Biking is an exciting sport that involves riding bicycles off-road, rocks, mountains, and rough terrains. As you bike, bike chains loosen with time due to the rear wheel getting closer to the crank, chain stretch that damages chain links, teeth, and derailleurs.
When chain links wear out, the chain keeps slipping from the gears. It can be frustrating to occasionally put back the chain every time you ride. It can be a nightmare riding on such a bike.
In the rest of the article, we will show you how to tighten the chain again.
The bike chain is a principal part of any bike because it is always in use. Without it, you can not propel your bike forward. If you ride it regularly, it can become loose. Consequently, the pedaling becomes less smooth, and you have to use more energy pedaling faster until you tighten the chain.
How do you know your bike has a loose chain? If the chain is sagging down, displaces over an inch once you pull it downwards or upwards, you need to tighten it up.
Why You Should Learn How To Tighten A Chain
Mastering the art of repairing your bike components is very important. Some reasons are,
- helps maintain the right chain tension to prevent gears from slipping, skipping, and jumping.
- keeps your bike safe from damages and derailment to the gears that would be caused when the chain jumps
- Saves you from secondary costs that you’d incur by sending the bike to a bike servicer.
- Builds confidence. Kills any doubts. Think of an instance where your bike chain fails you while outside biking 20 miles from your bike center.
Tightening a bike chain is a simple process anyone can do with the right tools and practice. If this is your first time, we’ve got you covered. There’s also some information on what to do in case you lack the tools.
How To Tighten A Bike With A Fixie
Bikes that have a single gear rely on a cog but lack a freewheel. The spoke turns the rear wheel immediately when you cycle.
These types of bikes are a good choice for those who wish to cycle for fitness because there are no gears to cycle with ease and you have to cycle to keep moving.
What you’ll need:
- Socket wrench/monkey wrench
- Pair of gloves
- Bike stand
- Bike lubricant
Alternatively, you can get a bike repair tool kit from Amazon.
- Turn your bike upside down
Since fixes do not come with a derailleur, you have to choose an easy position in which you can undo your parts freely. An upside-down position is preferred so that the rear wheel is in the air. You should take the right wrench ready for the next step.
- Loosen the rear wheel
It’s good to note that you have to loosen the bolts in the rear axle that holds the spoke so that it’s possible to set the wheel. Don’t open the nuts fully, just make sure the axle can move back and forth.
- Pull back the tire
Carefully and slightly move the tile backward you feel the tension of the chain with your hands. You should observe the wheel so that it remains balanced or at the middle; move the same distance on both fork-ends. The process should be easy if the bike has quick-release levers.
Identify the right tension. If the chain doesn’t get tighter, consider replacing it.
- Tighten the wheel
Make sure the wheel is right enough, just like it was before. Once you’re through, you can take a ride to test if the chain fell back in place.
How To Tighten A Bike Chain With Gears
We’ve just covered how you can tighten the chain of a single-geared bike. The process is much simpler for a geared bike because of the help of a derailleur. Multi geared bikes have cogged freewheels that enable riders to choose a gear depending on the terrain.
Sometimes, the derailleur loses its springiness and can no longer maintain the chain’s tension. In most cases, it will need to be replaced. But if you believe your bike derailleur isn’t old enough, try tightening it with a quick process below.
- Place your bike in an easy to reach position of the parts
You don’t have to put it upside down. Lean your bike against an anti-slip wall if it lacks a stand.
- Take the derailleur screw
There’s a screw at the back of the derailleur. To tighten the chain, turn the screw clockwise as you feel the chain tension.
- Adjust the rear wheel
To do this easily, start by pushing the chain to the small gear. On the chain side of the wheel, move back the wheel to tighten the chain. Pushing the chain to the small gear helps you not to make the chain too tight for the derailleur spring to sustain.
In each adjustment, lower down the brake lever to test if the chain has enough tension. Lift it back and tighten much further till the tension is set right.
- Tighten the wheel and derailleur
The last thing should be to hold the parts back together as they were. Make sure the tire is tight.
Use your rag to wipe out the grease on your bicycle. Gloves protect your hands from possible injuries and grease.
How To Tighten A Bike Chain Without Tools
Missing all the special tools should not let you suffer from putting back your chain after slipping frequently. There is a simple DIY way to tighten the bike chain.
First, we know if a chain keeps slipping away, it means any of these:
- The rear wheel is too forward hence closer to the crank
- The derailleur is broken on loose
- The chain is old(wear and tear)
To slide your rear wheel backward at home, get a:
- Thin nail
So, you’ll use these tools to forcefully pull the wheel out a little bit out of the fork.
- Hold your nail by the head using pliers and insert it in the dropout(part in the bike frame where the axle of the rear wheel is attached).
- Gently position the wheel by levering it using the nail towards the fork-end. You should notice the chain tightening up if the nuts aren’t so tight. Use a hammer to pressure the axle to slide to the fork-end.
This DIY process requires extreme care because you can easily get hurt when the nail slides or even break the gears.
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