How Often Should You Change Your Bicycle Chain?

Your bicycle chain will gradually wear out with time, and you will need to change it from time to time to maintain your cycling performance. Worn out chains shift poorly, lose efficiency, wear sprockets quickly, and sometimes break. This wear in turn will make the bike chain to start skipping over of the cogs thus reducing the point of contact.

Therefore, if you detect your chain is wearing out, it’s advised that you change it before it starts to wear out badly to increase the lifespan of your cycling.

Let’s find out how often you are supposed to change your bicycle chain.

1. When the chain bent

You may notice your bicycle derailleur is skipping thus making it hard for you to pedal. An object or a stick getting stuck into the drivetrain will cause a bent in the chain and will need to be checked or replaced. Although you can twist the bent using pliers into its original shape, you will need to replace the chain or the bent links thus making them not susceptible to breaking.

2. When the chain elongate

When the metal around the rivets in the chain links wear down, the chains tend to stretch. You can measure the stretchiness of your chain by using a chain checker tool or an accurate ruler/tape measure to determine if it has elongated and needs replacement. Check the chain by holding your tape measure up to the chain while the chain is still on the bike. If the measurement to the middle of the second chain pin is above 12, you need to replace your bicycle chain. A chain checker is considered one of the best and will always give you a go or no go gauge on your chain wear.

3. When the chain breaks

If your bicycle chain breaks due to being worn out, and you find cracks in the link chain, it’s time for you to replace it with a new chain. Pins in the links becoming loose and ends up popping, over-stretching during shifts or when the bike was being assembled the assembly failed to make sure that the pin is through both links may cause breakage in chains.

Therefore, even if you temporarily repair your bicycle chain by removing the broken links, you’ll still need to change the chain.

4. When you let go

When you continue to ignore a chain that needs replacement, you will end up changing more than just the chain. Worn out chains wear down your bicycle sprockets that keep the chain in place and will need to replaced. Checking your chains once in a while is the most efficient way to ensure you change them when necessary rather than when they have already damaged your bike.

5. When you don’t service your bicycle

Bicycle chains are consumable parts of the bike drivetrain. As you cycle your bicycle for miles without maintaining it, your bike’s chain will wear out and will need to be changed.

When no servicing is done to your bicycle, the internal parts of the chain begin to wear out this wear can damage cogs and chain rings of your bike thus making it difficult to shift. Since replacing your bicycle cassette is more expensive than changing a chain, it’s always advisable to keep on checking the chains and know when to replace them. A worn chain gives the risk of lost power transfer in the bicycle and also wearing your rear cassette more quickly.


Cycling for distance will not give you the accurate indicator that your bicycle chain is wearing out and need to be changed neither is keeping its measurement. A well-maintained bicycle will saves you money and last for a lifetime but not the chains. There is no way of telling how often you will require changing the chains on a bicycle since too many variables have to be considered.

A broken chain or a bent chain does not necessarily require to be replaced all the time since you can repair it. However, an elongated chain will always expect being changed. In the end, though, whenever you doubt and feel that there might be chain wear, replace it.

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