When to replace a cassette?

put it in the largest cog, and see how much you can pull the chain off that cog

You’re right. Edited. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m also quite surprised about the mentioned replacement intervals. I don’t clean by bikes very thoroughly. However, I ride a lot, a lot lot, and I always clean my chains. I get at least 5000km out of a chain before it hits 0.5%. Cassettes? I have a sprocket wear indicator (works well for Shimano). I get 15000-20000 km out of a cassette. And then not all sprockets have to be replaced.


I’m surprised by how many kilometers some of you are getting on chains and cassettes. Since I spend most of my time (8-10 hours per week) on the trainer, I don’t know how to compare. But 29,000 km sounds kind of crazy to me. :slight_smile:

at 29000k, you certainly got your moneys worth! It was time a long time ago! Honestly, if I got that much out of a bike, let alone a drivetrain, id be thrilled!
Its time to open your wallet. Cassette, chainring and chain.

As a general rule, I replace my chain at the 0.5 marker and im currently running on the 3rd chain for this cassette with no visible wear and still shifts like new.


Somehow cassette replacement was a blind spot in my maintenance and upkeep. I replace my chain regularly… and maybe even a bit more often than I need to.

New cassette is on order and will be swapped this week.

The mechanics at my LBS are outstanding, but they are probably too overly budget conscious for me. They are always trying to squeeze every last bit of usefulness out of every component, I think that was the case here… I kept telling them how many miles I had on the cassette and they still thought they could tune it back to proper shifting.

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I live on the coast. Sand is everywhere and it eats through chains. Oddly I actually get more mileage with less oil as it just creates grit. (Dry wax is best though). Still to suggest changing a cassette at 1500k is crazy to me. I ride 10+ hours a week, exclusively MTB with lots of shifting in sandy conditions; 3 chains and 6000k later things are going fine.

Granted if your a pro and get this stuff for free sure, keep it running like new. Bit for regular folks that’s a lot of $$$.


Change my chain when it needs it. I use a chain wear tool and change at .75 my cassette DA 11 speed has done nearly 30,000 miles. Still fine.

Keep the chains clean and change when necessary. Wet riding might mean the chain gets changed between 1,000 and 1,500 miles. Dry weather and it can last over 5,000 miles.

Keeping the chain clean protects the cassette.

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I was told I replace them too soon. I did have a ‘cheap’ cassette that skipped a bit, and was markedly noisier the older it got. When I was riding a lot outside, I would change cassettes every year or so. I would look at the cassette cogs and see the wear on them, plus they seemed to get noisier and skip, being hard to re-index. I think you can know, if you are observant, when to retire a cassette.

11 speed chains should be changed at .5% wear. :slightly_smiling_face:

Cassettes are only barely a wear item if you replace your chains properly.

You only need to replace them your bike won’t shift properly despite everything else being perfect.


This is my approach as well. I’ve never heard any good mechanic even suggest that a cassette needs to be replaced when a chain is replaced. I have heard that a badly worn chain can quickly ruin a cassette and that makes sense to me, so I just don’t do that.

I’ve got an ultegra di2 drivetrain on my road bike that went 25-30k miles (not KM’s) before I replaced the cassette and chainrings (at the same time) when it started getting a bit noisy and imprecise. I think the cassette was still fine and the big chainring was the issue, but figured I’d swap it out along with the chainrings. I’m pretty diligent about replacing chains every ~2500 miles, so maybe that’s the key to getting decent life out of a cassette. I ride 8-10k miles per year including in the rain, grit, race gravel, etc., and my bikes are lucky to get cleaned a few times a year. I don’t think I replace brake pads as often as some folks are talking about replacing their cassettes.

I’m curious what problems people are having that are requiring them to replace cassettes so frequently. Some of these cassettes (particularly the SRAM CNC’d ones) are getting crazy expensive, so it seems like you’d want to ride them as long as possible.