Maintaining a properly functioning chain on your mountain bike is crucial for smooth and efficient pedaling. A worn or damaged chain can cause shifting issues, decreased power transfer, and even damage to your bike’s drivetrain components. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps for removing an old chain, cleaning and installing a new chain, and offer some tips for maintaining your chain.
Tools and supplies you’ll need:
- Chain tools or pliers
- Chain lube or degreaser
- New chain
- Wrench or adjustable wrench
- Scrub brush or toothbrush (optional)
Step 1: Removing the old chain Before you can install a new chain, you'll need to remove the old one. Here's how to do it:
- Shift your bike’s gears so that the chain is on the smallest chainring (front) and smallest cog (rear). This will create slack in the chain, making it easier to remove.
- Use your chain tool or pliers to push the pin out of one of the chain links. Alternatively, you can use a wrench to loosen a stubborn chain link by turning the bolt counterclockwise.
- With the pin removed, you should be able to gently wiggle the chain off of the bike. If the chain is particularly stubborn, you can try breaking it by pulling the two ends of the chain away from each other. Just be careful not to damage the chainring or cog when doing this.
Step 2: Cleaning the chain Before installing a new chain, it's a good idea to clean the old one. A clean chain will shift better and last longer than a dirty one. Here's how to clean your chain:
- If your chain is particularly dirty, you can use a degreaser to loosen up the grime. Simply apply the degreaser to the chain, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub the chain with a scrub brush or toothbrush.
- If your chain is only slightly dirty, you can simply wipe it down with a rag or paper towel.
- Once the chain is clean, be sure to dry it off before applying chain lube.
Step 3: Installing the new chain Now it's time to install the new chain on your bike. Here's how to do it:
- Shift your bike’s gears to the smallest chainring and cog again to create slack in the chain.
- Thread the chain through the rear derailleur and around the largest cog.
- Shift the derailleur to the smallest cog to create more slack in the chain.
- Line up the ends of the chain and insert the pin using your chain tool or pliers. Alternatively, you can use a wrench to tighten the bolt on the chain link. Just be sure to not overtighten the bolt, as this can cause the chain link to become brittle and break.
- Shift the gears back to the middle chainring and cog to take up any excess slack in the chain. You can fine-tune the chain tension by using the barrel adjuster on the derailleur.
Step 4: Finishing up Now that you have a new chain installed on your bike, here are a few tips for maintaining it:
- Lube your chain regularly. This will help to reduce friction and wear on the chain and drivetrain components.
- Clean your chain regularly, especially if you ride in dirty or muddy conditions. A clean chain will shift better and last longer than a dirty one.
- Inspect your chain regularly for wear. You can use a chain wear tool to determine if your chain needs to be replaced. A chain is typically considered worn out when it stretches to the point where it can no longer be tightened properly.
- Avoid cross-chaining. This is when the chain is angled at extreme angles, such as being in the largest chainring and cog or the smallest chainring and cog. This can cause excess wear on the chain and drivetrain components.
- Replace your chain if it becomes worn out. A worn chain can cause shifting issues, decreased power transfer, and damage to your bike’s drivetrain components.
By following these tips, you can help to prolong the lifespan of your chain and keep your mountain bike running smoothly. In addition to changing the chain, be sure to perform regular maintenance on your bike, such as cleaning and lubricating the derailleurs, replacing worn out cables and housing, and checking the tightness of bolts. By taking care of your bike, you’ll be able to enjoy many miles of smooth and efficient rides.
I hope this detailed blog post on how to put a chain on a mountain bike has been helpful. If you have any questions or need further guidance, feel free to ask!