Chain Longevity - How long do you last?

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  • I'm curious to see what kind mileage people are getting from chains on their SS
    I feel like I get through chains quite quickly on my bike - I'm buying a new chain every year. I've started tracking it using the Strava gear function.
    Current one is a KMC K1 and it's lasted 1,800km but is now utterly cooked - it dropped twice on my commute this morning.
    On average I'll do about 75km a week (12.3km each way, three days a week) - I would guess that I degrease and clean every 6 weeks which perhaps is not often enough.

    Interested to hear others experiences and recommendations for the longest lasting chains.

  • How are you checking for wear? Are you using a chain checker?

    I'd expect considerably more than 1800km out of a single speed chain, assuming you've not over tensioned it (no binding, tight spots) If you're trashing them that quickly, I'd be checking that your chainring and freewheel aren't worn out and prematurely wrecking the chain.

  • yep, the park tool one and it's way over the .75 mark. If I pull the chain from the forward point on the chainring I get probably 5mm of daylight between chain and chainring.

    I don't think I over tension it, usually ends up with a bit of slack at the tightest spot. I would have expected more as well - this is at least the third chain since I built the bike up (4,500km ago). Chainring is a Stronglight 48T which was new 4,500km ago as well so I wouldn't have thought that would be cooked already. Freewheel is an old one though.

    I think I may end up swapping the whole lot out for new to start from a blank slate this time around

  • I’ve been using a KMC x101 more or less daily for well over 5 years.
    It’s been hovering around .75 on the chain checker for a while now.
    I haven’t done much to it, add a bit of wet lube from time to time, and wipe it clean. Good value if pricy initially.

  • I use those cheap KMC chains and they last a lot longer than that. Probably get a year out of one depending on the weather. I think maybe your cleaning and degreasing might be a factor. I find when cleaning the chain, unless I painstakingly go over every tooth on the cog and chainring, I end up with tiny bits of grit working its way into places it wasn't previously, which makes a horrible grinding sensation for a few rides. That doesn't do it any good so I tend to just lightly wet lube the chain and only clean everything if I really have to.

    And obviously the usuals are check your chain line, don't run the chain too tight, check the chainring or cog aren't knackered.

  • I probably average about 3 chains a year on my most used bikes. Which sounds like a lot compared to a lot of people posting here but I’ve never had to throw out or replace a chainring or sprocket due to wear.

  • Did you install it onto already worn chainring/cogs?

    I seem to be changing a chain every bloody week but I have a few bikes and have been known to ride a few km.

    I literally stuck a new on in the degreaser pot before getting on the turbo because I made the mistake of measuring the Tripster chain last night and it's way gone. FFS. Neverending waxing, daa da daaah daa da daah neverending waxing...

  • On my SS bikes I get about 3,000 miles or so out of the a 3/32 multi gear chain. Wet lube and a wipe over when needed. I use steel rings and a cheapish freewheel.
    Fixed on the road, sram PC1 chain, but Surly stainless rings and cogs. Wet lube, but actually try to keep the chainset clean. I get 3,000miles ish out of the chain. The ring and cog are about 12,000miles old and still going strong.
    The nice bikes share a super toughness chain and that gets cleaned to fuck and has hella miles on it.
    Oh I run a “ too loose” chain.

  • I think the sprocket is probably a bit worn but chainring looks fine. I'd reached the max limit of tensioning so shortened it by an entire link at the weekend and we're back at the min limit - we'll see if that helps - might stop it dropping so often.
    It does feel weird though, I get a rumbling/lumpiness sensation through the pedals. Will report back after this week's commuting.
    I can deal with the rumbling, but it dropping off twice every commute is annoying as balls.

  • Still feeling like there's a bag of spanners stuck in the drivechain so new chain and sprocket arrived today. Sucked it up and went for the spenny X101. It had better outlast the bike at that price...

  • Drive train components wear out to be similar to the most worn component in the drive train. So if you have a worn sprocket your new chain won’t mesh well with it until the chain has worn to a similar level of wear.

    Chains wear out fastest, so it’s a good idea to catch chain wear early and replace before the chain is too worn out or the other components will also get worn out.

  • Aye that's why I figured I'd replace both at the same time. Tomorrow lunchtime job - do like "W" FH on a Friday

  • At this point sounds like you need new chain, chainring and sprocket. Do all three at the same time.

  • A rumbling or lumpiness doesn’t sound to me like worn components; sounds more like chain too tight or wildly offset chainline. That said; there’s no WAY your chain should be dropping off! That could be fatal riding fixed…
    I run my chains pretty loose but still only get about 1000 miles out of them. Less in the winter. A tenner every couple of months doesn’t seem like a big deal and my chainrings and sprockets on my main bikes have never needed replacing and still look almost new.

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Chain Longevity - How long do you last?

Posted by Avatar for Cyclopathic @Cyclopathic