How to Install a Bike Chain

How to Install a Bike Chain
Like many parts of your bike--the tires and cables, for instance--the chain must be replaced on a regular basis, especially if you ride often in dirty or gritty conditions. Worn chains will "stretch," causing poor shifting, jumps between gears and excessive wear on the gears. Fixing all of these parts is a lot more expensive than replacing a chain. With the right tool, installing a new chain isn't a difficult job.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chain tool
  • New chain
Step 1
Shift your bike so the chain is on the smallest ring in the front and back.
Step 2
Remove the old chain with your chain tool. Put the chain into the tool so that one of the chain pins is aligned with the slotted opening in the chain tool jaw. Tighten the pin extractor until the mandrel (the portion that pushes the chain pin out) comes into contact with the chain pin. Make sure it's lined up exactly, then tighten the tool until it pushes the pin out of the chain link.
Step 3
Count the number of links in the old chain. It's easy to miscount, so do this a couple of times to be sure you've got the right count.
Step 4
Use your chain tool as described in Step 2 to remove any excess links on the new chain. Don't push the last pin all the way out when you remove the last unnecessary link. Leave it out far enough so you can slip the links together, then push the pin back in.
Step 5
Feed the new chain through your derailleurs so that it is positioned on the smallest ring in the front and back. Use your chain tool to push the pin in to secure the links together. Simply reverse the process you followed in Step 2.

Article Written By Nichole Liandi

Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.

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