KMC 11-speed chain wear question

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
goldmine848
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:01 pm

by goldmine848

This has been an intersting discussion, but as the thread starter I am still looking for some simple, practical guidance on the initial question: how to determine when to replace my KMC 11-speed chain. If the answer is that the Park chin measurement tool is adequate, then that's fine since I have one. If the answer is to use a steel rule to measure elongation, could I get some advice on which types or brands to buy, how long it should be and at what elongation point to replace the chain?

Thanks

by Weenie


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Calnago
Posts: 5269
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

goldmine848 wrote:This has been an intersting discussion, but as the thread starter I am still looking for some simple, practical guidance on the initial question: how to determine when to replace my KMC 11-speed chain. If the answer is that the Park chin measurement tool is adequate, then that's fine since I have one. If the answer is to use a steel rule to measure elongation, could I get some advice on which types or brands to buy, how long it should be and at what elongation point to replace the chain?

Thanks

The Park chain tool is perfectly fine. The guideline from Campy when to replace a campy chain is when the distance, using good calipers is 132.60 between a certain number of links. I find this to be a pretty good guideline as to when I can start to notice a degradation in shifting performance. I've compared this measure to the Park guide and while the gauge doesn't quite fit in the 50% wear indicator at that point, it is close. I use the same measurement on any chain, be it Campy or Shimano or whatever. Some may call it conservative, but I'll get about two chains per cassette doing this. So, in the end where I used to use the caliper method, I'm equally fine with using the Park Tool and when I can fit the 50% wear indicator in there, it's time to replace. Letting it go to the 75% mark will just mean you spend a lot of time with sub par shifting and wear your cassette faster. Anybody who says that get 10,000K from a chain is, in my opinion, doing an awful lot of coasting.

I'm not even going to touch the religion of which lube to use and how to clean it. But I will say that I think the whole thing got blown out of proportion when the advocates of no degreasing were slammed. By not fully degreasing the chain, I don't think anyone was implying to just keep adding lube on top of grit and grime. It still needs to be cleaned. Soapy water in a Park Chain Cleaner will get the grit out, and is actually recommended by some Lube manufacturers so as not to remove the coating completely (Duo-Mond Tech comes to mind). Just make sure it is fully dry before you add fresh lube afterwards. Sitting in the sun will do this (I blow out mine with compressed air). Years ago Campy used to recommend using Kerosene for the simple reason that it did NOT completely strip out the lubricant and actually contained some lubricant properties itself. But they don't say that anymore, most likely for environmental reason. Kerosene is probably not be the most environmentally friendly of chain cleaners.

So use your Park chain measurement, replace when it is between 50% and 75%, and follow whatever chain cleaning and lube process is most convenient for you. You'll be good.

DaveS
Posts: 2529
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2006 1:26 pm

by DaveS

If I went by Campy's calipers method for measuring chains, I've get no more the 2500 miles from a chain. I'd be truly disappointed if all I got was two chain's worth of use from a cassette, at that low mileage. I expect 3 chains, with 4,000 miles each.

Although I have used a Campy 10 chain for 6,000 miles, I also stated that it was overly-worn and should have been tossed earlier. Measuring only the true elongation (pin-pin) over the full length, that chain had about .15% elongation, but severe roller wear. When I used up that chain, I was riding the gritty roads of the Colorado mountains, exclusively. I almost never coast.

I've ridden the Mt. Evans hillclimb route, fast enough to put me into the top 10 of my 50+ age class, so I'm not a casual rider.
Last edited by DaveS on Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Calnago
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

Sorry DaveS if you thought I was implying you in particular were "coasting". Not at all. I respect your posts with regard to Campy and you are right about the 2500 miles thing. In fact I would be happy to get 2500 miles from a campy 11sp chain, and maybe I could but I would certainly notice poor shifting by then. And there's no way I would get a cassette to last for 3 chains. I've tried it but with the new 3rd chain on the same cassette, it would be skipping all over the place. So when I've gone through two chains, a I replace the cassette as well as the chain. 2 chains per cassette, that's my experience.

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