Sooner or later your mountain bike’s chain will either break or loosen. The good news is that it is fixable. You can do it yourself if you learn how to put a chain on a mountain bike. Below is guide on how to put a chain on your mountain bike if it has broken or how replace a slipped one.
Replacing a Broken chain
- Your chain may break and fall off completely. To replace it, you will need to purchase a new chain and gather various tools to get the job done. If you want to fix a broken one, look for a replacement chain to join the broken part. If replacing it entirely, the new chain will come with a replacement pin.
- If you choose to entirely replace the broken chain, begin with removing the-old one. Turn the pedal continuously slowly until the chain passes the sprockets and comes out. However, if it becomes difficult to remove it with your hands only, use a chain tool.
- Take a chain link and secure it on the teeth of the chain tool. Turn the chain tool handle to drive it down so that it pushes the pin out of the chain and you can remove it.
- Using a hanging hook or a bike rack elevate the bike so that the rear wheel is off the ground. If don’t have either, you can modify and use wood, blocks or boxes to elevate the bike. Once it is elevated, thread the chain to the rear derailleur.
- To achieve a good fit of the chain, consider the derailleur arrangement. If it has a cable connected for the shifting mechanism, shift to the highest gear and to the lowest gear for the front derailleur.
- Next, pull the chain through the rear derailleur. It is essential that you thread the chain appropriately for a smooth ride. Take the female end of-the chain and thread it around the bottom pulley and then around the top pulley. Ensure that the chain makes a smooth straight path through the derailleur.
- To thread the chain onto to the rear cassette, simply pull it over the smallest sprockets in the cassette. All along, ensure the chain remains threaded properly on the rear derailleur and now onto the smallest sprockets.
- Pull the chain to the front derailleur and turn the rear wheel to loosen the chain so that you have enough of it to fit on the front derailleur. Align the chain into the front sprockets. Stretch it out to make it tight and secure it on the teeth of the front sprocket.
- The final step is to connect the female end of the chain to the male. Technically, you should hook the pin on one end of the chain on to the other end. To secure it, rest the chain on the groove of the chain tool. Turn the handle of the tool and secure the chain well.
Additional tips for when you are putting a chain in a mountain bike
- Ensure that the pin protrudes an equal distance on either side of the link. This is because even a small misalignment of the chain can result to major functionality defects of your mountain bike.
- If you feel that this process is too complicated for you, there is no harm in taking the bike to a local bike shop. If you are interested to learn, stay and watch while the mechanic puts it on. The next time you can work with a friend who knows as you attempt to put and they correct you where necessary. With time you will be able to do it on your own.
- When putting a chain in a mountain bike, consider using a C-hook to hold both end of the chain in place so that you are not worrying about loosing the ends.
Replacing a slipped chain
Sometimes, the chain may slip off but not break. A slipped chain is easier to replace than a broken one. Since the chain is still routed to the rear and front derailleurs what you need to do is put the chain back to the sprockets. In most cases, the chain falls of the front sprocket but remains intact on both derailleurs.
The first step to replace is to first identify where the chain is jammed. To release the jammed chain, loosen the rear wheel enough to allow you to pull the chain out. To do so, push the arm of the rear derailleur forward to create a slack that is enough to thread the chain around the front sprockets. Replace the arm of the rear derailleur to ensure the chain is tight. Turn the pedals until the chain finds the gear they were in before they slipped and it starts running smoothly.
This guides you on how to put a chain on a mountain bike. Whether your chain breaks or slips, you do not have to be worried as you can actually replace it yourself. However, if you feel like you are not confident enough to do it on your own, consider taking the bike to a local bike shop or working with an experience cyclist to assist you.