Can you add links to your bicycle
To check if your
Why You Need to Add Links to a Bicycle
If you are repairing a broken bike
Too short of a
As stated, there are two main reasons you may need to add links to your bike
- If your replaced
chainis too short
- If you break your
chainand need to repair it by adding links
But why do you need to replace your
Why You Need to Replace Your Bicycle
When you replace your
The easiest way to determine if you need a new
Also, there’s no stopping gritty grunge from sticking to your
Besides fully replacing your
Why You Need to Repair Your Bicycle
Bike chains break for a number of reasons, but the two most common are through wear and from impact.
- Wear – If a
chainhas been ridden for too long, it will actually stretch out. A worn-out chainwill then be longer from link-to-link than a new chain. As it stretches, metal fatigue is more prone to failure. As the chainwears, the chainrings and cassette (rear gears) will wear down, as well. Combine your compromised chainwith a bad gear shift, and you can end up with a broken chain.
- Impact – Your chains, just like anything on your bike, can get damaged by a hard impact. This can happen if a rock or other hard object strikes the
chain. Unlike with wear that typically damages just one chainlink, the impact can damage many links in the chain.
Understanding Your Bicycle
Bicycle chains are made of multiple pairs of steel outer plates and inner plates (or links) held together by rivets. A roller separates each pair of inner plates. The rivet (pin) is pressed tightly through both outer plates. The rivet then pivots freely on the inner plates and roller.
All modern bicycle chains are made to the “one-half inch pitch” standard, meaning from rivet to rivet it’s nominally 0.5 inches. The sprocket teeth are cut for this same one-half inch standard to accept bicycle chains. However, this does not mean all makes and models of chains are interchangeable.
There are two basic types of bicycle chains: “one-speed” chains, and derailleur chains.
The common one-speed
There are rear hubs with multiple internally geared speeds, but the
Some freestyle bikes use a wider sprocket and a wider 3/16-inch, one-speed
Derailleur bike chains are designed to be moved from sprocket to sprocket and come in many different design standards. When selecting a
The rear cog sets have been made with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 sprockets. As the number of cogs on the rear hub increases, the spacing between cogs tends to be reduced. Consequently, chains tend to get narrower as the number of rear cogs increases.
Nominally, derailleur chains are called a 3/32-inch
Some nominal widths measured across the rivet between chains are:
- 12-rear cogs – 5.3 millimeters
- 11-rear cogs – 5.5 millimeters
- 10-rear cogs – 6 millimeters
- 9-rear cogs – 6.5 to 7 millimeters
- 8-, 7-, and 6-rear cogs – 7 millimeters
In addition to the
The spacing between front rings for an 8- or 9-speed chainring set will be relatively wide. Using the narrow 10- or 11-speed
Drivetrain manufacturers design their chains to work as a system with the derailleurs, rear sprockets, and shift levers. Chains can vary in side plate shape, sizing, and height. Differences can cause variations in shifting performance between brands and models.
Additionally, chains will vary in the quality of steel used. Better chains that are more durable and longer-lasting tend to have harder rivets. Riding a bike tends to wear and thin the rivet as it is pulled against the inner plates.
If you need a new
For example, a bike may have an SRAM®
Replacing Your Bicycle
As the driving force of the bike, your
A brand new
There are two main types of chains – master link and connection rivet chains. Master link chains use two removable outer
The tools needed to replace your
ChainTool – for cutting the chain
- Master Link Pliers – to disengage chains with master links.
The first thing you’re going to need to know is the necessary length for your new
Methods to Determine
Size to Existing
If your old
Next, shift to the largest front and rear sprockets. The
Once you’ve determined that your old
Largest Cog and Largest Chainring Method
The easiest way to determine bike
Once the old
- Wrap the new
chainaround the largest chainring (at the rear), making sure that if the chainhas an outer plate, it is routed toward the front chainring.
- Pass the
chainthrough the front derailleur cage and onto the largest front chainring.
chainat the 5 o’clock position.
- If you are using a master link
chain, install half of the master link onto the front end of the chainto account for the extra half link the master link provides.
- Pull the lower section of the
chainsnug towards the front chainring, bypassing the derailleur altogether.
- Find the closest rivet where the two ends could be joined and add two links. This is your cutting point.
Chain Sizing by Equation
It is possible to determine
This equation below can help you determine
- L = Length – your
chainlength in inches (rounded to the nearest inch).
- C =
Chainstay – the distance between the middle of the crank to the rear axle. Measure to the closest 1/8-inch, and convert this to decimal form.
- F = Front chainring – The number of teeth on the largest (front) chainring. This number is often printed on the sprockets and cogs, but if not you’ll have to count.
- R = Rear cog – The number of teeth on the largest rear cog. Again, this number is usually printed on the sprocket.
Once you have determined the proper
We’ve added lots of