A while back, I wrote about changing your chain. The best thing is to change your chain frequently, e.g every 1,000 miles. Though it is a little expensive and time consuming, it is worth it because you can lose power through a worn chain. Also, if you change your chain regularly, you will get greater use out of your rear cassette block.
However, as is often the case, I don’t follow my own advice. I’ve ridden 3,000 miles on my road bike since the last chain change. Yesterday, I changed the chain and when standing on the pedals the chain started to slip.
Since I’d started the ride, I didn’t want to turn round and put a new cassette on. But, I found if I rode in the big ring, the chain didn’t slip. However, I do need to change the rear cassette now.
Generally, if you leave your chain for a long time, you will need to change both cassette and chain at the same time. For a cheap groupset, this is probably best option as cassettes are not too expensive and it’s easiest to do it all together. If you use a top end groupset like Shimano Ultegra, Dura Ace then cassettes become quite expensive.
How to Know if A Cassette is Worn
The above cassette is quite worn, though I’ve seen a lot worse. Generally, the teeth become more pointed on a worn cassette. The best test is often to see whether the chain slips under pressure.
Note: If you really don’t want to spend money on a new cassette, you can sometimes wear in a new chain. i.e. it may slip for first 100 – 200 miles, but, then the chain stretches a little and it stops slipping. It depends on what kind of cycling your doing, if it its up steep hills, the last thing you want is a slipping chain.
Changing A Cassette
To undo a cassette, you need a chain whip tool which stops the cassette free wheeling. Turn the cassette tool anticlockwise to unscrew.
I’m not keen on bike maintenance as I have no natural ability for it. However, changing a chain and cassette is not too difficult. For a cassette you need two simple tools
- A chain whip to stop freewheel spinning
- A cassette tightening nut.
Neither are too expensive, and if you do a lot of cycling it is worth investing in.
- Cassettes and Freewheels at Wiggle