Chain / Cascette change

Non Wahoo bike tech question: I put a new chain on my gravel bike and notice instantly it is skipping constantly about 2/3s down the block. I guess the sign is a worn cassette. My old chain was actually in decent condition - well looked after, was giving me no trouble at all, and I’ve just cleaned it up like new. If I put the old back one for an event this weekend, should it solve the skipping problem? Logic would suggest so, but what do you think?

It might solve the skipping problems, but may be placing you in extreme danger. The issue is “how bad” is the chain worn, and is it evenly worn? If you are absolutely certain it is not worn beyond the safety limit, which is much less than you would be led to believe, and the chain is evenly worn, then you MIGHT want to consider using it. The issue is that your cassette might be worn beyond safe tolerances as well. The best thing to do at this point is see if your local bike shop can take a look at it. Otherwise, in the interest of safety, I would DNS the event.

The old chain isn’t much worn at all - it’s been on for a year. I was adding a new chain as I do every season to stop cassette wear, but I guess it’s worn enough that the new chain is skipping down the block a bit. But the old chain is in good condition and didn’t skip at all or have any issues while on the bike up to last week.

Wear isn’t a time thing. I’ve worn out chains in a matter of two months to the point where I had to replace the cassette as well. The only reliable method is to use an appropriate chain wear tool and check. I have to use two. One says the chain on my trainer has to be replaced and the other says I’m ok on the road bike but it will have to be replaced soon.
Have you used a tool to check wear?

I last checked wear a few months back and it was ok. I had just changed it ahead of a race this weekend to put a fresh one on, only to end up with the skipping about 2/3s down the block. Prior to the replacement the old one was running like a dream. So thought is to put it back on for this weekend at least. Impossible to ride with the new chain anyway

How often do you ride this bike? I check wear at least once a month on a bike I ride three times a week, more often if climbing.
Replace chain numbers: 10 or less speeds, .it to 1; 11 speed, .5 to .75; 12 speed, do not exceed .5. This is from SRAM.
It appears your chain is long overdue for a check.

The chain is good. Just double checking putting it back on will return things to as they were and stop the skipping. My assumption is so, was just checking what others thought.

It will return things to the way they were. You’ll probably need a new cassette though if you change to the new chain. I still would be checking my chain more frequently as well. I didn’t and it was an expensive mistake (SRAM ETap Red).

Dumb question but are you SURE the quick link is 100% properly installed? Every single time Ive had a slipping chain with a new install, its been the quick link, not a wear mismatch between chain and cassette.


I’ve put a worn chain back on when a new chain was skipping on a worn cassette. This is really just a stop gap until installing a new cassette as the worn chain will continue to wear the chainrings as well. Of course the worn chain should still be within safe limits if you continue to use it.

If the only change you made was swapping out the chain, then you should be able to swap the old chain back on for your event.

Dame Lisa makes a good point regarding the quick link (it must be fully seated), and I’ll add a couple other things that I have had issues with in the past. Some of these may seem obvious, but I’ll put them here anyway.

Did you ensure that the new chain was for the same speed system as the old chain, and did not put a Campagnolo chain on a Shimano or Sram system (or vice versa).

Did you ensure that your link count was the same between the old and new chains.

Did you use a quick link that came with the new chain, or possibly a quick link from an incompatible system.

Did you make sure you threaded your derailleur correctly.

If you are pinning your chain, rather than using a quick link, it is possible you tightened the pin a bit too much, and will need to back it out a touch. Usually, this shows up as a slight kink in the chain at rest.

If you made any adjustment to the derailleurs, or possibly bumped them out of adjustment, here is good guidance from GCN:

If after returning to the old chain, you are simply unable to correct this issue, then I think you might be well served by a visit to your LBS and have them check to see if the derailleur hanger may have come out of alignment.

In any case, keep a spare compatible quick link in with your tire repair kit as come-home insurance.

Good luck.


So the new chain was put on by a LBS so it was the right chain installed correctly. Took the bike to a bike mechanic who had a look, put the old chain back on - checked it and confirmed it’s still actually in decent condition - and the skipping has gone away. He also said the cassette looked in decent shape and felt a few easy rides on the new chain would actually resolve the skipping but if not then a new cassette down the road. So all good. Cheers for input everyone!


Glad to read that a bike wrench said all is good. Hopefully, the new chain will stay in the spares box for a long time.

I agree!
but just in case, @veloricky
my advice would be to line up your replacement cassette and get it purchased before you need it; and probably chainrings or crankset too.

If you have your shop do all those things for you, maybe it’s not as critical to buy in advance, but if riding is important enough to you that it wouldn’t do to be stuck waiting on bike parts to be ordered and work to be done, better to be prepared than missing out on rides.

I tend to stay ahead on parts because I do 99% of my own work, and I HATE getting stuck not having the bike I need at the time, maybe to join friends on a ride, or just be able to do a specific ride I’ve been itching to do and then find out I have maintenance to do first, and don’t have parts! YIKES! :anguished:
Of course, that also means I have lots of UNUSED NEW parts hanging around, like 9-speed chains, cranksets, cassettes… They’ll likely never get used unless someone comes around riding something old school. :roll_eyes: