Readers ask: How Do You Know If Mountain Bicycle Chain Is Too Loose?

Is my mountain bike chain too loose?

It should be tight enough that it can move around half an inch upward and downward. But sometimes your chain still slacks, even if you already tightened it. This happens if the chain has expanded. This is normal because the chain links can stretch, especially if it’s used too much.

What happens if my bike chain is too loose?

When it’s loose, the rate of power transfer drops, and you aren’t able to propel the bike forward. A bike chain can fall off completely, but oftentimes it only becomes loose. If it isn’t too loose, you can keep cycling until your destination and then tighten it.

How do I know if my bike chain will fit?

Begin by counting the number of teeth on the largest front sprocket and largest rear. These numbers are often printed right on the sprockets and cogs. Next, measure the distance between the middle of the crank bolt to the rear axle. This is also the chain stay length.

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Can you tighten the chain on a mountain bike?

Insert your screwdriver into the B-tension screw. Rotate the derailleur screw counterclockwise to decrease the tension of the chain. Turn the B-tension screw clockwise to tighten the chain around the teeth of the rear sprocket. Lift the release lever of your mountain bike brakes to disconnect the correlating cable.

Is my chain too loose?

Check your chain out. It should be tight enough that it only allows you to move it up and down about one inch. If it is sagging or much looser than that, you need to tighten that chain up. Chains often loosen when a bike does not have a derailleur.

Why does my bike chain slip when I pedal hard?

Most of the time, a skipping chain is caused by cable stretch. In the first half dozen rides on a new bike your shift cables stretch the most. They can also stretch over time as you ride. Hippley explains, “It takes cable tension to open a derailleur, which shifts your chain between gears.

Why is my chain so loose?

Your chain might simply be too old or can stretch over time. When this occurs you need to replace it. Consider that your loose chain also may be due to operator error. Exceeding the recommended gear range for the rear derailleur on your bike may lead to a droopy chain when you ride in these gears.

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.

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What size is standard bicycle chain?

Chains come in 3⁄32 in (2.4 mm), 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm), 5⁄32 in (4.0 mm), or 3⁄16 in (4.8 mm) roller widths, the internal width between the inner plates. 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm) chains are typically used on bikes with a single rear sprocket: those with coaster brakes, hub gears, fixed gears such as track bicycles, or BMX bikes.

Why does my chain go slack when I stop pedaling?

If your chain is getting slack on top when you stop pedalling or backpedal, then the problem is in your freehub (or freewheel, whichever you have), a dirty freehub will cause all the problems you’ve listed, even on a brand new bike.

Can a bike chain stretch?

Do bicycle chains really stretch? The short answer is no, however they do wear in such a way as to cause their maximum length to increase. Mechanics usually refer to this as chain “stretch.” It is the sign of a worn out chain that should be replaced.

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