Bicycle Chains: Everything You Need To Know

A bicycle chain is made of many links connected together in a manner that allows it to bend as it travels through the drive mechanism. technically, a motorcycle chain is considered a roller chain. Without it, world power from the pedals would not get transferred to the back bicycle and there would be no motion. Most chains are made from debase steel or plain carbon paper steel. Some are nickel plated in decree to resist rust. For appearances, some chains are painted, but I do n’t recommend those as rouge chips can get lodged in little crevices .

Not All Chains Are Created Equal

If you ‘re a amateur rider you may not care excessively much and likely an average chain will do merely fine. however, manufacturers will boost different chain qualities in attempts to lure you to purchase their trade name. For model : lower weight, increased potency, better lastingness, and smooth shifting performance. As you might expect, these factors will influence the price, which can range from $ 20 for an modal chain up to $ 140 for a high quality chain .

Major Bicycle Chain Manufacturers

According to Wikipedia, here are the main players around the universe in the bicycle chain occupation :

  • Campagnolo: Italian manufacturer of high end bikes.
  • Rohloff AG: German manufacturer.
  • KMC Chain: Headquarters in Taiwan.
  • Shimano: Japanese-based.
  • SRAM: USA.
  • Wippermann: German manufacturer.

Chain Components

There are 4 distinct parts that make up a chain. These include : the roller, the pins/rivets, the outer plates and the inner plates.

Bike Chain Parts


Most new chains will be long enough to fit all conventional bikes, but sometimes a few links may have to be removed for the best fit. A proper chain duration for is one that will run properly when both the movement and the back largest rings are engaged. however, at the same clock the chain should n’t be then retentive that when on the smallest rings ( both front and back ) it hangs. If you need to adjust your chain it ‘s better to remove fewer links each time, quite than removing excessively many then trying to put them back on. And a master link will make your job much easier. If you have a bicycle that requires an excess long range you may have to purchase to chains ( make sure they are identical ) and join them together. In the case of one gear bikes the chain will have to be an about arrant duration, indeed as to be mean adequate so it wo n’t sag but not so mean so that it restricts movement. The rise wheel can be adjusted slenderly in order to obtain the compensate chain length .

Thickness / Width

This is where things get a little complicate. due to the big variation in gear numbers nowadays available the chain width, the distance between the inner plates, has gotten smaller. The more gears a motorcycle has the less space there is between the sprockets requiring that a narrow chain. however, using a constrict chain on a bicycle with fewer gears may mean that the chain will fall between the sprockets, as the distance will be besides great for that particular chain. so, it is critical that a chain be chosen based on the gearing system and sometimes on the brand of the drive caravan .
There are basically two internal width sizes. By home we are referring to the inside distance between the inside plates. These widths are : 1/8″ used on individual rush and home gearing bikes and 3/32″ for multi-speed bikes. however, with multi-speed bikes there are now variations on the external widths, which are referenced by the number of gears. That ‘s why chains are sold based on the number of gears the motorcycle has .
But expect, there ‘s more ! Each manufacturer may have slight design variations e.g. on the dentition of the chain rings. So always read the labels and make surely you get a chain that not only fits your count of gears, but is besides recommended for the stigmatize and type of drive coach on your bicycle. This becomes more important when there are 10 or 11 gears.

Chain Care and Maintenance

Chain Wear

Since it is constantly coming in contact with the chainrings a wear chain will besides wear out the rings. therefore make it part of your routine to check your chain regularly for wear. Keep in thinker that it is a lot cheaper to replace a chain than it is to replace the chain rings. Most clothing will take plaza in the pins and rivets, which will make the chain appear ‘ extend. ‘


Chains need to be cleaned and lubricated regularly, otherwise the ride will not feel as good and they will wear out faster which will besides cause the chain rings to wear out debauched. I suggest using a lubricant specifically designed for motorcycle chains as opposed to lubricant for cars. First, clean the chain thoroughly with a degreaser, rub it, apply the lubricant, allow the lubricant to flow into the humble spaces, and then wipe with a dry annoy. Lubrication is not needed on the outside surfaces of the chain. In fact, if there is besides much lubrication it will plainly collect dirt and dirt flying. There are different types of lubricants based on your type of riding, e.g. dry versus wet conditions. Do not lubricate a dirty chain as this will cause dirt to creep between the links and do not ride with a dirty chain as this will cause more wear and pluck .

Removing Links

Chain Link Removing Tool Bike Chain Pliers Some chains have a headmaster liaison that makes it easy to unloop the chain ( see below about adding one ). If there is n’t a master associate, you ‘ll need to remove one of the pins/rivets. then, to reassemble, you will need a newly pin/rivet. It is not recommended that you reuse the lapp pin/rivet. When reinstalling make sure the chain is facing the correct way. Any writing on the range plates should be facing outward so you can read it from the side you are working on. You will need a connection removing tool for certain. If you ‘re planning on buying one, I recommend you pay a moment supernumerary and get a commodity one, it will be worth it. You may besides choose to purchase a special chain yoke plier, which assists you in holding the chain in identify and then stretching it once the new pin/rivet is in invest.

Removable Master Link

Removing Master Link Having one a overcome link on your chain will make it a draw easier to remove and reinstall a chain. however, make certain you get one designed for your specific chain. And after installing, make certain it is engaged properly to avoid having the chain unintentionally come apart while riding .

Carbon Belt Drive Chain

Carbon Belt Drive A new type of chain to the market is one with no ‘ regular ‘ links. It boasts to be maintenance-free in that it requires no scavenge and no lubricate. however, it is not laterally flexible and can only be used on single gear bikes or bikes with internal gear. besides, different chain rings are required for use with this time of ‘ chain ‘ .

How Chains Are Made

If you ‘re interest in how bicycle chains are made, check out this video :

informant :
Category : Bicycling Guideline
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