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How long should the gears last?

Provene 28 Jan 19:55  

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My ridgeback hybrid is currently in the bike shop awaiting a warranty repair to the front mech, but whilst it was in there the very helpful man behind the counter also said it would be a good idea to change the gears (8 speed triple chainset shimano) as they were worn. He asked how many miles I had done on the bike and when I said about 1500, he said I had done well to get that much mileage out of the gears - they reckon on just 1000 miles for them.

Is this right? I'm no good at all with mechanical things, so wouldn't know, but it did seem like a somewhat short life span. I mean that's only a season's cycling for a relatively keen cyclist. I cycle to and from work in Winchester which is a 12.5 mile commute each way - so 1000 miles clocks up over a relatively short period.

Is this right?

My Latest Route: Apr 2010 Waltham Chase to Kilmeston Loop
mickmacnick 28 Jan 22:43  

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I'm no cycle mechanic but this seems unusually low. I commute a similar weekly distance as you - say about 130 miles. On that mileage I'd be changing gears about every 8 - 10 weeks or about 5 or 6 times per annum: that does not sound right even if your bicycle was being used in the dirtiest of conditions in the most difficult circumstances.

It always seemd to be impressed upon me that lack of attention/service to the chain was the most common cause of damage to the rear cassette/sprockets and front chain rings. Given that you would expect at least 1,000 miles from the most ill used and englected chain, I'm rather surprised that your bcicyle shop are advising you to change your gears.

I guess you do the basics like clean and lube your chain at least once a month and as you use your bicyle on a commute would think you are riding at a brisk but steady speed - nothing that puts excess wear and tear on your gears etc.

I'd be inclined to take it to another shop for a second opinion but also use your own judgment - how does the bike ride? What are your changes through the gears like - are they smooth. What do the teeth on the sprockets look like? Etc. etc.


Provene 01 Feb 19:58  

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Thanks for the response Mickmacnick. I only commute during the school holidays (work pattern), so do 'training' rides during the week during term time. I also do sportives at weekends, nothing I would have thought that heavy. Perhaps I should ask Shimano how long they think their gears should last?

And, yes I do clean and lube the chain and gears - sometimes more frequently than once a month depending on how dirty it looks. The chain was worn according to him, and some of the sprockets looked a little less sharp than normal, but until the front mech broke I hadn't had any problems. I shall take a picture of the new gears when I get it back and use it to compare!

My Latest Route: Apr 2010 Waltham Chase to Kilmeston Loop

dudley 02 Feb 14:43  

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if someone is telling you 1,000 miles, they are just after a quick sale.
Utter nonsense.

the wear occurs to the sprockets on the drive side of each tooth.
look out for the teeth getting assymetrical when you look at them.

Even if you are seeing wear, it does not mean that they have to be replaced.
The problem comes when the chain starts to jump.
It will occasionally start to do this as it rides up the worn side of the teeth, particularly on hard acceleration.

It is usually the chain wearing, rather than the teeth, however.
you can get a chain wear indicator tool. It measures the distance between a set number of teeth.

With a worn chain, you end up pullign all your weight against a dingle tooth, with the remainder of the chain 'behind' the drive tooth sitting slack. This will cause a jump. In a new / unworn chain, you are pulling equally against multiple teeth - less stress, less tooth wear, and less 'jump'

My Latest Route: Nov 2009 Forth Estuary Circular

Pesmo 03 Feb 17:23  

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My brother is a heavy mountain bike user and reckons on a new set of cogs every 3000 miles. He will have gotten through 2 or 3 chains in that time though. I personally reckon on one chain a year as I do about 1500 miles in that time and have yet to wear out my cogs in 2500 miles of tracks and towpaths on each of my bikes. So if your riding is mainly road work I would suggest that you likely have a good bit more life in them yet. When they slip change them as said above.


guitarpete247 14 Feb 19:18  

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Get a Chain Wear indicator and check your chain regularly. There are usually 2 legths 0.75% and 1%. When it reads 0.75% buy a new chain. When it gets to 1% fit it.

Usually every 3 chains change the freewheel (Cassette or Block). Chainrings also wear but not as quickly as you have been told. I'd agree possibly 3000 miles and it might be ready check it carefully.

If you only fit a new chain after it has really stretched (more than 1%) you will have problems with it slipping off the rear cogs when under load and possibly of the chainrings.

If your LBS has told you it is ready for changing have a look at the teeth and at how the chain fits it.

My Latest Route: Apr 2011 Newton Burgoland Circular via Fenny Drayton and Bosworth

ozzie51 13 Mar 22:34  

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I have just completed 3500miles on my MB, and the chain gauge tells me I will need a chain very soon, so will replace and have the cassett checked, but it looks good. After every ride I clean re lube the chain and adjust gears. But I may have to much spare time.
John


Skidlid 04 May 18:30  

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Hiya Provene,

I would think you have your problem sorted now, but like others have suggested; get yourself a chain checker.

If you get a Park Chain Checker it has two measurements on it, one tells you when the chain is worn and the other when the rear group set needs replacing.

The teeth on the group set become pointed as they wear. You'll notice that the central set of gears will wear quicker than the rest. So many times people are told that group set needs replacing....cheap shot, quick way of getting a secondary sale....oh they'll also suggest that you have a new chain so the all wear evenly....

Good cycling...



guitarpete247 06 May 17:28  

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If you change the cassette/freewheel you should change your chain at the same time. If you don't you will find that the old chain is jumping off the back cogs and could cause you a lot of pain if it happens when you are out of the saddle going for it up hill. Not always the case that the rear block needs changing when you fit a new chain but be aware it will need a check.

My Latest Route: Apr 2011 Newton Burgoland Circular via Fenny Drayton and Bosworth

psioin5mx 06 May 19:47  

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Hi Provene. I too have been suprised at the rate of wear on my drive components. Using a chain checking tool is defenately the best way to keep an eye on it though.I usualy get three chains to one cassette and let the last chain wear out with the cassette. Then start all over again with new chain and cassette. My commute is on dusty/muddy tracks both of which I think add to the speed of wear. I recon on getting about 1000-1500 miles from my chains (three month ish). Even with regular cleaning the dust seems to get in. I have not tried dry lubes/waxes on my chains, maybe thats something to look at in the drier months. Also if you are a bit heavy footed, lots of stop start cycling I think will up the speed of wear.

My Latest Route: Oct 2010 Cramlington to Tyne Tunnel(pedestrian)

BusterG 06 Jul 11:10  

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Here is a tip.
when replacing a sprockets and chain buy 2 chains.
Then you can swap them regularly to ensure that they both wear at a similar rate and increase the life of your chainset

My Latest Route: Oct 2013 Liss

sdwalker 06 Jul 15:43  

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question relating to the same subject. What will the ware rate be on a single speed bike? I am guessing the life will be longer as no gear changes to add to the ware rate but nice to be informed

My Latest Route: Mar 2012 Bedgebury Forest Red Route

guitarpete247 06 Jul 18:51  

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I'd have thought a single speed would last for years. Just keep checking the chain tension. I also believe it would be the same for a Sturmey archer or a Shimano Alfine. Keep chain lubricated and it should last years.

My Latest Route: Apr 2011 Newton Burgoland Circular via Fenny Drayton and Bosworth

laser2sail 06 Nov 23:21  

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I've a Giant hybrid. My first gear set was replaced at 9650 miles, the second set at 8670 miles.


STID 07 Nov 12:38  

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Giant road bike, shimano 105 components, twin 9 speed chainset.

10,500 miles

Regularly cleaned and oiled

My Latest Route: Aug 2009 Abingdon to Long Crendon and Long Hanborough Loop.

leelee 29 Mar 13:57  

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single speed fixi
this set up of one gear
should last three times longer than any bike that changes gear
tension should be about one centimetere drop in top of chain
tight chain streches faster weares faster
i know the wear outs for moter bkes is one mill in every 20 links
have a look out on inter net
for wear and tear and wear out limits on a fixi
buy way if worn bad your wheel cog will look like waves going forwards
and at some point will cut through your chain
stopping you in your tracks



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