The chain on my Bianchi was coming up to the 6000km mark this week (thanks BikeJournal for the reminder) and my handy Park chain gauge was telling me it was coming to the end of its useful life, which was fine because I had a replacement chain hanging in the shed, but I'm a bit short of cash to buy a new cassette. Those ten speed babies aren't cheap. What do do?
When I thought about it, does the new chain-new cassette maxim make sense? The theory seems to go that a new set will mesh nicely together and that a worn cassette will wear a new chain more quickly. But is that going to be as much the case in the modern era of ten speed kit as it was in the five and six speed days, or more so, or what?
The cassette on the Bianchi looked fine so I threw caution to the wind and put a new chain on. After brisk 30km trial ride, all seems well. The gears are shifting fine and after a few minor adjustments of tension screws, the drivetrain is even quieter than normal. (I prefer the superb Connex chains, the connecting link makes installation and removal infinitely easier than the infernal Shimano non-reusable pins)
Sitting down to write this post, I checked around to see what others did, and Google revealed a wide range of practices, from a change of cluster every two chains, to even longer service intervals. Myth busted, and it looks like I'll save some money from hereon in to boot.
2393km so far this year.