Reducing Maintenance $$$ - longer lasting chains & emtb tires?

The duke

Active Member
I've had my BH emtb for 7 months now. I definitely baby my bicycle. Mainly sidewalks and gentle fire roads, no crazy stuff. I travel at commuting speeds....I'm not racing or accelerating quicky.

I've been doing 20 miles per day, 4 days a week for 7 months, and my rear tire is almost bald. Can anyone suggest something that might last a little longer? I have a 27.5x2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic back there now that might last another month or two.

I've also been told that my chain is stretched out and should have been replaced months ago. Cheap chains on amazon are only $17, but is this the best route? $17 every 6 months? Or are there better chains that will last years on a mid drive ebike? Help!
 

Johnny

Active Member
How much did your chain stretch ? if you are well past 0.75 and close to 1(I suspect you are since they told you that you needed to change the chain months ago) then you will likely need a new cassette and front chainring. How is your chain clean/lube schedule ?

$17 every 6 months would be a dream for many people here.

As for your question I have seen absolutely no evidence suggesting that ebike specific chains wear slower(Although they may be stronger, harder to break under high torque which is the case for ebikes). I am on my 3rd KMC ebike specific chain (retails around $50) and the previous two stretched in less than 1.5K miles even though I am on top of maintenance, my chains is lubed , drivetrain is very clean and I don't abuse the bike. Ebike specific chains seem to be more resistant to breaking.

For the tires don't let your rear tire go completely bald, instead swap it with the front. Rear tires wear out much faster so rotating is a good practice. For the new tire check the Schwalbe's website, for each tire they mention how durable the tire is, that can be a good starting point for your next tire. Also it is said that riding mtb tires on pavement wears them faster.
 

Thomas Jaszewski

Well-Known Member
I bought heavy duty eBike chains. Connex/Whipperman I found they were stronger, lasted longer and are available in extended lengths for flat foot and comfort frames. 4 times the cost of Sunlite cheapies, but don’t last 4 times as long. I 4 bikes here are 7sp, I buy any 132L chain when I find a sale at $10 or less. I always have at least a single spare. Developing a properly stocked parts box has been the best maintenance strategy. All connections, possible water ingress points are treated with ACF50 or Boeshield. Electrics get the most attention. Followed by drive system, brakes, and prefrights of spoke, rim and wheels. My frame is filthy, the running gear is clean and protected. The electrics near spotless.
 

Shane(NZ)

New Member
I've had my BH emtb for 7 months now. I definitely baby my bicycle. Mainly sidewalks and gentle fire roads, no crazy stuff. I travel at commuting speeds....I'm not racing or accelerating quicky.

I've been doing 20 miles per day, 4 days a week for 7 months, and my rear tire is almost bald. Can anyone suggest something that might last a little longer? I have a 27.5x2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic back there now that might last another month or two.

I've also been told that my chain is stretched out and should have been replaced months ago. Cheap chains on amazon are only $17, but is this the best route? $17 every 6 months? Or are there better chains that will last years on a mid drive ebike? Help!
2'200 miles on a chain I think is pretty good, also $17 is very cheap for a chain, how many gears does your bike have?

I have Just replaced the chain on my Trek LT9(done about 750miles) I'm heavy at about 230lbs and ride off road mtb tracks(Hills) dusty not muddy and us quite alot of assistance.I clean and lube chain evey 2nd or 3rd ride at most.Has a 12spd GX system.Sram GX chain was $55NZ dollars on special.

Nobby Nic is really off road tyre, plenty of tyres better suited to your conditions, problery much quiter also and less drag.

Best of luck
 

tallpaul

Active Member
My bike specific KMC e10 chains give me about 1200 miles before needing replacement. I did the math on The Dukes post and it looks like he put on around 2400 miles which is good service especially on a cheap chain. I'd buy another one at that if it was me! Ditto for the tires. Maybe go for a hybrid like the Schwalbe Hurricanes or Super Moto X if it's mostly paved miles.
 

Johnny

Active Member
My bike specific KMC e10 chains give me about 1200 miles before needing replacement. I did the math on The Dukes post and it looks like he put on around 2400 miles which is good service especially on a cheap chain. I'd buy another one at that if it was me! Ditto for the tires. Maybe go for a hybrid like the Schwalbe Hurricanes or Super Moto X if it's mostly paved miles.
My experience is similar to yours and we use the same chain. Btw what is your average speed? I think "miles" is not a good way of measuring the life of a chain, average power and time in hours would probably be a better way of doing so(climbing up a hill at 6mph may be as demanding on the chain as going 20mph on flats and the mileage on the one used for climbing will be only %30 of the one on flats for similar wear).
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'm getting about 3000 miles on kenda knobbies, which are not shown on the kenda website. I buy them at the LBS. Weight on the back 180 lb sometimes with groceries (pop) in the bags. thickness of knobs is 1/8" or higher. I find when the knobs get under 1/16" it is time to change, or I'll be changing a flat out on the road.
No, I'm not riding off road. I just buy the off road tires because they are thicker & last longer.
 

tallpaul

Active Member
My experience is similar to yours and we use the same chain. Btw what is your average speed? I think "miles" is not a good way of measuring the life of a chain, average power and time in hours would probably be a better way of doing so(climbing up a hill at 6mph may be as demanding on the chain as going 20mph on flats and the mileage on the one used for climbing will be only %30 of the one on flats for similar wear).
Average speed around 14mph. Average engine 60% me 40%. Ascent around 900'. Also note that rider weight has to factor in. I'm around 190lbs. Ride mostly in Tour and eco modes. Running Schwalbe Super Moto X 2.8 x 27.5. Inflation around 34lbs. Almost all riding on paved surfaces. Use Finish Line ceramic wet lube on chain, cleaning off chain and reapplying lube after every or every other ride. Rides average 25 miles. Wind also can factor in.
Hoping there is a better chain then the KMC. The OEM Shimano chain that came on the Haibike lasted about the same as the KMC bike specific. Any one using Connex Wipperman chains, and if so, how did they hold up?

KMC just made a design change on their bike chains pins. They are mushroomed now as opposed to the other style. Here is a message from my supplier:

....new chain that KMC has replaced the discontinued KMC X10e chain with, the KMC e10 chain. It's very similar to the previous version, but has a couple differences. It's nickel plated, but not highly polished like before. Also, the chain pins have mushroom riveting now, which makes the chain more durable under high torque loads that eBikes can have. KMC kept the same UPC as before for this chain, 766759710668.....

I have just fit this new chain and will report back on any improvement in durability if any in about 1000 miles or so.
 

Johnny

Active Member
Average speed around 14mph. Average engine 60% me 40%. Ascent around 900'. Also note that rider weight has to factor in. I'm around 190lbs. Ride mostly in Tour and eco modes. Running Schwalbe Super Moto X 2.8 x 27.5. Inflation around 34lbs. Almost all riding on paved surfaces. Use Finish Line ceramic wet lube on chain, cleaning off chain and reapplying lube after every or every other ride. Rides average 25 miles. Wind also can factor in.
Hoping there is a better chain then the KMC. The OEM Shimano chain that came on the Haibike lasted about the same as the KMC bike specific. Any one using Connex Wipperman chains, and if so, how did they hold up?

KMC just made a design change on their bike chains pins. They are mushroomed now as opposed to the other style. Here is a message from my supplier:

....new chain that KMC has replaced the discontinued KMC X10e chain with, the KMC e10 chain. It's very similar to the previous version, but has a couple differences. It's nickel plated, but not highly polished like before. Also, the chain pins have mushroom riveting now, which makes the chain more durable under high torque loads that eBikes can have. KMC kept the same UPC as before for this chain, 766759710668.....

I have just fit this new chain and will report back on any improvement in durability if any in about 1000 miles or so.
Thanks for the detailed reply, it is great to have your input as always. Can you also tell me what the average total power is(you+motor) if you have it ?

KMC's regular mtb offering x10.93 also have mushroom pivoting , it is half nickel plated (I think plating may play an important role here, the one you and I use have that shiny nickel plating) so I suspect that I will get similar life out of that chain.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I've had my BH emtb for 7 months now. I definitely baby my bicycle. Mainly sidewalks and gentle fire roads, no crazy stuff. I travel at commuting speeds....I'm not racing or accelerating quicky.

I've been doing 20 miles per day, 4 days a week for 7 months, and my rear tire is almost bald. Can anyone suggest something that might last a little longer? I have a 27.5x2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic back there now that might last another month or two.

I've also been told that my chain is stretched out and should have been replaced months ago. Cheap chains on amazon are only $17, but is this the best route? $17 every 6 months? Or are there better chains that will last years on a mid drive ebike? Help!
Congrats on your BH Mtn bike... which model do you have?

I would recommend swapping out the Nobby Nics for a better commuter tire.

The Marathon Plus, E-Plus, or GT would be very durable with Level-7 protection.

 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
I am currently running a durability test on the Connex 11SE chain on my Delight Mountain. I am using Dumonde Tech D Lite Formula (the green stuff) I am doing a 150 mile cleaning interval. I just cleaned and lubricated it for the second time. Using a Park Tool CC-2 Chain Checker It measured just under .25 when new and is still measuring at 2.5. It looks promising at this point. I will post just how many miles are on it when it gets to .5%, the recommended point at which they recommend changing out 11&12 speed chains.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I wonder what causes such accelerated wear that I often read about here ...

When I had my original Haibike, a set of chain/cassette lasted me about 3500 miles before I replaced them and my drivetrain maintenance was quite simple. On one of my other Bosch bike, 1 set of chain/cassette lasted closer to 4000 miles.

Even though I live in Chicago, my commute involved several stop-n go points. So, I was constantly shifting up and down. This did spread out the wear on the cassette!
If all the wear is concentrated on one or two cogs on the cassette, this could lead to premature wear of both the chain and cassette.

Whenever I saw the chain pick up some dirt and stuff, I would wipe it with a dry automotive paper towel or rag.
Every 250 or so miles, I would do deep cleaning and proper lubrication and the whole process took about 20 mins.

When choosing cassettes, higher-end is not always the most durable. For example, Shimano Deore Cassette is a bit heavier (made of steel) than XT but lasts longer. High-end stuff, unless designed for E-bikes, is always made for regular bikes and is lighter. This demand for lighter stuff makes it not so favorable for E-bike application. A simple Deore cassette like this one, made of steel, lasted me 3500 miles.

11 speed or 12 speed on an E-bike is total overkill. 11 speed chains are thinner and less durable than 10-speed chains. I never the gears 1,2,3,4 and 5 on the Rohloff.

I never used any chain stretch tools, when I first experienced any skip, I knew it was time to change both the chain and cassette.
 

Johnny

Active Member
I wonder what causes such accelerated wear that I often read about here ...

When I had my original Haibike, a set of chain/cassette lasted me about 3500 miles before I replaced them and my drivetrain maintenance was quite simple. On one of my other Bosch bike, 1 set of chain/cassette lasted closer to 4000 miles.

Even though I live in Chicago, my commute involved several stop-n go points. So, I was constantly shifting up and down. This did spread out the wear on the cassette!
If all the wear is concentrated on one or two cogs on the cassette, this could lead to premature wear of both the chain and cassette.

Whenever I saw the chain pick up some dirt and stuff, I would wipe it with a dry automotive paper towel or rag.
Every 250 or so miles, I would do deep cleaning and proper lubrication and the whole process took about 20 mins.

When choosing cassettes, higher-end is not always the most durable. For example, Shimano Deore Cassette is a bit heavier (made of steel) than XT but lasts longer. High-end stuff, unless designed for E-bikes, is always made for regular bikes and is lighter. This demand for lighter stuff makes it not so favorable for E-bike application. A simple Deore cassette like this one, made of steel, lasted me 3500 miles.

11 speed or 12 speed on an E-bike is total overkill. 11 speed chains are thinner and less durable than 10-speed chains. I never the gears 1,2,3,4 and 5 on the Rohloff.

I never used any chain stretch tools, when I first experienced any skip, I knew it was time to change both the chain and cassette.
Totally agree with you on the the number of gears. For ebikes that are used for commuting or recreational use going over 8 speed cassette is a waste of money if it (the 8 speed cassette) has a wide range. Starting from 9 speed the chain gets thinner (I realized that the road bikers having great chain life are mostly on 2/3x8/9 drivetrains)and much more expensive(8 speed chains are around $10 and cassettes are around $15-20 and they are more durable). Don't get me wrong, for mountain biking 11,12 speed cassettes makes sense especially on technical trails but for most of us this is not the case of use.

I was wondering what is your chain wear after 3500 miles(I guess it is over 0.75 since you are changing the cassette too)? Also do you have long term averages for total power and average speed?
 

Alaskan

Well-Known Member
11 speed or 12 speed on an E-bike is total overkill. 11 speed chains are thinner and less durable than 10-speed chains. I never the gears 1,2,3,4 and 5 on the Rohloff.

I never used any chain stretch tools, when I first experienced any skip, I knew it was time to change both the chain and cassette.
I live in an area with more hills (and mountains) than the flat area around Chicago. One of my ebikes has an 11 speed XT derailleur with an 11-46 tooth rear cassette the other is a Rohloff. I live half way up a 800 foot hill. Our coastal downtown is at 50 feet above sea level. Every ride ends in a 6% grade climb with the last two blocks at 17%

The only gear that I don't regularly use on the Rohloff bike (Homage) is 1. I use all the gears on my derailleur bike (Delight Mountain).

I am not aware of a 8 speed rear cassette with the same 11-46 tooth range other than box and have heard that their derailleur is not that smooth or durable. Is anyone aware of whether the box cassettes are compatible with better quality derailleurs from Shimano?
 

LimboJim

Well-Known Member
...I am not aware of a 8 speed rear cassette with the same 11-46 tooth range other than box and have heard that their derailleur is not that smooth or durable. Is anyone aware of whether the box cassettes are compatible with better quality derailleurs from Shimano?
SRAM's EX1 8-speed drivetrain's XG-899 cassette is 11-48t. I have it on my Commencal MetaPower as well as my Haibike Allmtn, and it's AWESOME for my style of trail riding with lots of steep climbs. It's an expensive cassette ($308 from Modern Bike), but is designed for high-torque eMTBs - so far I have 800+ hardy trail miles on each bike and no visible (or audible) signs of wear.
 
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Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I was wondering what is your chain wear after 3500 miles(I guess it is over 0.75 since you are changing the cassette too)? Also do you have long term averages for total power and average speed?
The chain was stretched quite a bit by the end. I never bothered to change the cassette because fresh chain on a worn cassette will be noisy.
Average speed is 19-20mph and average Power of me + motor would be ~ 350-400w.
90% of my rides were in 'tour' mode.
 

bob armani

Well-Known Member
I've had my BH emtb for 7 months now. I definitely baby my bicycle. Mainly sidewalks and gentle fire roads, no crazy stuff. I travel at commuting speeds....I'm not racing or accelerating quicky.

I've been doing 20 miles per day, 4 days a week for 7 months, and my rear tire is almost bald. Can anyone suggest something that might last a little longer? I have a 27.5x2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic back there now that might last another month or two.

I've also been told that my chain is stretched out and should have been replaced months ago. Cheap chains on amazon are only $17, but is this the best route? $17 every 6 months? Or are there better chains that will last years on a mid drive ebike? Help!
I also have the 27.5x2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nics and after approx 1500mls this last riding season, I do not see a great deal of wear on the front/back. My riding consists of rails to trails and some offroad, however, I do not ride it very hard to any degree.
I just took it to my LBS for a standard tune, and they indicated there was no significant wear on the groupset or any major adjustments needed on derailleurs etc. The tires look like I can possibly get another 2-3k mls out of them if my calculations are correct.
 

Ghostman_132

New Member
I hear you man. I got annoyed to constant chain and casette wear (500-1500km) when commuting every week about 200-250km. I switched to shimano alfine 11 internal geared hub and a strong single speed chain which is a lot thicker than 10s chain. Now i'm at 1300km on current setup and i'm not even 0,75% wear. Also single speed is a lot more forgiving to stretch than derailleur system. Now days i don't even care to take much care of chain because it is so cheap to replace it (10€ vs kmc 10s 50€ chain) and of course the hub is far more maintenance free than casette system could ever be. Change oil every 5000km. Also rear cog is about 6€ compare to 40-80€ cassette. Other positive sides are that it is quicker to change gears(you can double switch without feeling bad) and smoother running. Also wet or snowy conditions are not a problem anymore ( in Finland we can have some serious sub zero temps). Downside is that its a bit less effecient than derailleur system. But there is no way to go back for me.

And you get almost the same gear ratio than default setup. Even better, you can get even longer gearing than you would with my default 11-48t gearing.

I don't get it why doesn't manufacturers ship more bikes with IGH setups. It's far more better and cheaper for ebikes.
 

BBassett

Active Member
I've had my BH emtb for 7 months now. I definitely baby my bicycle. Mainly sidewalks and gentle fire roads, no crazy stuff. I travel at commuting speeds....I'm not racing or accelerating quicky.

I've been doing 20 miles per day, 4 days a week for 7 months, and my rear tire is almost bald. Can anyone suggest something that might last a little longer? I have a 27.5x2.8 Schwalbe Nobby Nic back there now that might last another month or two.

I've also been told that my chain is stretched out and should have been replaced months ago. Cheap chains on amazon are only $17, but is this the best route? $17 every 6 months? Or are there better chains that will last years on a mid drive ebike? Help!
I know nothing about MTB tires (I use Marathon touring rubber) but as far as chains are concerned the most simple thing possible is to prep a new chain (I prep 3 at a time and use paraffin, Bioshield T-9, ACF-50), hang it on the bike, wax the rollers well (I like Wend) and ride. Keep it clean as you can, reapply wax as necessary and monthly pull and clean the chair and start over. Use a chair checker (Park CC-2) once a week when you reapply wax as needed. Chains are fairly cheap unless you got duped into buying an "extended" wear chain. When the chain stretches it starts to wear the gears to fit the chain and that's Way more expensive to deal with.