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New Abbey LL Chain Wear Tool Measures Both Lateral & Linear Wear

Abbey Bike Tools LL chain wear tool
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Ever run into a situation where the chain didn’t shift well, but your chain checker said the chain wasn’t worn out? If you’re running a modern 1x drivetrain, Abbey Bike Tools says that there is a good chance that lateral, not linear, wear is the culprit.

As 1x drivetrains have taken over and cassettes have gotten wider, that has forced riders to essentially cross chain at the extremes of the cassette. The angle of the chain then causes extra wear to the faces of the rollers which degrades the shifting over time. According to Abbey, “Depending on conditions and riding style this can happen well before a chain has reached replacement thresholds for linear wear, commonly referred to as stretch. While chains that have worn out laterally won’t cause undue wear to the rest of the drivetrain, shifting performance definitely suffers.”

So when the precision tool maker wanted to develop their own chain wear gauge, they knew it had to include both lateral and linear measurements. That’s where the new Abbel LL Chain Wear Tool comes in. The precision tool is machined from a single block of 6061 aluminum in their CNC mill. That allows for tolerances as tight as 0.00025″ which will impact chainwear measurements by 0.004%. Compared to chain wear measurement tools that are manufactured with CNC laser cutters, Abbey claims the CNC milling method results in a more accurate tool.

Further accuracy on the linear chain wear side is guaranteed by a V-shaped notch that locates the roller. When SRAM introduced their Flattop chains, they included rollers that were 0.010″ (0.254mm) larger which is enough to skew the measurement on existing chain wear tools. How much? Abbey claims that when measuring five full links, a traditional chain tool would underreport wear by 0.2%, which “with modern drivetrains that’s the difference between replacing just your chain and the entire drivetrain.”

Instead, the V-notch locates the roller regardless of size in a position where the center of the pin is the true origin. Then you simply line up the pin with a hole on the other end of the tool to measure linear wear.

Lateral wear is also a simple test with instructions printed on the back of the tool. You start by placing the chain sideways on the plate with five links extended and then see how far the chain sags using the indicators on the left. While the linear wear test can be performed with the chain on the bike, the lateral wear test must be done with the chain removed.

The Abbey LL Chain Wear Tool is compatible with 1/8″ to 13spd chains, and is in stock and sells for $45.

abbeybiketools.com

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14 Comments
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Patrick
Patrick
23 days ago

NICE

Larry Falk
Larry Falk
23 days ago

Tool looks interesting. But, in the video, why does he say the chain needs to be replaced based on the lateral measurement when the chain is above the “consider replacement” line? Am I missing something?

Bsg
Bsg
22 days ago
Reply to  Larry Falk

It was probably the most worn out chain they had on hand. Seriously, these guys work for a company that manufactures bicycle repair tools, I hardly doubt all that many would allow their commuter bikes to fall into such a state of disrepair as to have a badly worn chain on hand. I on the other hand… Ride my whips until the wheels fall off, then consider what repairs need done.

Evan
Evan
22 days ago

Yeah I’m probably never going to take a chain off just to check it.

TheStansMonster
22 days ago
Reply to  Evan

Right? If I’m thinking a chain is worn enough to bother taking it off to check it doesn’t seem worth it to put it back on instead of just putting on a new one.

David
19 days ago
Reply to  Evan

Luckily you don’t need to.

Nathan
Nathan
22 days ago

Want!

Potato Boi
Potato Boi
22 days ago

purchased immediately. anything that saves me money in the long run is a no brainer

Ian
Ian
22 days ago

Where’s the built in bottle opener?

Robert
Robert
22 days ago

This article doesn’t adequately discuss interpretation issues and drawbacks compared to Shimano and other gauges .

Grillis
Grillis
22 days ago
Reply to  Robert

That’s too advanced for Bike Rumor. That more of a topic for Dave Rome @ Escape Collective to tackle, which I hope he does in the near future.

David
19 days ago
Reply to  Robert

I’ve got the latest Park one and it’s such a fiddle!

Jason @ Abeby
Jason @ Abeby
17 days ago
Reply to  Robert

The big challenge is with the modern SRAM flat top chains and the bigger rollers they have. This throws off the calibration of every other tool on the market and will under measure wear by .2% over a 5 link span. That’s the difference between replacing an entire drive train or just a chain. The V shaped notch on our tool greatly minimizes the difference between roller diameters to .035% of an error which is much more tolerable.

We can also measure lateral wear, something people have been seeing more and more as 1x drive trains have gained in popularity. Though it isn’t limited to 1x applications.

froze
froze
17 days ago

Why can’t a machinist metal ruler for about $6 work just as well, then simply measure from the center of the roller, ie the pin, just as the V notch placement does? The center of the roller is simply measuring pin to pin. Measure 12 links from pin to pin, if there is a 1/16th of an inch difference or more between a new chain and the one in question it’s time to replace it.

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