It cracks and crawls and you feel like you’re pedalling into the void. The case is obvious: you need a new bicycle chain. If you are faced with the question of having to buy a new bicycle chain for your bike, there is no need to despair! A look at the drivetrain and the gear shifting system already narrows down the choice of chains that come into question. We give you tips on what to look for when buying a bicycle chain and what advantages a CONTEC bicycle chain offers you.
How do I know that I need a new chain?
As described earlier, a sure indicator that you need a new chain is when the chain skips the sprockets when you start pedalling. But the right time to replace the chain actually comes much earlier. To determine this reliably, it is best to use a wear gauge. At CONTEC we also have something like this in our range for little money.
Determine the gear type and number of gears
- If you look at the rear wheel, the first distinction is whether you are using hub gears or derailleur gears. A trekking bike or a city bike often uses hub gears. With a hub gear system, the gearbox is inside the rear wheel hub and thus protected from environmental influences. This is where the gears are changed. Whether singlespeed, 2-speed, 3-speed, 5-speed, 7, 8 or 11 and 12-speed – no matter how many gears your hub gears have, only chains for singlespeed/hub gears can be considered as replacements.
- If more than one sprocket is visible on the rear wheel hub, your bike has a so-called derailleur. These are used on sportier bikes, such as road bikes or cyclocrossers, mountain bikes, sporty trekking bikes and also on e-bikes and e-MTBs. The name is a little misleading, because hub gears are also usually driven by a chain. But that is just a side note. In derailleur gears, the chain is guided over different sized sprockets, which results in different gear ratios. In this respect it is easy to see from the outside whether your bike has a derailleur and which chain you need for it. All you have to do is count the sprockets on the rear wheel. If you find more than one sprocket: No question, you need a chain for derailleurs!
- Once you have counted them, you can easily choose the chain that suits you based on the description of the individual models. These are indicated as 7-speed, 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed and 11-speed. The chains differ in width depending on the model. You can tell this by the different measurements, which are given in inches. An 11-speed chain is particularly narrow, while a 7-speed chain is comparatively wide. The reason for this is that the distance between the sprockets on the rear wheel is smaller with an 11-speed than with a 7-speed. The wider 7-speed chain does not run on the narrow sprockets of the 11-speed system.
Selecting the right bicycle chain
Once you have found your chain with the right width, you still have to select from our variants above which characteristics are most important for you and your riding behaviour. You should ask yourself these questions:
- How many kilometres do I ride my bike?
The more you ride, the more important it is to have a high-quality chain. Otherwise the chain may have to be replaced after only a few months. You can choose from our Heavy Duty, Enhanced Drive and Enhanced Drive+ chains. If you ride infrequently and only a few kilometres, you can also use one of our Classic bicycle chains. They are inexpensive and very suitable for most normal riders.
- What weather do I ride in?
If you can’t choose which weather you want to ride in, or maybe you even like cycling in wind and weather, ice and snow, then you need a chain that is particularly resistant to bad weather and can also withstand longer rides in the rain without relubrication and without rusting. A special anti-rust coating on the chain, such as our Green Power chains, helps here.
- Do I ride sportily or comfortably?
If you have a lot of power on the drive and a low weight is important to you, you are probably a sporty cyclist. For this purpose you need an optimised chain that offers you the best compromise between light weight and strength. These are our Race chains. If you are a leisurely cyclist, you may not be so concerned with weight, but rather with the highest possible durability.
- How meticulously do I care for the chain?
Lubricating the bicycle chain regularly has a significant influence on its service life. Chains with our environmentally friendly GreenPower anti-rust coating will last much longer if you do not treat them regularly with chain oil. They are also good if you are out in bad weather or if your bike is outdoors a lot.
- Am I riding an e-bike or pedelec?
E-bikes and pedelecs with mid-mounted motors in particular put a lot of strain on the bicycle chain due to their high torques. One example is e-bikes with a Bosch mid-motor. These motors have a direct effect on the chain, which wears out more quickly due to the increased forces. Fortunately, we at CONTEC offer you special chains for e-bikes. Our Enhanced Drive+ chains are designed to withstand the forces of e-bike mid-motors and have a lower wear rate, which reduces the maintenance effort and minimises the risk of suddenly finding yourself with a broken chain on your bike tour.
- Do I ride a BMX?
No question: You need our Heavy Duty chain, which is also available as a halflink version.
How do I mount my new CONTEC chain?
Fitting a new CONTEC bicycle chain is comparatively easy, as the chain is not locked with a rivet bolt but with a so-called chain locking link or chain lock.
For the correct installation of the new bicycle chain, it must be cut to the appropriate length. This is done, for example, with the help of the old chain. Simply lay the old and the new chain next to each other and compare the length. The excess links of the new chain should then be cut off with a chain riveter such as the CONTEC “Pin Pusher” (see Bicycle Tools).
Then place the chain on the matching sprockets – on a bike with derailleur gears, feed the chain through the front derailleur and rear derailleur – and then lock it securely with the chain lock, as indicated on the instructions for use on the packaging.
If the chain is too long for some reason, for example if it is sagging, the chain can be easily opened again thanks to the chain lock, so that as many links can be removed again until the chain length fits perfectly.
Caution: the bicycle chain is a safety-relevant component. Improper installation and the use of unsuitable tools can cause damage to the chain, which can lead to accidents. Therefore, if in doubt, it is better to have the new chain fitted by a professional. This does not cost much time or money. You can find a CONTEC dealer near you in our dealer search.