Bicycle chains wear out with use. Although following tip 1 will get the best life possible, a worn chain will also very quickly wear out the teeth on your chainrings, and once these teeth are significantly worn they will not work with a new chain, and the whole drive train must be replaced.
How do you know if your chain is worn? Put the chain onto the largest chainring and pull the foremost chainlink away from the chainring (further forward!). If the chain lifts away enough to reveal most of the tip of the tooth underneath then the chain is worn. Alternatively various “Chaincheckers/Wear Gauges” are available.
A worn chain makes your bike:
1) Less efficient – it takes more energy to move it.
2) Dangerous – the chain could snap under pressure (if the chain is very worn).
3) Very Dangerous – the chain can slip over the chainring when you press on the pedals making them jump forward – this can result in body parts coming into contact with the top tube of your bicycle!
Chains can wear out at different rates depending upon the conditions in which they are used. See Top Tip No. 1 (Take Good Care Of Your Chain) for tips on prolonging the life of your chain. The design of the chain will also effect its longevity, typically 9-speed chains will wear out quicker than 8-speed ones, wider old style ones will last much longer and are not as susceptible to the problems described above.
If you are at all in doubt about the condition of your Drive Chain (Chain, Cassette & Chainrings) pop down and we will check it over for you. Remember – chains only ever cause problems at the most inconvenient of times – don’t get caught out!