checking chain length

Is there a simple way to determine if my chain has stretched enough to replace?


  • Yes, you can measure 12" of chain start the measurement on the center of a pin if the chain is stretched more than 1/2 pin width it should be replaced. What kind of gearing do you have and how many miles on your ride? I ride a 10 speed chain and cassette and get around 5000 miles out of a 10 speed chain. 
  • There are also inexpensive chain wear tools available for purchase from just about anywhere. They aren't really necessary for recumbents. We usually have such long chainlines that it's easy to find a straight gap of a foot or longer so a regular ruler can be used instead. 

    Another nice thing about recumbent's long chain lengths is that wear is significantly reduced. Trikes seem to use ~2.5 to 3 times the links as most uprights, so therefore get flexed far less often per mile. (Especially if you have a slower cadence.)

    It's the flexing that causes "stretch". What's really happening is that parts of the chain are getting worn down. As a result there's more play between them, letting it reach farther.

    If you do have the unlikely situation of a worn/stretched chain, immediately check out the rest of your drivechain. (Especially the cassette and front chainring.) If those teeth are worn out from the bad chain, they'll in turn damage any new "good" chain you get.

    - PaulNM
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