How often does your chain need servicing and replacing and what is a “drivetrain”?

Posted on 11th Apr 2024 | admin

The drivetrain is the beating heart of the bicycle; the chain, chainrings, cassette and often overlooked the guide & pulley wheels. They are all pushed as one to keep the wheels spinning. The chain wears, or stretches as torque (force) is constantly applied.  You can prolong the life of the chain and indeed the rest of the drivetrain by a good de-greasing and re-lubing every so often, depending on mileage and storage. I’d typically recommend applying lube every few rides or so, or at least once a week in these harsh climates.  

If you have gone to the hassle of waxing your chain, this can last anything from 500-2000km before more wax should be applied.

Replacing the chain when worn is necessary for performance and safety and can also save you a few bucks in the long run to counter any premature wear of the rest of the drivetrain. A chain checker is the best way to measure this, it measures the percentage the chain has worn in a certain amount of links. 10,11,12 speed chains are recommended to be replaced at .75 stretch and that is usually after 2500-3000km. If you’re fortunate to have a Sram AXS 12 speed flat top, then these can last many more thousands of miles.

Be aware, 1x set ups typically wear much quicker due to the chain line and the extreme loads the chain is under with the larger cassettes.

If you have ridden your chain for longer than recommended then a new chain will skip on the worn teeth of the cassette or chainrings and unfortunately the whole lot should be replaced, proving to be costly repairs. Of course, there are many variables regards to drivetrain wear – cleanliness, watts, shift behavior and cadence.

If you want to have a clever strategy; we recommend rotating 3-4 chains per chainring and cassette, swap for a new chain at .5 wear and then alternate all again at .75, you may even get to 1% on each chain before you notice any issues shifting gears, aiming to get 12-15000km per drivetrain. 

By Jordan Colledge, Head Mechanic Vélo Presto

Bike Servicing

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