Chain Wear


I installed a new 10-speed Shimano Dura-Ace (CN-7901) chain on the 1994 Trek 2120 in February 2012, and in the following year I rode it 2,743km (1,705 miles).  Durring that year I only used Rock ‘n Roll Red lube, every other ride, or so.  I also adopted the no-solvent, lube-only style of chain maintenance, so the chain was never removed or degreased.  If the chain was gritty from a wet ride, I just flushed it with more lube until it was clean.

How did it do?  Well, according to my Pro-Link chain wear gauge, the chain is showing 1 / 10 wear, with 0 being new and 10 being worn.  Some have demonstrated that this type of gauge over estimates chain wear.  According to my ruler it has no discernable wear.   I’m going to continue the same maintenance regiment.  At this rate, the chain could possibly outlast the 18-year-old Trek.


According to a recent test from Bike Rumor, Shimano 10-speed chains tend to last longer than their 9-speed equivalents.  I don’t have any 9-speed road bikes to directly compare, but I do have a 2×9 cyclocross and a 1×9 hardtail MTB.  The Shimano Ultegra/XT HG-93 chain has been on the cyclocross bike since November 2011 and has be used for 1415km (880 miles).  The hardtail’s chain, also a Shimano Ultegra/XT HG-93, was installed in December 2011, has gone through some often dusty and sometimes muddy 1153km (716 miles).  It has had similar maintenance to the Dura-Ace chain, but with Rock ‘n Roll Gold.  The cyclocross chain is showing 1 / 10, and the hardtail is at  6 / 10.  While the HG-93 chain on the cyclocross seems to be doing well, the  hardtail’s chain will probably need to be replaced around the 2000km mark.  Fortunately, I have a Dura-Ace/XTR 7701 chain to go on the hardtail when the time comes.

The singlesspeed has a 1/8″ SRAM PC-1 chain, and is showing 5 / 10 wear after one month and 55km (34 miles) of use.  Why?  I have no idea.  The last chain was on for just under a year and just over 900km (560 miles).  It was replaced when it was showing 10/10 wear.  Both the cog and chainring are also about a year old with the same use as the chain, and are in very good shape.  I would swap the PC-1 for a 10-speed Dura-Ace 7901, but I unfortunately have a 1/8″ chainring.

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