What is the most common term referring to when you pass the chain through the RD when installing a chain?

"Pass the chain through the RD"

"Route the chain through the RD"

"Thread the chain through the RD"


4 Answers 4


FWIW, Shimano, in their Dealers Manuals discussing the installation and set up of their rear derailleurs use the term, "pass(ing)." As in, "When passing the chain through the derailleur..."

Shimano chain passing

When I speak of this action or checking the set up, I use "route." As in, "check that the chain is routed through the derailleur cage correctly." Or, "are you routing the chain on the correct side of the anti-derailment tab?"

Any of your suggestions would be correct, and I submit that if 100 professional bike mechanics were polled on which they most often used, each of those terms would get some percentage.


I'd generally use "route" in this case, but any of the terms you've listed will work and are understandable. It's not a significant point of conversation.


They all work perfectly well in normal English. Anyone familiar with a rear derailleur would know exactly what you mean.

Additionally one could say Install the chain or Fit the chain. Doing it right is implied.


As a non native English speaker, to me the term "pass" sounds more casual, and more apt to be used when it is understood that it implies installing a chain, for example, when talking among people of similar technical skill and where the main topic is something else. For example, if talking about replacing a front derailleur that most of the times implies opening the chain and it may be removed completely for some reason.

On the other hand, "routing", to me, seems more appropriate when the main topic IS the rear derailleur or the re-installation of a chain, and it has the implication of properly observing where the chain should or should not go. Also, is is perceived as more adequate when there is an exchange between people of different skill levels, like during a training, tutorial, etc. It sound more formal.

To me, "threading", even though understandable, seem like a word adopted from some other activity, particularly from using sewing machines, where before starting you have to meticulously route the thread through many holes, loops, springs and around some shafts, etc...

Also, note that "Routing" may apply to other components, particularly cables or hoses for brakes, derailleurs, dropper posts or electrical cables. In that context, "passing" sounds like the hose or cable is there just by chance, as if it is the middle point between two more important points, whereas "Routing" sounds like the cable has actually something to do there, like when it goes through a fastener or a grommet, inside a liner, etc.

In conclusion, at least for me, "Routing" is the preferred word as is sounds more formal, is more widely applicable and is does not sound as dismissive as "passing".

  • 1
    There's nothing casual or dismissive about "pass"; it's just a standard verb of motion commonly used when something goes beside or through something else.
    – psmears
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 15:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.