How To Tighten A Bike Chain: The Detailed Procedure

Bike’s chain getting loose is a common occurrence. You don’t have to be a specialist cyclist to feel the change; it is easily noticeable. Many find it a little discomforting experience. It is also one of the main reasons why chain drops from the gears frequently.

As pushing the pedals make the bike go forward, the chain gets loosed and the power transfer rate will drop. So, cycling would feel tiresome.

I think prevention is better than cure, so I’ve decided to discuss this problem at length. So that you can take action before getting into an accident due to a loose chain. I’ll explain how to tighten a bike chain and what other indicators you need to look out for.

Loose Bike Chain Symptoms

The most prominent symptom will be a loss of power. You will have to push pedals with more force to compensate for power loss. If you feel something of the same sort, that means the chain is getting loose.

While accelerating, the chain usually skips over the teeth of the sprocket. You can notice it by sound and the pedal feedback. If you experience something like that, it means the chain needs to be tightened.

In the worst case scenario, the chain will come off the sprocket. Well, by now, you already know why that happened. It is because the chain became loose over time.

How To Tighten A Bike Chain

Once you’ve identified the problem, it is time to tighten the chain. Now, a question might arise. How tight should it be? The answer is as tight as possible. But you will have to be careful.

The chain should be as tight as possible, depending on the tolerance level of other mechanical parts. Don’t make it so tight the chain wears out too fast. For safety, it is good to leave the chain loose enough to go a few millimeters in both directions.

We will have to follow two different procedures for a fixed gear bike and a multi-gear one. Fixed gear bikes are easier to maintain. You will need a few tools like a wrench, gloves, and a mat.

Now here is what you have to do:

  • Flip the bike upside down on the mat.
  • With the help of a wrench, loosen the rear axle. Make it loose enough so that the rear tire can be moved.
  • Pull back the rear tire as long as you don’t get the desired tension. Once you have achieved that, tighten the rear axle. Make sure to put everything back as it was.
  • As the bike remains upside down, push the pedals with your hand to check everything works well.

Let’s check out how to tighten a bike chain with gears? The procedure is somewhat similar.

  • Flip the bicycle upside down.
  • Now, you will have to locate the derailleur screw. Screwing the derailleur in a clockwise motion will increase the chain tension.
  • If that is not enough, disconnect the cables around the rear axle. Loosen the axle and pull back the wheel to adjust to the right tension.

Final Words

You should immediately fix your bike if you notice the chain got loose. Especially, multi-geared cycles can cause accidents if their chain gets loose. So, always be on the lookout. If you ever wonder how to tighten a bike chain, now you know which page to visit.