How to Install a New Bike Chain: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Install a New Bike Chain

Is your bike chain showing signs of wear and tear? Don’t let a rusty or stretched chain ruin your biking experience! Installing a new bike chain might sound like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, you’ll be back on the road in no time. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free installation.

There are 10 Process of Steps to Install a New Bike Chain

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you start, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • New bike chain
  • Chain breaker tool
  • Allen wrenches
  • Chain quick link (if your chain uses one)
  • Rag or cloth
  • Lubricant
  • Pedal wrench (optional)

Prepare Your Bike

  1. Shift to the smallest chainring and rear cog. This relieves tension on the chain, making it easier to remove.
  2. If your bike has a rear derailleur, shift it to the smallest cog. This will help prevent any accidents or damage while working on the chain.

Remove the Old Chain

  1. Position your chain breaker tool over one of the chain links.
  2. Carefully push the pin out of the chain using the chain breaker tool. This will disconnect the chain.
  3. Gently remove the old chain from the bike.

Size Your New Chain

  1. Lay the new chain next to the old one and ensure they are the same length. If the new chain is too long, you may need to remove some links to match the old chain’s length. Use the chain breaker tool for this step.
  2. Remember to account for the derailleur and any tension adjustments. A bike shop can help you determine the optimal chain length if you’re unsure.

Install the New Chain

  1. Thread the new chain onto the smallest chainring and the smallest rear cog.
  2. Use the chain breaker tool to connect the ends of the chain. Carefully line up the pin with the chain and push it through using the tool. Make sure the pin is fully inserted and aligned with the other links.

Test the Chain

  1. Carefully pedal the bike by hand to ensure the chain moves smoothly across the chainrings and cogs.
  2. Shift through all the gears to check for any misalignment or skipping. If you notice any issues, double-check the chain installation.

Install a Quick Link (if applicable)

  1. Some chains come with a quick link, which makes installation easier.
  2. To install a quick link, simply connect the two ends of the chain and slide the quick link into place. Make sure it clicks securely.

Lubricate the Chain

  1. Apply a quality bicycle chain lubricant to the entire length of the chain.
  2. Wipe off any excess lubricant with a rag to prevent attracting dirt and debris.

Final Checks

  1. Double-check the chain tension. There should be a slight amount of slack in the chain. If it’s too tight, it can cause unnecessary wear.
  2. Recheck the shifting by running through all the gears. Make any necessary adjustments to the derailleur.

Go for a Test Ride

Congratulations! Your new bike chain is now installed and ready to roll. Take your bike for a short test ride to ensure everything is working smoothly. Pay attention to the shifting and overall feel of the chain as you pedal.


How do I know when it’s time to replace my bike chain?

It’s important to replace your bike chain when it shows signs of wear. Look for indicators such as chain elongation (measured by a chain checker tool), frequent chain slipping or skipping, rust, or visibly worn chain links. Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your chain, but if you notice these issues, it’s time to consider installing a new chain.

Do I need special tools to install a new bike chain?

Yes, you will need a few specific tools for a successful chain installation. The essential tools include a chain breaker tool to remove and resize the chain, Allen wrenches to adjust components if necessary, a chain quick link (if your chain uses one), a rag or cloth to clean the chain and components, and lubricant to ensure smooth operation. If you’re new to bike maintenance, consider seeking assistance from a local bike shop or a more experienced cyclist.

Can I reuse my old quick link when installing a new chain?

It is generally recommended to use a new quick link when installing a new bike chain. Quick links can wear over time and might not provide the same secure connection as a new one. If your new chain comes with a quick link, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. If you’re uncertain, consult your bike’s manual or reach out to a professional for guidance. Remember that safety and proper functioning are paramount, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and use a new quick link if in doubt.


Installing a new bike chain might seem like a complex task, but with the right tools and this step-by-step guide, you’ll master the process in no time. Regular maintenance and proper installation of a new chain will ensure a smoother, more enjoyable biking experience and prolong the life of your bicycle. So, gear up and get ready to hit the road with confidence.

Roger Walker
Roger Walker
Roger is a long-time homeowner with an enthusiasm for DIY, gardening, and design. He has over eight years of experience as a lifestyle editor and has worked with some of the top brands in the industry. Roger's goal is to help people make their homes comfort, functional, and beautiful- all while saving money.

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