Author Topic: Cassette Life  (Read 2318 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline misterflask

Cassette Life
« on: January 11, 2012, 05:10:38 am »
To push down to that elusive 20inch gear, I want to put a 11-34 cassette on an 8spd bike for a TA trip.  I really don't like alpine gearing with its 26-34 jump, but it is available in nickel plated cassettes.  The spread gearing is only available on a HG31 low end mtb cassette.  Anybody have mileage numbers or anecdotal evidence of cassette life in the various Shimano lines?  The cassette really only needs to last for the one crossing.  FYI, I use white lightening wax lubes.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 07:04:06 am »
The cassette should be no problem. 

I tend to wear chains out in about 2,000 miles.  Some people claim twice that; I'm heavy, I guess.  I'd plan on swapping chains around Silverthorne or Pueblo, and expect to have another chain or two's life left in the cassette.

Even if you leave the chain on all the way across the TA, it'll probably match the cassette at the end.  The problem is you'll have to swap both chain and cassette when shifting gets dodgy.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 07:43:43 am »
The most-oft-cited rule of thumb is that a cassette is good for three chains. Of course that depends on how often you change your chain, and I typically get more than three chain lives out of a cassette. I would say that I get about 15000 miles out of a cassette, and I have not found that number to differ much depending on the type of cassette.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2012, 07:45:26 am »
I can't imagine any cassette wearing out in anywhere near the distance of a TA trip.  I also find that chains last me long enough to not need replacement on a TA length trip.

Unlike Patrick the three of us still had the same chains we started the TA with at the end and on the next several thousand miles of riding.  I think I did 4200+ miles on the TA, 800+ miles on the Santa Fe Trail, 1000+ miles, on the southern portion of the SC route,  and 1300+ miles of the Pacific Coast on my original chain.  There was also a bit of riding around home so the chain had maybe 8000 miles on it at last check and was still under the requisite 12-1/16" for 12 complete links.

To be prudent, I'd say check the chain every couple thousand miles and replace it only when it measures 12-1/16" for 12 complete links. That said I didn't bother on the TA when I started with a almost new chain.

BTW we used White Lightning on a portion of the TA and hated it.  I never saw so much waxy buildup in my life.  It was bad enough that we had a shop clean them in a commercial degreaser.  We then switched to Boesheild T9 which we found to be much better.  Our chains stayed clean, shiny, quiet, and free of waxy buildup.  We also didn't miss the messy calf tattoos.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2012, 07:59:53 am »
I think I did 4200+ miles on the TA, 800+ miles on the Santa Fe Trail, 1000+ miles, on the southern portion of the SC route,  and 1300+ miles of the Pacific Coast on my original chain.  There was also a bit of riding around home so the chain had maybe 8000 miles on it at last check and was still under the requisite 12-1/16" for 12 complete links.
Yea Pete, but your experience is just freakish.  :) I've never heard of anyone else who gets this much life from a chain.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2012, 08:18:17 am »
  There was also a bit of riding around home so the chain had maybe 8000 miles on it at last check and was still under the requisite 12-1/16" for 12 complete links.

Could you please post what chain, cassette and crank you were using. Thanks.

Lucas

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2012, 08:24:40 am »
Yea Pete, but your experience is just freakish.  :) I've never heard of anyone else who gets this much life from a chain.

I often wonder about that when I read about folks replacing chains at 2000 miles.  I know that much longer chain life has been my result as well as that of friends and family whose bikes I have dealt with.  My theory is that folks tend to either:
  • Kill their chains with kindness.  I am convinced that the best thing is to not clean chains unless you really have to.  I only do it reluctantly and infrequently if at all.  I tend to lube regularly, and wipe the chain off as the only cleaning and forget it.  If the chain gets loaded with sand or something I use the most gentle cleaning I can usually either water from a hose with no nozzle gently run over the chain or WD 40 follow by a relube.  I am convinced that either stong detergents of solvents get into the chains deep recesses taking grit with them and killing the lube there.
  • Kill their chains with neglect by not lubing them or using a poor lube.
  • Or worst case alternate between the previous 2.

I sometime wondered if there was something about how I/we rode, but I am not especially careful shifting and not even all that diligent about avoiding cross chaining.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 08:30:33 am by staehpj1 »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2012, 08:28:11 am »
  There was also a bit of riding around home so the chain had maybe 8000 miles on it at last check and was still under the requisite 12-1/16" for 12 complete links.

Could you please post what chain, cassette and crank you were using. Thanks.

Lucas

In this case it was the stock stuff that came on the Windsor Touring, but over the years I have had similar results on other bikes with other chains and cassettes or freewheels.  On the bike in question it was just fairly low end SRAM stuff.  When I do replace chains it is with mid grade nothing special Shimano or SRAM stuff.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 08:32:07 am by staehpj1 »

Offline waynemyer

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 274
  • More PITA than PITA. That's our motto!
Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 08:34:54 am »
I often wonder about that when I read about folks replacing chains at 2000 miles.  I know that much longer chain life has been my result as well as that of friends and family whose bikes I have dealt with.  My theory is that folks tend to either:
  • Kill their chains with kindness.  I am convinced that the best thing is to not clean chains unless you really have to.  I only do it reluctantly and infrequently if at all.  I tend to lube regularly, and wipe the chain off as the only cleaning and forget it.  If the chain gets loaded with sand or something I use the most gentle cleaning I can usually either water from a hose with no nozzle gently run over the chain or WD 40 follow by a relube.  I am convinced that either stong detergents of solvents get into the chains deep recesses taking grit with them and killing the lube there.
  • Kill their chains with neglect by not lubing them or using a poor lube.
  • Or worst case alternate between the previous 2.
You forgot:
               4.  Don't ride in the rain, or where there is salt, sand, or grit.

My chain gets attention once to twice per week depending on coditions, but I typically only get about 2500 miles out of it in the rainy season, about 5000 miles in the dry season.  Any more maintenance than that and I am at the point of diminishing returns. When I first moved to Portland, I didn't notice any increase in wet-season chain life with increased maintenance beyond twice a week. Besides, a chain is a wear item. Replace it when it reaches the .5% wear mark and the cassette will last much, much longer.
waynemyer.com
warmshowers.org  (user:waynemyer)

Offline whittierider

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 11:04:48 am »
Quote
BTW we used White Lightning on a portion of the TA and hated it.  I never saw so much waxy buildup in my life.

I've seen this many years ago to, before they had the shedding forumula.  Have you tried the shedding formula?  It should keep flaking off the excess so you don't get the build-up.  I haven't tried it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 11:20:26 am »
Quote
BTW we used White Lightning on a portion of the TA and hated it.  I never saw so much waxy buildup in my life.

I've seen this many years ago to, before they had the shedding forumula.  Have you tried the shedding formula?  It should keep flaking off the excess so you don't get the build-up.  I haven't tried it.
I don't know what formula it was.  This was 2007, so in the last 5 years it may have gotten better.   It was bad enough to put me off the brand, so I have not tried their products since.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 02:54:27 pm »
To push down to that elusive 20inch gear, I want to put a 11-34 cassette on an 8spd bike for a TA trip.  I really don't like alpine gearing with its 26-34 jump, but it is available in nickel plated cassettes.  The spread gearing is only available on a HG31 low end mtb cassette.  Anybody have mileage numbers or anecdotal evidence of cassette life in the various Shimano lines?  The cassette really only needs to last for the one crossing.  FYI, I use white lightening wax lubes.
I have this cassette on the bike that I use for winter riding.  It shifts better than you think it ought to.  This is a low end cassette, so I would not have great wear expectations for it.  The best you can do is check the chain for stretch religiously with a gauge (I have a Rohloff).  It has been some years since I used White Lightning but it used to be a pretty piss poor lubricant.  I have had a pretty good luck over the years with Boshield T9, but on a trip like yours the chain will need cleaning at some point, and it sounds like that is something that you are trying to avoid.
Danno

Offline pptouring

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 02:59:39 am »
We have close to 10,000 each on our current cassettes.

Offline misterflask

Re: Cassette Life
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 05:00:15 am »
Thanks all for the useful information:  I'm feeling pretty comfortable now about gear life.  My anxiety is rooted in a trip where I think I established the low end when I completely wore out a SunRace freewheel in 800 miles (to be fair this included 20 miles on a trail through Florida sugar sand.) 
It seems I am the only person on the planet who likes White Lightening.  I was not aware of the Boeshield product, though, and it looks like a superior product.