How To Shorten A Bike Chain?

Bikers know that a well-fitted bike chain is essential for a better riding experience. It will help to keep your bike in good condition, ensuring a smooth and safe ride.

But, when your bike’s chain is too long, it can cause difficulties when shifting gears. Moreover, the chain might get caught on the frame or wheels, resulting in a fall. Hence, you’ll need to shorten the chain to avoid these problems.

Don’t worry. It is a straightforward process that can be done without using any special equipment or skills.

This blog post will show you how to shorten a bike chain. And anyone can complete this task regardless of their level of expertise. Follow the steps outlined below, and you’ll have your desired chain length in no time!

The Best Ways to Shorten A Bike Chain

There are a few different ways to shorten a bike chain, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the most popular methods.

How to Shorten A Bike Chain without Tool? Step-by-Step Guide

If your bike chain is too long and you don’t have the right tools to shorten it, there is nothing to be concerned about. There’s a quick and easy way to do it without any special equipment. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to shorten a bike chain without any tools:

Step 1: Unscrew The Pin

Remove the Master Link from the Chain. This is the link that connects the two ends of the chain. To do this, unscrew the retaining pin with your fingers or a pair of pliers.

Step 2: Take Out The Excess Links

Next, you’ll need to remove one or more links from the chain. The number will depend on how long the chain is and how much shorter you want to make it.

Start by pushing one of the side plates out with your thumb to remove a link. Once the plate is moved out, the pin holding it in place will be exposed. Use a pair of pliers to remove it, then slide the link out of the chain. Repeat this process until you’ve removed enough links.

Step 3: Screw It in Place

Once you’ve removed the desired number of links, it’s time to reattach the master link. To do this, line up the links’ holes with the corresponding pins in the chain. Next, insert the retaining pin, and screw it in place.

How to Shorten A Bike Chain with A Chain Tool? Step-by-Step Guide

Chain tools are essential for anyone who wants to work on their bike chain. It is a small, hand-held device that removes and installs links in a chain.

Here’s how to use it to shorten your bike chain:

Step 1: Remove The Master Link

First, you’ll need to remove the master link from the chain. To do this, insert the chain tool into one of the side plates of the master link and push it until the pin pops out. Then, repeat this process on the other side plate.

Step 2: Determine

After that, you’ll need to decide how many links from the chain you need to eliminate. This will be determined by the size of your bike and the length of your legs.

Finally, subtract 10 percent from the distance between the two chainrings (the giant gears at the front of the bike) to determine how many links you’ll need to remove.

Step 3: Use The Tool

Once you know how many links to remove, use the chain tool to remove those unwanted links from your chain.

Step 4: Finish Up

Finally, reattach the master link to one end of the chain and connect the other end to the bike. And that’s it! You’ve now successfully shortened your bike chain.

That’s it! Your chain is now shortened and ready to use.

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How to Avoid Damaging Your Bike Chain When Shortening?

When shortening a bike chain, a simple mistake can cause damage to your chain or gears. Hence, it is essential to while performing this job. Here are a few tips:

Use The Right Tools

You will need a chain tool and a bench vise to shorten a bike chain. Make sure you have the correct tools for the job, or you may end up causing damage.

Take Your Time

Don’t try to rush the process. If you’re not confident in your ability to shorten a bike chain, take it to a professional. Trying to do it yourself could lead to mistakes and further damage.

Lubricate The Links

Before you shorten the chain, lubricate the links with some light oil. This will help keep the chain moving smoothly and protect it from wear and tear.

Keep It Tight

When you’re finished shortening the chain, make sure it is tight against the derailleur and cogs. If it’s too loose, it could fall off and cause damage or an accident.

The Aftercare of Shortening A Bike Chain

You’ve just shortened your bike chain, and it’s time for the aftercare. This is important because it will rust and eventually break if you don’t take care of your chain properly. Here are some tips for you:

  • Wipe the chain down with a clean cloth after every ride. It will remove any dirt or grime that has accumulated on the chain.
  • Lubricate the chain with a bike-specific lube. This will help protect the chain from rust and keep it running smoothly.
  • Check the chain regularly for wear and tear. If you notice any significant erode, replace the chain immediately.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your chain in good condition and avoid costly repairs down the road.

The Best-Shortened Bike Chain Tools

If you cycle regularly, you’ll know that one of the most annoying things that can happen is your chain coming off. Not only is it a pain to have to stop and fix it, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.

For this situation, the best way is to use a bike chain tool. These handy little devices make it quick and easy to set your chain and are relatively inexpensive.

There are a few bike chain tools, but the Park Tool CT-3.2 and the Pedro’s Chain Tool are the most popular. Both of these tools are designed to easily remove and replace the chain and come with clear instructions so you can get the job done quickly.

Park Tool CT-3.2

This device is a fantastic option if you are searching for a cheaper bike chain tool. It’s constructed using high-quality materials and is simple to use.

Pedro’s Chain Tool

Another excellent choice, with a few extra features that make it well worth the slightly higher price. It has a built-in chain hook so you can quickly remove your chain and a chain wear indicator to let you know when it’s time to replace your chain.

So, what’s the best bike chain tool for you? It depends on your budget and your needs. If you’re looking for an essential tool to get the job done, the Park Tool CT-3.2 is an excellent option. On the other hand, the Pedro’s Chain Tool is a great choice if you’re looking for a tool with a few extra features.

Frequently Asked Question

1. How often should you shorten your bike chain?

Depending on how often you ride your bike, you may need to shorten your chain every few months. However, if you notice that your chain is starting to feel loose, it’s probably time for a new one.

2. What kind of problems can a too-long bike chain cause?

If your bike’s chain is too long, it might prevent you from shifting correctly. The chain can also get caught on the frame or wheels, causing a crash.

3. Is it better to have a bike chain that is too long or too short?

It depends on personal preferences and the type of bike you are riding. For example, some people prefer to have a bike chain that is slightly long so they can adjust it as needed, while others prefer to have a shorter chain that is less likely to come loose. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide what works best for them.

Can Shortening the Bike Chain Solve the Issue of the Derailleur Hitting the Spokes?

Shortening the bike chain may not necessarily fix the issue of the derailleur hitting the spokes. Although it could help reduce chain slap, a longer chain might be needed to accommodate gear changes. A thorough assessment by a professional can determine the root cause of the problem and provide a suitable solution for fixing bicycle woes.

Final Say

Now that you know how to shorten a bike chain taking the necessary precautions to avoid damaging the chain or gears is essential. Make sure you have the correct tools and take your time during the process. Lubricate the links before shortening, and keep the chain tight against the derailleur and cogs when you’re finished.

If you’re not confident in your ability to do it yourself, take it to a professional. With these tips, you can safely shorten your bike chain without damage!

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