How to tighten a bicycle chain

How to tighten a bicycle chain?

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No matter how well you take care of your bike, sooner or later, all of its components start to wear out. Therefore, we have to periodically perform various maintenance. In this article, we will touch on how to tension the chain on a bicycle with the usual speeds and the usual, how to remove and shorten it if necessary, and what we need for this at home.

To understand more or less what is at stake, one should consider the varieties of bicycle chains and their design features. Currently, single-row roller chains with a pitch of 12.7 mm are used on all types of bicycles. Each link consists of external and internal plates, pins, rollers and rollers.

How to tighten a chain on a simple bike

How to tighten a bicycle chain

By “simple,” we mean a bike with a real star. This can be a classic single-speed bicycle scheme with a front and rear chainring, and there is no way to change gear ratios or bikes with a planetary hub. Although the latter have the same design (with a driving and driven sprocket), due to the complex mechanism of the rear hub, which is an analog of the gearbox of a car, it is possible to change speeds. There is one thing in common in these schemes. The chain can be tightened by moving the axis of the rear sleeve. Let’s check out the schwinn mountain bikes.

How to understand that the chain must be tightened

On bikes without planetary derailleurs or hubs, checking the chain stretch is pretty straightforward. Pull it down with your fingers until it stops. The distance it has passed should not exceed 10-15 mm.

But it should be emphasized that the chain must not be over-tightened. Therefore, if the travel of the bicycle chain is less than 5mm when going downhill, it must be loosened. Excessive tension leads to high pedaling forces and increased wear on the transmission, and too loose tension can cause it to fly off the sprocket or pinion. Keep reading

Tension procedure

Turn the bike over. We loosen the bolts or eccentrics that hold the rear wheel in the grooves (dropouts) and tighten or loosen the chain tension by moving the wheel more or closer to the driving star. Do not forget that it should not be over tightened. After adjusting the necessary tension, we check the perpendicular position of the axis of the rear hub relative to the longitudinal axis of the bicycle. Tighten the mounting bolts or eccentrics.

There are times when it is no longer possible to roll back the sleeve. This tells us that the bike chain is too tight and it would be desirable to replace it. But there is another way out. To do this, we need a squeeze. This device is designed to disconnect the chain links. Thanks to him, you can remove several links, thereby shortening the chain. If you have a similar case, a short instruction on how to remove extra links will be a separate paragraph below the article.

How to tighten a chain on a bicycle with speeds

The bicycle chain tension of a mountain, road or other bicycles, on which the principle of throwing the chain on the stars with a different number of teeth is used to change gears, differs from the one described above. The difference is that it does not have a fixed position and its tension is provided by the rear derailleur spring. But you should still monitor the degree of stretch. If the chain is too long, it will be more difficult for the rear derailleur to loosen when driving over bumps and it will hit the pen with a lot of intensity. Of course, you can buy or have a bicycle feather protected. But this will not save you from accelerated wear of the transmission. But pulling the chain on a high-speed bike isn’t worth it either.

How to know when the chain needs to be tight

There are several ways:

We set the position of the speeds when the chain is on the largest front star and on the largest rear star. Then, take it at the bottom of the front chainring (as shown in the picture) and pull it towards the front wheel until the rear derailleur reaches the stop. If approximately two “extra” links are left, the chain length is normal.

The second way is a little easier. We set the position where the largest front and smallest rear crown are used. In this position, the tensioner roller and rear derailleur tensioner roller must be aligned and perpendicular to the ground.

We use the following method to determine the required length on double suspensions. Press on the pendulum until the front box of the stars is removed at the maximum distance from the ratchet. This is the optimal distance at which the required chain length is measured.

Lifting procedure

Drop-over bikes cannot tension the chain by moving the rear wheel, unlike single-speed or planetary hub bikes. Therefore, the only way is to remove the chain links. As this method is common for these bikes, we have moved it to a separate section, found below.

How to remove extra links from a bicycle chain

In this article, we will not consider “grandparents” ways to remove links. It seems to us that there are no problems in acquiring the necessary tool, and more specifically, the squeeze. Its price is not high, but the profit is much greater. It will allow you to easily disconnect and remove the chain or remove the extra links and reassemble it. This tool has two grooves: one to squeeze the pin and the second to press it.

Furthermore, everything is relatively simple. After counting the number of links to remove, we disconnect and remove the chain. To do this, insert it into the marc, press it with a latch and slowly turn the knob clockwise.

It is important to do everything very carefully and make sure that the compression rod exactly touches the chain pin. The pin does not have to be completely extruded. For this, you should pay attention to the rotation force. At first, there will be a tight move, then a little easier, and finally tight again. In the last stage, we act very carefully. Then disconnect and remove the chain. The pin remains on the outer plate. After measuring the number of unnecessary links in the direction of the chain, where there is no pin.

We remove the links in the same way and reconnect the chain. To do this, using the same tool, press the pin back.


Taking care of your bicycle is extremely important. As one of our readers wrote, “While you take care of the equipment, it transports you!” After reading this article, you have thoroughly learned how to tighten the chain on a bicycle. Keep an eye on your two-wheeled friend and he will delight you for a long time with his clear and lasting work of him.

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