here to read this thread from a PM request from HHMTB, the original poster. I've taken part in chain wear/measuring device discussions before -
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...26984#poststop
    - plus many others over my past 14 years on this site. As I'm not here much anymore (I'm mostly at RBR) I didn't see this one.

    This thread seems to mostly revolve around HHMTB's quest for accurate, easy, repeatability and Bad Mechanic's opinion that, while those attributes are fine, they are not necessary for reasonable drivetrain tooth longevity.

    Just to backtrack from where I come from on all this, I've been measuring chains for decades (5) by the ruler method (and the +1/16th go-nogo measurement) with my fave device which cost me all of a dollar, not counting the masking tape Picture below. I use the derailer arm tension as my load "constant" for chain tension.

    While I certainly won't attempt to claim the accuracy that Henry claims with his device, what I will claim is what Bad Mechanic (and probably others in the thread) claim and that is, I've found it has been good enough.

    But I can't not admit that more accuracy and repeatability is better than less accuracy and repeatability. Of course it's better. But at what expense? If the dollar store tape measure has done me well, (and I'm not replacing chainrings often) then why change? Sure it's going to be easier to hook something over a roller than to eyeball a ruler hash-mark on the edge of a pin - and more repeatably accurate too. But I don't think I've suffered (that I'm aware of anyway) from lack of.

    Oh sure I'd love to test your tool Henry and I'll make you this deal. If you have one that I could borrow, I'd ship it back if I didn't think it was worthwhile and I'd gladly pay for it if I did think it was.

    While I haven't given this much though, I wondered if the chain pin might be too hard to see in your go-nogo holes. Might the following idea make the wear easier to gauge?

    Again - great thread chaps, without too many insults flying (so far anyway!).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Chain wear checker, anyone?-chaintool.jpg  

    Chain wear checker, anyone?-go-nogo.jpg  

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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by HHMTB View Post
    [COLOR="Navy"]I'd rather spend $40 retail twice a year and never take the bigger hit.
    Me too.. which is why i use a ruler. Sounds like we've accomplished the same thing

    Using so much accuracy is only important when it applies. its like pouring a bowl a cereal and cutting the last grain in half to get an EXACT serving size. It just doesnt matter.

  69. #69
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    HHMTB, just curious, do you also use a digital pressure gauge (accurate to the thousandths) and account for raising daily temps and lowering barometric pressure as you ascend for your tires?

    I mean, you ARE all about precision right?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    You are wrong to consider the shimano tool together with the park and rohloff.

    Shimano tl-40/41 doesn't work in the same way as rohloff/park. It measures chain wear correctly by not including roller wear. Don't understand why it costs $50+ though!

    http://pardo.net/bike/pic/fail-004/000.html

  71. #71
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    I would love my chain tool to have a way of measuring my new chain to record baseline if desired. Then show percentage wear so I can calculate actual wear from both measurments.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernestrome View Post
    I would love my chain tool to have a way of measuring my new chain to record baseline if desired. Then show percentage wear so I can calculate actual wear from both measurments.
    Sounds like you'd be a ruler man, then...(ruler/calculator/notepad man, anyway)
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    True, yeah. But if someone could add value to the ruler i'd be interested. Maybe I oughta just drill a hole the size of a pin right below the zero and i can then center it over it.
    Last edited by ernestrome; 07-04-2011 at 12:42 PM.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by ernestrome View Post
    True, yeah. But if someone could add value to the ruler i'd be interested. Maybe I oughta just drill a hole the size of a pin right below the zero and i can then center it over it.
    My ruler has a hole in it already...it hangs from the pegboard hooks that way. That enough value-add for you?

    For full disclosure, I'll admit to having (and using on occasion) a Park CC-2. And I never figured out the right technique for measuring the chain with a ruler, until I saw Speedhub Nate's pics on the other epic thread on this topic. I picked up a 16" steel rule at Office Depot for about $5, added the little tape marks like he had on his ruler, and dang if the thing doesn't work for me now! The ruler can ride on the top of the chain between the large chainring and the cassette, and you can prop it there no-hands while you line up one mark with the top of the one roller, and observe the measurement on the other end (using your free hands to apply tension to the chain through the cranks & rear wheel if you feel so inclined.)

    The Park CC-2 fits in my "mobile tool caddy" (bean can) and will be the first tool to grab, for a quick "how's it goin'?" measurement. But it's nice to finally figure out how to use the ruler on the bike, even with my crappy farsighted old eyes.
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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
    its probably a spring clamp to clip the ruler to the chain

    Official notice: Patent pending mother f@ckers, so don't you go stealing my ticket to fame and fortune!

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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    HHMTB, just curious, do you also use a digital pressure gauge (accurate to the thousandths) and account for raising daily temps and lowering barometric pressure as you ascend for your tires?

    I mean, you ARE all about precision right?
    Rad! Sounds like a new product idea!

    Not that I'm taking the suggestion seriously, but there is a parallel to this discussion. I am about precision when I can easily attain it and it translates to something meaningful to me. Maybe there could be something to be gained from normalizing tire pressure, but since on that subject I don't know what I don't know, I can't say for sure one way or the other. But I'm disinclined to put in the substantial effort to build the equipment to find out since I haven't experienced detrimental effects that I can directly attribute to pressure change. However, if someone else put in the effort, I'd sure be interested in the findings.
    Last edited by HHMTB; 07-04-2011 at 03:50 PM.
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    FWIW, I was poking a bit of fun, but I am on the ruler side of the crowd - always have for years (not as long as MT, but I'll be there soon enough )
    The point is it just plain WORKS - If something works for little $$ (I'm not saying to sacrifice for the sake of saving a buck) - use it. It works BETTER than many tools out there for checking wear. (unlike my wheel building method of plucking spokes[works fine btw], but a tensionomter will be more accurate)

    If I may continue my wheelbuilding analogy, I would say that you are like MeltingFeather (the geek of wheels here), and the ruler crowd are like MikeT.

    Sure, there is nothing wrong w/ precision. I'd rather see that that some sloppy-ass mech who doesn't give a crap! But to some seasoned mechs/riders, it's like using a GPS on a shovel to figure out where the next hole should be.

    Props to you, just see the forest for the trees
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    I got the joke, man... and the GPS on a shovel is even more awesome! Appreciate the levity and appreciate the thoughtful comments, all of you. As Mike says, it's great we haven't devolved to a bunch of name-calling.

    Really, at the end of the day, this is all about fun on bikes. I'm not a techno/retrogrouch curmudgeon like I may come off at times. There's just some things I like to understand better if I can, with the tools I have at my disposal, which is a whole R&D machine shop. As I stated towards the beginning, I do chase perfection more than is probably healthy for most people but it gives me a better handle on how to build good stuff. I'm kinda the same way with rebuilding shocks and wheelbuilding... I'm a tensiometer guy there too. And it's all fun to me.

    But I'm totally cool with people who don't want this level of detail as well. It's not a problem to me, and really, I expected most wouldn't care. I said early on in post 17, I don't think this is a "killer app" because shops won't want it and the subset of rider/mechanics who would appreciate it is likely to be small. Generating huge sales has never been the goal here. Yes, the ruler works reasonably well when applied right, but what about those of us for whom it's not quite accurate enough? I'm not the only one in this thread that's found inconsistency in that method. Even the measurement target on the ruler is up for debate. MT says 1/16", BM says somewhere halfway there.

    The whole point of the thread was to see if there were more people like me to warrant building a run of the tools. Partially because it's fun, but also to improve our general component knowledge. The tool accurately tells me how certain parts perform relative to others, but I'm a single test point and my data acquisition is serial. Having others doing parallel testing can only help us better understand what part combos are strong much quicker.

    As it stands, I'm in talks about building 30~50 clones of my personal tool due to the people who trickle into my PM inbox asking about this thread and those that have posted in this thread itself. Whether I actually hit "go" is still up in the air.


    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    FWIW, I was poking a bit of fun, but I am on the ruler side of the crowd - always have for years (not as long as MT, but I'll be there soon enough )
    The point is it just plain WORKS - If something works for little $$ (I'm not saying to sacrifice for the sake of saving a buck) - use it. It works BETTER than many tools out there for checking wear. (unlike my wheel building method of plucking spokes[works fine btw], but a tensionomter will be more accurate)

    If I may continue my wheelbuilding analogy, I would say that you are like MeltingFeather (the geek of wheels here), and the ruler crowd are like MikeT.

    Sure, there is nothing wrong w/ precision. I'd rather see that that some sloppy-ass mech who doesn't give a crap! But to some seasoned mechs/riders, it's like using a GPS on a shovel to figure out where the next hole should be.

    Props to you, just see the forest for the trees

    To MikeT
    Thanks for the insightful reply. It's about as even-handed a peer review as I could hope for and I appreciate it greatly. I considered your suggested modification for the tool while on my July 4th ride (a very fun ride btw) and think that it would actually be harder to make accurately and allows for greater chance of misreading. I.E. how do you know you've got the edge in the right place on the rivet when considering that the tool must get angular rotation during usage? I won't get into the manufacturing end of it but suffice it to say that it's going to be faster, cheaper, and more precise to hit all three critical points with the same drilling setup. Good thinking though, I hadn't considered that approach before. Yes, I use a flashlight to see the holes in the tool.

    I totally agree with the "Of course it's better. But at what expense?" statement you made. Everyone has their own comfort level for spending on tools. If what you got is good enough for you, great! But thanks for acknowledging that "more accuracy and repeatability is better than less accuracy and repeatability." I was really starting to bang my head on that one.

    If I go ahead with the next build, I'll take you up on the testing offer. "And if you buy today, just make three easy payments of $9.95!"

    To ernestrome
    So I pulled my Shimano TL41 out of its banishment to the land of misfit tools to give it another shot. I put it on a chain that has 6 rides on it and measures "new" on my tool. The TL41 says it's done. Maybe I'm misusing it, but I did it according to the label on the side. If it's a good tool, how is this even possible?
    Last edited by HHMTB; 07-05-2011 at 12:11 AM.
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  79. #79
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    ^^^ I totally get ya man - geekin out on something is always a good idea - how else would shlt get done?
    I kinda kid about the tire-pressure thing, but you know somebody, somewhere, is geekinin' out on that - AWESOME!
    Take your skills even further than just the chain - I need real data like how long must I wheelie before a chick wants to do me - and how long is just showing off and a turn off...- ya know real, applicable stuff!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    Take your skills even further than just the chain - I need real data like how long must I wheelie before a chick wants to do me - and how long is just showing off and a turn off...- ya know real, applicable stuff!
    Best post so far in this thread! I'm on it! Initial guess: (1 hour)/(your looks on a scale of 1-10)^2.

    To ernestrome:
    I amend what I just said about the TL-CN41. I figured out what I was doing wrong... it has been more than two years since I dismissed it so my memory of it was hazy. Sorry. Yes, it measures in a correct manner, but the reason I dismissed it was that it didn't go for the same target I was going for so it didn't offer me protection from the grindiness sensation with a new chain.
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  81. #81
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    If I go ahead with the next build, I'll take you up on the testing offer. "And if you buy today, just make three easy payments of $9.95!"
    You'd get way more takers if you threw in a set of free steak knives too. Just sayin'.

    To Highdell -
    I need real data like how long must I wheelie before a chick wants to do me
    Mate, I hate to be the one to break this to ya but not even HHMTB can make a gauge that measures to Infinity.

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  82. #82
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    To the OP, I haven't read all the comments here, but I would say go for it. Lots of great inventors had to ignore all the "naysayers" about how dumb their ideas were.

    Start off small, make a few prototypes, take it around to shops and ask if you could hang a few up to see if anyone is interested. Of course, they would make a few bucks on each sale. Don't make them pay until after the sale, so they have no cash outlay up front.

    Come up with a simple package, like a plastic bag with a cardboard top closure. Figure out how to get a simple label printed. Work on the look to make it seem cool and desirable.

    The above would be if you just want to sell, but perhaps you want to patent first.

    If you don't want to pay a lawyer to patent it, read a book called "Patent it Yourself". It is excellent and will make you about as knowledgable about the process as most attorneys.

    Send in your initial idea to the patent office so you have pending status, then approach Park Tool with a deal. They might laugh, or they might offer you a lump sum for rights to the idea. It might be a small amount. You might accept that, if they throw in a dollar per unit sold residual, or whatever.
    Good luck.

  83. #83
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    Anyone have a link to this Speedhub Nate's thread?

  84. #84
    mtbr member
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    I think this is it

    Which Wear Indicator Tool?

  85. #85
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    thanks

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