Don’t Get Stuck with a Broken Chain: How to Replace a Bicycle Chain

One of the most critical components of a bicycle is its chain. It is responsible for transferring power from the pedals to the rear wheel and propelling the bike forward. However, over time, chains can wear out, become damaged or stretched, and eventually break. In such cases, replacing the chain becomes necessary.

But, how do you replace a bicycle chain? Fortunately, replacing a chain is a straightforward process, and with the right tools and a little know-how, you can do it yourself.

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of replacing a bicycle chain, from identifying when it needs replacement to ensure that your new chain is properly installed.

By following these steps, you can get your bike up and running smoothly in no time.

Importance of a well-functioning chain

The chain is an essential component of a bicycle, and it plays a critical role in transferring power from the pedals to the rear wheel. A well-functioning chain ensures a smooth and efficient ride. On the other hand, a broken or worn-out chain can cause a lot of problems and make cycling difficult and even dangerous.

One of the most important reasons for maintaining a well-functioning chain is safety. A broken chain can cause you to lose control of your bike, especially when going downhill or around a corner. It can also damage other components of your bike, such as the derailleur, cassette, and chainrings, resulting in costly repairs.

Another reason for maintaining a well-functioning chain is efficiency. A worn-out or dirty chain can cause resistance, making it more difficult to pedal and reducing your speed. This can make your ride less enjoyable and more tiring, particularly on long rides or steep hills.

Lastly, a well-maintained chain can increase the lifespan of other components of your bike, such as the cassette and chainrings. When a chain is stretched or worn, it can cause accelerated wear on these components, leading to costly replacements. By replacing your chain regularly, you can save money in the long run and ensure that your bike performs at its best.

Don't Get Stuck with a Broken Chain: How to Replace a Bicycle Chain

Why do bicycle chains break?

Bicycle chains are one of the most important components of a bicycle’s drivetrain system. They are responsible for transferring power from the pedals to the rear wheel and propelling the bike forward. However, they can break due to various reasons. As a chain age, it stretches, and the pins and rollers wear down, eventually causing the chain to break.

Another common reason is improper maintenance, such as not lubricating the chain or keeping it clean. This can cause the chain to rust, corrode, and eventually break. Additionally, shifting gears under heavy load or applying too much force to the pedals can also put stress on the chain, leading to breakage. It is important to recognize the signs of a worn-out chain and replace it before it breaks to prevent accidents and costly repairs.

How to replace a bicycle chain

here’s a step-by-step guide on how to replace a bicycle chain:

  1. Determine the correct chain length: You can do this by counting the number of links in your old chain or measuring the distance between the rear wheel axle and the front chainring.
  2. Remove the old chain: Use a chain tool to push out the pin holding the chain together. Carefully remove the chain from the bike.
  3. Thread the new chain: Place the new chain over the rear cassette and the front chainring. Make sure the chain is threaded correctly through the derailleur.
  4. Size the new chain: If the new chain is too long, remove links using a chain tool. If it’s too short, you’ll need to replace it with a longer chain.
  5. Connect the new chain: Use a chain tool to connect the new chain. Line up the pins and push the pin back into place.
  6. Test the new chain: Shift through all the gears and check for any skipping or slipping. Make sure the chain runs smoothly and isn’t too loose or too tight.
  7. Lubricate the new chain: Use bicycle chain lubricant to ensure the chain runs smoothly and doesn’t rust.

Replacing a bicycle chain can seem daunting, but by following these steps, you can easily replace a broken chain and get back on the road in no time.

How to Prevent a Broken Chain

  • Regular maintenance
  • Inspection before riding
  • Proper chain installation
  • Check the chain regularly for wear.

How to avoid breaking your chain

Here are the steps to avoid breaking your bike chain:

Keep your chain clean:

Dirt and grime can cause your chain to wear out more quickly and increase the likelihood of it breaking. Use a bike chain cleaning tool and a degreaser to clean your chain regularly.

Lubricate your chain:

A well-lubricated chain will reduce friction and wear and tear, which can lead to a chain break. Apply bike chain lubricant to your chain after cleaning it.

Check for wear:

A worn chain is more likely to break. Use a chain wear tool to measure the wear and replace your chain before it becomes too worn.

Replace your chain and cassette together:

If your cassette is worn, it can cause your new chain to wear more quickly and increase the risk of breaking. Replace your cassette and chain together to ensure they wear evenly.

Avoid cross-chaining:

Cross-chaining puts your chain under more stress and increases the risk of it breaking. Use the appropriate gear for your chain position.

By following these steps, you can reduce the likelihood of your bike chain breaking and ensure a smoother ride.


In conclusion, a well-functioning bicycle chain is crucial for a smooth and safe ride. A broken chain can be frustrating and even dangerous, which is why it is important to know how to replace it. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this blog post, you can easily replace a broken or worn-out chain and prevent any future chain-related issues. Additionally, maintaining and regularly checking your chain can help prevent it from breaking in the first place. Don’t wait until you’re stranded on the side of the road with a broken chain, be proactive and learn how to replace it today.

Don’t let a broken chain ruin your ride. Keep your bike in top condition with our expert repair services. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.