Chain worn after only 3 months?

So, my road bicycle got serviced recently and, to my surprise, my chain was thoroughly worn out. It was an 11 Speed KMC X11SL, so it not like it was a low quality one. I have an dumb progressive resistance trainer (Omnius) and the other components were fine. The chain ring is as new as the chain was and the cassette got OK’ed by the LBS.

So, my questions to you fine people, is it normal to worn chains so fast with a training road medium plan, plus a long weekend ride? Thanks!

No, definitely not. You might have done 3,000 km in that time I guess, but a chain should last longer than that.

how often do you clean & lube your chain?

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Normally, every week (lots of dirt and mud). But since COVID and my start with indoor training, I have to accept that I slacked on that. But I still cleaned at times.

Chains are disposables. But you should get a 1000 miles or so out of one.

When you say it was worn out, what does that mean?

The best thing is to get one of those little metal chain measuring tools and as soon as the stretch goes past the limit replace it.


It’s a little bit like asking how long is a piece of string. Months are not really a good measurement for chain wear. The deciding factors are riding time / distance, power, other components, riding conditions, drive train maintenance, lubricant (which and how often) etc.

I use Pro Bike Garage app to track wear of my components.
It syncs with Strava and really helps me in deciding when enough is enough!


I think you have your answer there!! If you don’t keep on top of this it will wear out quickly.

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Get the chain tool like RCC suggests - They are really inexpensive and its super easy to check periodically (a clean lubed/waxed chain is very important as well).

Chains are disposable and should be replaced when they get to .5 on the chain checker

Pro Bike Garage is a great app! I think generally it assumes you’ll get 1243 miles out of a chain.


I had exactly the same chain and it lasted around 1000 miles (all outdoor use). I now use a Dura Ace so will see how long that lasts!

I wipe my chain down and r-lube after every single ride.

Outside in winter I would expect that wear but if its inside definitely not but I can only put around 240w/h through a chain and sprint at less than 800w at maximum (500-600w regular).

@Hosant sounds like you take pretty good care of your drive train. Makes me think maybe your chainwear gauge might have an issue? Is there a chance whatever tool you use to measure chain wear might need to be replaced? Just fishing here…it doesn’t make sense to me that a chain on weekly care and maintenance would wear out that fast. Not if you’re keeping your chainline fairly straight most of the time.

Just to give you a feel…my chain gets a very cursory clean and thorough relube every 300 to 400 miles. It’s at >2700 miles now and still registers 0% wear.

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More like 5k miles… o_0
I hit 5k already this year and my mechanic said that the chain wear tool still shows about half its life left

what about lube causes the chain to stretch less?

FYI - you can do the same thing (track component usage) from within Strava itself and it’s free.

However, if you have multiple sets of components (eg. wheel sets, chains, etc.) on one bike, I think PBG does a better job of tracking that.

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Chain “stretch” is actually the metal components wearing each other down, increasing the gaps between them, so that when pulled taught, they can move further apart.

Lube helps slow that machining process down.

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whoah! TIL

Yep, i’m in that situation, hence why PBG is the go-to for me. But very good point nonetheless :slight_smile:

If you only cycle indoors, you shouldn’t need to clean your chain very often. But you should keep it lubed — dry lube should be fine.

For sure, a chain on a road bike should last longer than 1,000 km, I’d expect 3,000–6,000 km depending on conditions (rain, mud) and how well you maintain your drive train. I’d advise against trying to eek out every last kilometer out of a chain: replacing a chain is much cheaper than replacing chain rings or cassettes.