For a regular bike user, a detached or loose chain is something very ordinary now and then. But, that doesn’t say that your bike has defaulted. You can swiftly master how to tighten a bike chain with just the equitable tools.
A roller chain transmits power from pedals to the drive wheel of a bicycle; hence, setting it in motion is known as a bike chain. It might be one of the most significant components on every bicycle since, without it, movement, which is the primary purpose of the bike and driving it without a chain, comes with consequences that might be negative too.
Bicycle chains are mostly made up of plain carbon or nickel plating to avoid rust or merely a stylish look or alloy steel. Now, it depends on how the chain has defaulted. The chain either falls off entirely, but commonly it becomes loose, which is more of a relief.
In this article, you will find the easiest step-by-step way to tighten a bike chain on a sole gear and a bike chain with gears. You could also scroll till the end and find some frequently asked questions about bike chain tightening.
- 1 How to Tighten a Fixie Bike Chain
- 2 Adjusting a Bike Chain with a Derailleur
- 3 Bottom Line
- 4 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
- 5 Related Cycling Guides Recommendations
How to Tighten a Fixie Bike Chain
People who want to include a segment of workout in their riding routine mostly prefer Fixie bikes. When you cover the distance, the cycle automatically forces you to put your feet on the ground. You have to use your legs in it, allowing the rider to participate in and practice cadence, which is the estimate at which a cyclist pedal.
1. Required tools
You will require bike tools like a stand of a bike or a counter worktop so you can stand your bike upturned. You will also need a socket wrench or a ratchet that permits you to spin bolts and nuts with more simplicity rather than a regular wrench. Essentials include the finest of the bike lubricant and an old cloth in case of a need to clean. Also, having a pair of gloves would be a great help.
2. Placing your bike in the most suitable position
It more depends on experience. If you are a tremendously experienced rider, you should go with a position where the right-side faces upwards. But it is effortless when you turn your bike upside down. The preference is all yours to choose. If you put your bike upside down, make sure to put something beneath the saddle, a piece of cardboard is handy. It just has to be a soft surface, so you do not have to scratch and roughen your saddle.
3. Detaching nuts and loosening rear axle
For the sake of regulating and fine-tuning the chain, it is a must requirement to remove the nuts holding the tire to the bike. Consequently, use a socket and wrench and attentively rotate the nuts into an anti-clockwise direction until they unfasten.
Note: Please keep all the nuts in one place, so you don’t lose them.
4. Recognizing the right tension
This is the point where you are going to expand the tension in your bike chain. You should do the process very steadily to avoid the chain from snapping. Keep tightening until you reach the point where the chain is stiff enough that it only moves about a half of an inch in any direction when you pull your bolts and nuts. Ensure that the rear wheel fits the frame of the cycle.
It is vital to have this step right because too far means it is not tight enough and needs more push, and also close tension will stop the pedals from turning.
5. Try out the chain and tire
Try spinning the tire and keep in check that it does not come across the chain or frame while in motion and that it is moving correctly; if it is, congrats. You have fixed the bike chain now.
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Adjusting a Bike Chain with a Derailleur
Poor shifting is always infuriating, and in some cases, it can also cause real danger and severe injuries as it can get your foot caught in it. If you are at odds with shifting or if you cannot shift into some cogs, there is a problem, and knowing how to regulate can help you solve or, at the minimum, detect your problem.
We will address the issues that might occur as the reason for poor shifting and explain how to adjust a bike chain with a derailleur step by step. There are some things you have to check that might be the root cause of the problem:
Possible Root Causes of Loose Bike Chain with Derailleur
1. Chain wear or stretch
It occurs without saying when you are riding a bike for a long time. With every ride, the roller and pins clutching your chain together wear out. And it is more likely to appear more sooner when you ride in unfavorable conditions. Even if you don’t experience problems, checking the chain wear once or twice a month is a beneficial idea.
2. Damaged cable or housing
They both can be a big reason you are going through common shifting problems. Examine the housing wholly from where it starts till where it ends. Overly bent housing can be a reason why your cable is restricted and why your shifting isn’t proper. Displacing the cable and housing might be a great help detecting the problem.
3. Bent derailleur hanger
A bent derailleur can cause real shifting problems, and so if you have had a stumble or your bike collapsed when it clashed with the rock, it is a good idea to check on the bent derailleur hanger. If you have inspected all the mentioned problems and ensured that everything is aligned correctly, your next step is the adjusting part.
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1. Setting the limit screw
The derailleurs primary purpose is to move the chain to-and-fro the cogs in your cassette. Limit screws notify the derailleur when to put stop, so your chain doesn’t drop in the direction of the spokes supporting the rim or off the tiniest cog and inside end of your bike frame.
If you are having concerns regarding shifting into the cogs in your cassette or if your chain is dropping off the cassette, you will necessarily need to look over your limit screw settings.
Types of bike limit screws
Usually there are two limit screws; Low limit and High limit screw.
1. Low Limit Screw
Low limit screw put a stop to the derailleur progressing in the direction of the spokes. When accurately adjusted regulated, the low limit will permit the chain to rest in the cassette’s widest cog during pedaling without missing out or shoving the chain beyond the cassette and inside the spokes.
2. High Limit Screw
The high limit authorizes the chain to proceed into the cassette’s minor cog without dropping off the cassette and into the frame.
The b tension screw
The “B” tension screw influences the frame angle of the derailleur. If this setting is unsatisfactory, it can generate imprecise shifting. Transfer into the second extensive cog in the cassette. If the top pulley is almost near the largest cog, the “B” tension is insufficient. Strengthen the screw by revolving it clockwise to advance the pulley far away from the cassette.
2. Cable tension indexing
To do cable tension indexing, you will have to utilize the barrel adjuster. This device is normally located close-by where your cable pulls out of the housing on the rear derailleur.
When you spin the barrel regulator clockwise, you are screwing it inside and lessening the amount of gap in the middle of every end of the cable and, hence, lessening the tension on the cable. If you rotate the barrel adjuster counterclockwise, you are fastening it out and adding more space in between each end of the cable, and attach tension to the cable.
Remove cable tension up till the shift is efficient. Carry on with this procedure until shifting is trouble-free with no unreasonable noise.
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Even if you preserve your bike every day habitually, the chain will come to detach occasionally. It can occur for numerous reasons. One of the most familiar is a new chain on a shabby bike.
When you put a brand new chain on a bike that has parts that are eroded, it doesn’t lay entirely. It jumbles around when the tires spin and move and in due course, it will become loose or come off wholly. If this happens don’t worry; just tighten the chain of your bike using the instructions mentioned here and with the slightest effort it will fit properly and stop coming loose.
A spoiled derailleur can be the source of the problem on multi-geared bikes. If you are tightening your chain all the time on this kind of bike you have to check if the derailleur is bent or it is having dents. Always remember that the method for tightening a bike chain on a single-gear bike is dissimilar from, that of a multi-gear bike.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
How tight should a bike chain be?
The chain of a bike should be tight enough that it only permits you to move it up and down for half an inch. If there is no flexibility in the chain, it might be too tight. And a hanging chain is neither good too, so you are supposed to tighten the chain.
Is it better to tighten the chain or to replace it?
It depends, a chain can become loose because of being shabby and old, and so it is healthy for your bike to get a new changed chain. It will increase the life of your bike. The chains are not expensive for different models of bike. But, if you have bought a chin recently you should not change it, try tightening and diagnosing the problem, the bike should be good to go.
Why do bike chains become loose?
A bike chain that keeps loosening is often caused by the loosening of the rear axle or chain tensioning bolts. It can happen if a new chain is not being worn in enough, weak sprocket teeth, having tension that is too tight or even having the wrong size of your bike chain.