Handling countless rotations and heavy torque loads each ride, your drivetrain works hard and asks for very little in return. However, failing
to give it some attention from time to time can result in
a hefty penalty—usually a long walk home, or a costly
replacement of your entire drivetrain. Rather than ending
up in either of those situations, take a few minutes every
so often to show your chain that you do appreciate all it
does for you.
Unfortunately, there is no one single rule for service
intervals for your chain and the rest of the drivetrain.
Different riders, trails and weather conditions will all factor in to how often parts need replacing, and the only sure
way to keep your bike running smoothly is to inspect and
clean your drivetrain periodically.
H The Garage Files
All about drivetrain
A worn-out, or “stretched,” chain is not only more likely to fail, it also will more quickly wear out your bike’s chainrings and cassette.
For this reason, it is important to measure the chain to ensure that it is still within the acceptable range. Park Tool makes the CC- 2
Chain Checker, which can quickly and accurately assess whether or not it is time to replace your chain.
While the Park CC- 2 is a handy tool, not everyone has one on his
workbench. An alternative method for measuring chain wear can
be done with a standard tape measure. To do this, measure out
12 inches worth of chain. Given that from one roller to the next is
. 5 inches, this will correspond to 12 complete links.
Start with the tape measure with the 1-inch mark lined up to the
center of a pin to avoid any margin of error from the tape measure’s
metal hook. Now look at where the 13-inch mark lines up with its
corresponding pin. If the pin is less than 1/16th of an inch past
the 13-inch mark, the chain is still good. If the chain is about at a
1/16th of an inch, the chain is ready to be replaced. If the chain has
worn much beyond that mark to about 1/8th of an inch, you will
most likely need to replace your chainring and cassette as well.