Bike chains are essential parts of bicycles. They connect the pedals to the crank arms , and they also provide traction between the wheels and the frame.
If you notice that your bike chain has become loose or broken, then you should immediately take action.
A bicycle chain is a metal loop that connects the pedal sprockets to the crankset. The chain runs through the rear wheel and around the front sprocket.
This allows the rider to push down on the pedals and turn the cranks.
There are several ways to repair a broken chain. For example, you can replace the entire chain, or you can simply tighten the chain links. In either case, you’ll need some tools and knowledge.
In the article below, we will teach you how to fix a bike chain while also explaining the supplies you will need and the reasons why bike chains break.
So if you have a broken bike chain, this article has everything you need to solve the problem.
What Are Bike Chains?
Bike chains are loops of metal that connect the pedals to the cranks. These loops run through the rear wheel and wrap around the front sprocket (the part with the big teeth).
The chain provides traction between the wheel and the frame. It also helps keep the wheel from slipping off when you’re riding at high speeds.
If your bike chain is damaged, it could cause problems while you ride. For instance, if the chain breaks, you may not be able to stop quickly enough to avoid an accident.
You might even lose control of the bike.
You can easily check whether your chain needs fixing by looking for any signs of wear and tear. For example, if there’s excessive rust on the chain, you know that it needs replacing.
Fortunately, fixing a bike chain is no harder than fixing a flat tire. You just need the right tools and attitude to get the job done.
What Do Bike Chains Do?
When you pedal, the chain pulls the rear wheel forward. As you continue pedaling, the chain rotates around the sprocket. This causes the rear wheel to move back and forth.
This motion creates friction against the ground, which in turn, generates momentum. When you apply force to the pedals, the chain transmits that force to the rear wheel.
Your bike chain does more than just help propel you along. It also prevents the rear wheel from slipping out of alignment.
That’s because the chain keeps the wheel from moving too far away from the centerline of the frame.
If your chain breaks, you won’t be able to use the bike as effectively. For this reason, you should do regular checkups on the condition of your chains.
Why Do Bike Chains Break?
While most people think that bike chains only break because of bad maintenance, this isn’t always true. In fact, there are other factors that can cause them to fail.
These factors include:
Bike chains break for a host of reasons, but the most common is wear. As you use your bike every day, the chain becomes worn out.
Over time, the links in the chain start to bend and stretch, which eventually weakens the chain until it fails.
This happens gradually over time, which means you probably won’t notice any issues until one day you find yourself unable to shift gears. At this point, you’ll need to replace the chain.
Another reason why your bike chain might break is due to impact damage. When you crash into something hard, such as a curb or another car, the chain can get bent or twisted.
This causes the chain to break.
To prevent this kind of damage, make sure that you maintain proper balance while biking. Also, try to avoid crashing and hitting the chain too hard.
If your chain is under tension, then it will become loose. If you don’t adjust the tension regularly, then the chain will eventually slip off the sprocket.
When this happens, your bike will feel sluggish and difficult to steer. There is also a chance that you could fall off the bike and hurt yourself.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that you tighten your chain before each ride. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending more money on repairs.
Now that you understand the causes of broken bike chains, let’s take a look at how you can fix them.
How To Fix A Bike Chain
Fixing bike chains is a lot easier than it sounds. In fact, you can fix your bike chain using a single tool and the right approach.
What You Will Need
To fix a broken bike chain, all you need is a chain tool. This is a small device that looks similar to a wrench and can be found on various multi-tools.
The best chain tools usually feature a long handle with a curved head that fits perfectly around the chain.
They also have a ratcheting mechanism , so you can turn the chain without damaging it. These tools come in different sizes, depending on what size chain you have.
It is also possible to fix a bike chain using a hammer and a pair of pliers. However, chain tools are often considered the easier option.
Fixing Your Broken Bike Chain
Once you have your chain tool, follow these steps to fix your bike chain.
Unthread the chain
First, flip your bike over and remove the chain from the rear wheel. Then, loosen the nuts on both sides of the chain. Once they’re loose enough, pull the chain away from the rear wheel.
Remove the damaged link
Next, place your chain tool over the link that has failed. Make sure that the chain is not moving when you do this.
Then, gently push down on the chain tool. The chain should move freely now, allowing you to remove the link.
Separate the broken chain
After removing the damaged link, separate the two remaining links by pushing down on the chain tool again. Now, you’re ready to install new links.
Install new links
Place the new link in the same position as the old one. Then, press down on the chain tool to lock the link in place. Repeat this step for every other link.
Finally, tighten the nuts back onto the chain. That’s it! You’ve fixed your bike chain.
Loosen the tension
When the bike chain has been fixed, it will feel stiff and uncomfortable. To overcome this, simply work the chain back and forth until it feels loose.
But what should you do with the links you removed? Well, in some cases, people will turn old bike chains into jewelry such as bracelets and rings.
However, if this idea does not appeal to you, then you can throw them away or keep them in your garage.
If you want to avoid having to spend extra money on repairs, then you should always check your bike chain before riding.
If any part of the chain is missing or damaged, then you should fix or replace it immediately.
This way, you won’t have to worry about spending more money on repairs later on. So, next time you go out for a ride, make sure that your bike chain is in good condition.