i need to reconsider my drivechain changes – wear characteristics

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  • i need to reconsider my drivechain changes – wear characteristics
  • Trimix
    Member

    I run 1×10 with cheap stuff. Ride 2-4 times a week all year and just change the whole lot once a year.

    Its cheap and i dont wait till it slips, just change it pretty much every 10-13 months.

    Saves bother and nut/stem problems.

    I use pretty much the cheapest stuff, chain about £20. ring about £15. cassette about £35 ish.

    Its worn by the end of the year, but not slipping. I dont lube my chain. I wash it and stick some WD40 on it.

    b r
    Member

    My question, quite simple really – is changing just a chain the better option than waiting for everything to wear down until non-rideable?

    Yes. Chains are cheap and made of steel, therefore once they start to stretch they quickly wear everything else out.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    My question, quite simple really – is changing just a chain the better option than waiting for everything to wear down until non-rideable?

    Actually I’d say it depends on the rest of your drivetrain.

    I used to use XTR cassettes (c£130) and KMC X10 SL chains (c£40). If I changed chains when they reached 0.75 to ‘save’ the cassette, I’d need a new chain every 3 months or so. So I’d spend £160 a year on chains, and nothing on cassettes. As it was, I changed a chain a little too late, and it slipped, put the old one back on and it lasted 2 more years. So I had a bill for £170 after 2 years, whilst I’d have used £320 of chains in that time, and probably still needed a cassette eventually anyway.

    XX1 cassettes shift the balance the other way – chains last longer IME, they’re only £30, and the cassette is >£200, so changing chains makes more sense.

    If you run cheap cassettes (XT or less) personally I’d run the whole lot into the ground and change it every year. Otherwise you spend (say) £80 on chains, to preserve a £40 cassette.

    The only slightly caveat is that a ‘new’ drivetrain does sound and work slightly better, if you run everything into the ground it can be a little ropey toward the end of its life.

    steve_b77
    Member

    I ran my SLX 2×10 into the ground until it started slipping, 2600km or there about.

    New KMC X10L chain was £20, new SLX cassette was £30 and the rings were under £35 delivered from Germany, so £85 ain’t bad for a year as opposed to several new chains and more than likely a new cassette if swapped regularly.

    Sui
    Member

    cheers chaps, exactly the debate I was after.

    Lets say you had a setup that was ;

    1×10 Shimano, with 42T OneUp, XT rear mech (clutch naturally), XT Chain (I think) and running a fancy new W/N Hardcoat chainring (middleburn*). Now with the 42T and the 16T replacement you get with it being made of cheese Alu, would you still suggest run it all into the ground, or does a chain change become more worthwhile..?

    *ok when they finally send it..

    bigyinn
    Member

    I’ve had a stockpile of spare 9spd drivetrain bit in anticipation of that first slip. Which happened last week, so its mid-rebuild at the moment.
    I’ve never bothered about swapping chains out and checking wear. I just run the lot until it starts playing up. Steel middle rings seem to extend the life of the drivetrain by quite a bit as does regular cleaning of it all.
    A bit of mechanical sympathy can often help, i.e. not smashing it up the gears whilst under load.

    Sui
    Member

    following on from this thread

    http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/1-x-11-running-costs

    I’ve always (and this will explain my bodging) allowed everything to wear at the same rate and change it all when I start to hit my nuts on the stem, with the inevitable “slip”.

    My question, quite simple really – is changing just a chain the better option than waiting for everything to wear down until non-rideable?

    ta

    Premier Icon philtricklebank
    Subscriber

    Alfine 8 speed here. I just run it until there are really lethal sharp points on the sprocket and chainring. This takes about 2 years/5000 miles, then I spend £40 on a new chain, sprocket and chainring. It takes about 2 months for a chain measuring tool to indicate that a new chain is required (dark peak riding) – so if I was listening to that advice I’d need 12 chains every 2 years. Life’s too short.

    I keep the chain relatively clean and well lubed and swap between two (on the full sus) and three (on the hardtail) chains, always using whichever chain has the least ‘stretch’. I probably swap the chains every month or two. Seems to keep the cassette, chain ring and jockey wheels happy for much longer and if I do have a chain die on me I have a replacement which will fit without meshing issues. I think rotating three chains is a bit hard on the brain compared to just swapping between two!

    That’s 1×10 with Works NW chainrings, XT cassettes and KMC X10L chains.

    Ecky-Thump
    Member

    I keep the chain relatively clean and well lubed and swap between two (on the full sus) and three (on the hardtail) chains, always using whichever chain has the least ‘stretch’. I probably swap the chains every month or two. Seems to keep the cassette, chain ring and jockey wheels happy for much longer and if I do have a chain die on me I have a replacement which will fit without meshing issues.

    ^^^ Cheifgrooveguru +1

    That’s exactly what I do.
    Run 2 or 3 chains in rotation and grind the lot into the ground, then replace full drivetrain and 2 spare chains. Rinse and repeat.

    chrismac
    Member

    I swap the chain because as well as having to replace the cassette if you run it into the ground you also have to replace the chain rings which seem very expensive for what they are.

    I guess it also depends where you ride. The peak district is made of grinding paste so chains dont last too long and worn ones soon destroy the cassette and chainrings giving them a short lifespan

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Now with the 42T and the 16T replacement you get with it being made of cheese Alu,

    Is the 16 made of alu? Surely not, that’ll last minutes.

    would you still suggest run it all into the ground, or does a chain change become more worthwhile..?

    I’d run it into the ground and replace annually, or when required.

    bigyinn
    Member

    Just checked and I’ve got 3 years out of the drivetrain on my main bike. Although I tend not to use it much in the really filthy winter crud.

    DT78
    Member

    Depends on the bike – my hack bike I run it all into the ground, road / race XC bike I replace the chain when indicated as .75. I don’t want slipping / snapping / nuts to stem issues on those bikes.

    If you run it into the ride you may also need to replace the jockey wheels too (I normal do). Which tends to work out cheaper to buy a new mech….and keep the old one for spares.

    Sui
    Member

    njee20 – Member

    Now with the 42T and the 16T replacement you get with it being made of cheese Alu,

    Is the 16 made of alu? Surely not, that’ll last minutes.

    dunno in that case, it didn’t seem like steel, maybe just me.

    I doubled the service life of my transmission to 3 years just by changing my cleaning and lubrication methods. It’s not all about durability of a component at a given spec level.

    Premier Icon paladin
    Subscriber

    2*10 slx on my 456 has done over 1500 miles offroad + beach and rock pools and is still going great. Hosed down and lubed ffrequently. Chains a bit rattly now so it and cassette will get changed when it starts to fail. £35 for the pair at merlin, can’t complain.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    I assume the major change from 2or3 x 10 would be the wear on your chainring, esp if you use alu ones.

    I just put a new chain on (previous one under 0.75% worn but rusted to buggery*) and had chainsuck immediately with each of 2 used steel rings that I tried, despite them both looking OK by eye

    People seem to be finding that thick/thin rings wear fast but I wonder if it’s just the 1x? aspect.

    *(- can rust affect chain “stretch” estimates I wonder ?)

    Superficial
    Member

    If you run cheap cassettes (XT or less) personally I’d run the whole lot into the ground and change it every year. Otherwise you spend (say) £80 on chains, to preserve a £40 cassette.

    Agree with this. I tried the chain checking thing and found it never really worked – the new chain on old cassette was never as good as it should be and would skip often. Now I just run it into the ground and replace it all. Currently, unbelievably, my 10sp XTR chain + XT cassette combo are only showing signs of skipping after 2 years of regular peak smashing.

    As above it depends on the chain cost:cassette cost ratio to determine whether you should chain check or just replace it all in one go. Especially with expensive single rear sprockets.

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