Chain Wear Checker Tool: Park Tool CC-3.2
Keep your bike running smoothly and save money!
Chain wear checkers are an essential tool! This tool is used to be able to quickly tell if it is time to replace your chain. In order to keep your bike running smoothly, and do so cheaply, it is very important to check your chain regularly and replace the chain as soon as it is stretched to a certain point.
Doing this allows you to get far more use out of your chainrings and cassettes which will save a tremendous amount of money! If you use your chains past a certain point of wear, the chain then messes up the spacing of the teeth of your chainrings and cassettes, making it so if you just replace the chain at that point the chain will skip and can actually be quite dangerous- then, instead of just replacing the chain, you then need to replace the chain AND all of your chainrings and rear cassette. I find that by using a chain checker and replacing your chain before its too late makes it so I get a solid 4x more life out of my chainrings and cassettes!
How it works: This chain checker is a simple type of gauge called a 'go / no-go gauge'- one end is hooked on the chain and then if the other end is able to fit into the links of your chain it is time to replace the chain. Super simple, and you don't need to be mechanically inclined to use it.
How often do you check your chain?: Totally depends on not only your mileage, but also how intensely you ride and your weight. I recommend keeping the chain gauge right next to where you keep your bike- I usually check mine every two weeks as that is frequent enough for me it ensures that I don't miss the proper time to replace the chain. Over people will likely find checking once a month does the trick.
Chain Stockpile: If you'd rather have a mechanic replace your chain, you can use the gauge to know when you need a new chain, and then bring your bike to your favorite bike shop to do the replacement for you. However, if you know how to replace your ownchain, or are willing to learn how, I highly recommend buying 3 or more chains at a time so that you have them on hand and ready when you need them. Buying a couple chains at once gets you a discount (check for chains on the PVF webstore!) and replacing chains yourself will save you a ton of money down the road!