How many km/ before changing a chain and drive train?

Plummet

Flash Git
Mar 16, 2023
927
1,320
New Zealand
Hey team,

How many miles/km are you getting on a chain, how many chains to a cassette?
How many km before you replace the cassette and front ring?

What gruppo are you running?
What are your conditions like?
 

steve_sordy

Wedding Crasher
Nov 5, 2018
8,389
8,620
Lincolnshire, UK
1700 miles on my first emtb a Focus Jam2 with an e8000 motor. Shimano XT. New cassette at 1700m, 2nd cassette and chain were still good at 3200m. Front ring was damaged at 844m and had to be replaced. New one still good 2356m later. Bike sold with drivetrain all good.

Current bike, Merida eOne Sixty with the EP8 Shimano motor. Shimano XT. 1st chain damaged at 365m, replaced with KMC X12 Gold (it was the only one I could get, cost me a fortune). I got 1400 miles out of that before it too was damaged. The new KMC X12 silver replaced it but wouldn't run on the old cassette (@1789m). So I cobbled together the damaged XT and the X12 Gold into one usable chain and ran that on the original cassette for another 500m before the KMC X12 Gold snapped. Those links had done 1900m and the XT links had done 865m. The XT cassette lasted 2273miles. The XT steel chainwheel is still good at 2486 miles.

The lesson I have learned over the years is that quality pays. When I first started with mtb, I bought the cheapest chains I could get, typically £10, this was 2008-2012. I was averaging 500 miles per chain and one cassette every three chains. in addition, the chains used to rust if I didn't clean and oil them after every ride. The chains I have had since XX1, XT, KMCX12 (gold and silver), have all done very well for life. And they don't rust at the first sign of a bit of mist!

The first bike I bought that had a really good drivetrain fitted, SRAM XX1 kit throughout. I sold that bike with 1400 miles on it and the chain was the original and with only 0.25% stretch on it! In other words, it was hardly worn.

Throughout my bike cleaning regime has remained pretty constant. After a wash the chain gets run through an old towel until it comes up clean and then it's lubed with FinishLine Wet lube. If the bike doesn't need a clean, then the chain still gets wiped and lubed before each ride. I actually spend less time on my chains now because I don't have to dry them after a wet ride!

The conditions are mostly sandy forest runs. The British winters are wet if they are not cold. In the wet, I can hear the sand in the drivetrain, it's a horrible scraping noise.
 

mcboab

Active member
Aug 2, 2022
76
101
NE UK
I got 500miles out of an XX1 chain (on an XX1 cassette) before it was showing over 75% worn on the chain check tool. Replaced with an X01 chain (as I had one as a spare) on the same cassette. Pondering if my local wet mud conditions (or dry dusty baked mud) is hard on chains, though I did snap the XX1 on two occasions with (my) crappy shifting under power .
 

Bones

E*POWAH Master
Subscriber
Apr 3, 2020
752
991
Harrogate
Every 300 or so miles on cheap chains. I replaced with an X01 at 1k and it lasted until I replaced at 3k when the shitmano freehub went tits up.
 

Bones

E*POWAH Master
Subscriber
Apr 3, 2020
752
991
Harrogate
Edit. I replaced the XT cassette with an deore one along with the front and another X01 chain. Btw they are around £34 atm
 

JP-NZ

E*POWAH Elite
Feb 17, 2022
1,028
776
Christchurch - New Zealand
Currently 1,661 KM's (1032 miles) with 29,000 Metres (95,144 feet) of climbing.

All Shimano XT 12 speed. Chain is currently 0.42% worn so should see another few hundred KM's yet before replacing at 0.50% stretch. Have a new SLX 12s chain ready to go. Rear cassette looks perfect should easily do 2,000-3,000 km more on it.
 
Last edited:

Plummet

Flash Git
Mar 16, 2023
927
1,320
New Zealand
Currently 1,661 KM's (1032 miles) with 29,000 Metres (95,144 feet) of climbing.

All Shimano XT 12 speed. Chain is currently 0.42% worn so should see another few hundred KM's yet before replacing at 0.50% stretch. Have a new SLX 12s chain ready to go. Rear cassette looks perfect should easily do 2,000-3,000 km more on it.
Thats Excellent. I'm assuming mostly dry conditions? not much mud and shit? It's been damn atrocious here for I've got the ebike. Many muddy km has been ridden!...
 

cheetahdog2261

New Member
Jun 8, 2023
2
1
Dayton NV
Hey team,

How many miles/km are you getting on a chain, how many chains to a cassette?
How many km before you replace the cassette and front ring?

What gruppo are you running?
What are your conditions like?
I replace the first chain after about 1200 miles using chain lube. Then I started waxing the chain and the chain lasted almost 2 times longer and after about 4000 miles the chain ring and cassette are still in good shape. I make my own chain wax out of wax and cooking oil.
 

Dax

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
May 25, 2018
1,461
1,834
FoD
1500-1800 out of my original chain and cassette. Lost count because of the motor change. Chucked some oil on the chain most times I rode, washed it most years. It was still going strong but I smashed the mech off and destroyed the chain.
 

Trunkmonkey

Member
Jun 24, 2022
4
0
Vancouver
I have a Norco Range A1 VLT. Shimano 12x. 1300km. I swapped the cassette as well. All trail riding with lots of climb trails. I think I could have gotten more out of the chain to be fair.
 

RolyNZ

Member
Jun 13, 2022
13
5
New Zealand
Looks like I left mine too long.
GX 12 speed middle of winter mud 950km and the chain is too stretched.

Would I destroy this cassette on a full power e bike?

Hey Roly here, fancy meeting you here. Cookie told me when I was buying my bike how he had eaten a cassette in 6 months and a replacement is $500 so I've tried to look after it by using 3 chains.
I've got 3 GX chains on Sram 12spd GX Cassette, and just about done 3000km. Probably only done 10-20% mud riding though. Only thing to report is the middle 2 gears are a bit fussy now, I guess I use them more than the others?? I rotate them every 400km and use wax, sometimes the squirt stuff but sometimes hotwax melted on with a hot air gun when I have time.

Give the chinese cassettes a go, I hear they handle an Ebike OK according to Goff, but look for the Sunrace or Sunshine ones, some are heavier and made with steel, thats the one I would go for. About $100NZ
 

Plummet

Flash Git
Mar 16, 2023
927
1,320
New Zealand
Hey Roly here, fancy meeting you here. Cookie told me when I was buying my bike how he had eaten a cassette in 6 months and a replacement is $500 so I've tried to look after it by using 3 chains.
I've got 3 GX chains on Sram 12spd GX Cassette, and just about done 3000km. Probably only done 10-20% mud riding though. Only thing to report is the middle 2 gears are a bit fussy now, I guess I use them more than the others?? I rotate them every 400km and use wax, sometimes the squirt stuff but sometimes hotwax melted on with a hot air gun when I have time.

Give the chinese cassettes a go, I hear they handle an Ebike OK according to Goff, but look for the Sunrace or Sunshine ones, some are heavier and made with steel, thats the one I would go for. About $100NZ
Hey Roly,

Thats exactly what im doing. Ditching the gx and going yo sunrace. I use them on my meat bikes and get good life.

PS took me 2 months to burn the cassette. But that was a mud fest 1000km.
 

lovespicyfood

New Member
Nov 24, 2023
41
12
California
Surprised to find my stock e-bike chain is over .5% after just less than 400 miles. 12 speed Shimano SLX cassette, Deore chain, and Canyon chain ring. I took really good care of it so it was never really dirty. Didn't notice any reduction in shifting performance but glad I checked...hopefully it's ok.

Just put an XTR chain on it. I found on my acoustic bikes that buying a high end chain actually is a worthy investment...
 

irie

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
May 2, 2022
1,999
1,950
Chichester, W.Sussex, UK
I get about 1,200 miles on an XTR chain in mud bath winter and bone dry summer conditions. Done 2,600 miles since January 2022. As an ex-motorcyclist I do NOT crunch through the gears.

My wife is much younger than me and still working - does under half my mileage. Crunches through her gears and gets about 500 miles from a SLX chain.
 
Last edited:

Sander23

Active member
Aug 28, 2020
698
432
Belgium
6100 km so far on an slx cassette with 2 chains. Rotating chains every 300-400km.
1 chain broke at 3000km so I went on with 1 chain.
Chain is at allmost 0.75%, still ride good.
That's in 2 muddy wet Winters and 1 summer of riding.
 

57 Reaction

Member
May 27, 2019
73
56
United Kingdom
4300 miles and still going on Sram GX cassette with 3 GX chains from the start used in rotation (excuse the pun).
As above above 2 muddy winters and 1 summer.
Just beginning to get a bit of slippage in the highest gears if I'm careless with shifting.
All 3 chains are way past 1.0 on chain checker but they have all worn at the same rate as the cassette and still work OK.
I will change when (IF ?) the mud dries up and fit all new drivetrain for summer.
 

Bontee

Member
Dec 6, 2020
80
48
warwickshire
over 2500 miles on the original xx1 chain and slx cassette.Still no skipping or mis changing so I willl run them both together till something gives
 

Sander23

Active member
Aug 28, 2020
698
432
Belgium
over 2500 miles on the original xx1 chain and slx cassette.Still no skipping or mis changing so I willl run them both together till something gives
How does xx1 match with slx? Is it as smooth as slx with shimano chain?
I run slx with xt chain mixed with axs
 

Bontee

Member
Dec 6, 2020
80
48
warwickshire
How does xx1 match with slx? Is it as smooth as slx with shimano chain?
I run slx with xt chain mixed with axs
Hi sander,I’ve been mixing and matching sram and shimano for 30 years,and never had a problem with any combination,Sram make the best chains,and the XX1 is arguably their best chain,It floats over any cassette Sram or shimano ,I doubt anyone could tell the difference if they rode it blind.
I have always bought cassettes based on the best I can get at the best price Shimano or Sram.
But always sram chains ,
All the best
 

Bndit

Active member
Jul 14, 2022
154
197
Finland
My Levo had a SLX drivetrain. First two chains were in 0,5% after 1000km, third a broke after 150km. I used muc off lubes. Then I changed to Peatys and fourth chain had 1200km and it wasn`t even 0,5% but I changed because I had extra chain and I sold the bike. Huge difference just because of different chain lube. Cassete had 3700km when I sold the bike and it was still going strong. I use the bike only for trails, not for commuting. New bike will have GX drivetrain and I have read that XO chain will do at least 5000km without any wear 😀 so I ordered that and will put to the new bike and test if there`s any truth on that…😀
 

Sander23

Active member
Aug 28, 2020
698
432
Belgium
Hi sander,I’ve been mixing and matching sram and shimano for 30 years,and never had a problem with any combination,Sram make the best chains,and the XX1 is arguably their best chain,It floats over any cassette Sram or shimano ,I doubt anyone could tell the difference if they rode it blind.
I have always bought cassettes based on the best I can get at the best price Shimano or Sram.
But always sram chains ,
All the best
And do you run sram or shimano chainring?
 

Bontee

Member
Dec 6, 2020
80
48
warwickshire
I have just changed the original shimano chainring ( The only part of the original 3 year old transmission that needed replacement)with a burgtec,It meshed perfectly with the xx1 chain ,so on with the show.
With respect to a lot of other riders on this forum I have no idea how they manage to trash their drivetrains in such low mileages and I am far from gentle on my bike.It weighs 27 kg and gets used hard
 

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