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How to Fix a Slipped Bike Chain? – A Quick & Easy Guide


Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

how to fix a slipped bike chain

One of the most annoying mishaps when cycling is when the chain fell off bike unexpectedly. Without no one around to help, you might panic a little. But, it is actually rather easy to put a bike chain back on.

Here is a little step-by-step guide on how to fix a slipped bike chain, and these tips and instructions will come in handy for all who want and need to fix the bicycle chain when there’s a mishap while on the road.

Step-by-Step Instruction

chain-slips-on-bike

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just learning, odds are you’ve experienced the frustration of a dropped bike chain.

Step 1. Check the drive chain

To fix a bike chain, you must check first if you are able to identify the bike chain problems. If there isn’t anything unusual or major issues with the links like a broken bike chain, you can proceed with the steps down below.

Step 2. Downshift your gears

put-a-bike-chain-back-on

Mountain bike with gears should be put into the lowest gear first before we do anything. If the bike chain fell off front gears, you can determine gear 1, or the lowest gear, while checking if the chain is directly on the smallest cog from the front while the back part should be at the largest cog.

Once you have downshifted your gear, try pedaling until your chain realigns by itself.

If there’s no way to spin the wheel or fix your chain through pedaling, it seems like you still have some steps you need to do.

Step 3. Position your bicycle

Flip the bicycle upside down for a better view of your chain and bike chain derailleur. You may want to put a towel under the bike if you want to keep your workspace clean, else you can just lie the upside-down bike flat on the ground or a table.

Step 4. Put back the chain in place

reattach-a-bike-chain

  • With your hand, turn the derailleur cage and loosen it so the chain bites into the teeth of the largest chain ring once you lift and place it there.

In case your bike has a special knob for the front derailleur, just make it so that the derailleur will be placed in the center position.

  • Just like in step 2, pedal your bike to realign the chain to its rightful place. This may take time and patience, just make sure that the chains are in place when you pedal.
  • If pedaling won’t work, you may have to dirty your hands and manually palace your chain to at least 10-15 cog teeth and then slowly pedal backward so that the rest of the chain will follow the alignment.
  • Pedal forward twice to secure your newly aligned chain.

Step 5. Finish fixing

with-gears

Once the chain is in place and working fine, gently put back the chain derailleur, both front and rear derailleur, to its initial position. You can also wipe down the bike parts and remove any dirt and grime that may cause your chain to intentionally slip.

On another note, the chain on your bike would also greatly benefit from some lubrication in case your chains are not lubricated enough.

If this works, then you now fixed your chain without a tool.

The Bike Chain That Has Fallen Off Has Slipped Again! What Should I Do?

fix-a-bike-chain

If your chain slips on bike more frequently, your chain might be too loose/long or there may be a damaged link somewhere. You can fix a loose bike chain if you shorten your chain to fit your gear or remove the damaged part.

What You’ll Need:

  • Bike Chain Tool or Multi-Tool

Step 1: Remove a chain segment

fix-a-loose-bike-chain

The best way to adjust the chain is to use a chain tool and loosen the quick link that connects the chain to the pedals.

  1. Using your chain tool, locate the segment that you wish to remove. If you are not familiar with the chain parts, each segment should have an outer that lays atop an inner link, pins, rivets, and a bushing that is integrated with the inner link.
  2. Just place the rivet in line with the pin remover and turn the handle until the rivets are partially removed. Do not remove them completely to make the reattachment much easier.

Remember that you must remove the whole chain segment, including the outer and inner links. Not just one part!

Step 2: Attach the replacement link (For damaged links only)

If your chain length is correct and the problem is just a damaged link, you may have to attach a new master link to your chain.

Start by connecting one end of the new master link to the matching end in the chain. Once that is connected and secured, you can proceed with the next step below.

Step 3: Reattach a bike chain

chain-fell-off-bike

Clasp and pull both ends of the chain together and realign each rivet to the right position. Since you did not entirely remove the rivet in step 1, you just have to push the rivet inside the other link’s open hole.

It is important to realign the chains facing on the same correct side. If you reattach them the wrong way, you’ll have to remove and refix the links again.

Step 4: Test your chain

fix-bicycle-chain

In case your bike chain slipped off in the process, you can just realign your newly adjusted chain back to the cog teeth. You can follow the fourth step from the first instruction above on how to do it.

But to make sure that there were no problems with the process, try and pedal the bicycle and make sure that the chain won’t fall off or exhibit a clunking sound.

If there is no problem, you can also test your bike for a short ride outside just to get a good feel on your bike chain.

Why Does the Chain on My Bike Slip?

bike-chain-that-has-fallen-off

From the new bike chain slipping, even on a beach cruiser without gears. These bikes can have their Oh-uh chain moments. But why does this annoying thing keep on happening?

There are many reasons why your chain will slip. Here are some of the most common why:

  • Worn-out chains/links

Continuous wear and tear of a chain could cause the chain to continuously stretch and wear out faster over time. Once their performance goes down, they can become a problem and cause chain slipping.

  • Too long or too loose

Another reason for a slipping chain is that the entire length of the chain is not in proper alignment. If your chain is too slack, it will rub against itself or its adjacent links. These cause wear and tear on both surfaces of the chain and eventually lead to failure.

  • Worn-out bike drivetrain parts

A bike with bad wheels or tires can make it hard for the chain to stay in place. As a result of a worn drivetrain, will cause the moving parts- including the chain- to wear down quickly and potentially slip from their place in the process.

  • Damaged cog teeth

If one of the cogs has come loose and pulled itself away from the rest of the gear system. The other cogs will hold onto this loose cog and help keep it in place, but if you take your bike off-road or ride through some mud and grass, this loose cog could eventually come out of place and allow the chain to move around.

  • Dirt and grime

A bicycle’s drivetrain, especially the chains and cogwheels do have spaces in gaps that can be a dirt’s lovely new home which is a biker’s worst nightmare.

Dirt accumulation can harden over time which will hinder the chain’s way from the proper rotation which can cause slips due to misalignment.

Helpful Tips

In order to prevent a chain slip from happening again, you have to check the condition of the bike regularly.

And since an ounce of prevention is better than pounds of cure, you should replace your bicycle chain for every 2,000 – 3,000 miles of travel. But this also depends on your bike discipline. If you rough up the chain too much, of course, you may have to change it much sooner.

Conclusion

Inspecting your bike is an important part of maintaining it so that you can prevent future problems with your chain. A professional mechanic will be able to check out your bike but knowing it yourself is a great skill.

If things don’t go according to plan on your next ride, then you have to know how to fix a slipped bike chain.

We hope this article will help you with that problem if you ever encounter it.

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