I clean my chain on the bicycle, mostly because taking it off for a bath, drying, etc seems to take more time than I have. But maybe I could use 2 chains in rotation, I would take one chain off, replace it with second clean one, and during the days that follow would slowly clean it to be ready for next cycle.

Are there any drawbacks to such approach regarding the wear of cogs, or something else?

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    What you're saying sounds fine, just wondered if you ever take the cassette off to clean, and how that would fit in?
    – PeteH
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 12:39
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    Cassette seems simpler to clean, so I usually clean it on the bicycle. Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


There is actually a real gain from this strategy. By rotating 2 (or 3) chains you extend the life of rear cogs (cassette) and it will last all your chains. In case you use one chain, you may need to replace cassette together with chain.

As of front cogs, they last longer, but you will get a more even wear.

Speaking of drawbacks - regularly taking off your chain you can make your PowerLink (or other brand) a bit more loose and have a higher risk of it failing under a load.

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    +1 Wise words. However, I fer this could grow into the "I will leave the dishes in the sink to soak and will wash them tomorrow ... aaand it's 3 months later, no clean dishes at home".
    – Vorac
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 13:01
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    Note that some chain locks are not designed to be reopened, and using a new lock every time the chain is cleaned will get expensive very fast.
    – arne
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 14:05
  • @arne yes, but re-usable ones are pretty cheap - SRAM Powerlink three packs are about $7 online, so a little over $2 a set.
    – Nuі
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 22:59
  • I'm a bit confused by the 'real gain' you refer to in the first paragraph. Are you saying that nominal life of cassette = 2 x nominal life of chain? Or that having swapping the chains frequently somehow gets less wear on the cassette? Or something else?
    – oals
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 13:53
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    @oals It's them both: Nominal life of cassette is about 2 or 3 times nominal chain life. You gain even more if you use 3 chains because: if you use 1 chain, when it wears off, it wears the cassette much more, then you put second chain, and the new chain gets wear faster because the cassette is already a bit worn, then your cassette and all the chains after the first one lasts much faster. And there are cases when putting new chain on a cassette will wear the cassette to the end because of the difference in wears.
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 4:19

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