How to properly chain a speed bike

How to properly tension the chain on a bicycle if necessary?

properly, chain, speed, bike

The most important element in the design of both children’s and adult professional bicycles is the chain, which determines the quality of the ride, the smoothness of the ride and the smooth gear shifting.

Before tensioning the chain on the bike, you need to make sure that its length is chosen correctly: in the normal state, the chain can be in a slightly free state, sagging by 3 mm, but not more.

In general, the question of how to properly tension the chain on a bicycle is always relevant, since it is part of the mechanism that determines the movement and will often require maintenance due to the large number of rubbing parts.

How To Put On Bike Chains

You can check the tension of the chain as follows: press it with your finger approximately in the middle (opposite the outer radius of the rear wheel) and measure the amount of slack. If it is more than 1.5 cm, the chain must be tightened.

So, to tighten the chain on a bike that has only one gear, you should, first, turn it upside down, placing it on the seat and steering column.

Next, you need to loosen the rear wheel fasteners (in most cases, the wheel is fastened with eccentrics or nuts), but not completely remove it. Then you should find a special regulating groove, which is called a dropout (from the English.

” Drop out ”. to lower), and move the wheel to one side or the other. After the required chain length is selected, the wheel should be fixed back, making sure that the plane of the wheel axis is parallel to the plane of the carriage shaft (this will prevent the development of the “figure eight”).

It is important to know that it makes no sense to tighten the chain too tightly for two reasons: firstly, it is very difficult to pedal when the chain is too tight, and secondly, the complete wear of the chain elements occurs much faster.

It is necessary to know how to tighten a chain on a bicycle of a conventional design without gears, but at the same time you should be able to remove unnecessary links from the chain, since there is often a situation when the wheel has nowhere to move in the groove, and the chain still sags. In this case, you will need a special tool. a squeeze, with the help of which the roller is removed on the weakened chain and two adjacent.

It is somewhat easier to tension the chain on a bicycle with gears, since it is partially regulated by a parallelogram switch (the gear shifting itself is based on the principle of adjusting the length and stiffness of the chain), however, even the mechanics will not be able to compensate for a chain that is too long, as a result of which problems with the movement of the bicycle at medium speeds may occur. To start adjusting the chain length on a bicycle with gears, you must also set it up with the wheels, then switch to the largest sprocket both front and rear, thus determining the top gears.

After that, the rear derailleur should be taken as far forward as possible by the chain, and the chain on the shifting system (where the pedals are) should also be taken slightly forward in order to determine the optimal chain length. Then the chain is released and carefully put on the special teeth.

The idea is that after a complete run of the chain, the mechanical switch will use the rollers to pick up the normal position. It, of course, if desired, can be firmly fixed in one state or another, but in this case, switching will be impossible.

After such a rough adjustment, you should proceed to a finer one, setting the chain at the pedals to the largest sprocket, and at the rear wheel to the smallest.

For the chain, it is worth finding such a position in which the axes of the switch rollers, if not connected in one vertical line, are at least close to this.

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Basic Tips

Adjusting the chain tension on a sports bike takes less time and is less difficult. The rear derailleur took over the responsibility for its corresponding tensioned position. Thanks to the built-in spring, it ensures its proper position. It can fly, but this is 15% of cases out of 100%.

The chain can jump off if the front system, namely the connecting rod, is damaged. For example, you constantly use the middle sprocket, but it was damaged and thus does not give the desired effect, so you need to replace the entire connecting rod, and if the system is collapsible, then only the leading sprocket.

If the chain slack is noticed, then it is necessary to adjust the front and rear derailleurs by screwing in special bolts.

The bicycle chain is tensioned by folding back the extra links. This approach will ensure that the original performance is restored and will eliminate discomfort while driving. In more detail, you can study the rules and parameters of the bicycle chain tension in the video.

The wizard tells you what tools you need and what you need to do if you encounter such a problem. If you do not carry out the prevention of the chain, then negligence towards it can lead to its breaking at the most inopportune moment and such a case will ruin your whole day, especially when you decide to ride a long distance.

Agree that walking and riding a bike in your hands is not a very pleasant vacation.

Then and today

The first bicycles were equipped with just one sprocket on the rear wheel and one on the front crank arm. I think everyone is familiar with the situation, especially in childhood who often rode with friends, that if the chain is stretched, then it will constantly subside.

And if the front sprocket is also covered with a protective casing, then putting on the chain is doubly problematic, and all this is accompanied by nervous irritation and dirty hands from grease. To adjust the chain on such a bike, it was necessary to spin the rear wheel and move it back a little, or remove one or two links.

This was the tension of the bicycle chain due to special cuts on the rear fork.

Adjusting the chain tension on the bike

With the advent of sports bicycles of various modifications, people got rid of the inconvenience, and riding became a pleasure. But there are also weaknesses in such a vehicle. a chain.

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It is she who withstands the greatest load, and improper handling will lead to its damage.

Adjusting the chain on a bicycle is very important and if you neglect the simple rules of caring for it, you will soon have to buy a new one.

How to tension and adjust a bicycle chain

  • Adjusting the tension on a bike without gears
  • Adjusting the bike with speeds
  • Removing links
  • Chain slippage

A critical element for the operation of a bicycle is a chain, the life of which depends on timely care. When working, it should not crack and creak.

It is natural that during operation it slowly wears out and, as a result, lengthens. With correct adjustment, the chain must sag by 10-12 mm.

When pulling with your fingers, it must succumb to 10-15 mm, and suddenly this value is larger, then you need to pull it.

See that this is only relevant for bicycles either without speed toggle switches or with a planetary gear mechanism.

When installing a new chain, it is also of fundamental importance to adjust its tension. It is even more responsible. at the end of the first three races, pull it up. A new detail in the first time of operation very soon stretches out.

Adjusting the tension on a bike without gears

A correctly tensioned chain on a bicycle without speeds should be a little free by an amount of sagging of about 5 mm.

To tension the chain on a simple speed bike, you need to:

  • Put your own transport wheels upside down.
  • Loosen the nuts or eccentrics of the rear wheel.
  • Adjust the correct amount of chain slack by moving the wheel along the inclined grooves, which are called dropouts.
  • It is necessary to fix the rear wheel only in the position, at a time when its axis is parallel to the carriage shaft.

    When the chain is too tight, pedaling on a bicycle is not very easy, the details of the chain drive will soon wear out. While the sagging chain can jump off the asterisks, and it will be unrealistic to go further.

    If the wheel has already rested on the edge of the dropouts, there is nowhere else to move it, and the chain tape is dangling as before, then you will need to remove a couple of links.

    Adjusting the bike with speeds

    The amount of chain tension on a bicycle with a rear parallelogram toggle switch is set entirely by the force of the spring rate of the toggle switch itself. But if the chain is too long, then this tensioner will not be able to compensate for its sagging, and it will start hitting the frame. This is especially true for bicycles with a small rear spreader.

    A too small chain makes it difficult to change gears. It will cause accelerated wear on the transmission details. First of all, this applies to two-suspension bicycles.

    Often, when installing a new chain on a high-speed bike, you need to shorten its length, in other words, remove a couple of links.

    There are two methods for determining how many links to remove:

    • Place the chain on the largest sprockets in the front and rear. Pull it, pushing the rear toggle switch forward as far as possible. Now it only remains to add two links, and the optimal length will be found out.
    • Throw the chain in front of the largest sprocket, and behind the smallest. Pull the chain up to a position at which the frame of the rear transferring device will point straight down, more correctly speaking, at the time when the axes of the rollers of the toggle switch become in one vertical line.

    On double suspensions, it will be more accurate to adjust the chain length by pressing the rear swingarm down to the position, while the front sprocket cassette is as far as possible from the rear ratchet. By marking the desired length, extra links can be removed.

    Removing links How to lubricate a bicycle chain

    Collapsible chains are placed on a simple bicycle without speeds; they have a lock on one of the links. Most modern speed bikes use non-separable chains with all the links perfectly riveted. It is not difficult to disassemble a one-piece riveted chain, you just need to grind the heads of the pins on emery on one of its links.

    Even easier and more carefully it is possible to disconnect the rivets using a special tool. squeeze.

    It should be noted that pomace is a versatile tool. With its help, it is possible not only to squeeze out the locking pin, but also to re-rivet the disassembled chain. Many squeezes have two working grooves: one is needed for pressing the pin out of the roller, and the other for pressing.

    A mounting location farther from the pressure screw is for ripping the chain pins. details about using such a tool can be determined from the following video.

    The chain starts to slip when the tension is released due to its strong tension. And being overly stretched, for its part, it soon wears out the stars. So, putting a new chain on a dilapidated ratchet, you may not achieve anything.

    Everything equals slipping on small sprockets will remain.

    If this is not the first time you are tightening a worn-out chain, get ready to replace it soon. Do not forget that you can remove two links from it only once. In the final ending, you will still need to spend on a new detail.

    Some tips on how to chain a speed bike

    A bicycle chain is one of the main components of a bicycle. Many are stunned by the question of how to tighten the chain on a high-speed bike?

    It is much more difficult to tighten the chain on a speed bike or sports bike. There is a special mechanism here. the rear parallelogram derailleur, and the chain tension is regulated by the stiffness of its spring.

    How to tension the chain on a bike at speeds? The high-speed design provides tension on the link element by increasing the spring stiffness of the rear derailleur.

    If the length of the link element is chosen incorrectly and the subsequent replacement, the switch will not provide proper tension. But pulling the chain on a high-speed bike is also not worth it.

    This will lead to poor gearshift clarity and increased wear on sprockets and other components.

    There is no difficulty in tightening the chain on a regular type bicycle. no high-speed gears. To perform such an operation, you need only one wrench, suitable for the size of the eccentrics or nuts, with which the rear wheel is attached.

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    How to shorten the chain

    Usually a fresh chain is slightly longer than even a tired product. If you put it without shortening, the position of the rear derailleur will not correspond to the required one. The quality of gear shifting suffers from this.

    The easiest way to calculate the correct size is to compare the lengths of the old and new chain. It is not necessary to use a tape measure, just put them next to each other. Having combined both ends on one side, on the other we will see a discrepancy in dimensions. Excess links are extruded according to the already outlined method, taking into account the recommendation for incomplete removal of the axis from the hole.

    Attention! When removing unnecessary links, follow the logic of their connection: the outer plates are pushed onto the inner ones. The outer plates will not sit on similar outer ones. Consider the design of the suspension: on double suspensions, the length of the chain should be sufficient in the position of full compression of the shock absorber.

    How to install a new bike chain

    Let’s assume that all the technology requirements are how to choose a chain for a high-speed bike. successfully completed. Those. in front of you is a detail that fits the width of the rear and front stars and you just have to put it on:

    • Position the product so that the extruded pin is closer to you.
    • Run the chain over the large sprocket in the idle direction (reverse drive pedaling) through the front derailleur.
    • Put the chain on the cassette and go around the rollers of the switches according to the diagram shown in the figure.
    • Press in the pin using a squeeze.

    For your information. Pressing the link axis can only be squeezed. When pressing in, ask an assistant or fix the rear derailleur with a piece of wire so that the chain sags on the lower tier. In this way, the risk of damage to the opposite plate can be virtually eliminated.

    At the crossroads of two technologies: methods of replacing a worn chain on a bicycle at speeds

    The main purpose of the procedure is to unhook the old chain and connect the new one together. Before doing anything, check how the chain is engaged now. It either represents a single whole, or has a detachable link (lock) in its design. This is important, since the type of fastening determines the list of required tools and, in fact, the maintenance method.

    Adjusting the chain tension in bicycles at speeds

    The tension of the chain on a bike with a parallelogram derailleur (rear) is determined solely by the spring stiffness of the derailleur itself. But the chain, which turned out to be too long, will begin to beat against the frame, since the tensioner will no longer be able to compensate for its slack.

    It should be borne in mind that insufficient chain length leads to wear of the main transmission parts, since it significantly complicates their switching. Owners of two-suspension bicycles should especially pay attention to this.

    When installing a new bike chain on high-speed models, the chain should be shortened. Several links. But to determine how many specific links need to be removed, there are two possible methods:

    • Pull the chain at the front and rear over the largest sprockets. And then pull on the chain, moving the rear derailleur forward and to the limit. It remains to add 2 links, and you get a chain of optimal length.
    • Or the chain needs to be thrown from the front to the largest sprocket, from the back to the smallest. And pull the chain until the rear spreader frame is in the “straight down” position and the derailleur rollers do not form a horizontal line. This is the optimal chain length, the excess must be removed, and the missing must be added.

    On two-suspension bicycles, adjust the chain (or rather, adjust its length) more correctly by pressing the pendulum down to the position at which the front star cassette will be as far away from the ratchet as possible. The resulting chain length is measured-noted, and all unnecessary is removed.

    Standard withdrawal process

    All guides describe the same removal procedure. This will require, first of all, a small set of tools. without them it will be quite difficult.

    Adjusting chain tension on bicycles without gears

    For bicycles to function flawlessly without speeds, their chain must not be too tight. It is necessary to ensure its free sagging for a length of up to 5 mm. And in order to pull in this way, you need to perform a certain set of actions in the correct sequence:

    • Turn the vehicle over with the wheels up.
    • Loosen the rear wheel. unscrew the nuts or fastening eccentrics.
    • Adjust the chain slack to the required amount. To do this, you need to carefully move the wheel along the inclined grooves (dropouts).
    • At the end of the adjustment, the wheel should be fixed to its original position again. In this case, the wheel axle must be parallel to the carriage shaft.

    If the chain is too tight, it will become difficult to pedal. And the elements of the chain drive will very soon become unusable. It is also bad if the bike chain is too slack. She will simply jump off the stars at a certain moment and it will be impossible to go further.

    When the wheel literally rested on the dropouts and there is absolutely nowhere to move it further, but at the same time the bicycle chain is dangling, you will have to remove a couple of links from it. In all likelihood, it was stretched or was not at all the size for a particular model.

    Slipping like a chain drive defect

    Every cyclist is familiar with the problem of chain slippage. The chain will stretch over time and the tension will loosen. In addition, chain stretching leads to quick wear of the bike sprockets. It would seem that what is easier. you just need to remove 2 links. But the “trick” is that you can do this only once, and then you need to change the chain.

    And further. A new chain on an old ratchet is not ice at all. Slipping will probably remain on small sprockets. So you need to change the ratchet too.

    How to change the chain without a lock on a bike with shifting gears

    • Pressing the pin out of any link.
    • Shortening a new chain.
    • Positioning and pressing in the axle on a new bicycle chain.
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    How to Size a Bicycle Chain

    No tools

    In the absence of squeeze, you can install everything back without it. Pliers and any sturdy cylinder, for example, a small hexagon, will help. Gently clamping the cylinder, the pin can be riveted similarly to the work of the squeeze, it just requires a lot more attention and application of forces.

    Models with a lock can be unhooked using a tight rope or cable. This allows for prompt repairs literally in the field, for example, when the chain suddenly breaks on a short hike.

    Chain Removal Situations

    Maintaining your bike is very important, and there may be several reasons for removing the chain:

    • Deep cleaning. it is recommended from time to time to remove all elements and clean from grease and accumulated abrasive.
    • Link damage and replacement.
    • Replacing a worn chain.
    • Length change with a new sprocket combination, e.g. on a mountain bike.

    Home wear is primarily determined by elongation. An overstretched chain is cause for concern as link misalignment will severely damage the sprockets and can be hazardous to derailleurs.

    It is quite difficult to notice wear by eye, and to determine it there is an indicator. the length of 24 links:

    • if it is equal to 305 mm (304.8 value for a new set), everything is in order;
    • 306.5-307.5 mm. it’s time to change;
    • 307.5 mm. if the bike was still in use with such wear, then most likely the entire set of sprockets is damaged;
    • 308 mm. the value of the damaged transmission.

    Objectively, it is recommended to service the transmission every 500 kilometers, but this value is not fixed, since even 50 kilometers on rough terrain with an abundance of sand and dirt in terms of wear can correspond to another thousand on clean city roads.

    Some people prefer to cut the chain, but the stretch is usually evenly distributed, and the links can still damage the stars that cannot be repaired.


    • key for removing the rear wheel;
    • pliers for holding segments and pins;
    • squeeze. a device for pressing out pins, without a lock. the most important tool in the process.

    No lock

    If the bike has a chain without a lock, then you will have to press the axle out of the chain link. Also, this process will need to be carried out in order to reduce the number of chain links when necessary.

    To press out the chain axle, you need a special tool. squeezing the chain. For this operation, you can select any link in the chain, the only condition is, when re-pressing it is better to use a new one, since after the operation the link loosens a little.

    Insert the chain link into the tool and secure with the screw. Please note that some chain pulls have two seats, one for pressing out the axle (it is closer to the locking screw), and the other is used only for adjusting the axle. Tighten the squeeze screw carefully, thereby extruding the axle.

    Do not push the axle out to the end if you plan to assemble a link with the same axle, otherwise it will be problematic to install it back.!


    Let’s take a step-by-step look at how to remove the chain from a bike:

    • We clean the links from dirt. it will interfere with each subsequent step.
    • Removing the rear wheel is optional, but it’s much easier to work without it.
    • Extrude the pin (the metal cylinder that closes each link) using a squeeze.
    • Disconnect one link.
    • Remove extreme links from switches.

    The reverse sequence is the same. put the chain in place and assemble the structure back, riveting the pin with a squeeze, and rotating it in the opposite direction.

    How to choose a new bike chain?

    If you don’t know what type of chain and size fits your bike model, clean the outside of the plates from the dirt and look for the manufacturer’s name. Sedis, Sachs and Taya are the best known manufacturers of standard chains. Shimano riveted chains use the UG, HG and IG markings. When replacing, also make sure that the widths of the new and old chains are the same.

    A standard 2.4mm chain is best suited for a rear hub block (the center pivot of a bicycle wheel designed to accommodate a stationary wheel axle) with 5 sprockets. expensive chains are used on bicycles with 6-7 sprockets. On bikes with 7-8 sprockets, it is best to install high quality flex chains. Of course, you can also supply a cheaper chain from a little-known manufacturer, but it is quite possible that it will soon need to be replaced.

    How to install a chain on a bike

    Before installing the chain, you need to make sure that it fits your bike in length and width. A special axle with a pointed end is usually sold with a chain. It serves to facilitate installation, after pressing the axle, this end must be broken off with pliers. Also, the axle can be already installed in place if the chain is supplied without a special axle.

    To install the chain, move the front and rear derailleurs to small sprockets. Then pass the chain through the derailleur tension frame, do not confuse the directions, the lower roller runs the chain on the left and the upper one on the right.

    We connect the open links, install the axis. We insert the link into the chain squeeze and fix it with a fixing screw. Press the axle into place by rotating the chain release handle, it should line up with the edges of the chain. Remove the chain from the squeeze, if necessary break off the end of the axle.

    Check that this chain link bends freely, if it runs tight, then it is necessary to adjust the axle with a squeeze. In this case, insert the link into the second seat of the squeeze, then you can see both ends of the axle.

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