How to fix a broken bike chain

If your chain is broken and you are away from your destination, it is impossible to ride your bike. Where the chain is broken, you will need to remove the broken bits of link. Let’s take a look at how to fix a broken bike chain.

Tools Needed

Chain rivet extractor: This is designed to push out the chain joining rivets that hold faulty plates together. There are many different ones on the market.  If you are looking to buy just one, then choose one that is light and portable and carry it with you. Re-joining a broken chain is a valuable roadside repair.

Chain hook:  This holds the chain, making it easier to re-join. They are not vital. It is fairly easy to make out of an old spoke.  

Master link: This consists of two metal plates that join the chain. If your chain breaks unexpectedly, then you will need one to re-join the chain.  It is a good idea to carry a spare one. They are specific to the number of gears that you have one the rear cogs. It is the same link to join 5, 6, 7 and 8 speeds, but other speeds have their own. While it is important to use the correct speed joining link, it doesn’t matter which brand you use.  The one exception to this is Shimano. While other brands of link join Shimano chains, the Shimano joining pin will only work on Shimano.

How to fix a broken bike chain:

How to fix a broken bike chain?

Before you re-join the broken chain, you have to make sure it will go together with a two piece master link. If your chain has broken during a ride, you will have to remove the two faulty outer plates. Take out the rivet on the other side of the outer plate using a chain rivet extractor. You will now be able to use a master link. Before you thread your chain, check to see if it is a chain that has a direction. Some chains have writing only on one side. Make sure this side is facing outwards.

Before you re-join the broken chain, you have to make sure it will go together with a two piece master link. If your chain has broken during a ride, you will have to remove the two faulty outer plates. Take out the rivet on the other side of the outer plate using a chain rivet extractor.

You will now be able to use a master link. Before you thread your chain, check to see if it is a chain that has a direction. Some chains have writing only on one side. Make sure this side is facing outwards.

Step 1:

Feed the chain through the front derailleur, pulling the chain towards the back wheel.

Step 2:

Rest the chain on the smallest cog and let the chain fall in front of the rear derailleur.

Then put the chain onto the top jockey wheel. The one nearest to the rear sprockets. 

Step 3:

Pull the bottom of the derailleur down

and let the chain go around the bottom jockey wheel.

The ends of the chain should now meet.

Step 4:

You can now use your master link to join the chain.  There is some tension on the chain, albeit slight, on the second smallest cog, so it can make it difficult to pull the chain together. This is where you can use your chain hook. Hook both sides of the chain.

Step 5:

Now put each piece of the master link on both ends of the chain and link them together. The joining link will normally engage by pulling on it, but if it’s stubborn, spin the crank to move the chain link to the top.

Apply the back brake and push the pedal forward. You will hear a loud click. Your chain should now be connected. 

Step 6:

Spin the cranks backwards and make sure it doesn’t make any strange noises. Have a look at the joining link and make sure that it is fully connected. If it sounds overly noisy, then make sure that the chain isn’t caught somewhere and not caught on the derailleur.

Please note:  Some people think that this is a temporary fix. It’s not. This is the manufacturers recommendation for fitting chains. Now you should know how to fix a broken bike chain.

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