A well-functioning bike chain is essential for a smooth and safe ride. However, a common problem that many cyclists face is a bike chain that keeps falling off. This can be frustrating and even dangerous, as it can cause the rider to lose control of the bike. In this article, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to fix a bike chain that keeps falling off.
Overview of common reasons for a bike chain falling off
There are several reasons why a bike chain may fall off, including worn or damaged chain links, improperly tensioned chains, and poor maintenance. In some cases, the problem may be a result of a combination of these factors. It is important to diagnose the root cause of the problem so that the appropriate repair can be made.
Before proceeding with the repair, it is important to gather the necessary tools and materials, including a chain tool, pliers, a rag, and lubricant. It is also a good idea to have a spare chain link on hand in case a link needs to be replaced. With the proper tools and materials, fixing a bike chain that keeps falling off can be a simple and straightforward process.
1. Your bike chain has worn out
One of the most common reasons for a bike chain to fall off is that the chain has reached the end of its lifespan. When you are biking, there are all sorts of forces working against your bike chain because it is constantly under pressure and exposed to heat and dirt.
Over time, these elements take a toll on the bike chain and cause it to wear out. If your bike was made before the early 90s, you might not be able to buy a new bike chain and will instead need to replace the entire drive train (which includes the gears and your bike chain).
2. You may need a replacement pin for your master link
If you’re noticing that your bike chain is always falling off, it could be because the pin on your master link is worn down. The master link is the one that keeps your chain together and it can sometimes come loose or break after repeated use. This means that you will need to replace this part before you can put the chain back on your bike. Fortunately, master links are fairly cheap and you can pick one up at your local bike store.
3. The design of your master link could be the problem
If changing out the pin on your master link doesn’t work, then it might be time to upgrade the entire master link itself. Generally speaking, some designs are better than others when it comes to keeping your bike chain together.
If you’re having repeated problems with the master link failing, then you might want to replace it with a high quality master link that can handle regular wear and tear.
When you are shopping for a new master link, look for one made by an established company like SRAM or KMC because they make some of the highest quality bike components on the market. You may also want to consider using a chain tool to remove your old master link and replace it with a new one before you put your chain back on your bike .
4. Your rear gears could be too high or low
Another possible reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that there’s something wrong with your rear gears. For example, the teeth on your rear gears could be worn out which means that they need to be replaced as soon as possible. If this is the problem, then you might also want to replace the entire drive train (gears and chain) because it’s often cheaper than having to buy new gear sets and a new bike chain.
5. Your drive train needs to be realigned
If your bike chain is always falling off, there’s a chance that you need to realign the rear gears on your bike or replace them altogether. This might sound complicated but it’s actually something that most people can do themselves in about an hour (or less). If this is the problem, then you’ll need a special tool called a chain whip. This tool is only found at your local bike store and it’s what you use to realign your gears.
6. The sprocket on your rear wheel could be worn out
Another possible reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that the sprocket or cassette on your rear wheel is worn out.
When the sprocket or cassette starts to wear down, it can sometimes cause your chain to slip off or come loose. If this is going on, then you might want to replace the sprocket and cassette as a whole. This means that you’ll need a special tool called a freewheel remover to take the cassette off your bike.
If you’re not comfortable with this level of bike maintenance, then you can always take your bike to a professional bike mechanic for help .
7. Your derailleur could be bent or misaligned
The final reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that the derailleur on your rear wheel might be misaligned or bent. If this is going on, then you’ll need to take your bike to a professional to get it fixed as soon as possible because the derailleur can sometimes rub against the sprocket and cause unnecessary damage. While this type of damage might not be immediately noticeable, it could cause other problems in the future if left unnoticed.
8. The condition of your bike chain could be the problem
If you’ve tried all of these possible solutions but your bike is still having problems with its chain, then it might be time to replace your bike’s current chain with a new one. Bike chains can last for about a year or two depending on how often they’re used. So, if you own a bike with a high mileage , it might be time to replace your current chain. If not, then make sure that you clean and oil your bike’s drive train on a regular basis .
9. What type of lubricant are you using?
If none of these possible solutions work for you then it could be time for you to use a different lubricant. While some people prefer using standard WD-40, others have had success using 3 in 1 oil or even sewing machine oil . The great thing about these types of lubricants is that they are specifically designed for metal parts so they won’t hurt your bike’s components.
10. Are you putting the chain on correctly?
If you still can’t get your bike chain to stay on, then it might be time for you to take a closer look at how you’re putting the chain back on. The problem with the way that most people put chains back on their bikes is that they don’t put them high enough and this can sometimes cause unnecessary tension and stress. When you put the chain on correctly , it should be high and tight against the derailleur . If this is not happening, then make sure that you check your owner’s manual because most bikes have specific instructions for how to put chains back on their drive trains.
11. Get your bike checked out by a professional
If none of these solutions work for you, then it might be time to get your bike checked out by a professional. A lot of people ignore the problem because they’re not comfortable with doing maintenance on their bikes . However, if you’re having constant problems with your chain falling off, then this is definitely the best way to go in order to avoid unnecessary damage to your bike’s components.
12. Get a chain that is compatible with your specific type of shifter
If you’re still having problems with the chain falling off, then it might be because you’re using an incompatible chain . The great thing about modern bikes is that they come with different kinds of shifters to accommodate for different types of chains. If your bike is compatible with Shimano gears, make sure that you buy a Shimano compatible chain .
13. Be gentle when putting your bike back together
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re putting the chain back on your bike after cleaning it is that you should be as gentle as possible. You’ll also want to avoid using tools that can damage your chain and cause further problems with your bike’s components. Put the chain on by hand and hold it in place while you attach the rear wheel. This will help to minimize unnecessary stress on other parts of your bike .
14. Measure out how much chain you’ll need for shifting
The final thing to do is to make sure that you have enough chain to shift. In other words, try measuring out how much chain you’ll need for shifting and then add a little bit extra to that length . So, instead of putting the chain on the largest sprocket and the rear derailleur’s highest gear , put it on one size down from there.
How do you temporarily fix a bike chain?
If your bike chain has come off, it can be easily fixed with a quick temporary solution. You can do this by using a quick link, also known as a master link. This is a specially designed link that can be opened and closed without the need for special tools, making it a great solution for on-the-go repairs.
To use a quick link, simply locate the spot where the chain has come off, and remove the broken or damaged link. Then, connect the two ends of the chain using the quick link, making sure to align the pins properly. Once the quick link is closed, give the chain a tug to make sure it’s secure.
And that’s it! Your bike chain is temporarily fixed and you’re ready to get back on the road. Just keep in mind that this is a temporary solution and you’ll want to get a proper repair done as soon as possible to ensure the longevity and safety of your bike.