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How Much Does a Bike Chain Cost? And When to Replace It?

how much does a bike chain cost

Bicycle chains do not last forever. Chains require regular replacement every 1500 miles to ensure seamless bicycle performance. Dirt, mud, and debris directly affect how your bike chain work and can impact the speed of your equipment.

It is the most important part of your bicycle, and chain replacement should not be neglected. So, for first time bikers who need to change a bike chain would often ask, “How much does a bike chain cost?”

A bike chain can cost from $10 to $90, depending on the quality, brand, and type. If you are a professional biker, you would probably opt for the high end ones, but for regular cyclists, mid-range bike chain can suffice. For a better understanding, read this article.

When to Replace Your Bicycle Chain?

bike-chain-replacement-cost

Before you visit a bicycle shop for chain replacement, you should first determine the critical factors about the right time to replace a bike chain. Thus, here are the things you should consider before you replace your bicycle chain:

1. Chain snaps

Chain snap is not very common, but it does happen. It is when your bike chain shockinly breaks when you are pedaling hard or while you are shifting your front derailleur.

The chain cannot accommodate the force, so it breaks. Your chain may also snap when it gets twisted or when an objects is lodged in it as it creates tension.

2. Worn out

If you regularly use your bike, there is a high possibility that the bike chain is worn out. Frequent use reduces the hold of the pins that links the chain together.

It makes the chain longer than necessary and more stretched. If you are riding with a stretched bike chain, your bike chainrings and cassette can wear out as well. Your bicycle will find it difficult to shift and more difficult to navigate the road.

3. Expired mileage

You bicycle chain can expire overtime. The average use of a bike chain is around 1,500 to 2,000 miles. If you properly maintain and lubricate the chain, it may last longer than the standard mileage.

4. Rust

Rust is another crucial reason why you need to replace a bike chain. Aside from being visually unappealing, it can affect the other components of your bicycle and derailleur. Rust corrodes the bicycle chain, making it more brittle.

Bike Chains and Costs

1. One-speed bike chain

If you have a bicycle with two sprockets, you are certainly using a one-speed bike chain. These chains are normally ⅛ inch in width or in rare occasions, 3/16 inches wide. A one-speed bike chain can cost around $15.

2. KMC Z410 bike chain

One of the most popular one-speed bike chain is the KMC Z410 bike chain. It measures 1/2×1/8 inch and comes with 112 chain links. This bike chain has a hard finish and nickel-plated to resist rust or corrosion. It delivers smooth riding performance.

3. Zonkie single-speed bike chain

This bike chain is shorter than the previous one. It has 116 links and is perfectly compatible to all single-speed bikes. The chain is easy to install and not difficult to maintain.

It is also easy to lubricate and can significantly resist rust. This kind of chain is cheaper and can cost $13 online.

4. Derailleur bike chains

Derailleur bike chains are quite the opposite of single-speed bike chains. They are compatible with bicycles having multiple sprockets and suitable for multi-geared bikes. Derailleur bike chains can range from 5.3 mm to 7.0 mm. The cost of bike chain is normally $20.

Related: Easiest steps to shorten a bike chain without a chain tool.

5. Zonkie speed bike chain

If you have a multiple speed bike from 6, 7, and 8, the Zonkie speed bike chain can be your top choice. It provides excellent quality and has a rest resistance element. The chain is easy to install, hassle-free to maintain, and durable for every multiple speed bikes.

It also comes with 126 chain links and can measure 1/2×3/32 inches. The bicycle chain cost is around $15. It is almost the same price of a mountain bike chain cost.

6. Bibike Speed bike chain

This kind of chain is suitable for bikes with 6-11 speeds. It is perfect for MTBs and other commuter bikes. The Bibike bike chain comes in two color – silver and gold. It has 116 links, and is shorter than the Zonkie speed bike chain.

It is lightweight, rigid, and wear and tear resistant. The bike chain price ranges from $13 to $48.

Choosing the Right Bike Chain

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Before going for a much-needed chain replacement, there are ways to maximize your purchase:

1. Inspect your gears

As I have mentioned, there are different types of chain depending on the bicycle gear. It is important to check and inspect your gear before going to the bicycle shop.

2. Always keep your bike chain in mind

You should also consider the bike chain compatibility. The chain should be smooth to use when installed to your bike. You can ask the bike seller for the best chain that is compatible with your own bike.

3. Get the right chain length

The next factor you should not neglect is the length. Pick a chain that fits perfectly to your bike when it comes to length. You have to consider the pitch or the link length and the chain length.

The link length corresponds to the distance between the chain pins’ centers, and it is around ½ inch. The total chain length means is the multiplcation of the total number of links in the chain. If your link is 116, the complete chain link is 116 multiply to ½ inch or 12.7mm.

4. Identify the chain’s internal and external width

These factors would not directly affect the overall price of the bike chain, but it is still vital to consider them if you want to get the best chain for your bicycle.

Internal width can be the following:

Bike Speed Chain Length Internal Width External Width
1 9.0mm ⅛” 1/8 “
6 7.8mm 3/32” 9/32”
7 7.1-7.3mm 3/32” 9/32”
8 7.1-7.3mm 3/32” 9/32”
9 6.6-6.8mm 11/128” 9/32”
10 6.2mm 11/128” ¼” – 9/32”
11 5.5mm 11/128” 7/32”
12 5.3mm 11/128” 13/64”

Cost of Chain Replacement

bike-chain-price

If you already know what chain to use, the next question you would ask is how much it would cost to undergo chain replacement or what the cost to repair a bike chain is.

There are two options you can choose when replacing your bicycle chain: opt for professional help or do it on your own.

Here are the things you should know when replacing your bicycle chain as well as the bike chain replacement cost:

1. Professional chain replacement

If you seek professional help, you should understand that you have to cover the new bike chain cost and the labor or service fees. The average professional fee when changing your bicycle chain can start from $10 to $20. The overall cost to replace bike chain can be from $35 to $50.

The advantages of this option is that you do not need to pay for tools like the bike chain tool. You are also more confident that the replacement is seamless and right.

2. DIY chain replacement

The number one reason why people opt for a DIY is affordability if you have the necessary tools for bike replacement. You do not need to pay the professional cost to change a bike chain.

Moreover, without the proper knowledge, you might break the chain or damage other components of your bicycle. It could also cost more if you lack the repair tools, especially the chain tool, which can cost $30.

Maintaining the New Bike Chain

1. Clean the chain

Now that you have replaced you bicycle chain, your next goal is to make the chain last longer. There are ways you can clean your bike chain, such as:

  1. Stiff Brushes and Degreaser
  2. Chain Cleaning Devices
  3. Bathing and Agitating The Chain

2. Lubricate the chain

It is also important to lubricate the chain to fight against rust and corrosion. You can choose from paraffix wax lubricants or drip lubes. Paraffin wax lubes are stronger but more expensive.

Conclusion

The bicycle chaindirectly affects the speed and performance of your bike. So, it is essential to know how to maintain and replace them. You have to regularly check your bike chain, especially if you observe that your equipment is underperforming. Then, inspect whether your chain badly needs a replacement.

May this guide about how much does a bike chain cost provided you the necessary information on when to replace the chain, its corresponding costs and how to choose the right chain for your bicycle.

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