How to Tighten and Remove the bike chain


A loose bike chain will reduce the ability to transfer the energy from your foot to the pedals. In whatever terrain, this is not a desirable thing. Also when the chain gets slackened, your shoes can easily stick into it, causing a severe foot pain. Thus, knowing how to tighten and remove the bike chain is crucial. And this piece of writing will show you step-by-step instructions for these tasks.

Why does bike chain get loose?

How to tighten and remove the bike chain with ease

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The truth is, bike chain stretches naturally over the distance, and this stretching is an indicator of wear. If you find your chain has some kind of slacks or extra chains, there are two main reasons for this.

The chain is too long: The new chains, those are not already on the bike, are longer than they need to be. And when you have recently replaced your chain with a new one without removing the extra chain, the loose will happen.

The derailleur is not creating enough tension: If the chain seems to sag at both top and bottom, this may be because of the derailleur. Over the time, the derailleur may lose its springiness. As a result, it cannot function effectively to create enough chain tension.

How to tighten and remove the bike chain

How to tighten the bike chain

How to tighten the bike chain

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What you need: Tightening the bike chain is not necessarily a tough task. In fact, all you need is a socket wrench.  With some observation, patience, and appropriate use of force, you can easily get the work done.

Place your bike nicely: Before getting into actually tightening the bike chain, itÔÇÖs crucial to set the bike at a proper position. To do this, turn your bike upside-down and let it rest on its handlebars and saddle. In this position, its wheels are up in the air. Turning your bike upside-down helps you to manipulate on the chain and the derailleur easier.

Observe the slack: Put your index finger on the chainÔÇÖs underside. Now if you feel the slack when pulling the chain up, itÔÇÖs time to tighten it up. More than often you will see the chain bending substantially; however, this should not be a worry, itÔÇÖs still possible to make chain firm again.

Loosen the rear axle: Use the socket wrench to turn the axle bolt on one side of the rear wheel. Remember that the direction to loosen it is counter-clockwise. However, you donÔÇÖt need to make the bolt to fall out entirely. Instead, make it a half turn or a little more, which is just enough to loosen it. Then, repeat the task to release the tension on the other side

Wedge the arm of the hammer: The arm of the hammer is right between the rear tire and the bottom bracket. Wedge it to set it up as a lever. This step is important because it determines the feasibility of the tightening task later in the next step.

Apply pressure on hammerÔÇÖs head: When doing this, make sure the arm is pushing against the tire. Thus, this action will create more tension on the chain. Again, use your finger to pull up on the chain check if it has achieved enough tension.

Tighten the axle bolt up again: To finish tightening the bike chain, use the socket wrench to turn the axle bolt clockwise. Finally, adjust the pressure on the hammerÔÇÖs head to ensure the proper position and tighten the axle bolt on the other side.

How to remove the bike chain

How to remove the bike chain

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What you need: Again, removing the bike chain is simple. All you need is a new chain and a chain tool/ a pair of pliers.


Remove the old chain: First, put the gears in the smallest cog at the back and the smallest chainring in the front. To create more slacks, you can upshift the chain from the chainring altogether. You can also pop the back wheel out as well.

Remove the chain: There are two ways to remove the chain from your bike.

  • Using the plier: Technically, you can remove the chain without using any tool. You just need to push the two plates together, and the slide them apart. However, in reality, they are normally quite stiff. So you need to use a pair of pliers to remove the quick link, causing the two plates to fall out of each other.
  • Using the chain tool: If there is no quick link, you have to use the chain tool to split the chain. But again, itÔÇÖs a really simple process. So all you need to do is put a link of the chain into the chain tool and wind the handle of the tool in towards the chain. It will put the pin of the chain out.

Match the new chainÔÇÖs length with the old one: Once you pull the chain out of the bike, donÔÇÖt throw it into the bin just yet. Instead, you need to check the length of the new chain and match it up with the old one. You always need to reduce the length of the new chain to fit your bike correctly.

To do this, stretch the old own out, and lay the new on next to it. Then, mark the length of the new one and break it out using the chain tool. Before pushing the pin though, you need to make sure the two ends of the chain is different. But if your bike using a quick link, the two ends must be the same.

Join the chain: In this final step, take the two ends and insert the joining pin with the help of the chain tool. And when the pin is in the correct place, use the pliers to snap off the end. For KMC and SCRAM chains, insert the connector links in the two ends of the chain. Then, you can snap the plates together to join the chain. Finally, grab the rear wheel to make it stop spinning and apply pressure to the pedals until the links are entirely positioned.


Knowing how to tighten and remove the bike chain is a basic and essential skill that all bikers should have. These tasks are very simple if you stick to the instructions. And after fixing the chain, itÔÇÖs advisable to run your bike for a while to ensure the chain works properly.

This writing hopefully provides useful guidelines on this fundamental bike chain fixing skill. Good luck with your biking. And if you are looking for a recumbent bike for promoting strength and endurance, consult the best Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews.