How effective is a chaincase?

My Raleigh Superbe is the first chaincased bike I have owned and commuted on regularly, every other bike has either been a derailleur geared bike with everything exposed, or a similar 3-speed with only a hockey stick style chainguard that only covers the top half.  The Superbe was designed from the beginning to have a chaincase and has the proper mounts and braze-ons on the frame to accept it.  I replaced the chain and rear sprocket when I bought the bike to get the gearing to a sensible level, now that I have done 500km+ on wet grimy roads, several rides through 7.5cm deep snow, salted icy roads and gritty sandy towpaths; I thought I'd have a look at the condition of the chain inside.

Even with full mudguards and a big mudflap you still get
gunk thrown up on the bottom bracket area

Side view of the inside face of the chaincase shows
how far the salt spray and road gunk gets flicked up

A lot of the white marks are dried salt churned up by the rear wheel

I think this was salt that dripped off the
 inside of the pannier, note how dirty the
rear wheel is.

The chainring is original and probably hasn't been ever cleaned
since 1978 when it was made.  The Shimano Nexus
chain on there came with a silver finish...
The chain rollers are super clean,  as well as the outside
links, barely a speck of grit or grime

It's not a surprise that the chain is spotless, you can clearly see a lack of black gunk that you typically accumulate on a bike without any chaincase.  Even just looking at the chaincase you can see how much dirty grime was stopped from being sprayed into the drivetrain.  I haven't had any real issues with the chaincase at all, I haven't had any flats yet out in the field and I don't find it all that hard to remove the rear wheel anyway.  This just goes to show how effective a chaincase is in reducing drivetrain wear and maintenance.


  1. Very interesting. I don't own a bike like this, but it certainly shows how well a chaincase works for less than ideal conditions.

  2. I think they work well.