Bicycling is a fantastic mode of transportation and exercise, but it can be frustrating when your bike’s chain starts skipping or jumping gears.
Whether you’re riding through rough terrain or smoothly paved roads, a skipping bike chain can make for a frustrating and potentially dangerous experience.
Understanding the causes of chain skipping is essential for any cyclist who wants to maintain a smooth, safe, and enjoyable ride.
In this article, BSXInsight will take a closer look at some of the common reasons why does my bike chain skip and what you can do to fix it.
Types Of Bike Chain Skip – The Way To Fit
- Chain skips under load: This type of chain skip occurs when the rider is pedaling hard, and the chain suddenly slips off the sprocket or chainring teeth. Worn-out or dirty components, incorrect derailleur adjustment, or incompatible components can cause this.
- Chain skips when shifting: This happens when the chain doesn’t shift smoothly from one gear to another. Dirty or misaligned derailleur components, worn-out or damaged chainring teeth, or incompatible components can cause this.
Fixing a Chain Skip in the Rear Derailleur:
- Check the derailleur hanger: A bent derailleur hanger can cause the chain to skip. If this is the case, it needs to be straightened or replaced.
- Clean the derailleur components: Dirt or grime on the derailleur jockey wheels or the chain can cause chain skips. Clean these components with a degreaser and a brush, and then lubricate them.
- Check the derailleur adjustment: If the derailleur is not adjusted correctly, the chain will skip. Adjust the derailleur’s high and low limit screws and cable tension.
Fixing a Chain Skip in the Front Derailleur:
- Check the derailleur position: The front derailleur needs to be positioned correctly to ensure smooth shifting. If it is misaligned, adjust it so that it lines up with the chainrings.
- Check the chainring teeth: Worn-out or damaged chainring teeth can cause chain skips. If this is the case, the chainrings need to be replaced.
- Check the derailleur adjustment: Like the rear derailleur, the front derailleur needs to be adjusted correctly. Check the high and low limit screws and cable tension.
Why Does My Bike Chain Skip?
Over time, components such as chainrings, cassette sprockets, and the chain itself can become worn out, causing the chain to skip. The chain stretches over time, and the teeth of the sprockets and chainrings become worn and damaged.
Dirt and grime can cause the chain to skip by interfering with the smooth movement of the chain and derailleur components. Dirt on the derailleur jockey wheels or the chain can cause friction, leading to chain skips.
Using components that are not designed to work together can cause the chain to skip. For example, using a Shimano chain with a Campagnolo cassette can cause chain to skip because the two components are not compatible.
Lack of lubrication or using the wrong type of lubricant can cause the chain to skip. A good-quality bike chain lubricant should be used, and it should be applied regularly.
Indexing Adjustment Issue
Incorrect indexing adjustment can cause the chain to skip when shifting gears. The indexing adjustment controls the alignment of the chain with the sprockets and chainrings.
The derailleur’s limit screws and cable tension should be adjusted to ensure the indexing is correct.
Why Is My Bike Chain Clicking?
Dirty Chain or Drivetrain
A dirty chain or drivetrain is one of the most common reasons for a clicking sound. Dirt and grime buildup can cause the chain to skip or jump, resulting in a clicking sound.
To fix this issue, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your chain and drivetrain using a degreaser and a brush. After cleaning, lubricate the chain to ensure it moves smoothly.
Over time, the chain can stretch, and the teeth on the chainring and cassette can wear out.
This can cause the chain to slip or skip, resulting in a clicking sound. If this is the issue, you’ll need to replace the chain, cassette, or both if they’re significantly worn out.
A loose cassette can also cause your bike chain to click. The cassette is the set of sprockets on the rear wheel that the chain runs over.
If the cassette is loose, it can move slightly and cause the chain to skip or slip, resulting in a clicking sound. Tightening the cassette lockring with a cassette lockring tool should fix the problem.
Loose Crank or Pedals
If the crank or pedals are loose, they can move slightly and cause the chain to skip or slip, resulting in a clicking sound. To fix this issue, you’ll need to tighten the crank or pedals with a crank puller or a pedal wrench.
An incorrectly adjusted derailleur can cause the chain to skip or slip, resulting in a clicking sound.
The derailleur is part of the bike that moves the chain from one sprocket to another. Adjusting the derailleur’s cable tension and limit screws should fix this issue.
If the chain is too loose, it can skip or slip, resulting in a clicking sound. To fix this issue, you’ll need to adjust the chain tension using the derailleur’s barrel adjuster.
What causes a bike chain to skip?
A bike chain can skip due to various reasons, including worn-out components, dirty components, incompatible components, lubrication problems, and indexing adjustment issues.
How do I know if my bike chain is skipping?
You’ll feel and hear the bike chain skipping or jumping, making a clicking or grinding noise while pedaling. You may also notice the chain slipping off the gears or not engaging properly.
Why do worn-out components cause chain skipping?
Worn-out components, such as the chain, cassette, chainring, or jockey wheels, can cause chain skipping as they may not engage properly and slip under pressure.
How often should I lubricate my bike chain?
You should lubricate your bike chain every 100-200 miles or whenever it starts to feel dry or squeaky. However, if you ride in wet or dusty conditions, you may need to lubricate your chain more frequently.
How do I know if my bike components are incompatible?
You can check the compatibility of your bike components by referring to the manufacturer’s specifications or consulting a bike mechanic. Incompatible components can cause chain skipping, poor shifting, or other issues.
Can chain-skipping damage my bike?
Yes, chain skipping can damage your bike over time as it puts extra stress on the drivetrain components, causing premature wear and tear. Fixing chain skipping promptly can help prevent further damage.
In conclusion, a skipping bike chain can be a frustrating experience, but it’s usually an indication of a problem that can be easily fixed.
By understanding the common causes of chain skipping, such as worn out or dirty chains, improperly adjusted derailleur, or a damaged cassette or chainring, you can take the necessary steps to address the issue and get back to enjoying your ride.
It’s important to regularly maintain and clean your bike components to prevent wear and tear and to seek professional help if you’re unsure how to fix the problem.
Remember, a well-functioning chain will improve your riding experience and prolong your bike’s life.