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Excessive early chain wear

Stuart M's picture

By Stuart M - Posted on 05 April 2008

So I took receipt of a Park Tools CC-2 chain checker today and threw it straight onto the Enduro and also the Viper to see how both were going.

The Enduro has a Rohloff chain on it, there atleast 12 months. No idea about kms but considerably more than the viper and probably riden alot more harshly.

The Viper, a hardtail, was only built at xmass and would have seen less than 20, 20 - 30km rides in that time, 500km tops would be a realistic guess but probably alot less. I opted for a Wipperman 920 on this

Anyway, much to my pleasure the Enduro is showing less than .5% wear. On the other hand, and much to my great surprise, the Wipperman is already at the 1% mark.

So my questions to the knowledgeable ones,

Am I being unrealistic to expect better life from the Wipperman? Any other Wipperman users out there with similar chain life?

Are hardtails harder on chains than duallies? I wouldn't have thought so as the easiest on chains by all reports are hardtail ss

Does the fact it is at the lighter end of the market make it more susceptible to chain wear?

Have I done something wrong setting up the bike in the first place that may have contributed to its early demise, and if so what should I be looking for?

FWIW both bikes have been ridden in similar conditions but unlike the Rohloff, the Wipperman was meticulously cleaned after every ride. I should also note that the Rohloff on the Kona, now well over 2 years old, is showing a touch under .75% wear. It has been ridden in all conditions and done alot more K's.

Thanks in advance for the constructive replies


Justin's picture

Hi Stu, I'm afraid that the only way I have ever judged a chain is when it starts slipping off the cogs, I know it's time to replace it. And I usually live with that for a few months before I do.

I am a bit of a believer that bike shops encourage you to replace all those expensive drivetrain components earlier than you really have to.

I would consider the following when reviewing wear as well:
- drivetrain components - some may wear chains harder than others.
- did you measure the 'wear' on the wipperman, before you started riding. You don't know if the wipperman started with what the tool would measure as 0.5% wear... i.e. no baseline.
- Expense of chain. The Rohloff are quite a bit more expensive than the wippermans if i recall correctly, and wipperman do make some cheaper chains too.
- If the wipperman is a 'racing' chain, e.g. weight saving over durability, then I would expect faster wear, this may be the root of your issue.

At the end of the day, I'd ask how does it feel - if you can stand up on a hill and crank it up and the chain doesn't slip, then your bike is performing well!

Michael B's picture

I also have one of those park chain checkers. It helps you know what % stretch the chain started at, to determine how worn the chain is. Even shimano dura ace road chains start at around 0.5% according to the checker. I replace my chains when the checker says it is past .75% but before it gets to 1%. I have found it cheaper to buy a few cheaper chains at a time and replace them more often, rather than replacing the cassette and chainrings more frequently.

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