Repairing, maintaining, or replacing the chain on your bike that connects the front of the drivetrain (cranks, chainrings) to the back (cogs, cassette).

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15
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7answers
12k views

What to use to clean your chain (and cogs)?

I've just tried cleaning my chain and cogs with some really hot water and washing-up liquid. I also used a toothbrush, j-cloth and a non-scratch scourer. After over an hour of some serious elbow ...
21
votes
2answers
4k views

How to know when to change a chain?

A bike shop employee used a tool he said would check the wear on the chain, and said that it should be changed. He said it took a measurement that meant the chain had expanded, but it is still hard ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to maintain chains during touring?

I think requirements are reusable, simple, small-size and things-to-easily-to-carry. There are exotic answers with chain clearers and other things that do not qualify to me simple. Perhaps, the ...
13
votes
8answers
8k views

How can I clean sand off my bike chain?

Recently went for a ride in the forest, there were sections of sand and I can clearly see sand on my bike chain now. How can I clean this off effectively? There are chain cleaning "machines", but ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I lubricate my chain?

I know I should lubricate my chain regularly. I got some lube at my LBS; how should I apply it? Do I just drip some on one spot, and turn the pedals around a few times to spread it out? Drip it all ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Chain skipping on some gears

I have an old cruising bike with 21 gears. A few months ago I was pedalling back home when my chain broke, and I was only able to get the chain replaced this week. After having it replaced I noticed ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Upgrade Shimano from 9- to 10- speed

I'm thinking of upgrading the 9-speed Tiagra rear mech on one of my (road) bikes to something, still Shimano, but 10-speed. The obvious replacements I'll need are cassette, right-shifter and chain. ...
4
votes
3answers
14k views

Heavier Thicker Chains and Gears for Winter due to Salt?

I have two bikes: one having gear-things outside and one with inner-hub. The gear-outside-bike has suffered a lot due to the salt during this winter, the other hilariously looks like a new one. I ...
20
votes
4answers
96k views

How can I tell which size chain my bike uses?

After learning how to break a chain and reattach it, and also how to add and remove a master link, I find that I can now do much more in the way of maintenance at home. I'll no longer need to bring my ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

What type of chain lube is best for winter riding?

I've read a lot about wet vs dry chain lube and there doesn't seem a definitive answer on whether to use wet or dry chain lube in the winter. Some forums are full of people saying they only use dry ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

How can I tell if a chain has a master link?

I need to remove the chain on my internal-hub cruiser to clean it (i.e., no rear or front deraileur), and I'd rather not remove my back wheel if I can avoid that. What do I look for to find the master ...
5
votes
8answers
10k views

Are there substitutes for chain lubricant?

With long journeys and particularly during winter I have noticed that the salt erodes the chain very quickly, even when I have lubricated the chain beforehand. When you are missing proper chain ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Problem with chain `skipping` (but not trying to shift)

I have two bicycles that suffer this problem, both pretty heavy frames (one a ladies, Hollander bike, and the other a man's commuter) - both have correctly adjusted Derailleurs which don't produce any ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What causes chain suck?

Specifically when changing gears from middle chain ring to smallest, the chain will sometimes get 'sucked' up between the inner chainring and chain stay. It seems to happen more often in muddy ...
23
votes
5answers
11k views

How often should I lube my chain?

I ride less than 200 miles a week, and I'm at about the 200 mile mark on my new road bike. Most of my riding is done on the road in an urban city, so there is a lot of odd, unnatural debris. My LBS ...
8
votes
1answer
593 views

Setting chain length

My chain broke and in a moment of silliness (I was cold wet and slightly annoyed) I threw the broken one away before thinking about measuring the new one. Is there a guide to getting the chain ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

While pedaling standing up, bike crank gives in as if shifting, what is causing this?

While standing up and pedaling, the cranks give in as if shifting. It seams like I am shifting down, but my hands are off the shifter, almost like the chain is skipping a link. I took it to a bike ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

if I replace chainset and chain should I replace back cassette as well?

I am replacing my chainset and chain, as its totaly worn and causing the chain to jump off when I pedal. The cassette is fairly worn too, but is not causing any problems. If I buy a new chain and ...
5
votes
7answers
15k views

Chain slipping on newish bike

I've looked at most of the answers for related questions and they all speak about replacing parts that are old. I just bought a new bike from a friend who rode the bike for about a month before ...
5
votes
2answers
328 views

Wiping extra Lube really important with all types of Lubes?

This question about chain maintenance during touring raised this quetion. This tip sounds very unintuitive, of course, I know that the extra lube will attract dust (not good to chain) but I have paid ...
4
votes
3answers
515 views

Shorten or replace bicycle chain?

The chain on my internally geared hub bicycle is now too long even when the rear wheel is entirely pulled back. How do I tell whether it's sufficient to shorten the chain by removing some links, or if ...
3
votes
3answers
888 views

Are chain-drive gears 'ridiculously' efficient even when dry of oil?

Allegedly chain-drive gears are something like 99% efficient when well oiled and something like 98% efficient when without oil. Personally I do not like the noise a dry chain makes, this has a 'I ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

Should I use an already master-linked chain or add a masterlink to a plain chain?

Trying to find moderately-priced 9-speed chain is a pain, particularly with a master/missing link already installed. I can only find PC-971 master-linked chains from US market but shipping and ...
3
votes
1answer
349 views

Are all 9 speed chains compatible with all 9 speed systems?

My current chain is x9, but it's expensive in eBay. Can I use any 9 speed chain like on this page?
1
vote
1answer
308 views

Dismounting wheel in a fixie

I have a fixed gear bike, Rocky Mountain Boroughs Fixie (see picture). The chain is very tight compared to any free wheel bike. So anytime the tire gets punctured (unfortunately very often) and I want ...
20
votes
7answers
5k views

How to achieve an always clean chain

My chain and cogs always look very dirty as the oil attracts dirt. It is a constant problem as you can't fully avoid stains on your trousers and hands. Also, that looks ugly and I believe it wears the ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What harm results from riding with a stretched chain?

Due to sheer laziness, my maintenance amounts to an annual trip to the LBS. After moving, my new LBS suggested that I replace my chain immediately, before it destroys the drive train. What they ...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

How long should a well maintained chain last and what can I do to prolong its life?

I commute on a fixie. I'm using KMC Z410 chains. Every evening if it's wet I wipe and re-lube my chain, using ProLink lube. Every weekend I remove the chain, soak it in kero, brush it with a citrus ...
18
votes
5answers
6k views

How do I reduce slack in the chain of a single-speed bicycle?

I have a single speed bicycle that has some slack in the chain and threatens to come off. How can I reduce this slack?
11
votes
3answers
13k views

Help Me Understand My Bicycle's Gears

I've recently started commuting with a bicycle (Giant hybrid bicycle). I've been trying to learn a little about bicycling to make my commute easier and my time on the bicycle more enjoyable. Please ...
11
votes
7answers
29k views

How tight should a fixie's chain be?

I ride an SE Lager fixed. How tight should the chain be and what is the best way of measure it? I have a chain tug so I can be pretty accurate in dialling in the right amount of tension. I don't ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is my chain so noisy after cleaning and lubricating?

I have recently gotten into commuting to work with a road bike. Once a month or so I will degrease, clean, and lubricate the chain. I change through all the gears to distribute the lubricant and ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

What cleaner and oil should I use on my bike chain

Hope everyone is well. I need to clean and oil my chain as its getting a little clunky when I’m changing gears. I have no idea what I should be cleaning it with and then what I should oil with. Any ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

Chain slipping off derailleur jockey (need suggestions ASAP)

Last week, I had to abandon a training ride due to my chain slipping off my rear derailleur jockey. This would only happen when shifting, and most often when either shifting chainrings or shifting ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Is my chain too long?

I'm in the process of setting up a new drive train. When using the smaller chainring and smallest sprocket (hence least amount of utilized chain), the chain brushes up against the bottom of the ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

How to tell what length of chain to get?

I am replacing the chain on my road bike soon. How do I know how many links to get? Does it have to exactly 114 or 116. Or is it not a big deal? I ordered a 116 link chain. Will I need to shorten ...
11
votes
1answer
924 views

Do I need to change my cassette if I can't see any wear?

I bought a new road bike with Campag Athena 11 speed in March last year. To the end of Jan it had covered 9000km. In all that time I hadn't changed the chain because I don't have the Campag tool, and ...
11
votes
2answers
498 views

How do you evaluate and choose chain lubricants?

Terms such as wet/dry/xyz/winter/summer/autumn lubricants are not well defined. I find it very hard to determine which bottle is worth buying, spray, bottled, wax, parafin, purple, green, Y (other ...
10
votes
6answers
3k views

Best chain lubricant for commuter/utility bikes?

What's the best chain lubricant for a bike used for riding in normal(ish) clothes, year-round? I've been using Tri-Flow, but that tends to leave black greasy/dirty stains on pants, shoes, etc. I've ...
7
votes
3answers
9k views

Do cassettes and chains need to be replaced at the same time?

Someone recently told me that if I replace my cassette I need to replace my chain (and vice versa) so that they wear evenly. Is this true? And, can anyone elaborate on the reasoning for this a bit ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

New Chain causing skipping on cassette - will this work itself out or is it unsafe?

I just installed a new chain on my 2002 Trek 2200 Road Bike. The old chain was a Shimano 9 speed that I installed 18 months and about 5000 miles ago. It had stretched modestly and was full of winter ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Are there any disadvantages to running a stainless steel bike chain?

We are currently using KMC Z51RB rust resistant chains on our bikes, a competitor has started to use stainless steel chains. Does anyone know the advantages and disadvantages of using stainless steel ...
12
votes
4answers
702 views

Minimal effort chain cleaning

One of the main reasons I eventually give up my bicycle commute in winter is that keeping my bike -mainly the drivetrain- clean despite all the rain/dirt/salt/hail/snow becomes too much of a time ...
11
votes
1answer
840 views

How bad is cross chaining?

Accepted wisdom is that is bad and that we should never do it. However, most of us set up our bikes so that we can run any gear combination. Invariably, I'll occasionally look down and see that I'm ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

Mysterious case: chain falling off large chainring, how to fix?

On my commuter bike I decided to rid myself of the small inner chain ring (which is almost never used) and front dérailleur (now redundant). However, I have come across an unusual problem. Whilst ...
7
votes
2answers
190 views

What considerations are important when purchasing a new chain?

Are there any special types out there or are they pretty much all the same?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

How to Sight a Chain Line

I just finished building a single speed bike and I think my chain line might be a little off. Is there a tool or trick to sighting the chain line?
6
votes
7answers
3k views

How to prevent my chain from breaking?

After my chain has broken what should I know about buying and maintaining a new chain (apart from lubing it and replacing when it 'stretches')? Do you keep a spare chain, or a spare link? I have a ...
6
votes
3answers
543 views

What am I supposed to do when my chain falls off?

It happened when I "stepped on it" (on an empty residential street). It left the chain on the road. What tool(s) and parts should I have had with me, to fix it? It was replaced (new) two months ago, ...
6
votes
3answers
591 views

Should a chain be replaced even if it's not stretched?

This question suggests using a tool or ruler to assess chain stretch to determine when to replace a chain. I have one such tool (Park Tool CC-3), and it tells me that my chain is not stretched even to ...