LINKS TO SOME OF MY OTHER STUFF
Sunday, August 06, 2006
FIXING A BROKEN BICYCLE CHAIN
Fixing a broken bicycle chain is pretty easy. If you read this blog you probably went out and bought your chaintool. That's all you need. This tool works with every type of chain. In this example we are fixing a BMX bicycle chain. There are two types of chains, chains for bikes that don't have multiple exterior gears like a BMX, 3 or more internal speed hubs and coaster brake bikes(Lowriders, Musclebikes, Beach Cruisers, Choppers, etc...). Then you have your multiple exterior gear bicycle chain for 10 to 24 speeds(which I think is insane, but that's for another article). These chains are found on road racers, mountain bikes, chain store specials and they also come in different sizes. The main concern being the width of the chain. A 15 speed chain will be slightly larger than a 24 speed chain. Tell your local bike shop what you need and they will give you the proper size.
Now back to the task at hand. If you are replacing a chain, the new one will probably be longer than you need. Just install it on the smallest gear at the pedals and the smallest gear at the wheel to determine what length you will need and that the derailler is not tensionned too much. The BMX, Sturmey Archer, Nexus and Coaster brake crowd doens't have to worry about what gear to put it on, just make sure that your rear wheel is installed at the proper place when measuring and be prepared to make some minor adjustements.
Links are removed by pushing out the retaining pin almost completely from the "female" link and rejoined with the "male" link by pushing the pin back in.
Now that you have cut(or "broken") your chain to the proper length, leave it on the wheel gear and remove it from the gear at the pedals(it's called the chainring). Now you have some slack to reconnect your chain. Once you're done, replace the chain on a few top gear teeth of the chainring and pedal forward. Voila! You are done and ready to go.
If you have a broken chain, you can probably get away with removing a link or two. It is easier to get away with this on a derailler chain since the tension is variable, but much harder on a one gear bike like a BMX that as no flex in the chain, the rear wheel will have to be repositionned in order for this to work. The cause might be abuse on your part, a very tired chain or just simple bad luck. If you ride a lot or depend on your bike to work good, spend a few bucks on a new chain.
The only difference between fixing a broken chain and replacing it, is that you remove the broken link and toss it. If the chain is too short and won't fit, you have to add a link. They don't sell those, so you have to get a link from a spare chain or simply buy and install a new one.
Check this post to see the chaintool in action.
Tip of the day: Always keep an old chain or those extra links left over from a new chain replacement, as spares. You'll never now when you'll need them.
Til next time, ride safely.