This should be a common practice for us cyclists and triathletes to clean our bikes after every ride, no only because is dirty but because you want to check the integrity of all the parts and try to avoid any accident or mechanical issue during your ride.
But how often we check the chain.
The chain moves the bike and it is made of lots of little links tight together, but these links stretch with the riding time and riding effort.
I don’t think there is time frame where you can always say it is time to replace the chain I think it is more about how often you ride, type of training and how much power you deliver overall.
There is a tool shown in the pictures that I use about once a month just to check how stretched my chain is, this because some months are harder than other ones.
The Parktool CC-3 chain checker. It is a very convenient tool that you can storage very easily and/or carry with you at all times as you can see in the pictures.
You can read on one side 0.75 and the other side 1.0, these are percentages and they indicate 100.75% and 101.00% this means overstretching.
You first insert the tool using the 0.75% side first in four different sections of the chain.
If the tool doesn’t fit freely then do not worry about it as the picture on the top shows (this picture was taken after I installed a brand new chain).
If the tool falls in then start thinking about replacing the chain but first try the other side of the tool.
Using the opposite side (1.0) pick four different sections again and slide the tool in.
If the tool doesn’t fall in then you still want to start thinking about replacing soon.
If the tool falls freely like in the bottom picture (this picture was taken before I replace the chain) then it is time to replace your chain.
The reason is because chains can be found as cheap as $20 USD per unit but cassettes, cogs and other parts can be really expensive to be replaced. And on the other hand you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a race or ride.
If you don’t have a tool then go to your LBS (local bike shop) and ask them to measure it.
The Parktool CC-3 chain checker is part of the ToolPark repair kits (home and professional version) and/or it can be purchased separately.
You can find other ways to check your chain online, using other tools and methods, the ruler, the mileage, the feeling… but this method have been working for me very good and I find it easy and fast. And I wanted to share this with you.
Thank you for stopping by, all the best !