Know the signs of chain wear and how you can check at home
Most people do not replace their chain often enough. This leads to the gears not shifting correctly and excessive wear on your chainrings and cassette. Chain wear is affected by a few things: riding conditions, riding style (masher vs spinner), and shifting technique.
When the conditions are wet the chain is going to wear out faster due to the dirt that gets in the rollers of the chain. Wet weather also tends to wash the lube off of the chain much faster. Cleaning your drivetrain can extend the life of your chain. If you ride at a low cadence you will wear the chain out faster than someone who rides at a higher cadence. The last major thing that affects wear is shifting technique. If you tend to cross chain a lot (riding in the big ring, big cassette cog or small ring, small cassette cog) then you will put more wear on the chain and chainrings.
The easiest way to check for chain wear at home is to measure 12 links of your chain. A new chain measures 12 inches per 12 links. Anything over 12 1/16 inches is too long. This bike tool measures it quickly and costs less than $10. A ruler also works just fine. You should expect to get anywhere from 1500 to 2500 miles out of a 10-speed chain and about 2500 out of a 9-speed chain. You can help your chain last much longer if you take good care of it, keep it clean, shift correctly, and ride at a higher cadence.
Check out our other blog post to see when other parts need replacing.