What exactly is a bike chain, and how does it break? The bike chain is an integral part of any bike, and the bike will not function if you do not get the chain fixed or replaced. Your budget might not allow you to get a new one, but you can continue to use it.
This blog will look at how to repair a broken bike chain. We’ll also discuss what a bike chain is and why they break with surprising force.
What is a Bike Chain?
The chain consists of a collection of links with pins, plates, and rollers. It connects front and back gears, allowing you to pedal. If your chain snaps, you can’t go anywhere.
How Does a Bike Chain Work?
When you pedal, your legs move back and forth. These movements create tension in the chain, causing them to move past each other. This is why riding uphill or downhill makes pedaling harder!
How Do Chains Break?
It’s a simple question, but it’s more complicated because many variables exist. In general, chains fail when:
- The pin connecting one link to the following breaks off
- The side plates that hold all the parts together (including the rollers) bend out of shape and let go.
Another common reason why chains break is over usage. If you ride your bike frequently, overuse could cause your chain to wear down. Using high-end lubricants like WD40 can help prevent this but eventually will fail!
Also, make sure you keep your bike in good shape. You should have regular bike tune-ups done at a local bike shop or by yourself with tools purchased there.
If water gets into your chain, corrosion can build up over time. This can cause metal parts inside the links to corrode away from each other (leading them to separate). This damage often happens during rainstorms or when riding through puddles on sidewalks.
What you Need
A chain tool is a pair of pliers that you attach to both sides of the broken chain. When the two pieces are held together, it’s easy to unscrew one side and separate them.
If you are out on the road or trail and your chain breaks, you will need to replace it. If you have a replacement chain with you, great! If not, you will need to repair the one on your bike.
On the street, it’s possible to repair a chain with nothing but a hammer and pliers. You can also do it bare hands! But a chain tool makes the job much easier.
Before we start, consider the following:
A) You can repair a chain wherever you want, as long as it is not moving. You don’t need to separate it from the bike, but feel free if you’re going to do so for convenience.
B) The most common cause of a snapped chain is when the sprockets wear down and become undersized.
C) If your chain has broken in the middle of nowhere, make sure the bike is not moving before you begin working on it.
Identify the Issue
The most common cause of a broken bike chain is that the links have come apart. The pins that hold them together have broken off from their respective links.
You can check this by looking at either side of any two links. After that, check if there are small holes where the pin was once connected. If so, you’ll need to replace those pins before proceeding with your repair attempt.
Check for Damage
Look at the bike chain for any clear signs of damage, such as kinks in the links or broken links. Finally, replace any damaged parts before moving on to other tests and repairs.
Check for Wear
To check the wear on your chain, take off one of the links and look at the inner side. If you can see grooves in the metal, then it’s time to replace that section of your chain.
Clean the Bike Chain
Once you’ve removed the chain from your bike, it’s time to clean it. You’ll want to use a brush or toothbrush and degreaser to scrub off grime and dirt on the outside of your chain. Then use a rag or cloth to dry off any excess liquid. You can use a hard-bristled tool to scrape away those spots for stubborn areas. Don’t apply too much pressure here!
Once you’re finished cleaning up all visible dirt, take some WD40 and spray down both sides of each link. It would be best if you then reassembled everything by reversing these steps in order:
1. Put on new links at both ends using an adjustable wrench
2. Place them into position using needle-nosed pliers
3. Fasten them with one end attached first, followed by the other end last
4. Turn clockwise until tight without forcing anything further than needed!
Loosen the Nuts to Remove the Old Bicycle Chain
Once you’ve loosened the nuts, you can now remove your old bicycle chain.
If you have a chain tool, use it to loosen the middle link on one side of your bike and remove the chain from inside that link. Then, pull your old bicycle chain through this opening to get it off completely. You can also use an appropriate hex wrench to loosen both sides of the middle link. This way, only half of it is still connected to your gears.
If you don’t have any way of loosening these nuts without damaging them use a chain breaker instead. To do this, pry open one side where there’s still some grip left between two links on opposite sides. It should cause enough tension to pop out and separate them.
Connect the New Chain to your Bike
To connect the new chain to your bike, you need a chain tool. Other tools are available at most bike shops instead if you don’t have one and are in a pinch for time or money. Before connecting the new chain to your bike, make sure it is free of debris and dirt.
Use a chain whip to combine two ends of a bicycle’s drivetrain. It loops them through each other to be connected with an Allen bolt or pin. The whip has two ends: one with an open hook and an open eye. They’re both made of metal wire to not bend when pressure is applied during assembly.
Tighten the Nuts Securing the Chain
The last step on how to repair a broken bike chain is to tighten the nuts, but you must not over-tighten them. You can use a chain tool, multitool, crescent wrench, or ratchet to do this job.
A broken bike chain is a serious problem that needs to be fixed quickly and easily. Fortunately, setting a broken bike chain is simple. You can buy a new bike chain and fix it yourself or take your bike to a professional repair shop and have them do it for you.
There’s no reason you can’t learn how to repair a broken bike chain! You only need accurate information, basic supplies, and elbow grease (or maybe a friend or two).