Changing Chain - Questions

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Bandini, 10 May 2010.

  1. Bandini

    Bandini Guest

    Just bought a chain (on sale at good price so bought it to make up cheap P + P for online order), so got to thinking about actually changing a chain for the first time ever.

    I have a couple of questions:

    1. I have probably done about 1000 miles - is it likely to need replacing?

    2. Should I buy a chain checker?

    3. Does the Alien II chain tool, work with Shimano chains? The Haynes manual says that Shinmano needs a different tool to the 'normal' one.
  2. GazK

    GazK Senior Member

    Simple way to check:

    take a steel rule or tape measure
    line up zero mark with one of your chain pins on the bike
    if the 12" mark lines up with a chain pin, you have a brand new chain
    if it lines up with 12 and 1/16", time to fit a new chain
    if it lines up with 12 and 1/8", time for a new chain and cassette

    I would love to claim this method as my own, but I am simply channelling the Spirit of Sheldon:
  3. GazK

    GazK Senior Member

    PS If I didn't make this clear, then no, you dont need a chain checker. Unless you don't own a steel rule, in which case, buy one, they're cheaper than a chain checker and have more uses!
  4. youngoldbloke

    youngoldbloke The older I get, the faster I used to be ...

    - +1 above - and fit the chain with a quicklink - KMC for example. Any good chain tool should work OK to split chain. Take off old chain, and measure new against it, remove links (+1 if using quicklink) to match. Probably doesn't need changing anyway, but the only way to know is to check it.
  5. 1, No, not if it has been looked after.
    2, yes - although measuring the chain works as described above, a 5 quid chain checker is quicker and easier.
    3, yes.

    I found the easiest way to measure an old chain against a new one in order to decide how many links to remove from the new chain is to hang both from a nail.
  6. giant man

    giant man New Member

    Essex innit?
    Thats definitely the way i do it anyway, I don't actually think chain checkers are much good quite honestly. And in the case of the OP, I doubt if a chain which has done only 1,000 miles needs changing yet.
  7. Moodyman

    Moodyman Guru

    I doubt if a chain which has done only 1,000 miles needs changing yet

    Mostly true, but if the OP has been riding in winter or rides a lot of hills, the chain might be stretched. Most bikes comes with average to poor quality chains so they don't last as long.

    My last chain snapped after 1300 miles and it had stretched before that (I hadn't noticed)
  8. OP

    Bandini Guest

    Thanks all - I have done a fair bit of hill riding and sometimes with some weight, so I will get a steel rule, and see what's what.
  9. Crankarm

    Crankarm Guru

    Nr Cambridge
    Buy the Park chain tool checker. It's about £6 IIRC. The reason it's preferrable to use a proper chain checker is because when you check the chain you need to tension the chain ie measure with pressure on the crank pedal. It is hard to do this if you are trying to precisely aline a steel rule along the chain. Also you should check the chain in several/numerous positions around the whole chain, as believe it or not, I have found in the past some links stretch more than others. The Park chain wear measuring tool has a 0.75 marker inidcating that a chain will need changing soon, depending on your riding, and a 1.0 marker where the chain needs changing asap as it has stretched to max limit. Not changing it will lead to the bike's chain rings and cassette being prematurely and excessively worn.

    I was sceptical of a chain tool for many years then bought the Park one. On reflection I cannot understand why I dithered and didn't buy one earlier. It is so easy and quick to use. A necessity in any cyclist's box of tools.
  10. zacklaws

    zacklaws Veteran

    If you had posted this prior to Helen's goodbye drink, I could have brought mine with me, but there again at the time I did not know I had misplaced mine so I had to buy a new one this week when I wanted to check mine.

    As a rule I wear a chain out every 1000 - 1200 miles and change it at the 0.75 on the checker to prevent excessive wear on the cassette and chain rings, otherwise it gets costly to replace all, as a new chain will jump and skip if there is wear on the other components.

    My chain on my commuter only lasted 70 miles, why I do not know, probably had a bad day, took the old one off, cut the new one to size, got distracted and put the old one back on inadvertently and threw the new one away.

    Off for a ride up to Thixendale area now to do some hills.
  11. Fiona N

    Fiona N Veteran

    I thought it was only me did things like that ;) Or, at least, not with a chain but with new cables - carefully cut all the new outers, put the old ones on the table ready to chuck and the new ones on the floor by the bike ready to fit, phone range, came back picked up the old set, fit them, added cables, tensioned the brakes nicely and then looked down to see the new others lurking on the floor :hugs:
  12. HelenD123

    HelenD123 Veteran

    Bandini - I asked Minster Cycles to check my chain and it was 75% worn after 1200 miles. I was going to fit the new one myself but they offered to do it for £3 so I took the easy option.
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