A bike chain is the hinged link of a bicycle’s drivetrain. A chain can be removed, damaged, or broken if dropped onto the ground or otherwise damaged.
This article will teach you how to put your bike chain back on after it has been dislodged from the wheel sprocket by advising on what to do if your chain falls off of its sprocket during riding and some tips on how to put back a one-off that may have fallen out.
Table of Contents
- How to Put the Chain Back on the Bike?
- Why Does Your Bike Chain Fall Off?
- The Two Types of Bike Chains
- Is Your Bike Chain Broken?
How to Put the Chain Back on the Bike?
Eventually, any avid cyclist’s chain will come loose or break entirely. Fortunately, if you know what you’re doing, there’s no need to take your bike to an expensive repair shop for this common problem.
Step 1: Find the Slippage
A chain that’s been forcefully pulled off its sprocket is most likely coming off because of pieces of dirt or small rocks caught between the chainplates. Unscrew the headset bearing cap with a 6mm hex key and push in on the bearing to release the chain from it.
If the chain still doesn’t come off without pushing or pulling, look for a frayed link in the chain. The link will be the cheapest part to replace when you need to fix your bike. Use an 8mm hex key to loosen axle nuts, then pull up on each side of each end of your chain links. If there is a break in the metal at the point where two pieces of chain link meet, you have found the slippage.
Step 2: Use the Quick Release If the Chain Is Jammed
If there is nothing else jutting out of the area where the chain is stuck, you’ll need to use your quick release to loosen the wheel hub. If you can’t see any place for it to slip apart, look under your bike’s frame for an Allen wrench that fits into the end of the axle.
To begin, pull the small lever in the center of the rear wheel to unlock the quick release. Then loosen the wheel nut on the opposite side to dislodge the rear wheel’s “hold” on the frame. Once loosened, the chain should easily dislodge. Before riding away, remember to re-tighten the quick release. You should be able to completely close it—it should be snug but not so tight that you cannot push down. If the wheel nut feels too tight, loosen it and try again. Similarly, if the wheel nut is too loose, tighten it.
Step 3: Loosen the Chain If Your Bike Has a Rear Derailleur
The chain may be stuck if you have a rear derailleur because your wheel is out of alignment. You can remedy this with your 8mm hex key, loosening the two bolts on the derailleur, so it moves closer to the sprocket. Once you move it to fit with your wheel’s new position, tighten each bolt back down.
Turning the pedals is made easier by elevating the rear wheel of the bike. To accomplish this, place the bike on a stand or prop up the rear of the frame with whatever materials are available. Alternatively, you can enlist the assistance of a friend to lift the rear wheel off the ground while you reattach the chain, or you can flip the entire bike over.
Step 4: Pedal Forward Gently Until the Bike Is in the Right Gear
The wheel should now remain in its new position, and it’s time to put your chain back on. To do this, begin pedaling forward slowly while turning the pedals in a counterclockwise direction. Because you loosened the wheel, it should move easily—but not so freely that it turns the wheel itself.
If you pedal too quickly or forcefully, there’s a chance that your wheel will turn and break any parts of your bike caught in its way; instead of trying to recreate your usual speed and force immediately, pedal slowly and carefully until you can gradually match your usual pace. Once you’ve reached that point, continue riding normally.
Why Does Your Bike Chain Fall Off?
To avoid missing critical steps in reattaching your bike chain, it’s necessary to understand its value and why it falls off. A chain is an obvious component of your bicycle. It is a long, slender component of your bike that is critical for energy transfer from the pedal to the wheel.
A bicycle chain is typically constructed of hardened steel plates that are riveted together. These steel plates are extremely durable and adaptable. However, they bend as you travel, owing to the drive mechanism provided by your bicycle derailleur. At times, your bike chain will fall off, and you will need to reattach it. The following are the primary reasons why the chain is slipping:
Your chain may be too loose or worn out. This will prevent the links from being fitted properly onto their sprocket. Also, if you have excess slack in the chain, it will have to move over too much distance to fit into its rolling pin. Your chain may be too loose or worn out. This will prevent the links from being fitted properly onto their sprocket. Also, if you have excess slack in the chain, it will have to move over too much distance to fit into its rolling pin.
The Chain Is Very Long
The chain is too lengthy to fit through the sprocket. Therefore, the chain and the rear wheel will not move over far enough to fit. If your rear wheel is too high up compared to your pedal, you will need to rework the height of your bike before reattaching the chain. If you do not, then you risk stretching or breaking your chain. Try lowering the front of your bike by placing a block under it and adjusting the back (by loosening one of its axle nuts). Alternatively, if several links on your chain are broken or missing, you may want to shorten it by removing parts from other chains on hand or replacing worn parts with new ones.
If your chain looks worn out or discolored, it may be time to replace it. If the chain has been replaced before, you should know how to do this without professional help. First, get out your 14mm spanner and rotate the axle nut counterclockwise to loosen it. Then slide off the old chain and replace it with the new one. You can also check for worn parts by looking at your chain’s components. Look at the links for wear and tear. If they are becoming worn out, replace them with new links before reattaching your chain. If you want to replace your chain with a new one, be sure you purchase one compatible with your bike’s derailleur (or cassette).
The Two Types of Bike Chains
There are two different kinds of bike chains:
A Single-Speed Chain
This is a chain that only moves forwards and back and does not turn. It is ideal for bicycles that do not include derailleurs and for bicycles designed for children. A single-speed chain does not need to be adjusted as often as those used in derailleur-compatible bikes because it will not bend. Therefore, you can avoid reattaching your bike chain as often as those found on derailleurs.
A Multi-Speed Bike Chain
This is a bike chain that turns with your pedal crank, allowing it to move both backward and forwards around the sprocket on your rear wheel. These bike chains are designed for bikes that have derailleurs.
Is Your Bike Chain Broken?
You can fix a broken link in your bike chain by identifying the point where the broken piece started to separate. Look for two pieces of metal that are still fastened together but not attached to the rest of the chain. Be sure to use heavy-duty pliers if you do not have an appropriate tool for removing links from your bike because they will make the job easier. Grasp the chain and pull it apart. Your chain should separate into two pieces at the point where you see a break. Take out both pieces and measure them against your chain to see which one fits best. If the broken piece is too short, try to find another link at the end of your chain that fits well with the broken piece.
The other option is to replace your entire chain with a new one. This can be done by purchasing a compatible chain and then removing links from it or purchasing a new chain compatible with your equipment and then attaching it to your frame. If you want to reattach your chain, you will need to invest in a chain breaker.
What is the difference between a road bike chain and a mountain bike chain?
Road bike chains are made of lighter materials. They are also thinner, providing greater flexibility to make them resistant to external elements. However, they are more likely to break or wear out when it is not treated properly.
Mountain bikes require stronger chains that can withstand greater force than road bikes. In addition, they are often thicker than road biking chains, making it easier for them to hold up in high-impact situations. The size also needs to be adjusted when you’re replacing your chain because mountain bikes need heavier chains than road bikes to endure the weight of the person riding them.
How much does a bike chain cost?
The cost of a bike chain will depend on how you purchased it. Chains can be purchased individually or in kits, typically including the chain and the accessories needed to install it. The price can also vary depending on whether or not you purchased a new or used chain, as well as the size of your equipment and where you purchased it from. Online retailers often offer chains at discounted prices, so this may be one of the most cost-effective places to shop for your chain.
What is the appropriate chain length for a bicycle?
The length of your chain should fall between 130 and 150 millimeters (5 and 6 inches). You must find a long chain to ensure that removing and reattaching it will not be a hassle. If the chain is too long, it will eventually stretch and damage itself. On the other hand, if the chain is too short, it may cause excessive wear and tear to your equipment.
How to tighten chains?
If you want to ensure your chain and your bicycle remain safe and secure, make sure you use the correct tool for this purpose. Every chain has a specific wrench size required to tighten or remove links from its links if they loosen — most chains require either an 8mm hex wrench or an open-end wrench as their standard accessory tool. Any other size of the wrench may damage your chain, which will make it more likely to break. Always choose the correct tool for your chain to prevent damage or wear and tear on either side.
How to install a bike chain?
It is easy to install your bike chain, but there are certain precautions that you should take before installing it. First, be sure to tighten the links into place by following the proper procedure every time you replace your chains. If you notice that one of them is loose or comes off during installation, make sure you tighten it correctly before continuing with the process of replacing the links and tightening them in place with a wrench and a proper tool. Next, ensure that you secure your chain to your bicycle by bringing it through the rear triangle so that the links are securely attached to both the frame and the addition. After ensuring that all of the links are fastened properly, tighten them with a wrench until they are firm enough to prevent them from falling apart.