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gsiener's avatar

How can I tighten my bike chain?

Asked by gsiener (438points) March 6th, 2008

I removed the front derailleur from my 21-speed, effectively making it a 7-speed. It’s great, except that the chain has fallen off or down-shifted a couple of times. Should I tighten the chain? If yes, how?

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6 Answers

row4food's avatar

a good resource is zinn and the art of road bike maintenance. i always have it near when i’m making any adjustments to my bike. i’ve never had to tighten my chain so i’m not sure how, but i bet mr. zinn can help. i think it is relatively easy…you might have to get a special chain tool at the bike store. good luck.

chaosrob's avatar

If you remove a derailleur, you suddenly have about 6 inches more chain than you need. Get a link removal tool from your local bike shop, or any motorcycle tool shop, and drop out some of the chain.

robhaya's avatar

Yes, Tighten the chain. Get the chain link removal tool from your local bike shop as noted above. Pop the pins holding the chain together and shorten the chain to the proper length. You don’t want the chain to be too tight either. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can have this done at the bike shop.

Good Luck!

brownlemur's avatar

Unfortunately, unless you have a chain with a master link (like a SRAM chain), once you pop the links out of your chain, it is dead. I recommend doing this at your local bike shop.

gsiener's avatar

Thanks for the responses everyone. Just wanted to clarify that this was the front dérailleur, so I don’t have a ton of extra chain, just seems like it’s a couple links too loose. As for bike shop—I’m on an out island in The Bahamas, no shops around here…

m_dub's avatar

I would suggest buying a new chain with a master link (as above) so you can set the chain length properly. Or you can get a proper chain for your 7-speed here:

They ship internationally, but you need a PayPal account for int’l orders. 3–4 day service through Global Express Mail.

I used them to get most of my parts, and their service was excellent!

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