Learning How To Fix A Bike Chain (Latest Update 2021)

The chain is an indispensable part of a bike, whose function is to transfer the mechanical energy you apply to the pedals into kinetic energy. Then your bike can move. As bike tires, bike chains also need regular checking since they have to operate continuously every time you cycle.

There will be some times when your bike chain is in trouble, such as broken or slipped, then your bike loses its function. These incidents can occur when you are riding alone and can not call for help. So, in this article, I will show you how to fix a bike chain yourself.

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Tools Required To Fix Bike Chain

Tools Required To Fix Bike Chain
Tools Required To Fix Bike Chain

Have you ever been in a situation that your bike chain suddenly drops when you are riding? Have you got used to that? Your bare hands with a broken branch or any solid long things you can find anywhere can quickly help your bike chain return to its position.

However, if your bike has a broken chain, has damaged links, or a tight link, just your bare hands are not enough to fix this. In this case, you need some special tools. The first one is a chain tool or multi-tool with a built-in chain tool. And the second one is quick links to replace broken ones.

In section will show you more details about how the chain tool and quick links work in the broken chain fixing process.

How Does A Bike Chain Work?

How Does A Bike Chain Work
How Does A Bike Chain Work?

A bike chain is a series of rollers connected by master links. Once each roller rolls, the energy you apply to the pedals will be transferred to the center of the back wheel and makes your bike move.

Almost all bike chains are made of carbon steel or alloy steel, which have high durability. Some other chain types are nickel-plated to prevent bike chains from rust and enhance your bike’s aesthetics.

Therefore, a set of bike chains is not really cheap. If you keep changing your bike chain every time it is broken, I believe that the total expense will soon exceed the price of a new bike. It is not worth it. Money does not go on trees.

For more information, you can check out this video about a bike chain work:

Watch video: The History of Bicycle Chains and How they Work | The Explainer
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How To Fix A Slipped Bike Chain

How To Fix A Slipped Bike Chain
How To Fix A Slipped Bike Chain

If you usually cycle, I am sure that there has been at least one time you have to struggle with a slipped bike chain when riding. What would you do in this situation? Walk with your bike or call for help? Actually, you might not have to do either of them. You can easily fix it yourself.

Slipping chains is one of the most common issues riders have to get familiar and learn to deal with. Generally, it is a straightforward process to put a bike chain back on, especially with a single speed bike. You don’t even need to flip your bike.

Step 1: Release the bike chain

Release the bike chain
Release the bike chain

When your chain drops, there is not much tension left, so what you need to do is relieve all of the pressure, allowing the bike chain to move freely amongst all gears.

Step 2: Choose the correct chain ring

Choose the correct chain ring
Choose the correct chain ring

Among the small, the medium-sized, and the large chain ring, determine which of the front rings the bike chain should be on. You can do that by judging the position of the whole chain length.

Step 3: Place the chain to where it is supposed to be

Place the chain to where it is supposed to be
Place the chain to where it is supposed to be

Grab the chain, properly place it where it is supposed to be on. Then release the kickstand and raise the back wheel into the air; rotate the pedals back and forth to ensure that your bike chain is operating well.

Only with three simple steps can you now have your bike repaired, and it will operate properly again. Everyone can learn and practice this process. Not only you should know, but also your children should be taught about that. It is a survival skill for riders.

For more information, you can check out this video fix a dropped chain:

Watch video: How To Fix A Dropped Chain | What To Do If Your Chain Comes Off While Cycling

How To Fix A Broken Bike Chain

How To Fix A Broken Bike Chain
How To Fix A Broken Bike Chain

Are you wondering the reason why some chains do break? I do not know exactly, but it possibly could be due to age, a poorly timed gear shift when applying a lot of torque through the pedals, or sometimes, just poor installation.

Indeed, chains these days don't tend to break as often as they did in the past. But it is still necessary that you know how to solve it if that unfortunate incident happens to you at the roadside.

Quick links
Quick links

For this quick roadside repair, you will not worry about using any of those fancy little joining pins that you have to snap off. Instead, you will use a pair of quick links to rejoin the chain. That way, you're going to be able to keep the chain the same length.

Quick links are a really great idea for one reason, mainly because if you've got the 11-speed pair of quick links, you can repair any 11-speed chain out there, and the same could be said for 9 or 10 speed obviously if you have it in that variant too.

Meaning that if one of your buddies is out on a ride with you, they happen to snap their chain simultaneously. Well, you can hand them over and let them get on with the process instead so that you do not get your hands dirty.

A chain tool

A chain tool
A chain tool

Besides quick links, a chain tool or multi-tool is needed to fix your broken chain. Without it, I believe that it is nearly impossible for you to handle this yourself unless you had three hands.

After having both of those required tools, fixing a broken bike chain is a piece of cake with the following three steps.

Step 1: Remove

Use the chain tool to remove the pin in the chain
Use the chain tool to remove the pin in the chain

Use the chain tool to remove the pin in the chain so you can rejoin it using the connecting links. One of the reasons for using these connecting links is that you can get exactly the same chain length as before.

Make sure that the pin of the chain tool is lined up perfectly with a rivet or the chain's pin; just do it up gently by hand until you are sure it is in the center. Then, slowly apply pressure onto the chain tool to push the pin or rivet out of the other side.

You don't need to worry too much if the chain comes apart because that's what you were trying to do. Let's face it.

Step 2: Rejoin

 Joined together with a quick link
Joined together with a quick link

And then, both sides will end up looking the same; they are ready to be joined together with a quick link. You only need to install the quick link by pushing it through the chain's holes from the inside.

Ensure that the chain links of actual pins go through the center of the chain ends, and they will match up into the slots.

Notes for you

#1: Before you go ahead and fit that quick link, make sure that the chain is correctly routed through everywhere, especially around the derailleur, pay particular attention there.

#2: You wouldn't be the first person to ride along with loads of noise from the rear end. So, with that in mind, make sure the chain is going around the sprockets correctly. And that it passes around this side of the upper pulley wheel before going on the underside.

#3: Make sure the chain is not twisted or going in any other direction at the front end either. Now, when rejoining that chain, I want you to ensure that the chain is not under too much tension.

#4: The chain should be neither on the big chainring nor on the biggest sprocket at the rear because then it will have the most amount of stretch going through it. That makes the job for you just a little bit tougher. So instead, reach forward to the front, drop it down, and you've got a lot more room.

Step 3: Pull on

Pull on the chain
Pull on the chain

After being rejoined, your bike chain is not fully tensioned, and what you will do is pull on the chain. Sometimes, it does not actually fully lock in until you apply a bit of torque on it. You have to put a little bit of pressure through the pedals to do so in this situation.

When you find a damaged link on your bike chain, replace it immediately. It’s time you feed the chain with a new link. If you ignore this detail, it will turn into not just a simple process of removing a chain, but you will have to pay for the whole new chain.

However, if your bike chain is usually broken and you are tired of fixing it, a new chain is a good choice for you and for your bike. Fixing is not always good, everything has its limitations and lifespan.

For more information, you can check out this video about fix a broken bicycle chain:

Watch video: How to Fix a Broken Bicycle Chain

How To Stop Your Bike Chain From Coming Off

How To Stop Your Bike Chain From Coming Off
How To Stop Your Bike Chain From Coming Off

To learn how to stop your bike chain from coming off, you need to know three main causes of bike chain drop.

Cause #1: Drivetrain adjustment

Drivetrain adjustment
Drivetrain adjustment

The first cause is the drivetrain adjustment. Of course, the most obvious one would be setting those limiting screws correctly on the front and the rear derailleur. Once you set those limiting screws so that the rear derailleur's cage will not go too far down or too far up.

Cause #2: Rough terrains

Rough terrains
Rough terrains

The second one is hitting rough terrain or potholes. Your chain is going to bounce around, and it might just bounce off. So how can you prevent this? You can invest in a clutch system derailleur. If you are spending a lot of time riding rough terrain, this might be a good investment.

Cause #3: Chain length

Chain length
Chain length

The third one will be the length of the chain. The longer the chain is, the more work your derailleur has to do just to keep it tight. If the chain is not tight, it will be bouncing up and down.

If you've got a good amount of tension in there, that is a good sign that your chain is the right size. If you've got some sag in there, then it means that your chain is too long. You could also go for a big-big.

Whenever you make any changes to the gear ratio or the crank, you have to check the chain's length out. If you are riding a mountain bike, you should even put the chain a bit tight.

Conclusion

Problems with bike chains are what you have to deal with regularly. So you should know how to fix them yourself instead of paying for a bike repairer.

The chain lifespan is one of the most common chain breaker reasons, so you should pay attention to the time to replace a chain for your bike.

Pin all the ways I’ve shown you about how to fix slipped and broken chains to your heart then your riding life will become easier. Furthermore, you can also help other people around you when they’ve got in those troubles on the road. Life will be better.

FAQs

What are the causes of bike chain drop?

There are three main causes: the drivetrain adjustment, the rough terrain, and the chain's wrong length.

Does fixing a bike chain take me a lot of time?

It depends on what trouble your bike chain is facing. It might take you from 3 to 10 minutes to fix a slipped chain, depending on the position where it came off. But with a broken chain, you might spend up to 20 minutes.

Is it easy to fix a bike chain?

It is not a challenging task. You can fix it yourself without having your bike chain repaired by repairers. Of course, you should bring a chain tool with you whenever you ride, just in case.

How do you attach a bike chain?

It is straightforward. First, relieve all the chain tension, allow the bike chain to move freely. Grab the chain, place it along with the spikes of the largest gear properly. Finally, release the kickstand and rotate the pedals. That's it.