When you have been cycling for a long time, you know that various damages and irregularities with your bike will rise over time.
As the bike gets older, many parts start to wear off, such as the bike tires, seats, and brakes.
But there is some part which may cause problems right from the start like the slipping bike chain.
When I bought my daughter her first bike, the bike chain kept slipping off just after a few months of riding.
It had become a nuisance. I had to find a long-term solution.
I did some research and found some pretty decent ways to fix a kid’s bicycle chain.
You need to:
- Loosen the bolts on the axle on both sides of the bicycle’s rear wheel.
- Pull the wheel backward to fix the tension on the chain.
- Identify the appropriate tension/pressure by moving the chain half an inch or so.
- Then, put the rear wheel back in place by tightening the axle nuts.
There is not just one problem with the bike chains. Even though the bike chain keeps slipping all the time, it is one of the least problematic ones.
What to do when your kid’s bike chain breaks? Or what to do when the chain cannot change gears properly? Or what to do when the chain keeps skipping while riding?
Read on to find the solutions to the above problems:
How to fix/tighten the Bike Chain on a Single-geared Bike?
- A ratchet or wrench
- A bike stand
- You will need a bike stand to hold the bike upside-down with the wheels up in the air. But if you are on the road and do not have a bike stand at hand, you can make the bike stand upside-down against a pole. The only requirement is that the rear wheel should be above the ground to work on it with ease.
- Loosen the bolts on the rear tire just enough to give the chain space for adjustment with a wrench or ratchet. Ensure to loosen the bolt on the drive side (the side on which the chain is) or right side first and then the other side.
- Pull the rear wheel backward to increase the tension on the bike’s chain. Be careful not to pull too much because it risks breaking off the chain.
- Identify the appropriate tension on the chain so that it gets tightened in place. Move the chain half an inch around on both sides of the bike. If it moves more than half an inch, push back further.
- Always tighten the drive side first of the axle last, after fixing the chain. And then, tighten the bolts on the non-drive side while fixing the rear wheel. Make sure the rear wheel is in place and not crooked.
- Recheck the whole process for safety purposes. If the chain is still loose, repeat the entire process.
To make it more straightforward, make sure to check out the video below:
How to fix a slipped Chain on a Mountain Bike or Bike with a Derailleur?
Mountain bikes have multiple gears. You have to follow a different set of procedures to fix the chain on these bikes.
- Flip the bike and rest it on a bike stand to get easy access to the rear wheel.
- The derailleurs physically move the chain from gear to gear. The chain needs to be put back on the bike gear on which the derailleur rests.
- Push the derailleur towards the handlebar with the help of the cog right next to it. Doing this gives the chain a lot of slack to hang freely.
- Identify which gear the bike is in, lift the chain with your other hand, and put it on the appropriate rear gear.
- Bring the other end of the chain in the front gear and hold it there. Give enough slack to get in 10-15 teeth of the chain onto the front gear. Then release the derailleur.
- Pedal the bike backward slowly. The attached teeth will guide the rest of the chain back on the gear. Then, pedal forwards for 2-3 rotations to confirm the chain is in place.
This video will give you an overall idea about how to fix chain in Mountain bikes:
How to fix a Broken Bike Chain?
All you need to fix a broken chain is a ‘chain tool‘. You may already have one in your multi-tools.
Fixing a broken chain is all about removing the broken link of the chain and reattaching the remaining ends.
Bikes with derailleurs have enough chain links to remove some, but single-geared bikes do not have many to spare. You will need to add some new chain links.
- You need to replace two alternating links of the broken chain. Put the part of the chain that you want to remove into the groove of the chain tool at the spot you want to be disconnected.
- Turn the screw on the chain tool to push the pin out of the chain but do not push it all the way out. You only need to remove the pin to the point where the chain comes apart.
- Now, put the remaining links or a new link together and push the pin back in. the two ends of the chain need to be held in place while reattaching. Make sure to align the pin and the chain tool.
- The newly attached pin will be a little stiff. Move it around back and forth a little to bend it around the gears smoothly.
You can apply the same method to change worn-out chain links.
How to fix a Chain that won’t Change Gears Properly?
If your kid’s bike is having problems changing the gears, it is probably due to poor adjustment of the rear derailleur, or the cogs may be dirty.
- The first thing you need to do is clean the chain and apply a degreaser or lubricant sparingly.
- You need to adjust the derailleur to keep the chain in place. Turn the cable barrel adjuster half an inch at the same time turning the pedals with your hand. If the chain keeps shifting towards the spokes, turn the adjuster in the anti-clockwise direction. If the chain shifts away from the spokes, turn the adjuster clockwise.
What to do When the Bike Chain keeps Skipping While Riding?
The main reason for the chain to keep skipping is because the gear cogs may have worn out. It may also occur due to rounded, broken, or bent teeth on the cogs.
These are the signs that your chain needs replacement. Remove the old chain with a chain tool and get a new one as soon as possible.
If it is hard to fix bike chain problems at home by yourself, it is best to leave it to the professionals. You can take your kid’s bike to the nearest bicycle repair shop to get it fixed.
Ways to Maintain the Bike Chain
You will have to teach your kids to take good care of their bike chains to not cause many interferences with their riding journey.
If you can keep the chain in good condition for a long time, it won’t need a lot of fixing.
You will have to clean up the chain regularly. Remove the grease with a bio degreaser. Put the bio degreaser on a damp rag and run it on the chain 2-3 times.
If the bike gear and chain are too grimy and cannot get cleaned with rags, you need to get a chain cleaner.
Clamp the chain cleaning box over the chain. Add the degreaser and hold the cleaner in place while pedaling backward with your hand.
The cleanser will brush and clean the grime off the chain for you.
You need to apply lubricant after cleaning. Apply the chain lubricant on the bike chain every 2-4 links right on the joints.
Shift the gears and apply another 10-12 drops on the chain. Repeat the process until you get a light coat of lube on the entire chain.
Buy chain cleaner tool for your bikes from the button below:
You will not have to be involved a lot in maintaining the bike chain.
With some instruction, kids can do it by themselves. After all, kids need to be as involved in cleaning and maintaining their bikes as in riding.
A well-maintained bicycle guarantees long-term durability. So make sure to take care of it properly.