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I changed my chain and I should have done it earlier (it seemed to be such a short time). I was stupid enough to do it at the last possible moment. Now it skips. How long does it take before the chain adjusts (wears) so that it does not skip? I am not concerned about the lifetime of the chain at all but I need a bike that can be ridden and I am now leaving for my holiday.

I still have the option to leave this bike at an intermediate location tonight and take an old one or a road bike, but it is a bit stupid to pay for the train transport there and back and do all the hastle for nothing for nothing.


It seems that they have a cassette close where I am going to, but on Monday and I will likely have to go there by the bike, so perhaps I should wish that it does not adjust very quickly.

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  • I have no idea but I bet it depends a lot on the chain, i.e. shorter wearing low end ones will probably be relatively fast. I don't think you'd want to plan on it taking anything less than number of rides of dealing with it skipping. Fishing out the old chain for a few more rides is probably the best option if you can. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:25
  • Of course I should have just returned and put the old chain on. But that option is simply gone once I boarded the train. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:26
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    The edited title may be clearer. As always, feel free to revert if it doesn't convey your intent.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 20:14

3 Answers 3

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I don't think the chain will wear enough any time soon to work with your cassette. And when it does, it will be worn to the point that you have to replace it.

If a the chain skips on your cassette, I'd suggest you replace the cassette. It's generally advised to replace a cassette (and the chain) before it gets to the point that it starts skipping, either with the old chain or with a new chain. A chain wears out more quickly than a cassette. I am surprised you managed to wear out the cassette with just one chain.

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    Well, yes, I know I need to change the cassette and I noted that I am not concerned about the lifetime of the chain - if only used with the old cassette. It even seems that they do have a suitable one near the place I am going to. But it is at least another hilly 20 km on the bike to get the cassette. I am now concerned whether the new chain will be worn too much and damage the new cassette. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:43
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    I am surprised you managed to wear out the cassette with just one chain. I did not. This isn't the first chain. It might the fourth one actually, but I am bad at keeping the records. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:46
  • 20 km will not damage the cassette, nor the new chain.
    – Christine
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:47
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    This is the information I need. I can probably live without the bike on Sunday and just go for the cassette on Monday. Just need to get the tiols. A long enough key might be the biggest problem. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:50
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Too long.

If you consider that a well-maintained chain lasts for at least 4000 kilometers (on my bike, a mid-drive e-bike with 110 kg rider -- for normal weight rider on a non-e-bike the chain lifetime would be more, and this was with 0.5% wear limit so for 0.75% wear limit it would last longer), you will have to tolerate a skipping chain for a very long amount of time, probably 2000-3000 km or so.

Change the cassette. There's no way to ride that long with a skipping chain.

I suppose you could shorten the interval by coating the chain with a sand-oil mixture though and go ride the bike with that grinding paste on the chain.

Next time, change the chain at 0.5% limit so you will get several chains out of a cassette.

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  • That raises an interesting question: how fast could you wear out a chain?
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 19:08
  • FYI, the OP isn't proposing to ride the new chain and worn cassette for the entire life of the chain. He wants to know if he can ride in that state for a short time.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 20:10
  • @WeiwenNg The OP asked how long until the skipping stops. If a chain lasts 4000 km to 0.5% wear limit, and the OP rode the old chain 6000 km, causing cassette to wear, I'd say it's at least 2000-3000 km until the new chain wears to match the worn cassette. After all, 2000-3000 km is 33-50% of the 6000 km the OP presumably rode.
    – juhist
    Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 8:12
  • A chain unfortunately lasts much less for me, but it is likely connected to the fact that it is an offroad (gravel) bike. The previous one I changed after 1500 km, this one was 2500 km and it was way too late. Commented Jul 23, 2022 at 21:17
  • @VladimirFГероямслава Then you can get a good approximation by using 37.5% of the numbers. So 2000-3000 km turns to 750-1125 km. The point is, there is no accelerated chain wear, it wears at its normal rate, and you need a pretty worn chain to not have the skipping.
    – juhist
    Commented Jul 24, 2022 at 12:42
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As we all know, the worn cogs won't mesh with the chain rollers. They could re-shape the rollers with enough riding time. We are talking about steel on steel at >100W of power. I don't have empirical experience, but I wouldn't want to ride in this state for more than one to two rides.

In the unlikely event that you have a cassette with titanium or even aluminum cogs that are skipping, I'd be less worried. The softer cogs shouldn't be able to reshape the rollers as fast. I believe that SRAM and Campagnolo have phased out titanium cogs in their newer road groups; MTB groups are likely to use aluminum for the biggest one or two cogs.

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