How & When To Change A Chain On Your Road Bike

How & When To Change A Chain On Your Road Bike


(logo whooshing) – Maintaining a bike’s chain is something which is quite controversial with bike tech lovers out there because well, let’s face it, there are plenty of
different ways of doing so. The chain obviously, is ultra
important part of your bicycle because it allows you to
transfer the power from your legs through to your back wheel
so you can go forward. What we’re going to look at today though is why you would need to replace it and importantly, how to replace it. (funky electronica music) Why does your chain actually
need replacing then? Well, with every bit of pressure that you’re putting through the pedals, the lifespan of the chain is decreasing. Now there’s a common
misconception out there that chains actually stretch, which is not strictly true unless you’re putting an
incredible amount of watts through the pedals. Because let’s face it, those links and rivets and pins, they’re not going to be
easy to stretch, are they? Well, certainly not with my legs, but how does the chain wear? Well, as it’s moving around the cassette and the chain rings
with little bits of dirt getting involved inside
the rivets and the rollers essentially they’re acting
like a cut and paste and they’re beginning to wear away. Hence, the thought that
it could be stretch. When in actual fact, some parts are just getting
a little bit smaller. Hence, the love for a clean chain. Because a clean chain means
it going to last a bit longer. Now a chain that has excessive wear is not going to give
you good gear shifting. And that is an essential part
of bike riding as we all know. So why is it not going to do that? Well, the chain that’s worn isn’t gonna sit perfectly
on your cassette sprockets as well as your chain rings and in turn it’s actually
gonna wear out those components a lot faster than normal, because you’re trying to get
two things to work together that aren’t ideally suited. So that’s going to give
you more repairs to do. And also it’s going to cost
you more money along the line. (funky electronica music) Now there are a few different methods for you to actually use to check whether or not your chain needs replacing. And the first one is
probably the simplest, and arguably the cheapest because it’s not gonna cost you anything. But there is a downside,
it’s not deadly accurate. But how are we going to do it? Well, first of all put your chain in the biggest chain ring at the front. And then in the rear, put on the sprocket with the least number of teeth. So in my case between
52 and 11 at the rear. And then move around to
three o’clock position on the chain ring, and pull away the chain from the teeth. Now if you can see daylight
through the teeth, like that. But it’s across three or four teeth, then in my opinion, it
definitely needs replacing. Now another method of measuring chain wear is using something like this, a handy little chain
checker from Partsall. Where you essentially put these two pins in between a length of chain and then with this little gauge, it actually let’s you know whether or not your chain needs replacing. (funky electronica music) Choosing your chain is a
pretty straight forward affair. Or at least the first bit is. So how do you do it exactly? First of all, count the number of sprockets
on your rear cassette. So in my case there’s 11,
so I need an 11 speed chain. Now the next bit isn’t
necessarily that straight forward. But a general rule of thumb, is that the more money you spend, the lighter the chain is going to be because you’re going to have slotted pins which join the chain together, as well as slotted links,
which are part of the chain. So in turn, you are going
to save some weight, the choice of that though,
is generally up to you. (funky electronica music) How long should your chain be then? Well, nine times out of 10, you’re going to replacing like for like, so you’re going to have the
same number of chain links. It’s only when you start
putting things into the mix, such as crazy big chain
rings or even a tandem where you start to have to think more and more about the
number of chin links involved. But luckily we aren’t going there today. (funky electronica music) So how are we going to
remove that chain then? Well, in most cases, you’re probably going to
need something like this, which is a chain tool, which is very specific for the actual job. But before you rush out and buy one, have a look at your chain and make sure you don’t have a master link
which you can see right now. So master link, while you’re going to need
something different for those. Now some people they
can remove them by hand by sliding them against each other, working the two sides
in opposite directions. But it’s more than likely as well that you are going to need some of these, a pair of master link pliers, ’cause that makes the job
much easier to remove, as well as in most cases, install too. So you’re going to use
a chain tool, are you? Well, let’s talk about that anyway because it’s quite unique, isn’t it? You certainly don’t see tools like this. How does it work though? Well you can see here there is a pin, which moves in as you turn the handle. And then with the chain in this slot here, you can actually remove
the joining pins or rivets from the bushes and rollers of your chain allowing you to split it. And then the same tool actually allows you to rejoin a chain with those rivets and pins. Cool, isn’t it? How do we know then, how much
chain to fit to your bike? Well, in most cases you
will be doing like for like. So the simplest method is
to grab your old chain, and then you’re new chain and line up the links perfectly with one another so that all of the rivets are matching. And then when you find
the end of the old chain, that’s where the end of
your new chain needs to be. Now the other tried an tested method is with your bike chain less like so, put the ridge railure into
position for the lowest sprocket. So when I say lowest I mean the one with the most number of
teeth, so in my case, 28. And then put the front darailia in position for the big chain ring, so just hovering over that. And then you’re going to need to gradually feed your new chain through
the ridge railure cage. Just be aware that obviously
there are little tabs in there which keep the chain
running in it’s right place. And then once it’s
worked it’s way through, actually slot that
chain onto the cassette. Bring it forward onto your chain ring. Like so. And then pull the chains
toward each other. Now as you can see, this chain is pretty much spot on already. Because once I join that, I
will be adding little length in. I am going to take out a length because it does need to
be just a tad shorter. What you don’t want though is for the angle of the
ridge railing to be like that because if it’s too short, you aren’t gonna get good shifting. And in the worst case, you
do find yourself in that gear and the chain is really short, believe me, that can actually lock up and you can’t carry on pedaling or certainly can’t change gear just because there was a
tension through the chain. So on the flip side, if
the chain was too long, well, we joined it how it came, it would be looking like that,
which is not ideal, is it? So, you really want the chain
to be something like this. So you could in fact
measure a chain like that, but the best way of doing
it certainly is to do it with the chain on the big chain ring and the big sprocket in the rear. So most chains they either come
with a joining pin or rivet or a master link, so first up the master link, if that’s what you’ve got, you want both ends of
the chain that you join to look like this, so it’s the internal fix of the chain. Where as if you’re using
a pin to join them, you’re gonna have one
internal and one external, so just be really aware of that before you attempt joining them. Now here’s a little tip for you, before you rejoin that chain because sometimes there can
be quite a bit of tension from both the chain being
fitted onto the chain ring as well as the spring
in the rear derailleur. So, hang the chain down like so and then you can simply join
it with that master link or the actual fresh new pin
without the added stress of trying to wrestle against
the tension of the chain. Now, if you do have a master link, I suggest you add in
one section at a time, so one side into each whole and then you just slide
them in against each other. Job done. So, the other method
is using one of these, especially for a Schmarner chain. This is a connecting pin. As you can see, it has a blunt end and a slightly pointy end. So with your two bits of chain,
so one end and the other end put the internal width into the external and then just put in first
of all the pointier end into the link of chain, then we’re gonna need chain torque to actually push the
connecting pin further in. So, with the pin now in place, you want to slot it
inside your chain torque. And then slowly wind in the handle, so you start to feel some resistance and then gently, just turn by turn, very small amount like so because these lengths well, they’re not cheap
are they, let’s face it, slowly push that pin into place. They go in pretty easily as you can. The last bit, you are gonna
have a little bit of resistance, so you can check just on
top of the chain tool there to make sure that the pointy bit, because you can see that
there’s a little bit of a joint between the pointy bit and
the actual link itself, so just make sure that the slight little joint
actually popped through the other side of the chain. So, with this pointy
little connecting pin, what we’re gonna do is snap
it, that’s right, snap it. The first time I ever did this
I was a little bit concerned thinking I’ve broken it, but it’s designed to be
broken, so let’s do it. Grab yourself some pliers, grab hold of it and then just work against it and sometimes it’ll take a
couple different attempts. And as you can see, there
it is, it snapped off. Now on the inside of that chain link, you want to make sure
that that connecting pin that we’ve just installed
does pop out slightly. So in my case, it does need
to just go out a fraction, it’s so so small. Don’t get carried away, instead reinsert the chain
inside your chain tool and then gradually, and it only requires just
the tiniest little amounts, just push it through a tiny little bit. Now, if you have got
yourself a stiff link, so where it’s a little bit not
quite as smooth as the rest, wrap the chain on each side and then simply flex it from side to side and that’ll free up, so
it’s as smooth as the rest. Now as ever, like and share
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