When to Replace a Chain & What a New One Looks Like

I started hearing some chain noise and thought I needed to adjust my derailleurs.  I knew my riding over the last several months has been focused on hills but I didn’t realize how fast that would wear the chain and cassette.

I’ve been getting about the expected 2,000KM per chain and cassette but this time the amount of wear took me by surprise. I hadn’t even gotten to the mileage where I thought I should start checking for chain stretch.

My good friend (and bike whisperer) Andrew looked at the bike for about 3 seconds from about 5 feet away and pointed out the problem – derailleurs look find but the chain was riding bad around the cassette in back. Hence the noise.

The new chain and cassette make all the difference in the world. A technical side note is that the new cassette isn’t the same as what I had before (11/30). It’s a bit smaller (11/28). That’s going to make it a bit harder on the hills and I had a secret hope to either not change or go the other direction.

The Thailand bike shop has ordered a drop hanger so I can go to a larger cassette. But, for the near future I’ll go back to exploring the flats and valleys…