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Greater Arizona Bicycling Association, Inc.
Where cycling is more than just riding a bike
March Show
HomeChain Installation
If a new chain is being installed, count the number of links in the old chain. The new chain should
have the same number as the old one. Remove links as needed to make it so.
If you are unsure about the length of your previous chain, you can size the chain by wrapping the
chain around your smallest chainring and the smallest cog and passing it through the rear and
front derailleur. Pull the chain so that when the two ends meet, the chain is parallel to the ground
and the chain stay of the frame, and there is slight tension in the rear derailleur's pulley cage.

Adding and Removing Links

The chain will need to be lengthened or shortened if you change cassette or chainring sizes. You may
also need to remove a damaged link during a ride.
Use the chain tool rivet extractor to join a narrow with a wide link that has a rivet sticking out one
side. It may be necessary to completely remove links from the end of the chain section in order to
create this match-up. Reconnect the chain. Position the rear derailleur to facilitate this process by
moving it so the smallest cog.

Lay the chain on the rear cluster, on the smallest sprocket, then thread through the rear derailleur
and around the derailleur wheels. Put the other end through the front derailleur and around the
middle (or smaller) chainring. If the chain is threaded so the loose pin is facing you (on the outside),
rejoining the chain will be much easier.

Set the two ends of the chain on the pegs of the extractor (the outer pegs if there are two rows), and
line up the loose pin with the pin driver.


  • Push the rivet into the outer plate.

  • STOP! Unscrew the driver and remove the chain from the tool. Check to see that the same amount of rivet extends beyond both outer plates as on the other links. If not, put the chain back on the tool and even it up.

  • Chain links should move freely. Binding is caused when the inner and outer plates are pushed together in the course of installing the rivet. A joint that binds will skip or jump under load.

  • To free up a tight link, use the second position of the chain tool, closest to the T handle.

  • Place the chain on these pegs, then push the rivet from the opposite side it was put in from, turning the T handle about 1/4 turn after it contacts the rivet. If you don not have a chain tool with this feature, grab the chain on either side of the stiff link with your hands and twist it sideways until it turns freely.

Lubrication on a bicycle chain needs to get inside, between the rivet and the bushing. To insure smooth operation of the chain, the chain should be be kept clean and dry so as not to attract dirt. Clean with an environmentally friendly solvent or cleaner.

Lubrication must be renewed regularly. When working with lubricants remember that some cleaners and lubricants are flammable. Never work near a flame, especially not in the basement near the gas furnace.

There are a variety of lubricants available through bike shops. Remember to never lubricate a chain with grease. Grease does not penetrate the chain and collects dirt and grit on the outside.

Recommended Tools:
  • Chain checker or wear indicator 
  • Chain tool
  • Master link pliers
  • Dry chain lube

 Click HERE to go to Park Tools Instructions

Click HERE for video