Assuming my chain is showing that it's worn and getting close to needing replacement due to chain 'stretch'. I know you can flip single speed chainrings to extend their life when they become worn. Can I flip the chain around to extend it's useful life? I doubt it would double it due to some overlap in wear on rollers, but possibly extend it a bit by putting load on the opposite side of the pins.

  • I guess the big test would be to take my chain wear indicator and see if the measurement differs directionally.
    – Benzo
    Feb 26, 2013 at 14:45
  • 1
    Chain wear indicator measures distance between 2 points. And distance is simetrical function: dist(A,B) == dist(B,A) Feb 26, 2013 at 14:53
  • I would be measuring different sides of the pins/rollers to see if the wear varied by side. It would not be measuring the same 2 points.
    – Benzo
    Feb 26, 2013 at 15:04
  • 4
    No. As others have said, the main "wear" that a chain experiences is in the plate joints, resulting in "chain stretch" that will be identical either direction. And when you use, eg, a chain stretch gauge you're inherently measuring both sides. Feb 26, 2013 at 16:02
  • 6
    (Keep in mind that when the chain is in use the front sprocket is bearing on the opposite side of the pins than the rear sprocket. The wear is about as symmetrical as can possibly be imagined.) Feb 26, 2013 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


I would say that this won't have any effect.

Flipping the chainring on a single speed makes sense as you use the other side of the teeth on the chainring which have not been used before. But with the chain it's a different story: The stretch is independent of directions so reversing its direction won't change anything. Also on the small "rolls" in the chain links on which the chain lies on the chainring I wouldn't expect any effect as they aren't fixed in the links but can rotate and therefore should wear out equally all around their circumference.

  • The rollers would likely wear relatively evenly, but I wonder about the pins and plates that the rollers rub against under load.
    – Benzo
    Feb 26, 2013 at 15:07
  • @Benzo: A majority of the load (therefore wear) is on the first couple of links going onto the cog - when the chain is virtually straight. Therefore flipping it would not make any difference.
    – mattnz
    Feb 26, 2013 at 21:27

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