The first time I attempted to replace the chains on my bicycle, I had the most difficult time. I even cut my finger on one of the gears. But since that fateful day in June, I gradually improved and am now up to a level where I’m no longer intimidated by this chore.
I’m sure many riders abhor doing this as well, but I’d like to share a quick step-by-step guide to help make changing your bike chains more bearable.
The first thing you need to do is obviously remove the old chain. Simply locate the part of the shackle that links the two pieces together and unfasten it. Squeeze it and it should be loosened easily.
For some other more technical models, you’ll need to use a device called a chain tool, which should help you take out a pin joining to two portions together. A little twist and turn should do the trick.
Once you’ve removed this, you can begin replacing it with a new one.
First comes the easy part. All you need to do is to carefully wrap the chain around the front derailleur cage and the rear cassette and derailleur, being careful that you keep it within the plates. Also check if the chain is aligned properly and it goes not snag at any point.
After you’re done twirling the chain, you can now proceed to estimating a suitable length for it. There is not correct length, but it must long enough to still generate enough tension on the derailleur. Once you’re satisfied with a certain measurement, be sure to mark it well. You want to be completely sure because the next step is…
Most bike chains are intentionally longer than you need it to be because it gives you the flexibility to choose an appropriate length for you. Once you’ve determined a length that you’re happy with, proceed to cutting it.
Use a chain tool to sever the excess area. Insert it towards the mouth of the device and slowly twist the handle. This will cause a screw to be unhinged, which will allow you to take that part of the chain out, thus shortening the entire chain.
Be careful when using the chain tool to avoid any injuries and that length you chose is precise. Once you start cutting, I can cause severe damage to that part, which could make it unusable in the future.
Once your bike chain is at its ideal measurement, connect the two ends together. Remember that these should each be an inward and outward link that will connect with each other. Once you do this, place a pin between them and that should lock the links in place.
Afterwards, use the chain tool again to tighten the pin. Make sure that everything is in order by rolling the wheels. If you don’t see any hitches on the bike chain, it should be ready to ride on.
Changing a bike chain is an integral part of proper care and maintenance. Coming from my own experience, its gets easier and easier as you practice. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t get frustrated. Experience is a great teacher and it will gradually help you improve.
In addition, always remember to regularly examine your bike’s gear system and derailleur, and this includes your bike chain. This is responsible for the entire movement of the bicycle. If something is wrong with any part, it could result in serious injury. To lessen the risk of this happening, constant inspection is key, and it will go a long way in ensuring a safe and secure journey for you.
I'm extremely passionate about biking. Cycling has taught me so many important lessons in life, but none more important than this: No matter where life takes you, your friends will always have your back.