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How to replace a bicycle chain

Knowing how to fit a bicycle chain is an essential skill for any home mechanic. Chains are one of the consumable parts of your drivetrain…

Thursday, Sep 22

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Knowing how to fit a bicycle chain is an essential skill for any home mechanic.

Chains are one of the consumable parts of your drivetrain and wear with use over time.

You can slow down drivetrain wear by staying on top of maintenance, such as cleaning your chain regularly and checking it for wear using a chain-checker. If you allow the chain to wear out past its limit, you’ll then likely need to replace your cassette and possibly chainrings.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the process of replacing a chain. The steps below are relevant to road bike and mountain bike groupsets and any differences in procedure between the different platforms are highlighted below. What you will need:

Protective gloves

Chain breaker tool

Quick link pliers (if your chain uses a quick link) Piece of broken spoke or zip tie (optional) A new chain Chain lubricant (not essential) How to check chain compatibility Chains come in different speeds and are often drivetrain-specific.Make sure to check the new chain is compatible with your drivetrain. Generally, 9-speed chains and under are cross-compatible, with the exception of Campagnolo.This is also generally the case with 10-speed chains, again with the exception of Campagnolo. It’s important to note 10-speed Shimano chains are road and mountain-bike specific.There is some wiggle room with 11-speed between Shimano and SRAM road chains, but it’s generally advisable to stick with the manufacturer and the respective road, gravel or mountain bike line.When it comes to 12- and 13-speed drivetrains, there is […]

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