# Often asked: How To Calculate Bicycle Chain Length?

## How long is the average bike chain?

A new bicycle chain usually comes with 116 links. This is long enough for the biggest chainrings and for most distances of rear wheel from front chainrings. So for optimal length a new chain is usually shortened from the 116 links that come in the box.

## How can I tell if my bike chain is stretched?

Another ballpark method for checking chain wear is by measuring it with a ruler. Pick a rivet and line it up at the zero mark. Count 24 more rivets and your last rivet should be at the 12″ mark of your ruler. If it is off by more than 1/16″ your chain is stretched to the point of replacement.

## Is my bike chain too short?

If the chain is too short, this shift is difficult to make and the derailleur cage is stretched out and almost parallel to the chainstay. If the chain is really short, then you might not even be able to shift into the largest cog. Before you remove the chain, make sure it’s on the small chainring and smallest cog.

## What is a chain stay?

What is the chainstay? The chainstay or “stays” = The pair of frame tubes that joins the bottom bracket shell to the rear axle holders (the slots the back wheel goes in). This means that the chain stays connect the bottom bracket (BB) to the center of the back wheel.

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## What is the difference between bicycle chains?

Chains can vary in side plate shape, sizing, and height. Differences can cause variations in shifting performance between brands and models. Additionally, chains will vary in the quality of steel used. Better chains that are more durable and longer lasting tend to have harder rivets.

## How do you measure chain size?

To measure the chain size, if you have just the sprocket, use calipers to measure between the teeth. Measure from center to center of where the chain roller would set between the teeth that will give you the pitch. Once you know the pitch you can determine what chain size you would need.