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I have recently replaced the chain and the cassette. Previous chain never slipped. I never had any problems with it at all. But I have made about 10 000 km on it and the wear was beyound any limits, so friends and guys in the bike service recommended replacing both chain and the cassette. I did a lot of reading and I know that chain and the cassette wear together.

So I got chain and the cassette replaced. It is a 9 speed cassette. I have asked to replace it with a little lower gear ratio. Guys in the workshop also indexed the derailleur for me.

Since I collected my bike the chain slips terribly every time I stand up on the pedals. Sometimes it also slips when I apply enough pressure even while seated. But standing up is a definite slip. I already have few bruises from falling down on the frame.

I had assumption about chain being too long, but is seems to be just about ok.

I have also figured out that the chain never slips if it is on the lowest or the highest chainring. It only happens with the middle chainring. As I have said before - it never happened before with the old chain/cassette. Now I have tried to stand up and pedal very hard in all gears on low and high chainrings. Never got a single slip in about half an hour of trying. Changed back to the middle chainring - it slips in every gear from 1 to 9 when enough torque is applied.

So the question is: can it be that chain is slipping at the chainring? Do chains ever slip at the chainring at all? I have never heard of anything like that. Is there a simple way to test it in order to be sure that the chainring is the root cause?

I really don't want to blame it on the chainring and get it replaced just to figure out that the problem never went away.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I expect that after 10,000 km your chainring also needs to be replaced (frankly, I find it astonishing that you made it that far without replacing anything else. That's amazing.). Am I correct in guessing that you spend most of your time in your middle chainring? If so, it will be significantly more worn than your large or small rings, which would explain why you're only experiencing slippage in that ring.

It should be very easy to tell if it needs to be replaced--either take it to your shop and have them look at it, or look at it yourself. Worn chainrings will show a characteristic "shark fin" on the teeth if they're worn too badly.

Notice the sloping on the teeth of the gear, and how they look kind of like shark fins

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Cogs and chains "wear together" (regardless of whether they are front rings or rear sprockets). The old chain does not slip on the ring, because the old chain's rollers are worn down. They have an overall smaller diameter than the rollers of a new chain, and also a different shape: new rollers are cylinders, but worn ones look like small pulleys, they have little "waist", like "inverse doughtnuts".

Because the old rollers are smaller, they can catch the worn teeth of the old ring better than the fat rollers of the brand new chain. Smaller wheels "catch" irregularities more easily: think about how a suitcase wheel can get stuck between a floor and elevator cabin, whereas a much larger baby stroller wheel will not. Another effect is that if there is some so-called "stretch" in the worn chain (elongation due to wearing of the link pins), it affects how it meshes with the teeth. Though, overall, a stretched chain doesn't fit the ring, over a short section of where you are applying tension to the chain, it can mesh better with the worn teeth due to the stretch. Each successive roller is a little farther than it should be, which places it more into the deepest part of the valley after the next tooth. Lastly, possibly due to the wear profile on the rollers (the aforementioned "waist") it may be the case that they "mate" better with the worn teeth, which have the opposite curvature.

The bicycle shop probably didn't recommend a change of rings because rings can last longer than cassettes. It is not unheard of to be able to change chain and cassette several times before having to do anything with the rings. A guess is no substitute for inspection, however, not to mention basic testing. Maybe they just glanced at the largest ring, judged it to be okay, and neglected to take a look at the middle and smallest one, thinking they are used less.

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Yes a new chain can skip in either an old chain ring or old cassette.

The length between chain lengths needs to match. So the old chain matched up to the old ring. The new chain does not match up with the old chain ring.

I suspect the middle chain ring looks worn. If so for sure time to replace it.

What do I need to know to buy new chainrings for my crankset?

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