Get the most life out of your chain and cassette. In this video I show you how to check your chain for wear.

Frances has asked the question, “How do you check your chain to see if it needs replacing?”
I’ve been using a chain-wear tool for years. Now, this particular one, it’s called ProLink. This is a ProLink one. It’s a very simple tool. Now, how it works is that you just insert this against the links within your chain, and then you just let the chain drop down into your chain on the other side of it. There’s a scale here from 50 to 100, and the idea is that you’ll see, as your chain wears, this will drop further and further down into the chain, indicating its wear. It’s a very simple tool. Now, between 50 and 75% is where you would normally replace your chain, so that gives you a good indicator.

What I do is that, when I clean my bike every couple of weeks, I just drop this tool into the chain to check to see the chain wear, and if it starts showing signs of wear, then I replace the chain. Now, it’s important to remember that your chain and your cassette work together, and they wear together, as well. So the general rule of thumb is that you want to get four or three chains to a cassette. Now, you can only do that if you replace your chain regularly before it starts wearing a worn pattern in the cassette. Now, if you leave your chain on too long and it starts wearing that worn pattern in your cassette, what’ll happen is that, when you go to replace your chain, because the new chain will be running against that worn pattern, the chain won’t mesh properly and it will skip.

Sometimes you see people out there on bikes, and when they start loading up the bike, perhaps when they’re climbing hills or sprinting or accelerating away from lights, you’ll feel them … the chain will slip against the cassette. That’s a dead give-away that your cassette is too far worn against your chain to be able to ride properly, and you’ll need to replace both. Now, of course, replacing both together is expensive, so the recommendation is that you replace your chain regularly and not get that worn pattern. Like I say, you’ll get usually three to four chains per cassette.

Now, the time that it takes for your chain and your cassette to wear out are dependent on a few things. The most important thing is how clean your chain is. If you’ve got a dirty chain that’s got a lot of grit on it, then that’s going to wear out your cassette and your chain a lot more quickly than if you keep it quite clean. So regular cleaning of your chain will help insure that you get the best life out of both of those components. Now, the other thing that influences chain wear is the weight of the rider and the amount of power that they’re putting to the bike. Now, the heavier the rider and the more power they put into the bike, the shorter the lifespan of the chain. So just recapping, the two important things to remember is just to replace your chain regularly and keep it clean. That will enable you to get the most out of your chain and cassette.