Bike chains need replacing. Like any moving part, they’re prone to wear and tear. Despite their tough build, and compact configuration, the conditions will eventually get the better of them. It’s best to keep an eye on your chain so that it doesn’t let go while you’re using it. That could result in possibly dangerous consequences.
But what do you do if you can see that it’s time for a new bike chain? The easiest thing to do is to get a professional service. But that’s not your only option. You could save time and money by learning to replace your own bike chains. Here’s how.
First, you need to use a chain tool to remove your bike chain – here’s what it does
For this maintenance, you’ll need a chain tool and a new chain. The chain tool is useful right from the beginning, too; you’ll need it to remove the old chain. To remove the old bike chain, use the tool to compress the quick link. The quick link is a two-piece ensemble that will release when the tool applies pressure. It’s possible, though, that your chain won’t have a quick link. If that’s the case, you’ll need to use to the tool to remove a pin from two chain links. Doing so is simply a matter of feeding the two links through the tool, and turning the screw attachment of the tool to force the pin out. That will split the chain, so you can remove it with ease.
Once your bike chain is removed, clean the sprockets with degreaser, then regrease them
Dirty, gritty sprockets can abrade your bike chain. As a result, you should take this opportunity to clean your bike’s sprockets. Take some degreaser and apply it liberally. In all likelihood, you’ll see discoloured degreaser run off the sprocket joints. When the discolouration ceases, take a rage and wipe away excess degreaser. If you’ve got time, let it sit for a while so it runs out. When that’s done, apply lubricant liberally. You can use a product such as WD40 for this, or any similar water dispersant. Ensure that you apply a significant quantity, so that the lubrication penetrates the moving parts of the sprockets, and forces any residual degreaser out. Be careful not to get any on your brakes, though!
With your drive-line cleaned, you can thread your new chain. Tip – note the previous configuration!
Now it’s time to threat the new chain. Note the configuration of your old chain, and try replicate it. Ensure that it passes through the derailleur, and over the sprocket properly. We also suggest allowing the two ends of the new chain to meet under the bike, where they’re easiest to access. That will make the next step easier!
Find the point at which your new bike chain needs to join – here’s how to do that
Now it’s time to tension your chain properly. To do that, collect both ends and work out which links meet at the right length. The right length will be one without too much tension. However, there needs to be enough tension that there’s no belly in the chain; it has to stay in place based on that tension alone! To shorten the chain, follow step one.
Finally, insert the new pin into the chain links, and make it flush using the bike chain tool
Finally, find the pin that came with your new bike chainset. Connect the two ends of the new bike chain, and pass the pin through the eye as it lines up. The tension of the chain should be enough to hold that in place. However, it shouldn’t make it too hard to connect the two ends. Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of using the bike chain tool to push the pin through until it’s flush. From there, give the bike a few free pedals to ensure it runs smoothly. If you encounter any issues, we recommend seeing a bike specialist to ensure your chain is safe and secure. The experts are always happy to help!