How to size a bike chain – Step By Step Guide

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Now all modern bicycles chains are made of steel plates, a rivet or pin, sprocket teeth, and a roller. The rivets hold both the plates together, and rivet and sprocket teeth pivot freely with the roller movement. Typically all chains come 1.5″ pitch, but this may differ according to the bicycle size and models.

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Two Types of Bicycle Chains are Available

One-Speed Chains:

One-speed chain means the chain used in 1st sprocket on the crankset and 2nd sprocket on the wheel. It’s not designed for multiple rear and internal hub gear to increase the speed. It’s also often known as an “eight-inch chain.”

Derailleur Chains:

While the derailleur chain is completely designed for moving sprocket to sprocket with the no of rear cog increases. It’s also well-known as a “3/32-inch chain.” Most of the bikes including mountain, hybrid, road even commuter bikes chains are derailleur chains.

How To Size A Bike Chain

How Do Bike Chain Works or Gear Works?

The chain mainly connects the cogs on the rear cassette and front teeth of chainrings. As a result, while pedaling the chainrings and cogs turn or move the wheels and the bike starts moving forward. Here, chainrings are nothing but crankset and cogs are the gears.

What size bike chain do I need?

It’s indispensable to know why you are using a bike and how you are going to use it. Then you can select the bike chain straightforward. Here is a table of different bike chain configurations with a general application so that you can make the right choice.

Bike size chain

apart from chain size, chain side plate size, shape, derail lures, shift levers, and rear sprockets are also essential factors for fixing a good quality bicycle chain.

How Long Should a Bike Chain Last?

Bike Chain length

It depends on the rider using preference, maintenance, types of the road he likes to ride most, lubing system, cleanness, and all together taking care of the bike. 

Suppose if you buy a new factory-installed bike chain and do a routine check-up of spraying some grease, clean both exterior and interior parts or components, wipe out excess oil and more importantly do this once every two weeks at least we sure your bike chain will be newer as always and cover the desired mileage always.

 However, it’s good to know that a brand new chain can last up to 500 miles to 5000 miles without any maintenance.

Why Does My Bike Chain Keep Falling Off?

Have you ever heard of or experience sudden bike damages or fallen to crash? Well, it should not be expected, but the sudden falling of a bike chain can create a terrible accident. 

So, we must know to stop that. However, a chain falling off from the chainset if the front derailleur is loosely fixed or the “high” or “low” level screws are loose adjusted. The other reason you might have why does my bike chain keeps slipping and falling off? It also happens for the same reason that means misalignment of screws and front derailleurs. 

But it’s considered to be a silly mistake and can solve just by giving proper tight to the bike chain and other screws.

How Often Should a Bike Chain Replacement?

You might feel difficult to change your bike chain if it’s get damaged or you want to replace the old one with the new one. But, it’s not that tuff job of what are you thinking. Actually, it’s easy, and you can do it by yourself within half an hour. To do this, you need:

  • An old bike chain
  • A new bike chain
  • And a chain cutting tool.


  • Take out an old chain from the bike: pop the back wheel out If there is a quick link push the two plates slightly and then slide them.
  • Then carefully pull the chain off.
  • For sizing, Keep two chains in the same position and cut them with the cutting tool:
  • Place old and new chains vertically together and check whether the two chain ends are different or not. That is one point that should be narrow, and others should be wide so that they can fit together.
  • Just check the no of teeth, and the teeth position of both chains are the same. Then cut the new chain with a cutter
  • For replacing set-up new chain in the bike:
  • Wrap the new chain in a big sprocket, passing through both derailleurs, and then add two chainrings together and tight or rejoin it with the special joining pin.

Can You Shorten a Bike Chain?

Yes, certainly you can shorten a bike chain by following steps as mentioned above

Bike Chain Buying Guide:

  • While buying a new bike chain, you must look following issues:
  • Lightweight body.
  • Higher dust, rust and weather resistant.
  • Attractive design and appearance.
  • Nonstinging and easy clean to cloths.
  • Lower noise at high engagement.

Bike Chain Cleaner and Cleaning Tools

Bike chain cleaner and cleaning tools

Nowadays there are lots of greases and lubricate solutions are available in the market for chain cleaning. It’s very cheap, but it comes in small amount of bottles. Still, we would suggest if you know how to clean a bike chain by using household products such as using detergent powder or essential oil, etc.

Final verdict:

A bike chain is a fundamental part of a bicycle and like a seat, brakes, saddle its also considered to take care of massively.  With this, cyclists also grow a habit of using the correct size of a bike chain and replace if needed. We expect you to get to know enough about bike chains from this article and apply if you face the same problem in the future.

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