If your bike chain has come off, don’t worry! This is a relatively easy fix that you can do at home with just a few tools. This article will show you how to fix a bike chain in just a few simple steps.
Getting stranded on the side of the road or miles down a trail is never fun. It is one of the main reasons cyclists avoid riding alone. Learning some basic bike repair tips can help you feel more confident on solo rides and enable you to be the hero should a buddy have a bike issue.
A broken or bent chain on your bike is super common, so knowing how to remove sections of your chain and reinstall it is a necessary skill to have. The following tips will help you repair the broken chain while out on a ride, but first, familiarize yourself with the parts of your chain so fixing it will be a cinch:
- 1 What You’ll Need
- 2 How To Fix A Bike Chain?
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
What You’ll Need
To fix a bike chain, you will need to remove it from your bike and remove the broken bike chain. To do that, you will need a chain breaker tool. In the video, we used the Park Tool Master Chain Tool, which is the best tool for the job. But if you are on the side of the road or trail, you will probably want something a little more compact. Most multi-tools will come with a chain breaker attachment. Make sure yours has one before you leave the house!
In addition to being able to break the chain, it would also be handy to have an extra section of the chain you have on your bike to replace the broken bike chain. However, this isn’t totally necessary. Learn more in the step-by-step methods below.
How To Fix A Bike Chain?
Method 1: Reattach The Chain
Slippery bike chains can be caused by various problems, including poor shifting, too long or worn-out chains, or rear casters.
A chain tool is all that’s needed to fix a damaged chain. These tools are small and easily integrated into common multi-tools, such as the one shown. It is possible to have one in your multi-tool, but you may not know what it was.
It is possible to fix a chain at home with pliers and just a hammer, but it is much easier to use a chain tool.
Step 1: Fix a slipped bicycle chain
Before you get off your bike, lower the bike to the lowest gear (using the left Shifter).
The lowest front gear will mean that the chain will be riding on top of the largest chainrings.
Continue pedaling. This alone could re-align the chain.
If Step 1 didn’t work, get off your bike and lift your rear tire while rotating the pedals with one hand.
- If Step 2 fails to suffice, move the rear derailleur forward to release tension.
- Take the chain off the chainring and place it back on.
- To align the chain, turn the pedals using your hand and lift the rear wheel with your other hand (as in Step 2)
Bicycle chains can be very slippery and messy. If you have them, use latex gloves or a leaf or twig.
It may take several tries, but eventually, it will work.
Your chain may be too long if you have a lot of slipped ones. You will need a chain breaker in this instance.
- Place the chain on the outer guide of the chain-breaker.
- Turn the handle on the chain break to push the chain pin out of the chain breaker.
This step can be pretty forceful, so don’t be afraid to break anything if it seems stuck.
Please don’t push the pin too far, or it will become nearly impossible to reassemble.
- Back up the drive pin to remove the chain breaker.
- Take the chain apart.
- To remove a broken link, repeat steps 4-5
Two parts make up one chain link: one is narrower than the other. To reassemble the chain, both must be taken out.
The rear derailleur’s chain may have fallen off and must be fed through the appropriate pulleys.
- The guide pulley is the highest of the two pulleys.
- Thread the chain through the front derailleur cage between the tension and guide pulley.
The tab should be pinned to the chain.
- Next, attach the chain to the tension pulley.
Align the open ends of your chain to join it.
- Place the chain on the outer guide for the chain breaker, with the pin facing you.
- Turn the driving pin so that the plug is evenly spaced between the faceplates as all the chain tool lined.
- You can now move the link that you have just reattached. Continue to the next section if it becomes too stiff.
- Place the chain on the outside guide of the chain breaker and turn the driving pin a little. Continue to check as you go and keep going until the chain is entirely loose.
Do not push the pinout as before.
Method 2: Take Care of Your Chain
1. Chain slips can be prevented by taking care of your drivetrain. Your bike’s transmission is called the drivetrain. It includes all parts that move your back wheel:
- Chainrings (giant gears near your pedals)
- A cassette
- A rear derailleur (metal arms on the back wheel)
- The drivetrain itself
- Dirt, grit, and grime build up on your drivetrain and cause it to wear down.
Regular cleaning and maintenance can extend the life of your bike’s drivetrain. 
To work on the drivetrain, you will need to turn the bike upside-down or place it in a rack.
2. To scrub your chain, use an old rag with a degreaser. Biodegreaser is sometimes known as a biodegradable solvent. It cuts through dirt and won’t damage your chain. It is sold in most bike shops alongside the chain lube. You can also use isopropyl alcohol if you don’t own any. Use a small amount to coat a damp rag.
Then, clamp the rag lightly on the chain using one hand. You can pedal the bike with your other hand, running the chain through the rag for about 2-3 cycles.
- You will need to go through 2-3 cycles of putting pressure at the top and bottom, followed by a few more putting pressure at the sides.
- If you see any grease or grime, use your rag to scrub them off lightly.
3. To clean your gears, use a toothbrush or a bicycle brush. Like human teeth, you should floss your gears from time to time. Use one hand to pedal the other hand while the meeting is soaked in the biodegradable solvent. If your chains get too big, this will remove any grease clumps.
- To remove difficult-to-reach or small areas, use a screwdriver. A screwdriver is an excellent tool for removing any dirt from the pulleys at the rear derailleur.
4. Cleanse any grime from the chainrings and derailleur. You should remove any dirt or grime from the derailleur and chainrings. You can clean your bike with a damp rag, a brush, and a degreaser. You can let the cycle do all the work while spinning the pedals. These are the most critical areas to concentrate on:
- Both the jockey pulley and idler pulley wheels are on each side. These small cogs are located on the derailleur arm.
- The chainrings are on the back (closest to your bike)
- The frame, joints, and hinges of the cycle.
5. For incredibly grimy chains, you will need a chain cleaner. A chain cleaner is required for those not clean enough chains with a toothbrush and a rag. These tiny boxes are designed to clamp onto your chain.
Add degreaser to the tool and pedal the bike backward. The device will automatically brush and scrub your chain links. These tools are inexpensive at $20-30 and often come with a brush and degreaser.
6. Lube your bike chain after cleaning it. Chain lubricant should be purchased to protect the chain from dirt and moisture. Slowly turn the pedals after cleaning the chain and drying it with a rag.
Use a drop of lubricant on every 2 to 4 links. This is the area where each link joins. Once you have gone through the entire chain, shift through your gears to apply another 10-12 drops.
- You can wipe any excess lube off the chain with a clean cloth after you’re done. Extra lube can trap dirt and lead to grime.
- The goal is to apply a thin lube coating to the entire chain.
- It would help if you used lube whenever you ride in the rain or hear the chain squeaking.
- You can feel the chain between your fingers. If it feels dry, you may need to apply more lubricant.
Method 3: Fixing Frequent Chain Issues
1. To keep your chain steady on climbs, learn how to shift correctly. Your drivetrain can be put under strain by improper shifting. The chain will only go so far before it strays or breaks. Shifting is what moves the chain. If you push the pedals uphill, it can cause the chain to lose the teeth of its next gear. So many helpful tips for safe shifting include:
- Shift before you reach a hill. Do not wait until your feet are numb to shift. It would help if you kept going until your feet moved at the same speed.
- When shifting, use “soft pressure”. As you move, relax your feet and let go of the gas. You don’t need to stop pedaling; you want the pedals to be lighter. This can be done by synchronizing your shift, and then you can resume normal pedaling.
2. If the chain falls in the same direction, adjust your limit screws. This is common if the chain is always falling in the same order when you shift to an “extreme” gear on either side of the kits. The limit screws tell the derailleur that it must stop moving in one direction.
If the limit is too large, the chain will continue moving while you shift, even though there is no rear gear to catch. The limit screws on the front and back derailleur are tiny and labeled “H”, “L” for “High” or “Low” limits.
- To stop the chain from moving too far right away from the bike, turn the “H” screws counterclockwise.
- To stop the chain from moving too far to your left and into your wheel in the back, turn the “L” screws clockwise.
- You will notice the derailleur moving when you adjust the screws if you are in the furthest gear. It should be aligned in the middle of your equipment.
3. Wear outworn chains and replace broken or bent links. Both cassettes and chains will become less durable over time due to friction. This means that the gear teeth won’t lock in place within the chain. Use a ruler to measure the distance between the 24 chains’ pins.
When you view the chain sideways, the pins are the small circular shapes in the middle of each link. A new chain is required if the 12th pin is more extended than 1/16 inches (0.16 cm) or the 1 foot (0.30m) mark.
- It is better to replace a broken chain or stuck link in a chain than to try to replace each link. A single link in a chain can be replaced, but the rest will not have the same wear. This could pose a danger. If you have to replace a link in your broken bicycle chain, ensure it is of the same brand and suitable for the same single speed bike.
- It is good to buy a new chain if your chain is rusty or the links are having trouble moving.
- Chains are generally more durable than cassettes, and they are also much less expensive to replace. 
4. You need to determine if you have a defective cassette. Although cassettes are more challenging to diagnose than a chain, you will likely need a new one if you feel you have a problem.
A new cassette is required if your chain constantly shifts between gears, sliding off or skipping as you pedal. Bring your bike in for an appraisal if you have any questions.
- Take a look at the gears after cleaning the cassette. Are any of the gears more worn than others? There may be a discrepancy.
If you have trouble with bike pedals, see this guide: How To Remove Bike Pedals.
How to fix a broken chain without tools?
If your bike chain comes off while you’re riding, don’t panic! You can fix it without any tools. First, find the spot where the chain came off. Then, put the chain back on the gear wheel and pull it tight. Finally, pedaling backward, push the chain onto the gear wheel until it clicks into place.
How to fix a broken chain derailleur?
If your bike’s chain has come off the gears, don’t worry, it’s an easy fix. First, flip your bike over so you can see the derailleurs, which are the small machines on the front and back gears that move the chain. Note which gear these are on, so you can place the chain back in the right place. Then, simply reattach the chain, and you’re good to go!
How to put a chain back on a kid bike?
To put a chain back on a kid’s bike, first push the rear derailleur arm toward the handlebars to give the chain some slack. With your other hand, slide the chain back onto the right gear and slowly release the derailleur after you have 10 to 15 teeth in place. To get the rest of the chain on, move the bike pedals backward slowly for 1 full rotation.
Putting your bike chain back on takes just a few steps. You can do it by yourself, although it’s much easier with help from someone else. Even if you can’t fix your bike chain yourself, at least you know how to put it back on, and you’re not missing out on riding your bike! BSXInsight hopes you found this helpful guide!