When is Shimano MTB chain worn out?

Discuss light weight issues concerning mountain bikes & parts.

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by Permon

Hello guys,

sorry if it was discussed before (I have not found an answer throught SEARCH button :? )

I am new to MTB. I run Shimano drivetrain. I made like 300km, sometimes muddy....but generally in good MTB condition.

Today I made a measurement and the chain is like 132,9 - 133mm. Whoooaaa.
I am used change Campa chains on my road bike when it is 132,6....which is usually after 3500km.
Are Shimano chains such a piece of crap that it cannot handle 1/10 of Campa chain distance? (300km)

Thank you for advices.

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Location: Stockholm, Sweden

by CGT

Shimano chains are solid, but you cannot compare MTB distances to road distances.

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by Permon

I know....but 300km in terain vs. 3500km on road seems to me crazy :shock: I expected like 1000km.

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Location: San Francisco

by sfo423

13 inch rule. Put the chain on the big ring and measure 13" on chain. If your closest pin (to 13") is more than 1/16 of an inch away, change the chain.

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by mattr

I've destroyed a chain (and cassette, and a complete set of cables, and brake pads) in one race before now. 2 hours of riding. (plus an hour or so of pre race set up and fiddling) thick end of €150.
Didn't even win :(

You have to be far more rigorous with cleaning MTB kit to get anything like 1/3rd of road distance out of the kit.

Either that, or decide to run drivelines into the ground and replace the lot when it starts to fail. (you might get another 2000km out of that chain before it snaps, but you'll need a new cassette at the same time, and probably chainrings)

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by mattr

OH, and FWIW, i've not used a shimano chain on the MTB for ~15 years (except the ones that have come on brand new bikes)

Find them too expensive for what they are, can usually find a multibuy of three equivalent KMC or Wipperman chains for not much more than the cost of two shimanos. (usually aim about XT quality)

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by Jaroslaw

Hmm, that's really quick, but if the conditions were muddy, wet etc it's no surprise.
Personally, I use three chains and rotate between them every ca. 500km and have been using that system for like 15 years now.
That way, I can get like 20-25k out of my drivetrain, which is three seasons, but I keep my bike really clean, wiping the chain from the debris after every ride.
As for the lube, I use Prolink Chain lube which I find a nice compromise between lubing/ keeping chain clean and easiness to clean the chain.

EDIT: I use only XTR chains on XTR drivetrain.

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by rupps5

I change my chain when it wears to .50 on the park tool gauge. Have found that if it is worn to .75 that a new chain will skip on at least one of the cogs.

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