fbpx
LCC Logo

Fit a New Bike Chain

Chains are a consumable, designed to wear down faster than your chain rings and freewheel to prolong their life. Here’s how to fit a new chain.

Share

STEP 1: KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE

If you ride every day, expect to change your chain once or twice per year. Most chains will wear after around 2,000-3,000 kilometers, although if you ride in all weathers and never clean the chain, this could be considerably less. The best way to check is by using a chain wear indicator tool. If you’re riding a bike with 10 or less gears, when the ‘0.75’ or 75% side of the tool fits into the chain easily, it’s time to change the chain. If your bike has 11 or 12 gears, change your chain once the ‘0.5’ or 50% side of the tool fits in easily.

STEP 2: REMOVE THE OLD CHAIN

For this you need a dedicated chain tool. Place the chain tool’s teeth around any link on the underside of the chain, line up the tool’s screw-in pin with the pin of the chain link, then turn the handle clockwise to push the pin out and ‘break’ the chain. Alternatively, if your chain has a quick link, you may be able to use quick link pliers to break the chain.

STEP 3: MEASURING THE NEW CHAIN

If you have your old chain and it was at the correct length, you can measure these side by side. If you need to measure afresh, thread the new chain over the top of the largest chain ring at the front and largest cog at the rear. On geared bikes, pull the chain taut and then add one link. Single speed and fixed geared riders simply need an adequately taut chain when the wheel is in the correct position in the dropouts.  If using a quick link as is common, this can act as your additional link. You need two inner links to use a quick link connector, so make sure both ends of your new chain will be inner links. Remove the surplus chain length using the chain tool.

STEP 4: CONNECT WITH THE QUICK LINK

Place one part of the ‘quick link’ on one of the exposed pins; the same on the opposite side of the other end of the chain as shown. Now marry up both parts of the quick link: outer plate first then inner. The two pins will first sit into the larger gaps closer to the center of each plate. You’ll hear a tiny click when both parts are seated correctly. Finally apply pressure to the pedals with the quick link on the top side its rotation, so that both pins move into the correct position and your new link is ready.

Share this page

Share this page

BECOME A MEMBER

LCC is highly effective because it's supported by more than 10,000 members. If you cycle in London please consider joining today. You'll be supporting our work and you'll get a huge range of benefits too.

MAKE A DONATION

As a charity we rely on donations from people who share our vision of making London a truly world-class cycling city. If you cycle in London, please consider making a donation today to support our work.

KEEP UP TO DATE

All the latest cycling news, campaigns and information straight to your inbox.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.