Today, bicycles are cheaper than cars (of course) but the maintenance of one can be quite costly. A bicycle chain is an essential part for your bike to function and it moves the pedals to produce power.

However, this moving mechanism can make a bicycle chain wear out faster than any other part on your bike. This makes it important to understand how many miles does a bicycle chain last before replacement becomes necessary.

Before getting into that, let us get familiar with some basic facts about bike chains which you surely must have heard before but never knew what they meant:

The more links in the bike’s chain, the bigger its circumference and vice versa .

  • The number of cogs on the cassette determines the number of teeth each cog has.
  • The bigger the chain ring, the easier it is to pedal and vice versa
  • A high quality chain will last longer than a low quality chain.

The life of a bicycle chain largely depends on how much use it gets. More cycling means more wear and tear, which shortens the lifespan of your chain. Aside from the obvious factors like riding conditions, frequency of use and care given to your bike; here are more things that could affect how well your bicycle chain performs. Some other factors that affect how many miles does a bicycle chain last are listed below:

Low quality material

Bicycle chains use to be made with steel but now there are also bicycle chains available in aluminum alloy, titanium, etc. If you take great care of your bike, you can expect an average lifetime for your bicycle chains. But whatever material is used to make the chain; if it is not good quality, you need to replace it very soon. This applies especially for those people who do not ride their bicycles every day or month.

Posture while riding – Riding your bicycle in an incorrect posture can cause wear and tear to your chain. You should maintain the correct posture while riding. If you are not doing it correctly, you need a new bike or a few training classes for yourself.

Type of sprockets

While checking the condition of your bicycle chains , be sure to look at your sprocket teeth too. The type of sprocket depends on the drivetrain configuration of your bike so choose one which is suitable according to what you have on your bike presently. There are three common types: single speed, multi-speed cassette and internal gear system with hub gears. In general, most bikes have either 7-, 8- or 9-speed systems but some high end bikes have 18-speeds for the cassette.

Chain Cleaning

Clean your chains regularly with a specific brush available in bicycle shops or even home remedies like using kerosene, degreaser or WD40 can help extend the lives of your bike chains by reducing wear and tear. Never clean the chain while it is still wet as this will reduce its strength if it gets wet again. If you are cleaning the chain frequently then take special care to make sure that no water remains on it after you wipe it dry.

Chains for women’s bikes

Do not use men’s bike chains on women’s bicycles because they are either too wide or too short leading to inconveniences during riding. While buying bicycle chains ensure that you purchase one which suits your bike well.

Bicycle maintenance

Maintaining your bike is very important for extending the lives of its parts, especially the ones that are likely to get worn out quickly like brake pads, wheels etc. If you maintain your bike properly then all parts will function efficiently without any problems. So try to take care of your bicycle in proper manner for longer life of chains.


Regular lubrication to bike chains helps them last much longer because it reduces wear and tear thus increasing their lifespan.