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Chain wear, categorised as chain stretch, becomes an issue with comprehensive cycling. The wear is removal of material from the bushings and pins (or half-bushings, in the Sedis design, also, called “bushing-less”, where the bushing is section of the inner plate) instead of elongation of the sideplates.[8] The tension developed by pedaling is insufficient to trigger the latter. As the spacing from connect to link on a worn chain is longer compared to the 1⁄2 ” (12.7 mm) specification, those links won’t precisely fit the spaces between teeth on the sprockets, leading to increased wear upon the sprockets and possibly chain skip upon derailleur drive trains, where pedaling tension causes the chain to slide up over the tops of the sprocket teeth and skip to another alignment, that reduces power transfer and makes pedaling uncomfortable.

Since chain wear is strongly frustrated by dirt getting into the links, the lifetime of a chain depends mostly on how well it really is cleaned (and lubricated) and does not depend on the mechanical load.[6] Therefore, well-groomed chains of heavily used racing bicycles will often last longer than a chain on a lightly used city bike that’s cleaned less. Depending on use and cleaning, a chain can last only 1 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) (e.g. in cross-country make use of, or all-weather use), 3,000 to 5,000 km (2,000 to 3,000 mi) for well-preserved derailleur chains, or more than 6,000 kilometres (4,000 mi) for properly groomed high-quality chains, single-gear, or hub-equipment chains (ideally with a full cover chain guard).[9][10]

Nickel-plated chain also confers a way of measuring self-lubrication to its shifting parts as nickel is usually a relatively non-galling metallic.[dubious – discuss]

Chain wear prices are highly variable, therefore alternative by calendar is likely premature or continued use of a worn chain, damaging to back sprockets. One method to measure wear is with a ruler or machinist’s rule.[11] Another is with a chain wear tool, which typically has a “tooth” of about the same size entirely on a sprocket. They are simply just placed on a chain under light load and statement a “go/no-move” result-if the tooth drops in every the way, the chain ought to be replaced.

Twenty half-links in a new chain measure 10 inches (254 mm), and replacement is recommended Auto Chain before the old chain steps 10 1⁄16 ins (256 mm) (0.7% wear).[5] A safer time to replace a chain is when 24 half-links in the aged chain measure 12 1⁄16 ins (306 mm) (0.5% wear). If the chain has put on beyond this limit, the rear sprockets are also more likely to use, in extreme cases followed by the front chainrings. In cases like this, the ‘skipping’ mentioned previously is liable to keep even following the chain is changed, as one’s teeth of the sprockets could have become unevenly worn (in acute cases, hook-shaped). Replacing worn sprocket cassettes and chainrings after missing the chain alternative window is a lot more expensive than replacing a put on chain.