Stronger chain? (The real eBike chain life thread)


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4:58 AM
Sep 28, 2020
i ride in southeast Alaska. Currently have a sondors mxs thats been modded. Cruises at a nice pace. My chain after 300 miles seems to be worn out? Has lots of play. Any suggestions on a stronger chain or anything else i should know?
So I have two 17' Specialized Levos with 1 X 11 set up. A stock 32 Praxis up front and stock SRAM GX XG-1150 rear cassette. The first thing that I can say is if you ride an ebike then throw your chain wear gauge away. It is useless. Back in the day before the 1X systems the threat of chain suck was very real. Most people that talk about it have never even had it happen or don't know what it is. Chain suck is when your drive train has so much wear or dirt that the chain sticks to the chain ring or cassette. When this happens you get a mechanical lockup.

Traditionally, the other reason that chain wear is measured is to prevent damage to expensive drive train components. As of today, the pricing on a 32 tooth Praxis chain ring is $30 from the LBS or $20 online. A XG-1150 rear cassette can be had for $65 on Amazon or slightly more other places if you look for deals. Why keep throwing new chains at your bike to supposedly save a $100 drive train. Save your money, run them chains 1000-1500 miles. I've bought KMC chains from the UK and shipped to the U.S. for $30. They will go 1000-1500 miles. Just make sure you keep some quick links with you for the inevitable chain break.
I think the SRAM PCX1 11sp chain has better shifting and is stronger than the KMC. It is also around $30 with free shipping. It will easily go 1000 miles in the dirt. I am testing one now for a final tally.
So back in the day a mountain biker (like myself) would be grinding up the mountain in granny gear. Thus granny gear would wear out first. On my ebike I use all 11 gears. The chain rarely stays on a single cog for long so the wear is evenly distributed on the cassette. The front Praxis chain ring is steel and basically bullet proof. One of my bikes has 4600 miles on the Praxis 32t and it is still working great. My plan is to change out the chain ring and cassette at 5000 miles/ 8050 KM .

My chain maintenance is basically to remove the chain and clean it with an ultra sonic cleaner like maybe every two months. I never clean it after a ride. I use Maxima Chain Wax for motorcycles. It doesn't wash off like teflon lubes and it will hold up to moon dust like none other. You can literally go weeks between applications while riding in moon dust. You can get a 13oz can for $15 and it will last for two years.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Cheers.
(riding weight 200-215 lbs including spare battery)
(yearly elevation gains around 350,000 ft)
Hey @alaskawet - I used Maxima spray chain wax on my motos "back in the day" and have also been using it on my bicycle chains since I saw @Giant Warp recommend it a while back. Thanks, great stuff. The spray solvent cleans the chain when you apply it, and if you wipe off the excess dirt doesn't stick as much as with oil. Just avoid the fumes and don't get any on the brakes. I do use it more frequently than you - every other ride - but I'm a bit OCD when it comes to chains and admit to changing them when the Park CC Tool wear indicator get to 0.5%.

Maxima Chain Wax Chain Lube.jpg
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Great! On my moto I use it like every 2-3 rides which would be around 100 - 150 miles of high stress use compared to bicycle use. If it will hold up there then using it on a bicycle is a logical choice.
Here is a great tip for Avid brake rotors. When they start the turkey warble, pull them off and resurface them with a 3M whizzy pad. I keep an extra set of rotors ready at all times since I have multiple bikes. If you resurface them it saves a ton of money. A 1/4" drive electric impact will have them rotors off and on the wheels in minutes.
I have no store bought ebike, and I basically do no chain maintenance at all. The only thing I do is when my chain gets too messy, dirty, rusty then I take a paper towel and chain oil to it, like I did yesterday as I was doing repairs to my ebike with front dd hub from ebay.

My rear wheel had a flat, so it was time to clean up the ebike from the winter crud, look for cracks, check the torque arms and hose clamps, check to see if the drop out slots were undamaged from axle movement all was well. I am set up as a 3x7, but the rd is just a chain tensioner now running one gear, 34 crank and 18 rear freewheel. Its doable for 90% of my daily, everyday of the year, ebiking. Sometimes when I cruise I will come up against a hill where I have to get off the bike. Its a wimpy motor setup. But its ready for a mid drive bbshd in which case I'd be paying way more attention to chain and driveline. Then again I'd just be using $8 KMC Z7 chain probably on a 1x7 having 2 gears on the crank, one fixed for pedal the other the drive sprocket.

I will be trying the Anti-Rust chain that I see on Chain Reaction Cycle and see how that goes.
I have a fat e bike currently running Wazzia 4.8's, Leikie 42 tooth CR, XG ll50 cassette and BBSHD crank drive. 52V
I find that a Shimano CN-HG601-11 (105) chain shifts and lasts about the best. I get 1500-2000 miles out of them and change them at .75 on a TITAN chain gauge. I use Durmonde Tech lube.

The SRAM PCX1-11 spd chain shifts harder and lasts about 1000 miles.
I have a very good chain line.
Sram EX 1 cluster $400 on a Haibike.
I clean and lube chain each ride.
Broke a chain a 900 miles.
With a new chain that cluster never again shifted correctly.
Had to toss the cluster and wished i had replaced the $30 chain when the chain gauge said to
My chains get crusty and rusty, so I oil them up if I want to pedal my ebike.
lots of great ideas for maintenance. Ive been using some dry graphite lube. Doesnt attract dirt but doesnt really do a good job. My main concerns is my chain can do a partial barrel roll in about 20 inchs of length. Not much stretch? With 116 links(i think) im sure it wil do a gnarly rainbow plus its starting to make a little noise while riding. Lack of good lube in the beginning might have exacerbated wear? Is thers a specific hd chain for hard use hub driven ebikes with 7speeds? I put 300 miles or so on mine. Im probably paranoid and should just lube and ride till it gives. Can a larger (wider) chain be put on in place of the current 3/32 with 7 speed freewheel without rubbing?
becaouse of past riding on atvs and dirt bikes i ride it like its a quiet lightweight dirt bike. Which is fun but might wear it out a bit faster. Stupid throttle..its why not use it?!