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Mountain bike chains | common problems and solutions

The chain consists of four parts.

  • Pin
  • Pin link plate
  • Sintered  bush
  • Roller

The distance between pin to pin is 12.7mm. One thing that has never changed about the chains of mountain bikes is the distance between the two pins, which is known as pitch. all chains have the same pitch distance. besides this the interesting thing about chains is that chains are directional, even I never thought that the chains have direction but they own direction.

In past, the width of the chains became changed usually the riders used chains with different widths, according to my idea I use chains for my bike with wider width actually this is more comfortable it fits in the chainring perfectly. so the distance from pin to pin remains the same but the width changes. The chains with speeds of 6,7,8,9,10,11,12 can vary in width.

In cases when you are riding with friends and suddenly your chain breakups, the pins become open and your chain falls it’s very confusing and irritating, you may carry an extra chain for back up it will help you in fixing the chain again. I am explaining to you because it happened to me I was like I looked at my back I had no bag I was alone on my way.

In every chain, there is a lock through which you can break and link the chain in a proper way.

quick link :

In all bikes, the long-chain is connected with a small quick link you may also say as a master link through which the whole chain is connected. The new chains are designed in such a way that a bike rider can easily open up the lock of the link.

you can also remove the link with a tool. the link contains a hole in which it locks itself with the long chain and pulls the pedal of the bike, the link becomes closed. also, you can break from your hand the chain link will be closed fit in its place.

Increasing/decreasing chain size :

You are riding and you don’t have any master link and your chain broke now you don’t know what can I do in this irritating moment remove the broken part and connect the chain edge with the second pin.

If too many links of the chain have twisted and have been badly damaged then the solution is that open the gear and make it a single speed chain the reason is that the chain becomes short and you cannot pedal in this situation because the chain could not roll through the gears so the best solution is that make it a single speed.

the chain stretches and pulls now lock the chain with the master link.

Replace broken chain of mountain bike

As you know there is tension in the chain to reduce it you have to open up the bolts of the back wheel and remove the wheel. Pull the pin of the chain with a tool it opens up comes in your hands.

remember to choose a new chain to match the length of the new chain with the previous chain so that the pitches of both chains are lying parallel to each other. Before installing inspect the back and front of the new chain because some chains are directional.

pass it through the derailleur and bring it inside the frame and then bring both ends together. U can connect both ends at the master link because the arrow represents the chain direction of moving. Insert the pin into the hole of the chain, newly its size is large you can cut it from the tool named CT-6.3 and CT-4.3 it does not create any noise in rolling.

Now the chain is connected remember but it is not locked You have to bring the master link in the upper row by rotating the pedal and when you see it’s here now press the brake and pull some force on the pedal the master link will be locked automatically.

Remember the mistake sometimes your mind thinks that I will use the old pin for my broken or new chain its the worst idea you have ever thought because your bike may travel a thousand miles after that it might be loose or it will slowly come outward your chain will fall. When you buy a new chain also prefer a new pin.

You can use the chain checker which has two ends place these ends on the chain. and adjust the pitch and length of the chain.

Problems of the chain while riding a mountain bike

You are riding at a speed of 6,7 or 8 and your chain falls off and you miss the moment of traveling with your team members. The reason is that you are shifting gears from higher teeth to lower teeth you are pushing the pedals highly in any race after a while the chain drops you will be left backward.

The chain will be stuck between the front chainring and the body frame on the inner side, sometimes you are riding chain in higher front teeth and it comes in an outside position toward the pedal, mostly the chain repositions from the back higher teeth of the cassette in the middle gap of the back tire.

How to fix chain drop?

When this happens it irritates much you start to worry about what kind of problem I am stuck in never bring in mind about the chain length smaller or larger because the derailleur is responsible for this fault when you are positioning the gears from higher to lower and lower to higher teeth the derailleur does not becomes back and front.

When you are paddling in mountainous areas remember if you want to paddle backward it may bring trouble because the chain will lose its tracking and it will drop from the front crank ring.

You are pushing force on the paddle fastly and your chain drops because the crank of your bike is old and the cranck teeth are dragged badly they will drop the chain from the front. Remove the chainring and buy a new one because also it will produce an unpleasant voice. ITs not necessary to buy the crank unit you can buy the chainring that is damaged.

Mountain bike chain guide

Shimano Chain guide is a cover surrounding the crank chain. it saves chain from mud, dirt, moisture, etc. there are the following tools used for the opening and closing of the chain guide.

  • A flat-headed screwdriver
  • 8MM Allen key
  • Crank extractor

To install the chain guide in your bike you want these tools. Open the large bolt of the crankset with a tool.  the chain guide contains three covers with three poles you can up and down these poles for the accurate travel of the chain.

It’s important to install the chain guide because you want to ride your bike chain shakes as well the up and down chain makes noise also the is not stretching itself hardly.

there are different types of chain guides, all are best in their own functions. the chain does not drop itself in the chain guide. In other words, you can name a chain guide as a chain tensioner.

tightening of mountain bike chain

It’s a simple and easy method with includes some basic tools.

  • Powerlink splitter
  • chain tool

You want to tighten the loose chain remember to bring the chain in the lowest back teeth. The chain consists of pitches, too many pitches combine with each other and make a chain.

Pick the splitter and bring both jaws into the pitch and apply a pushing force the chain will break and remove one or two links the chain becomes small. finally, bring both its ends together and fix it with a pin and lock it tightly.

Chain tool using the method

It’s a special tool mostly used in every function related to the chain. Inspect your chain you will see a move the pedal, you will see a chain lock within the chain because it’s different from the other links if it does not then your chain might do not contain it. The chain tool is also known as a chain breaker.

Bring one of the pin links within the space of the chain breaker,  rotate the handle of the tool clockwise before it needs a little amount of force, by rotating constantly it will push the pin of the link to a position outside. The chain tool is very important for mountain bikes we may say as it’s a pocket tool.

Removing rust from old chain bikes

You want your chain rust to be rust-free, Open the chain from the lock with a chain tool .there are many methods to clean the chain pick a laundry soap and water. find some old frying fan that might not be used in your kitchen. put some water and the laundry soap in it and mix it,

Drop the chain in it and wash it thoroughly with a Brush. Drop the dirty water and again wash it with fresh water. Repeat this method at least 2 to 3 times. dry it with a rough cloth and place it under the sunlight for at least 3 to 5 minutes. Use Turco rust converter and apply it to the chain in the frying fan, be careful always to use hand gloves for your safety because it’s a chemical. leave it for a few minutes.

If you notice the access of Turco rust converter applied again put it in a frying fan and cleanly wash with water and soap. Dry it with a cloth. The chain shows like it’s fully in new condition. Now it’s time to install the chain in your bike.

How often you should clean your chain

Regarding the chain, cleaning is a necessary step you have to do at least 2 to 3 times a week. You go outside for a ride through muddy, sandy areas, also u know your bike has no chain cover the dirty particles will cover all over the pitches and pins of the chain, which may cause the risk of taking rust. Riders especially use different kinds of lubes and antigreasers  . select CM 5.5 and CM 5.2 significant.

Pick a chain cleaner and attach it to the chain so that the brushes of the cleaner are fully fitted in the chain. push the paddle forward and backward, hold the cleaner with one hand. when the chain completes at least 25 to 30 revolutions remove the cleaner in the garbage box. it contains black oily liquid, taking the step to touch any liquid always wear hand gloves.

Wash the cleaner with water and put laundry soap in it and again fix the cleaner with a chain repeat the above process. Now the chain is completely cleaned and it’s wet,  dry it with a cloth by holding the cloth within the chain, in this way your chain will be completely cleaned.

lubricating the chain correctly

Brining lube idea in your mind for a mountain bike chain remember don’t be lazy like you think I will pick some home used oil or oil that is used for recipes in kitchens, it will create bad effects on-chain because it will catch more dust particles. Always use a lube that is manufactured for the bike chains. there are some lubes detailed as

  • Spray lube
  • Wet lube and
  • Dry lube

1: Spray lube

I tried spray lube for the bike chain I have,t cleaned my chain for a month because I wanted to check the characteristics of spray lube, Push the pedal backward and press the button slowly in your first try till the chain reaches in 3rd to 4th revolution.

Leave the chain for a few minutes so that the liquid spray will penetrate into the dust particles of the chain and it will weak the ruby, sandy dirt. On the second try Press the spray with pressure and bring a brush rub it on the chain so that the irritating dust will leave the old grease contamination and clean the chain with a Brush. Apply the same method a third time on the chain with the full pressure of spray and rotate the chain through the pedal, clean it with a brush.

Take a rough cloth and hold the chain with it and move the pedal backward. The chain became completely and fully cleaned.

2: Wet lube

It is much thick than the dry lube. You are riding through the different tracks after the rain you face mud water and sandy water, wet the chain with wet lube. wet lube is basically used for wet tracks containing water or after the rain.

3:Dry lube

it is used for dry seasons, your track contains dry clay that you will face during the riding, apply dry lube to your chain to avoid catchy soil particles and dust sticking to the chain when you ride through dry tracks. 

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