Chain Maintenance is essential. Every chain will wear out over time. How quickly this happens is determined by your chain’s construction, chainring and cassette tooth sizes, chain type (mechanical vs. electronic), chain lube, chain cleanliness, and riding conditions. A chain is for a bike. You can use it for 2,000 miles or so. But if you are taking care of the chain, you might be able to go farther.
Bicycle chains are an essential part of the bicycle that often need to be replaced. The process of replacing a chain can seem confusing, but it’s typically not too difficult, provided you have all the right tools and know-how to use them. With just one slip-up, though, you could ruin your bike forever!
So what can you do? Here are a few tips:
The chain is the most crucial part of your bicycle. It transfers power from your pedals to the rear wheel and should be checked periodically for wear. If you notice that it doesn’t shift well or any visible signs of metal fatigue (kinks in chain links), then it’s time to replace it with a new chain, which will also help prolong other parts on your bike like crankset chainrings.
The chain of your bike is the part that needs to be replaced most often. Chains wear out because they are stretched by pedaling. The more you pedal, the more they stretch, so you need to get a new one. The chain no longer fits well with the cogs and rings on the bike. This causes the bike to shift poorly and wear out other parts of the bike.
The best way to install a new chain is by following these steps:
- Using the chain checker, if it fits easily in the links, and when you hold it flat against the chain – you need to replace your chain. Put your bike in work stand so you can see how the chain threads around the rear derailleur. Shift the gears so you are on the smallest gear at the back of your bike and your smallest chainring. You will want it to loop around like that when you replace it later. The chain also needs to be pulled tight, so take a photo of it if this is your first time replacing a chain.
- It is vital to put the right size chain on your bike. Install the new chain. It should be over the smallest chainring and the smallest cog on your cassette. If there’s lettering, make sure it’s facing out. Shift gears so that you’re on the smallest cog and trim ring.
- Thread chain through the top pulley-bottom pulley. Thread the chain into your bike by pulling it across the top pulley on the right side and the bottom on the left side. To hook the chain, use a hook that is connected to the chain. You can also place a quick link or insert a connecting rivet.
Take your bike down from its stand and move it so that you have access to the bottom bracket. Remove the pedal from the crank arm by pressing down on the pedal and wiggling it back and forth. Remove any other components in the way if necessary. On bikes with a single-speed transmission, there may not be any additional components in your way, but it’s still good practice to check for anything that might be in the form before proceeding. If there are multiple gears on your bike, do not remove all of them just yet!
Proper chain tension. A too-tight chain wears both the chainrings and cogs more quickly than a properly tensioned chain would. Like tires going over bumps in the road, a too-tight chain bounces around more often between shifts. It creates a small jolt on each shift that results in more wear on shifting components and increased. This means that the teeth on either side of your front chainrings should be engaged with the teeth of your rear cassette. There should be no space between these two sets of teeth, and there shouldn’t be any slack in the small chainring, so it’s time to tighten up the bolts holding them.
This is the time to take the bike for a spin. Ride it hard and make sure everything is working as it should be. If you notice any issues, that’s a good thing! The problem has been identified, and you can fix it now before going on a longer ride or taking it home. This is also an excellent time to check your tires, brakes, and every other component on the bike.
In summary, it is easy to replace a bicycle chain. The process can be completed in about 10 minutes and, for the most part, only requires a few basic tools like a wrench or pliers. This task should not take up too much of your time if you follow our step-by-step guide on changing this critical component of your bike’s drivetrain system. Now that we’ve discussed how you can get started replacing your bike chains let us know what other questions you have by commenting below!