Hi Folks,

I noticed on the recent BUPA Challenge that my chain is slipping slightly when under load or accelerating in the bottom two cogs of the rear cluster (I.e The two "highest" gears).

The chain was last replaced in approximately July 2011, and has been regularly cleaned and lubed etc. I have tried cleaning and lubing it further and have also tried adjusting the rear derailleur, all to no avail. I'm now thinking that it's time to replace the chain and possibly the rear cluster too.

I was just wondering, how long do chains last on average?

My current bike runs Sora running gear (I know, I know, I'm going to get flamed for this but money was really tight at the time of purchase and I'm now desperate to upgrade!) and I was just wondering if I'd get better longevity from a more upmarket chain and cluster set E.g. Tiagra or 105's etc???

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My chains last years (I use Wipperman chains), I haven't replaced the current one in the last 7 years and ride around 100 to 200 kms a week and got similar longevity out of the previous chain.  Admittedly, though,  I'm not the biggest of people so probably don't put a huge amount of power through the drive train and that will have an affect on the longevity.

There are a number of things that could be causing the chain to jump, stiff link, misaligned derailleur or derailleur hanger, chain put on the wrong way (yes they can be directional), incorrect chain for your groupset or maybe a stretched chain.  I suggest taking the bike to a good bike shop and get them to check it over.

Thanks Brendan, will do!

Just thought I'd seek some wisdom from others before I head off to the LBS. If worse comes to worse is it worth replacing it with another Sora chain?

Brendan said most of it. I am thinking, if your chain is new - problem likely elsewehre


If a chain is going to slip,  it will most likely do so on the smallest cogs - fewer teeth/links engaged, more force per link/tooth surface.  Specially if those are your favourite cogs, so more worn.

 On cogs, Wear  shows up as narrowing of the top of the tooth, from 3-4 mm across when new, to 1-2 mm, eventually  triangular where the top is a sharp point, not flat.

The  gap between teeth, changes shape. New is semi-circular; with wear, becomes wider For teeth on top of the cog,  wear will be on the left side - ie the side chain pulls against.  Can often notice, it is a slightly different shape to the other other side of the gap.


Yeah well..like i realised on mine: I went out and bought a new chain..good, then it still felt slippy....dum dum dum, yes my cassette was wearing especially in the middle gears. Now thats something that yuo dont want to hear often....I mean a chain is like reasonable but a cassette..OMG, alot of pennys.

my best bet is that the chain has stretched, time to replace it, I have heard people replacing chain every 5,000km and  replace the cassette with every two changes of chain, have you replaced the cassette since you got the merida?

+1 what Brendan said.

Measure the chain to be sure (http://sheldonbrown.com/chains.html - details toward the bottom).  My first chain on the MTB I use for commuting lasted 4000-5000km - parts on that were low-end Suntour rubbish.  I bought a high-end SRAM replacement chain and upgraded the cluster a couple of levels and she's sweet.

Also remember that high-end doesn't necessarily equal durability!

Thanks for this tip Alisdair, it's much appreciated!

Do you basically mean that the length of 12 links of chain need to correspond to within 1% of 25.4mm (or 1 inch)?

Thanks guys.

Rob, I think you're probably right - I reckon the chain has stretched. The cassette was also replaced when I last replaced the chain.

Do upper spec chains such as Tiagra, 105, Ultegra and Dura Ace etc. tend to have more durability?

Buy a chain gauge and remove all the guess work :) They only cost about $10-$15

Thanks Rob, it's on the shopping list!

the upper spec chains have greater durability as they have greater manufacturing tolerances and better quality materials (different plating etc). That said I don't think Tiagra is an 'upper spec chain' :-P

On a chain checker, most bike shops recommend chain replacement after 0.75 to 1.0.

I've heard of chains, depending how you treat them, lasting only 3000km.

Always best when you've finished riding to leave the chain in the smallest chainring and sprocket and don't mash in a high gear unnecessarily if you can spin will help prolong chain life.


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