I just bought a bike from my brother who's really into it and he told me it was about time to change the chain. I've never heard of this. It seems ok to me. Any clue what he's talking about. I'd ask him but he'd be a jerk about it.
Chains and other drivetrain components like the cassette and chainrings do wear out and need to be replaced periodically. To check the chain, just grab a ruler and line it up so that the zero mark is centered on one pin. If the 12" mark is 1/8" or more behind the closest pin, the chain is worn out and needs to be replaced.
I get between 1500 and 2500 miles per 10spd chain and about twice that with my 8spd chain. The 10 spd chain is thinner. It may wear faster and be a tad more finnicky with 10spds. I ride harder on the 10spd. The 8 spd is my touring bike. Seasons and my maintenance are factors. Winter salt and sand and my less frequent maintenance cause accelerated wear. I ride until I get shifting problems and skipping. I have a chain guage to verify but always find a new chain solves hopping. I get about 5000 miles per sprocket set. I wear mostly middle gears buit replace them all.
If you're a regular rider, it's generally a good rule of thumb to replace the chain and cassette yearly; rings may get two years, maybe less. If you're a weekender, use the ruler method to track your chain wear; check it about every month, after the chain is about six months old. Maintenance does play into it, as well. Better maintenance = longer chain life; the question is, all the effort/materials cheaper than just getting the new stuff? Usually, it is. Even Giant's Liquid Silk chain lube, @ $8+ for a 6-oz. bottle, is good insurance.
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