Home Cycling 6 Causes Why Bicycle Chains Break And How To Stop Them

6 Causes Why Bicycle Chains Break And How To Stop Them

6 Causes Why Bicycle Chains Break And How To Stop Them


Chain breaks are the most typical type of mechanical failure confronted by many cyclists. Your chain can break as a consequence of many causes together with Put on and Tear, An Influence, and even Improper Upkeep. Chain breaks if you are driving at a excessive velocity may be harmful. There are a lot of well-known cyclists who suffered crashes as a consequence of chain failure.

Tony Martin’s chain broke when he was driving at a extremely excessive velocity within the 2016 Tour de France. In consequence, he suffered a damaged collarbone, a concussion, and a number of other different accidents. Following this occasion, in 2019 Chris Froome crashed in the course of the Critérium du Dauphiné fracturing his proper femur. The explanation? A damaged chain! 

That is why it is best to know why a series breaks to discover ways to forestall it!

Construction Of A Bicycle Chain

Earlier than I clarify to you why your bicycle chain is breaking, it is very important perceive the anatomy or construction of the chain. 

A bicycle chain is made from a collection of hyperlinks which can be related. These hyperlinks are joined utilizing pins and bushings. Bushings encompass the pins and assist them rotate within the chain whereas pins are cylindrical in form that run by internal and outer plates. There are the next two kinds of hyperlinks:

Inside Plates 

Inside plates are the small elements of the chain. They have interaction with the cogs and tooth of the chainrings. 

Outer Plates 

Outer plates are bigger and their fundamental operate is to supply structural assist to the chainrings and cogs. Additionally they information the chain onto the cogs and chainrings. 

2. The Pitch Of A Bicycle Chain 

Pitch means the space that’s between the 2 pins. The most typical pitch is 1/2 inch (12.7 mm). However it is very important perceive that completely different speeds i.e. 2,10,12 and so forth have a distinct pitch. 

Completely different Chain Supplies

Bicycle chains are made utilizing completely different supplies. Good chains are made utilizing supplies which can be sturdy and proof against put on and tear. Listed here are the most typical supplies utilized in making a series:

  • Metal
  • Stainless Metal 
  • Alloy Metal 
  • Brass
  • Aluminum 
  • Bronze 
  • Nickel-Plated Chains
  • Zinc-Plated Chains
  • Copper

Get to know your bike inside out with our newbie’s information on bike anatomy

Why Bicycle Chains Break And How To Stop Them

Understanding why bicycle chains break may help you discover methods to repair them. Understanding the explanations may even make you proactive so to keep away from the entire scenario altogether!

1. There Is Rather a lot Of Put on And Tear 

Bicycle Old Rusty Chain
Bicycle Previous Rusty Chain

Easy put on and tear is the most typical cause why bicycle chains break. The chain hyperlinks stretch and over time, they turn out to be weaker. That is extra widespread whenever you journey your bike incessantly in harsh situations. The strain that you simply placed on the chain whenever you pedal results in a gradual degradation. Till, lastly your chain breaks. In line with a examine:

The outcomes of this examine present that chain put on has a big influence on chain energy. The common chain energy decreased by 15% for each 1% improve in chain put on. This means that chain put on is a significant component in chain breakage

How To Stop Put on And Tear 

  • Examine your chain frequently. Search for indicators of elongation and rust. 
  • If the chain is stretched past the really useful restrict of 0.75% to 1%, exchange it. 
  • Frequently clear your chain in the event you do intensive driving. 
  • Lubricating the chain frequently can lengthen its lifespan. 

2. The Chain Confronted A Sudden Influence 

Possibly you hit a rock whereas driving or went over a curb or every other impediment when you have been driving. A sudden influence damages the chain to the extent that it could possibly break. This cause is extra widespread in mountain bikes given the tough terrain they journey on. However any bike chain can fall sufferer to a sudden influence!

How To Stop A Sudden Influence 

  • Be aware of the terrain you might be driving on. When potential, keep away from any direct contact with an impediment.
  • Maneuvering skillfully is one of the best ways to stop the injury brought on by a sudden influence. 
  • When driving in a bunch, attempt to keep a secure distance.

3. You Are Working towards Improper Maintainance 

Neglecting chain upkeep and working towards improper upkeep strategies will increase the possibilities of put on and tear of bicycle chains drastically.

Maintain your bike in high form with our bike upkeep ideas and revel in a clean journey each time.

How To Stop Improper Maintainance 

  • Develop a routine upkeep cleansing schedule in your bike. 
  • When cleansing your bike, pay particular consideration to the chain. 
  • All the time lubricate!

In case you have no idea how one can clear a motorbike chain, don’t fear. This information covers the whole lot that you could find out about cleansing a motorbike chain

4. Your Chain Has Rust 

Rusty Bicycle Chain
Rusty Bicycle Chain

When you don’t correctly clear and lubricate the chain, it results in a dust buildup. This buildup hastens the wear and tear and tear course of. Not lubricating your chain additionally makes it susceptible to rust. When this rust eats away the hyperlinks, your chain will break and fall off.

Rust may be eliminated! Simply observe these easy ideas and tips to eliminate the bike chain rust.

How To Stop Chain From Rusting

  • Correctly lubricating the bike chain and preserving it clear will provide help to keep away from rusting issues. 
  • Don’t overdo lubricant software. Doing so results in a build-up which can provide start to rust. 

5. Your Chain Is Not Correctly Put in 

That is the least-discussed cause nevertheless it does occur. In 2018, a examine printed in Bicycle Quarterly confirmed that just one% of chain breaks have been as a consequence of incorrect set up. However in 2021, one other examine was printed within the journal Engineering Failure Evaluation. This examine centered on the influence of set up errors on chain energy. It proved that putting in a series with even a single twisted hyperlink reduces the chain energy by 20%.

When the chain isn’t put in correctly, additional stress is positioned on the chain hyperlinks. All this stress causes the hyperlinks to weaken prematurely. 

How To Correctly Set up A Chain 

  • All the time observe the producers’ directions when putting in a brand new chain. 
  • Be sure that the chain is the proper size in your bike. 
  • Correctly align the chain with the chainrings and the cassette. 
  • Alter the chain rigidity in keeping with the suggestions.
  • Join the chain ends utilizing a series device. 

In case you are nonetheless confused, right here is how one can set up your bike chain

6. Manufacturing Defects 

Though uncommon, chains additionally break as a consequence of a producing defect. I learn a examine printed within the journal Engineering Failure Evaluation in 2021. This examine proved that 2% of chain breaks have been as a consequence of a producing defect. Nevertheless, the pattern dimension was very small. So the true quantity may be greater than this!

Manufacturing defects largely occur with cheaper chains. That’s the reason, shopping for high-quality chains is all the time higher. It saves cash in the long term 

How To Keep away from Manufacturing Defects

  • Attempt to put money into high-quality chains from trusted producers. I all the time purchase my chain from Shimano, SRAM, or Wippermann.

How To Repair A Damaged Chain 

cyclist inspecting the bike chain
bicycle owner inspecting the bike chain

I fell sufferer to a damaged chain only in the near past. Fortunately, I all the time carry a series device in my bike equipment to sort out these sorts of unpredictable conditions. If in case you have a grasp chain, you’ll have to use a series device. In any other case, you may repair your chain utilizing your palms!


Here’s a step-by-step information to what I did to repair my damaged chain:

  1. First, shift the gear to the smallest chainring and the most important cog. This makes it simpler to maneuver the chain. 
  2. Now find the damaged hyperlink. It is going to both be flared out or have a lacking pin. 
  3. Place the chain device over the damaged hyperlink in a means that the pins align with the holes current within the chain device. 
  4. Fastidiously flip the deal with of the device. It is going to push out the pin. Bear in mind you don’t need to push the pin all through the chain. 
  5. After turning, take away the damaged hyperlink out of your chain. 
  6. Now join the 2 ends of the chain. You should use a fast hyperlink or the grasp hyperlink to attach the ends. If in case you have a fast hyperlink, you may merely shut the hyperlink utilizing your palms. A grasp hyperlink can’t be closed with out the chain device. You have to to press the pin into the hyperlink utilizing the chain device. 
  7. After you have related the chain, take a look at it by shifting the chain by all of your gears. Be sure that the chain is shifting easily by all gears. 

Knowledgeable Ideas 

  • When you’re planning to journey in distant areas, it’s higher to hold a spare chain and a series device. 
  • For fast hyperlinks, guarantee that the hyperlinks are closed correctly. Or else, the chain will break once more. 
  • For master-link, all the time make sure that you press the pin all the way in which into the hyperlink. It will assist keep away from a damaged chain. 
  • After you have fastened the chain and are accomplished along with your journey for the day, clear the chain. After cleansing the chain, you should use a bike chain degreaser. You too can use a series wax. 

Here’s a detailed information on how one can wax a series. Make sure that to observe it to keep away from any inconvenience


Can You Trip A Bike With A Damaged Chain?

No, you can not journey a motorbike with a damaged chain. When the chain breaks, the bike won’t propel ahead. 

What Is The Life Of A Bike Chain?

The lifetime of a motorbike chain varies from 1,500 to 2,000 miles however solely with correct upkeep.

How Do I Know If My Bike Chain Is Dangerous?

Indicators of a nasty bike chain embody chain noise, skipping gears, and even seen rust. 

How Do I Know If My Bike Chain Is Damaged?

You’ll know your bike chain is damaged when there’s a seen break or the chain turns into bodily disconnected.

What Occurs If You Trip A Bike With A Rusty Chain?

In case you journey a motorbike with a rusty chain you’ll expertise poor shifting, an accelerated put on and tear of the drivetrain, and a diminished effectivity. 


Frequently inspecting your chain may help you keep away from a bicycle chain breakage. By following the following pointers and preventive measures that I’ve mentioned, you may lengthen the lifetime of your chain. So whether or not you might be driving on a path or out for some critical off-roading, your chain isn’t going to surrender on you!

Have you ever ever confronted an analogous scenario? Tell us within the remark part beneath! Bear in mind just a little cleansing with a tiny little bit of greasing may help you go a good distance! Joyful Protected Driving.

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This text was crafted by Luke Ameen, Affiliate Editor, a seasoned skilled, bringing 8 years of expertise and information about all kinds of bikes. Our objective is to give you correct, dependable, and precious insights that can assist you make knowledgeable selections and improve your biking expertise.

Ought to you’ve got any questions or require additional clarification on the subject, please be happy to attach with our skilled creator Luke Ameen by leaving a remark beneath. We worth your engagement and are right here to help you.



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