The chain is not only responsible for power transmission if you ride a bike with derailleur gears, it is also responsible for smooth gear changes . The chain of the bike is exposed to enormous forces, so it must not only be built absolutely precisely and fit the teeth of sprockets and chainrings, but also be made of resistant material. The chain is one of the parts subject to wear and tear, so at some point you will inevitably need a new chain for your bike. Here you can find out how to find a suitable chain for your mountain bike, road bike or trekking bike and what you can do to make your chain last as long as possible.
When is it time for a new bike chain?
How long a bike chain lasts varies from bike to bike. The lifespan of a chain is given as around 1,000 to 4,000 km of riding it depends on various individual factors. The more dust or sand you have in your transmission, the faster the material of the chain, cassette and chainring will wear off. This means that bikes that are used a lot off-road, mountain bikes such as downhill bikes, enduros, dirt bikes or trail bikes, but also gravel bikes, need a new chain much faster than a city bike. Of course, the quality of a bicycle chain also has a great influence on its durability, good material simply lasts longer. Also well maintained material lasts longer, if you give your chain some wellness every now and then, it will wear out less quickly.
If you notice that your drivetrain isn't running smoothly anymore, if the gear change sticks or the chain jumps down more and more often, you should look into buying a new chain. At our bike tools you can order a chain gauge with which you can determine the degree of wear very precisely.
In general, it makes sense to change the chain too early rather than too late, because fitting a new chain is a relatively minor operation. However, a worn chain rubs hard against the teeth of sprockets and chainrings, so a major repair is quickly due.
Find a bike chain for your MTB, city bike or road bike
Basically, bicycle chains differ into chains for hub gears and for derailleurs.
- For a bike with hub gears you need a 1-speed chain, these bike chains come in wide for wide hub gears or as narrow 1-speed chain for narrow hub gears. If you're not sure whether you're riding a wide or narrow hub gear, you should order a wide 1-speed chain because it will always fit. Most children's bikes have a hub gear, also many city bikes and urban bikes ride with hub gears..
- On a bike with derailleur the choice is a bit more complicated, here you have to count the sprockets on the rear hub and buy a chain that matches the number. If your bike has 9 sprockets, you need a 9-speed chain, if your bike has 10 sprockets, you need a 10-speed chain and so on. Mountain bikes, road bikes, and trekking bikes usually have derailleurs.
- Fixies or single-speed bikes have no gears at all, the 1-speed chains for hub gears usually fit on the fixie.
If you are not an experienced mechanic, you should always buy a new chain from the same manufacturer as the rest of the drivetrain. Components from different manufacturers are often incompatible!
There are two systems to lock a new bike chain: the chain is fastened with a chain lock or a chain rivet pin .
The right length of chain for your bike.
Bicycle chains are usually longer than necessary when you buy them, they are then shortened to the appropriate length when you install them. You can just put a replacement chain next to the old chain, that way you can determine the correct length. However, you may still need to shorten your new chain later, as a new bike chain will always elongate a little during the first few miles.
You can also determine the correct length without an old chain for comparison:
- Lay the new chain on a chain shift around the largest chainring and sprocket.
- Lay the new chain on a hub gear around the chainring and the one existing sprocket.
- Tighten the chain, it should overlap by two links, then the length is correct.
- With a Fully, make sure you don't shorten the rear triangle through the shock when you tighten the chain.
The bike chain on the e-bike.
On the e-bike, the chain should be treated with special care, because it not only drives the bike and is part of the circuit, it runs through the motor and is therefore in direct contact with the most expensive component of an e-bike. For this reason, the chain of an e-bike is not only affected by the forces of the pedaling motion of the rider, the motor also transmits its thrust to the chain, so chains for e-bikes are made of even more resistant material and can not be replaced by a normal bicycle chain. E-bike chains are therefore marked accordingly.
In order not to impair the function of your pedelec drive and not to lose the manufacturer's warranty, you should rather leave the change of a chain on the e-bike to a workshop.
Which manufacturer makes the best bike chains?
You can find bicycle chains from different manufacturers in our online shop. Which of them makes the race, is on the one hand a matter of taste, but of course also a question of price, because the price tags of the chains differ enormously. Of course, the well-known premium manufacturers are among them, you'll find bike chains from Muc Off or Izumi.
For everything somehow related to bike drivetrains, SRAM is known to supply the stuff biker dreams are made of, even when it comes to its bike chains, SRAM has a few exceptional parts in store. The Eagle drive is legendary, and you can choose between golden chains or chains with a shimmering rainbow look. Other manufacturers like KMC also offer coloured or black bicycle chains. And of course Shimano as the largest component manufacturer in the world, also has a say in chain matters.
Chain care made easy
With good care, you can significantly extend the life of your bike chain. Here we show you the 3 most important steps.
- Cleaning your bike chain.
You should clean your bike's chain every once in a while, especially if you've really gone all out off-road on your MTB or gravel bike, your drivetrain deserves a wash. A thorough bike cleaning is also in order after the road salt season. A soft cloth, warm water and bicycle cleaner work best here. Of course, you can also invest in special brushes, a chain cleaner or a cleaning hook. Now would also be a good time to check for wear with a chain gauge .
By the way, we also have environmentally friendly bike cleaners in the shop for you, whose ingredients are biodegradable.
With a shower - please not with the high-pressure cleaner - you can now rinse off dirt and cleaner. After that, let your bike dry.
Turn the crank backwards, evenly applying chain oil to the top of the bike chain. With a few more turns, you can spread the oil between two fingers. Continue to turn the crank for a while to allow the oil to spread. After a rest period, remove oil residue with a cloth.
If you ride disc brakes, you must make sure that the chain oil does not get on the brake discs, because oily disc brakes do not brake!.
The special case: a bike with a belt drive.
Not every cyclist feels like chain maintenance, cleaning and replacement! Therefore, for some years now, there has been an alternative to the chain drive with the belt drive. Instead of a chain made of metal parts, here a belt made of carbon fibers runs along wider gears. These drives are light, very quiet and also the abrasion is significantly lower than with a bicycle chain. Since belt drives can only be combined with hub gears, they are mainly used on city bikes.
Bicycle chain and tools in online shop.
Not only can you find the right chain for your bike here at BMO, we also have bike cleaner and chain oil for chain maintenance and all tools to help you fit a new chain to your bike. Take a look around the shop, you can order everything to keep your bike in working order here.