Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I put a full new drivetrain on about this time last year: Absolute Black oval ring, XO1 cassette, and X01 chain. I've been religiously checking chain wear with the digital KMC chain checker, and it only measures ~0.01% wear, even after ~75 rides and ~1000 miles (and 150k feet of climbing).

Yesterday, I decided to go ahead and change the chain, as I was hearing some noises that suggested it was time, despite the almost immeasurable wear. I put the new chain on and it wasn't even close to lining up with the cassette.

Background information: I'm a big guy at 230#, and fairly strong. All of my rides involve a decent amount of climbing. I try to clean my bike every few rides. After almost every ride, I carefully wipe down the chain with a dry cloth. I use Dumonde lube, and follow their instructions regarding application.

So, where am I going wrong?
a) I don't know how to use my KMC chain checker. (It can't be that hard, can it? I also checked with my two Park tools, including the 3.2.)
b) I'm a horrible person and don't clean my cassette enough.
3) Big guys wear out cassettes. Deal with it.
4) Something else.

I don't mind changing chains to extend the life of my cassettes, but am trying to figure out what I need to be looking for if the chain checker tools aren't going to provide me the information I need.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,754 Posts
There is something wrong with your chain wear measurement, either operator error or instrument error. IMO, the best tool for measuring chain wear is the Pedro's Chain Checker +2 and similar (Shimano, etc) that separate roller wear from pin/bushing wear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,706 Posts
Combination of two things I think.
1. Your chain checker is probably off. You should be getting some signs of chain wear.
2. Big guys wear out cassettes. Deal with it. (Sorry)
 

·
Elitest thrill junkie
Joined
·
38,764 Posts
Expensive cassette, I get many seasons out of them, I also change chains about 2x a season on each of my summer bikes, ends up ~every 3-4 mo of hard riding. I measure with a ruler, 12" from link to link, the way we did it in the bike shop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, more info. I kept the chain and cassette around so I could keep looking at it. It's totally possible that I'm not using the KMC digital checker correctly, BUT it just isn't that complicated. I've read the manual, I've watched the videos, and I've used it on my other chains. It all seems OK. When I check wear on my road bike chains, the KMC measurements line up with measurements taken with a ruler.

So, more about the chain that I just took off... the KMC actually measures wear at a slightly negative amount (around -0.01 to -0.03). If I measure 12 links with a ruler, I get 12". There's no discernible difference. The KMC tool measures 4 links, and I have to physically push the tool into the chain links. With the tool in place and stretching the chain taut, a ruler measures right at 4". So what am I missing?

If push/pull the chain, I can feel a bit of play back and forth at the pin. Is there some other wear here that's causing the cassette destruction?

Thanks.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,314 Posts
throw that digital chain checker tool in the trash. there is zero reason to have a digital tool for this. I feel the same way about calipers. f*ck digital calipers.

Aside from digital being pointless for this application, 4" is just too damn short. The error on a tool like that can be massive. For a chain checker tool, longer is better. The Park 3.2 is 7" long. I have a Wippermann chain checker (it was a freebie) that's 10" long. And of course, I have a steel ruler that's 12" long.

Plus, when measuring chains, if you want to do it RIGHT, you should measure it multiple times in different spots, both with and without any quick links.

While I don't tend to run SRAM cassettes most of the time, I usually get 2-3 chains out of each one. That means probably an avg of 1,000mi per chain, so close to 3,000mi per cassette. And that's on inexpensive cassettes most of the time. With multiple bikes in rotation, that typically means multiple years on a cassette.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,083 Posts
This, absolutely 100%, except I then will use a 24" rule if I remove the chain to clean to really double check. At your weight, you should be looking to change chains around 500-700 miles depending on weather conditions you ride in. Ditch that POS tool, get yourself a good, metal ruler and just measure from pin to pin 12", if you get more, once it gets 12 1/16" pin to pin, consider changing the chain OR replacing the damn expensive cassette.

For me, a 12" engineers rule has worked for years with superior accuracy.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,314 Posts
Yeah, F$ch digital tools; I hate precision measurement, too. Best to just guess.
precision does not mean that digital tools are a requirement, or that digital is better.

for a chain checker, precision is not a requirement. accuracy is.

for calipers, I have analog calipers with a vernier scale accurate to hundredths of a mm. they have 4 parts and no batteries. the only way a $25 digital caliper is "superior" is because any idiot can read the digital display. a vernier scale requires a little bit of practice to read.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Digital is easier to convert units and see minute changes in different areas of the same part. The local machinists prefer them and so do I.
I have been EXACTLY where you have been and so upset! Quick run down:

a) Being a noob, run down a GX chain and cassette with 3000mi and then attempt to put on new chain.
b) Won't work, new chain skips like crazy.
c) Lesson learned! Need to measure chain wear. Get the park tool thing for this.
d) Buy XX1 cassette and chain ($$$$$)
e) Measure once a week.
f) Swap chain after 5 month at 0.5% wear.
g) Skip, skip skip!

I read and read about this in the internetz, and I have to say that it seems like the only sane thing is to buy one cassette and three chains and swap them once a month (and cycle once down with all three of them).

HTH.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
To the OP. If you want to know if your fancy digital tool is working without buying more length checking devices (and that is all any of them really are). Just lay your old chain next to the new one on the bench, stick a pocket screwdriver through the first links. Pull them tight. Over 100+ links you can see the length difference in a worn chain with your eyes. If the chains are the same length, your fancy digital tool is fine, and you have something else going on. If the old one is observably longer you need a drive train and a new length checking tool of your choice.
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
34,314 Posts
Digital is easier to convert units and see minute changes in different areas of the same part. The local machinists prefer them and so do I.
I don't GAF what machinists use. I'm not a machinist. I want to buy one tool that I don't need to fuss with battery replacements, or have to replace entirely when the electronics crap out. I want to take a measurement. That's all. My calipers have a metric scale and an imperial scale if I need different units.

All I need from a chain tool is to know if my chain is worn beyond a certain point. Go/No Go does the job. One piece of metal on the Park. One piece of metal for the steel ruler if I want to measure degree of wear.

Digital tools have their place. But it's unneeded complexity here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I appreciate that there are differences of opinions on the best tool to use, and I won't even quibble with those that claim a digital measuring device is overkill. However, some of you seem to be ignoring the fact that no matter what measurement tool is used (crude Park tool, fancy KMC digital tool, or a steel ruler), the normal change in pitch isn't observed here. Said differently, the tool isn't the issue. So, what type of wear in the chain is occurring and how can I measure it? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
To the OP. If you want to know if your fancy digital tool is working without buying more length checking devices (and that is all any of them really are). Just lay your old chain next to the new one on the bench, stick a pocket screwdriver through the first links. Pull them tight. Over 100+ links you can see the length difference in a worn chain with your eyes. If the chains are the same length, your fancy digital tool is fine, and you have something else going on. If the old one is observably longer you need a drive train and a new length checking tool of your choice.
Thanks. Yeah, I'll do that this weekend when I'm home again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,052 Posts
I'm game to do this. I asked a LBS mechanic about something similar and he turned up his nose. Are there any arguments against it?
No, its a very popular method used by people who ride a lot. LBS mechanics just tend to be goobers.

Your chain measured 12.0 inches when installed and tensioned by the derailleur? I dont see how you'd wear a cassette in that manner unless the rollers of the chain were physically elongated. Especially since you have detectable play at the pins.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top