Posted April 14, 2012 by Adam in mountain bike maintenance

Bicycle Chain Replacement – How to tell when your chain needs replacing and what to replace it with

Part 1 & 2 of chain maintenance looked at cleaning and lubricating your chain.

backClick back to view Part 2: Chain Lubrication

No matter how good a quality your chain is, it will eventually wear out and you will need a bicycle chain replacement done. How quickly this will happen depends on how well you look after it (with regular cleaning and lubrication), the quality of the chain, how much riding you do and how smoothly you shift gears. If you have a chain tool, it is very easy to do yourself

There is a common misconception that as a chain gets old it “stretches”. What actually happens is that the rollers themselves wear. As the rollers wear they change shape; this in turn changes the shape of the cassette cog and chainring teeth.

You will find some guys will have their bicycle chain replacement done every 6-8 weeks; before it has a chance to wear out. They figure it is cheaper to replace a number of chains than it is to replace a worn out drive train.

Most of us just wait until we hear funny noises and the gears start to skip; then we replace everything.

How to Check Your Chain

To check your chain for wear, put it under tension and hold a ruler along the top. Any 12 full links (from pin to pin) should measure exactly 12 inches long (30.5cm). If your 12 links measure anything over 12 1/8 inches (30.8cm), chuck it out and get a new one.

Click next to find out what chain will give you the most bang for your bucknext