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How Long Do Mountain Bike Drivetrains Last?

how long do mountain bike drive trains last

If there is one thing that you can always rely on when it comes to your mountain bike, it is the fact that your drive train will need replaced eventually. The main question you need to ask yourself is when will that need to happen? How can you take care of your drive train to make it last longer?

There are several things to consider when it comes to how long your drive train will last. It could last as little as a few months, or it could last way longer.

Typically, the drive train of a mountain bike will last you about 750 miles of riding on a single track. It is not easy to determine how long your drive train will last with multiple tracks.

What is Drive Train Wear?

If you are new to mountain biking, you might not know why the drive train is so important or what it looks like when it starts showing signs of wear. The more you ride your mountain bike, the more the drive train will wear down. 

The reason it is important to pay attention to your drive train is because eventually you will have a difficult time shifting gears, which can lead to your drive train breaking completely. Riding with a drive train that is not in the best condition can cause it to wear down even more quickly. 

How Do I Know When I Need a New Drive Train?

Your drive train is going to wear down, there is no way around it. It is a good thing when your drive train wears down, because that means you are riding your bike often and showing it tons of love. The most obvious sign of needing a new drive train is if it stops working for you completely.

It is important to replace your drive train before it gets to that point. There would be nothing worse than being halfway through your ride and your drive train stops working. One way to check for wear of your drive train is to pull away the chain from the chainring. If there is light showing, it is time to replace the chain.

There are also tools that you can purchase that will assist you with checking the wear of your drive train. Multiple tools are available and it can be hard to choose the right one for your bike. The best way to choose the right tool is to ask someone at your local bike shop what they recommend for your specific bike.

When you are new to mountain biking, this can all be really overwhelming. If you aren’t sure what you need or if your drive train needs replaced, just take a few minutes and take your bike down to your bike mechanic. They will be able to let you know what you need to do for your bike to be back in top shape.

What Causes Drive Train Wear?

Knowing what can cause wear on your drive train can help you understand when you need to replace your drive train. Bikes have so many gears these days, and the chains are thinner than they used to be. Your chain is more likely to wear out and break sooner than the old chains that were very thick.

When you are riding through terrains that are extra rough or muddy, your drive train will experience extra stress. While it is proper trail etiquette to avoid muddy trails, it can also help extend the life of your drive train.

It is also important to remember that the more you ride, the more wear your drive train will experience. This does not mean that you need to stop riding your bike as often, it just means that you need to be prepared to replace your drive train more often.

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How Often Should I Lube My Mountain Bike Chain?

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How often depends on how much you ride your bike. The proper rule is to lube your chain every third or fourth ride. It is also important to remember that you should not over-lube your chain, because that can cause problems for your drive train as well. 

We recommend using a high quality bicycle chain lubricant and cleaner like this one by Finish Line. It’s very quick and easy to apply, and will flush out the old lube and contaminants with every fresh application.

How to Lube Mountain Bike Chain

There are only a few steps involved in properly lubing your chain to protect your drive train. The first step is to make sure you have a good lube for your bike. Ask your local bike shop which one they recommend or search around for products recommended by other bikers. If you are new, try out a few different types before you choose a favorite.

Next, you need to make sure your chain is clean. You can ensure this by using a degreaser, or you can clean off the rag with a rag.

You would then apply the lube directly to your chain with one hand while you use the other hand to backpedal the back wheel. This will ensure that you get every piece of the chain lubed. You might want to do this a few times to make sure it is completed thoroughly.

Finally, you need to use a rag to wipe off any excess lube. Hold the rag up against chain with light pressure and backpedal the wheel to move the chain.

What Happens if My Chain Breaks on a Ride?

Your chain is a really important part of your drive train. If it breaks in the middle of your ride, it’s not going to be a very fun time. Sure, you can just walk your bike back down the trail you rode, or you could try to repair it yourself. To do this, you should keep some tools in your bag at all times.

To fix a broken chain is easier than it might sound. The first step is to clean the chain off as much as you can. If you have a rag in your bag, use some water to help you clean the chain. You will then need to use a chainbreak tool to press and push the pin halfway out of the broken link.

When you get the broken link off, do not throw it on the ground. Put in in your backpack. If the chain broke completely off, you would need to put it back on your bike. Then, put the two ends of the chain together and line up the holes so they are even.

Put the chainbreak tool in reverse and push the pin back through to complete the link. Move the chain around a bit to make sure it is loose enough. If necessary, lube it if you have some with it. You will need to use your smallest back gear because your chain will be shorter now.

Fixing your chain on the fly is just a quick way to get you off the trail without having to walk your bike all the way back. It is not a good idea to continue your ride. You should take your bike to get an extra link for your chain or get a replacement chain before riding your bike again.

A new chain can run anywhere from $15 to $100 or more depending on the type of chain. You can also expect to pay about $15 for the labor of replacing the chain.

Final Thoughts

Wear and tear on your bike’s drivetrain is inevitable. The most you can do is slow down the wear and tear so your bike train can last as long as possible.

Servicing and maintaining your mountain bike’s drive train is one of the most important tasks as a mountain bike owner, especially if you often ride through muddy or wet terrain.

Proper cleaning and lubrication of your bike’s chain will ensure proper function of the drivetrain when accelerating and switching gears.

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