How To Chain A Sports Bike

How to tension the chain on a bicycle? Adjusting the bike chain tension

How To Chain A Sports Bike

As a child, each of us had to pull on a bicycle chain. The design of older bicycles was flawed, so this element often fell off. A lot of time has passed since then, and the innovations that came to the cycling industry have changed the mechanisms beyond recognition. It is now difficult to find a single speed transmission, and the recently popular eight-speed transmission is becoming a thing of the past.

Now the bikes are equipped with nine sprockets and a thin chain, which require regular maintenance. such is the price for comfortable gear ratios, speed and light weight. Consider what rules you need to follow so that the chain is installed on the bike correctly, and its wear is minimal.

Cleaning and maintaining the chain

Preventive measures to minimize transmission wear Should be carried out regularly. To do this, remove the contaminated chain and wash it with a solvent. There are special devices that can help with this process and keep your hands clean.

They are called “washers”: they are a box with special brushes, rollers and guides, filled with a liquid that washes away dirt particles. If he carries out such a procedure regularly, then the problem of how to tighten the chain on a bicycle will not bother you, and the part will successfully serve for several seasons.

If cleaning has not been carried out for a very long time, then rust will form, which is much more difficult to remove. It is necessary to load the chain into a container with a corrosion converter or kerosene (it is best to use an aviation one, since it contains the least amount of impurities) and hold it for several days. Then it must be removed, cleaned with a metal brush and left to dry in the sun. After a while, each link must be lubricated with oil from a special oiler and set in working position. We have already discussed how to tighten the chain on a bicycle at the beginning of the article, so there will be NO difficulties in this matter. It is important to follow logic and your own intuition.

Basics of functioning

In the process of operation, this transmission element wears out the most on the hinges, where, under the influence of loads, the links are lengthened. As a result, the step of the chain increases and it can no longer perform its functions. Usually the service life of this element does NOT exceed 3-4 thousand kilometers, which is no more than 1-2 seasons. The wear of the bicycle chain is checked by its elongation. If the tooth is exposed by more than half when pulling away from the leading sprocket, then it is necessary to replace it. There is no point in repairing this element: after the chain is installed on the bike, it will constantly fly off, and you will not be able to enjoy the ride. If properly cared for, this element will last much longer and reduce your costs.


During walks in inclement weather, water and dirt accumulate on the transmission elements, and if these components and systems are not serviced immediately after returning home, then natural abrasive and rust will quickly disable them.

Work principles

It is important to figure out how to tighten the chain correctly on the bike when you first install it, otherwise it will be difficult to move the bike and the gear mechanism will collapse. To do this, perform the following actions:

If you follow the theses of this uncomplicated technique, you will not have difficulties with the transmission. All the experience gained during the installation process can be applied in order to teach friends how to tighten the chain on a bicycle.

Adjusting the bike chain

In order to set the required tension, the bike is turned over and placed on a saddle or mounting rack. The rear wheel is removed by unscrewing the nuts or loosening the eccentric clamp. The brake lever and bracket are lowered on the wings so as not to interfere with the work. Further, the chain is disconnected with a lock, its excess part is removed, and after shortening it again returns to its place.

If your bike is of an old design (with horizontal dropouts), then all processes are simplified by an order of magnitude. It is enough just to move the wheel further along the guides, and the question of how to put the chain on the bike correctly will be solved. However, in this case, it is necessary to control the wear of the links, since neglecting them can lead to breakage of the stars.

Features and special cases

  • 2 rivets are removed from the link;
  • Extra link is removed;
  • The chain is connected and installed so that the closed end of the stop plate is located in the direction of its rotation;
  • The open part is firmly riveted.

You are now ready to self service your bike drive.

How to tension and adjust the chain on a bike

Today we’ll help you figure out what bike chain problems can occur and how to fix them. Mikhail Kucheev, one of the leaders of the project “Sam Myself Bicycle”, will tell you about everything in detail.

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During the trip, you may experience the following with the chain

The chain flew off

Let’s see why the chain flies. There are two options: either you have a bent sprocket on the system (the system is a front set of sprockets), or the speeds are poorly adjusted.

If you have a bent star on the system, in this case, you can continue to move simply by switching to a different speed at which the star is NOT bent. But if you use all the speeds while driving, then in the future you will have to replace the bent star. If the system is collapsible, you will only be able to replace one damaged star. If the system is non-separable, you will have to change the entire system along with the connecting rod.

If everything is in order with the connecting rods (what is a connecting rod?), Then the speeds are poorly set. On each of the derailleurs, both front and rear, there are adjusting bolts that DO NOT allow the chain to go over extreme speeds. If they are incorrectly adjusted, then the chain will go off. If the chain falls off the largest sprocket, then you need to screw in a bolt with an L index, which means low. the lightest gear.

Screw it in until the stars on the switch are parallel to the big star. The same is the case from the reverse side: if the chain flies from the smallest sprocket, you need to screw in a bolt with the index H (high).

Screw it in until the switch is parallel to the seventh speed.

If at the front the chain falls from the small chain to the frame, then tighten the bolt low.

To properly adjust the bolt marked low, you must set the lightest speed on the bike and screw it in until there is a 1mm gap between the inner derailleur frame and the chain.

If the chain falls from a large sprocket to the connecting rod, then screw in the high bolt.

To properly adjust the high bolt, set the bike to the fastest speed and tighten it until there is no gap of 1 mm between the chain and the outer derailleur frame.

These were the most common reasons for chain failure. Now let’s talk about her break.

The chain broke

The most common cause of chain breaks is when shifting gears under load, such as when driving uphill. When a chain link breaks, it can either rivet or break. If the link is riveted, you can try the crypt back. You will need a chain puller to do this, so it’s best to always carry it with you. If the link is broken, it is necessary to remove it and the adjacent link, too, and the crypt chain using the same puller.

Putting the chain back on is NOT difficult. To do this, pull back the rear derailleur while loosening the chain and place it on the front sprocket.

Today you learned why the chain can fly off and break, as well as how to solve these two problems with your own hands.

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Music used:

JK Soul. I know this (Original Edit)

Loose chain tension

On regular road bikes, the chain is not that difficult to tighten. To do this, remove the rear wheel and pull it back in the fork. The main thing here is not to overdo it and DO NOT overstretch. Weakly Stretched and Strongly Stretched. Equally create problems when driving, so it is important to stop in time so that the chain has an average tension.

If it is stretched to such an extent that it is no longer possible to cope with a simple suspension of the wheel, but you DO NOT consider it necessary to change it, since it slips noticeably, then it makes sense to remove it and knock out one or more links and shorten it in this way. This is not a difficult action. In this case, your task. Ensure that the chain length is the same as it was originally. In this procedure, the most important thing is to re-fasten the links with such a reliable lock so that it is firmly held, because even Stretched is better than suddenly torn when moving. If you are NOT sure if you can re-fasten the chain, then it is better not to take this step.

Adjustment on speed bikes

How to tighten the chain on a bike at speeds like a mountain bike? For a high-speed bike, if tightening the links in the first two methods did not give the desired result, then you can try the second two methods.

The first method only works for high-speed bicycles that have already traveled with a weakened spring, that is, with an old gearshift. On a new one, you simply cannot do it manually. First step. Remove the links from the gears. Next Knock down the stopper on the switch and rotate the switch towards a higher spring tension.

The second method of chain tensioning on a bike at speeds is not difficult, but sometimes it works. In order for the system to work effectively, sometimes it is enough just to tighten the derailleur cable.

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How to chain a bike

How can this be done? To begin with, it is reasonable to simply concepts, but whether it is necessary to engage in tensioning the chain on a bicycle or change it, since this step is important for adequate work. There are several signs to determine the need for this work. If, when moving, it began to rattle and jump off a little and now and then slips, then this is the first sign that it requires a new tension or it needs to be shortened. If you visually notice that the beginning part of the bike sagged more than usual (since the chain is NOT stretched to the stop, then there should be a slight sagging in it, but if the length has increased noticeably, it means that it has stretched and needs to be pulled or changed). If on a speed bike it has become difficult to adjust the gearshift settings. And when you clearly understand that it’s time to clean the chain.


Sometimes you have to resort to a complete replacement. To do this, the old one will need to be removed, and the new one installed.

  • To remove the old chain, you will need to use a special tool. Squeeze. Set the chain squeeze in front of any roller, begin to tighten the screw so as to squeeze out the pin. Then the tool is loosened and removed. The device is also removed with the help of a squeeze so that it regularly cleans.

For replacement, you need a chain with the same number of links as the old, but shorter. For tensioning, carefully place it on the gears and the switch in the same position as in the previous position of the links. We put the rollers on the gears carefully, leave two teeth open at the bottom. This step will make sure that the installation of the new one went right. To reinstall the new pin, use the squeeze again. Both ends of the chain are placed in the tool cavity to form a hole for the pin to exit. Place your finger against the hole and tighten gently, rather than hurrying.

Last step. Reinstalling the pin. Make sure the pin goes in smoothly and easily. If resistance is felt, it means that both ends are incorrectly set and this needs to be changed. When properly installed, the pin should fit snugly inside the roller, but putting it in will NOT be too difficult.

Quite often, cyclists use a lock to quickly change or remove and clean the chain. On the other hand, it is convenient as it allows you to quickly remove the chain with a lock, on the other hand, it is better to leave a new chain intact at least until the start of regular suspenders, when it becomes clear how much more convenient it will be to use a replacement with a lock. Many cyclists have prejudices about the lock, since Allegedly, the chain breaks with it more often. There is no reliable data, but the new chain looks more reliable for most without a lock.

Do not forget that for a safe ride you need to carefully monitor the operation of the bike and promptly eliminate all technical problems and change worn parts.

How to determine the need for chain tension?

If we talk about ordinary bicycles that do not have a speed switch, then everything is extremely simple here. just pull the chain with your finger until it stops and approximately measure the distance of its displacement from the start to the end point. It should be about 10-15 mm. If this indicator is exceeded, then the chain requires tension, but if the offset is 5 mm or less, then it is better to weaken it.

In the case of bicycles that have a gear shifting system (several front and rear sprockets), there are two ways to determine the need for chain tension.

1. Change the speed so that the chain is on the largest sprocket, both at the back and at the front. We take the chain in the area under the chainring and pull it towards the front wheel until the rear derailleur does NOT reach the stop. If at the same time only 2 links remain in the weakening state, then the chain has optimal tension. Otherwise, its length needs to be adjusted.

2. Set the speeds so that the chain is pulled over the largest sprocket in the front and the smallest in the back. In this position, the idler roller and the tensioner roller should form a straight line perpendicular to the floor. If the offset goes to the left, the chain should be shortened.

Now let’s figure out how to adjust the chain length depending on the type of bike.

When chain adjustments won’t help?

Chain stretching cannot always be eliminated by the trivial removal of unnecessary links. The thing is that under constant exposure to high loads, the links simply begin to deform and stretch.

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So, the normal link length is considered to be 11.9-12 mm. If this figure reaches 12.1-12.6 mm, then the chain begins to “lick” the cassettes, and with a length of 12.9 mm, the chain will have to be changed along with the stars. You can measure the length of the link using the lips to measure the internal dimensions of the caliper.

How to tighten a chain on a bike at speeds?

Speed ​​bikes have a more complex chain tensioning principle. There it is regulated by a special spring located on the rear carriage. Accordingly, adjusting the chain tension by simply moving the rear wheel will not work.

The only available way to tighten the chain on a speed bike is by removing the chain links. This procedure is carried out in the same way as described in the paragraph about usual. You will also need special squeeze and a few minutes of time.

How to tighten a chain on a bicycle?

Maintenance of your bike is an integral part of its operation, no matter how carefully and carefully you DO NOT treat your vehicle. This is due to the natural wear and tear of the parts. And today we will talk about how to tighten the chain on a bicycle, because it is this spare part that requires special attention and during intensive riding it often becomes a prerequisite for problems.

How to tension a chain on a regular bike?

The first and easiest way is to offset the wheel. It is implemented as follows:

  • Turning the bike over and put it on the handlebar and harness. You can also use the dedicated repair and maintenance stands.
  • Loosen bolts or cams that attach the wheel to the frame itself.
  • We begin to move the wheel along the landing grooves. If the chain should be loosened, then the wheel should be moved towards the front wheel, if pulled, then vice versa.

After finishing the adjustment, it is important to check that the rear hub is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the bike itself, only in this case the wheel can be fixed.

The second way is to remove the extra links. This can be done using the “Dedovsk method” by knocking out the link roller with some thin elongated object. But this approach requires a lot of time and effort, and there is a high probability of simply damaging the chain.

It is much easier to purchase a special squeeze, which will allow you to remove an extra link in a matter of seconds, SWEDA minimizes the likelihood of chain damage. How to do it?

  • We take an equal link of the chain, put it in a special groove on the squeeze and gently squeeze it with a lock.
  • A steep arrow crank clockwise, slowly squeezing the roller out of the plates. IMPORTANT! The roller should not be squeezed out completely, because then returning it to its place will be extremely problematic.
  • After parsing one link, we disassemble the chain and determine the number of extra links, remove them as described above.
  • We connect the ends of the chain and press the roller using a squeeze.

I would like to note right away that this procedure requires a certain skill and for the first time may require a lot of time and effort.


Incorrect chain tension can lead to problematic gear changes, slippage and faster wear of the bicycle undercarriage, therefore it is extremely important to monitor its condition, regularly tighten and replace.

We hope that in this article you have found useful information for yourself on how to tighten the chain on a bicycle, and you can put it into practice if necessary.