How To Remove A Bike Chain

When it comes to cycle maintenance there are a variety of things to consider, one of them being the chain. From time to time  you may want to remove your bike chain. This may be because you want to clean it, replace it or change front or rear mechs. In this article we are going to be looking at how to remove a bike chain. 

Before we get started on answering the question how to remove a bike chain, you might need to get the following tools. 

Chain rivet extractor: This is an important tool in your tool kit. It’s designed to push the chain joining rivets, also called pins. 

Chain rivet extractor

Master link pliers: They can open and close chain joining links. They are not essential but they make the job easier.

Master link pliers

How to remove a bike chain 

Now we have covered the tools that you might need, we want to get straight onto explaining how to remove a bike chain. Removing the chain can be done with the bike the right way up. Lean the bike up so that you can still move the crank or put it on the stand. Move the gear shifters so that the chain is on the smallest cog at the front and smallest cog at the back.

Spin the cranks and see if you can find the joining link. This is what it looks like. 

Joining link

You can undo it with the “squeeze, wiggle and push” method. Grasp the chain in both hands with the joining link in the middle.

Pinch the middle of the joining link and then wiggle the chain together. 

The easiest way, however, is to use the master link pliers as some joining links can be very hard to undo. Put the end of the pliers on each side of the joining link and squeeze the handles together.

The link will now come apart.

If you can’t find a joining link then you will have to remove a rivet using a chain rivet extractor. Put the tool on the lower part of the chain.

If there are two sets of teeth on the tool then put the chain on the lower set with the rivet that you want to remove in line with the top part of the tool.  Start turning the handle clockwise. When the end of the tool hits the rivet, it will be difficult to turn. Check that the tool is lined up with the pin, if it isn’t, reposition the tool. Keep turning the handle till the rivet comes out completely.  

Once the chain is undone you will be able to take it off. 

Overview of how to remove a bike chain

We hope this article has helped break down each step of the process on how to remove a bike chain. In one of our future blog posts and videos we will delve deeper into the maintenance of your bicycle chain including how to oil a bike chain. If you learn better seeing things in action, we suggest visiting our YouTube channel where we put all of our how to guides into practise. If you have any questions relating to cycle maintenance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly cycle maintenance academy experts. 

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