7

On my old commuting bike every 12 to 18 months I would have my chain replaced (I cycle about 100 km per week). As the chain wear would also wear the cassette I would have that changed at the same time.

My new commuting bike has a Shimano Ultegra groupset, and it's a bit too expensive for me to change the cassette regularly.

Is there a good heuristic for how often to change one's chain, in terms of distance cycled, in order to avoid undue cassette wear?

  • 1
    Not sure Ultegra was a sensible choice for a commuter, tbh. – David Richerby Oct 6 at 10:47
  • I wanted it to double as a fast tourer – dumbledad Oct 6 at 11:07
  • 6
    @dumbledad Nothing speaks against using 105-cassettes on Ultegra. They will last as long and are cheaper although a bit heavier. Shifting quality is equivalent. – Carel Oct 6 at 14:53
  • 2
    My new commuting bike has a Shimano Ultegra groupset, and it's a bit too expensive for me to change the cassette regularly. There's no need to use an Ultegra replacement cassette. 105 is perfectly fine... – Andrew Henle Oct 7 at 12:39
  • 1
    @Carel Nothing speaks against using 105-cassettes on Ultegra. They will last as long and are cheaper although a bit heavier. The last time I compared 105 and Ultegra cassettes, the only differences I could find are 1) the color, and 2) Ultegra has an aluminum lock ring that's about one whole entire gram lighter than the steel lockring on the 105 cassette. As far as shifting quality goes, I've raced on Tiagra cassettes because it was the only 12-25 I could find, which I wanted for some courses. I didn't notice any shifting difference between Tiagra, 105, or Ultegra cassettes... – Andrew Henle Oct 7 at 22:06
24

Distance depends on how you look after the bike and what your local conditions are. Buy a chain wear gauge (plenty of other brands available) and replace the chain when it's stretched by 0.5%.

  • 3
    +1, but you can save $US4.00 on the tool ($U11.00 if you splash out on the Park tool) by using a ruler. – mattnz Oct 7 at 1:13
  • 10
    @mattnz, you can but there's something for the said for the convenience of not having to deal with measuring fractions of mm on an oily chain with a ruler. A simple good/no good check is easy and quick and is therefore more likely to be done regularly. – Holloway Oct 7 at 10:29
6

David Richerby already answered on how to do it properly, but since you asked for heuristics: For me a 10 or 11 speed chain reaches the 0.5% wear level after 1000 to 3000km using Shimano Ultegra components. The 1000km are in bad conditions (mud, rain, snow) but regularly cleaned and lubed. The 3000km are during summer, regularly cleaned and lubed as well. I weigh only 65kg but the rides are usually hilly, with lots of shifting and relatively high intensity (200W and more).

I’ve found that the chain starts to make a lot more noise when it’s around 0.75%. Shifting quality also decreases.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.