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After 300 km GX Eagle chain is at 0.5% wear which indicates to me I have to buy a new chain?

Is this normal? How to prevent it or advice for better chains?

I mostly drive MTB in the woods in Belgium in a dunes area. So a lot of very short and steep climbs and descents (think 50/100m). My gear ratio on a 34 tooth chainring is mostly on the 3 smallest and on climbs on the 3 biggest. I am running SRAM Eagle SX derailleur, with NX cassette and GX chain.

My bike gets washed almost every ride with me also cleaning the chain, cassette, sprockets and chainring from dirt. If I don't wash the bike it's because it's not dirty.

How I wash the drivetrain:

  1. use garden hose to sprinkle of the biggest dirt from chain
  2. clean chainring and sprockets with toothbrush
  3. clean cassette with larger brush
  4. use 2 nail brushes and let chain run in between
  5. use garden house to get remaining dirt of
  6. use an old rag and clean/dry chainring and sprockets
  7. use old rag and thoroughly rub chain back and forth to dry it.
  8. lube chain with a drop on each roller
  9. go through a few gear high and low to let lube sink in.

Lubing with is done with wet lube since there is a lot of rain lately.

Any advice on better more lasting chains or does somebody have a similar experience and a possible solution?

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    You might be over-cleaning it. Or it may be that your chain gauge is not accurate. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 4 '20 at 18:34
  • @DanielRHicks when do you define an over clean? It's on a MTB by the way so the chain contains dirt. – Christoph Nov 4 '20 at 18:40
  • Hint: Get yourself a chain scrubber. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 4 '20 at 18:42
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    Are you using a chain checker that's rated for 12s SRAM chains? I'm not sure how much it would throw off a chain checker, but SRAM chains have slightly larger rollers than others. Some models of chain checker, like the Pedros' Chain Checker Plus II and the Park CC-4, account for this. I think it's more an issue on SRAM 12s AXS chains, but even the Eagle chains have slightly larger rollers than other brands. cyclingtips.com/2019/08/bicycle-chain-wear-and-checking-for-it – Weiwen Ng Nov 4 '20 at 19:42
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    @WeiwenNg Wouldn't larger rollers reduce the chain wear measurement, rather than increase it? – MaplePanda Nov 5 '20 at 3:21
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Yes. Get a new chain. When I was running Sram Eagle, I found my chain worn out pretty early too, and I also found it made a big difference to change earlier rather than later.

In my experience, this is within the range of normal...on the low side of normal for sure, but not anything that I think you are doing wrong.

Keeping your chain clean is a good thing but not fool proof.

Lastly, I remember reading an article several months ago where several chains were put to the "wear test". The conclusion was that more expensive chains don't last longer. In fact someone at a bike shop told me once that the more expensive chains actually wear quicker because they are made with weight in mind. I don't know if that is true or not. If I can find that article, I'll add it to the post.

Good luck.

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  • I read a similar article indicating the price per KM cyclingtips.com/2019/12/… You would think a more expensive chain lasts a lot longer but if you compare the NX and the XO1 the XO1 is only marginally better. Thanks for letting me know you have similar experiences. I think about switching to a box 9 speed prime when this bike is a few years old to hopefully get a bit less wear. – Christoph Nov 5 '20 at 6:45
  • what are you running right now and does it have less wear? – Christoph Nov 5 '20 at 6:48
  • Most recently I am using the sram 1110. I rode roughly 500 miles in about a year, and I just put on my third chain. So that would be about 250 miles. If you have not already, make sure you check your chain in several places, because the links will not wear uniformly. I actually measure my chain in a rather unconventional way. I take it off the bike, and use a yard stick. 50 half links (one pin to the next), should be 25 inches. One quarter inch is 1% of 25, thus each extra sixteenth of an inch indicates 0.25% chain stretch. I do this from both sides ends. – Ben Stokes Nov 5 '20 at 17:18
  • Another good way to measure that takes the whole chain into account...Buy your new chain first, since you are going to need it anyway. Break it to the correct length, and hang both the old one and new one on a nail. Most bikes have close to 100 half links in there, so if the old one is one half link longer, that is a decent estimate of 0.5%. If want to be more exact you can pretty easily do the math. – Ben Stokes Nov 5 '20 at 17:21
  • @Christoph I think the conventional wisdom is that mid-tier bike stuff is more durable than the low-tier stuff, but as you go up from a group like 105, you don't expect durability to increase. As the Cyclingtips article you linked pointed out, SRAM's top-end Eagle MTB chains may be an exception, with the XO1 and XX1 chains showing a lot more durability than the NX or GX. – Weiwen Ng Nov 6 '20 at 16:39

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