A bike chain is not just another part on your bike. Nope. Your bike simply cannot and will not move a step without a chain.
In my opinion, this should be the most integral component on any bicycle. Because, some other parts may fail and the bike would still be operational – the braking system, for example, it may break down and you can risk it all for the moment.
Bike chains like most other parts, get worn out or sometimes just break. In these scenarios, a breakage warranties a repair while the case of getting worn out calls for a replacement.
What this means is that at some point, you will need to acquire a new bike chain for your bike. The big question that any person would ask themselves is: how much does a bike chain cost?
You can’t make a decision to purchase one without having asked yourself the cost question.
If you are one of the people who are in blue though, this article is for you. It will help you understand a lot of things about the prices of new chains and the costs that emanate to cater for the repairs etc.
How Much Does a Bike Chain Cost?
Depending on the quality of the chain and how expensive your bike is, a bike chain would cost you anything from $10 to $100. So that if you just want to take care of your cheap bike, something like $10 or about works.
While high-quality chains that are crafted with durability are made for very high-end bicycle models. Such chains cost between $60-$100 or even more.
The cheap bike chains, as I mentioned, are just okay for basic bikes. But if you want to romp up the efficiency of your bicycle, only the best bike chain will provide you the backup you deserve to compete at top top levels.
But most of these best versions do not come at the cheap. It’s almost guaranteed that you will have to dig deep in the pocket to get the best.
High-quality chains are designed to be thinner, resist corrosion, lighter and are durable. Of course, with their efficiency, they would turn you into a daredevil on the tracks.
Different Types of Bike Chains and Their Cost
The type of chain you need squarely depends on the bike you are riding. Here are the different chain types:
1. One-Speed Chains
The one-speed chain is designed for bikes that come with one sprocket on the crankset and the second sprocket on the wheel. Most one-speed chains have rollers measuring 1/8” wide (that’s 3.3mm); although some bikes that use wider sprockets need a wider 3/16” one-speed chain.
Usually, this bike chain does not shift on the multiple gear system that’s common on derailleur bikes. You can as well refer this chain to as “eighth-inch chain”.
This KMC 210 is made of stainless steel which means it’s a durable chain. It doesn’t rust and works with full precision.
2. Derailleur Bike Chain
The derailleur chains can move from sprocket to another. Normally, the rear cog sets on the bike are made with 5, 6,7,8,9,10,11 or 12 sprockets.
This chain must be compatible with the front chainrings. The derailleur chains are also called the 3/32” chain although you can get other variations from that measurement.
3. Road Bike Chain
Road bike chains are lightweight just as the bike is. These chains are often made from materials such as alloy to make sure that they remain as light as possible.
SRAM PC 971 P-Link Bicycle Chain is quiet, fast and durable. It is also a 9-speed chain.
4. MTB Bike Chain
These chains are designed to be strong, more grit and grime than just the standard chains that come lightweight. The MTB chains are also coated with a special coating so that they don’t rust and become slack – you probably know that the MTBs are going to run in the mud and rough terrain.
These chains should be durable to last longer. That’s why apart from the protective coating lined on them, they should be cleaned for an increased lifespan.
The KMC X10SL is a 10-speed bicycle chain that’s constructed of steel to resist the impact of the hard trails. It is durable; therefore, pulling off a long term performance.
5. BMX Bike Chain
If you are a BMXer, then getting a new bicycle chain specific for the BMX bike is a step in the right direction. Unlike the thick MTB chains, the BMX bike chain is thinner and narrower.
They normally have a 1/8” thickness with the single-speed style. The chains are made from lightweight materials such as alloy.
This KMC K710 Kool is a single-speed chain for BMX bike lovers. It is the best for experienced riders who want durable chains that can effortlessly help jump aggressively over obstacles.
How Long Do Bike Chains Last?
There are riders who don’t ride regularly. Chains which are not subjected to continuous use will definitely last long.
The average time for the life of a standard chain may go up more than 4000 miles. And if you bike more than once or twice a week, you can go for about 2000-3000 miles before you start feeling the wear.
However, the wear of a chain depends on its maintenance. Other things that determine whether the chain would last longer are the type of the terrain and stress the bike is subjected to.
You need to keep the bike well maintained after every use. For example, washing the chain and then lubing it ensures that it’s protected from the degrading elements.
When to Replace the Bike Chain
There are two instances that you will definitely need to replace your bike. So, it’s not just about learning how to replace bike chain but also when to do that.
1. A Broken Chain
When riding, you need to keen not to break the chain. A bike chain breaks when the rider pedals with force while at the same time engaging the front derailleur.
You know that chains are composed of links that are connected together by little pins. The pins break when a lot of force is applied.
But if an object like metal is lodged into the chain, it can break. Or when the chain gets twisted.
Most people would prefer to have the chains repaired. But the best thing to do is to buy a new one.
2. A Worn Out Bike Chain
How many miles should a bike chain last? Well, this one is pretty straightforward.
The wear is fast when you cover more miles. Chains normally stretch out because the pins that hold the different links are loosening up.
The chain grows big in length. And an outstretched bike chain is not going to bring any happiness in your riding.
Instead, it wears out other components such as the bike’s cassette and chainrings. Consequently, reducing the efficiency and smooth operation of the drivetrain.
All these happenings make an important statement about replacing the chain. Also, you may need to make that replacement if there’s a crack or deformity on the chain.
How to Replace a Bike Chain
It is important that you begin thinking about replacing your bike chain once you start observing a few signs of wear. Don’t wait until the whole thing is thrashed and grounded.
There is a danger to that – the chain eats into the cassettes and chainrings.
Here is the roundup of eight quick steps on how to change a bike chain:
- You need to remove the old chain by unfastening the quick link. Usually, this is compressed to split the chain at a point using a suitable chain tool.
- Clean the cassette. Make sure that the cassette is thoroughly cleaned and also make sure that you inspect the chainrings.
Use an appropriate solvent.
- Thread the new chain through the front derailleur. After which you are to pull the chain over and then loop it over the rear cassette and also around the upper jockey wheel of the derailleur.
Thread through the cage and follow it finally round the lower wheel.
- Find the correct chain measurements that would fit the target length. this is done by pulling the chain together around the smallest sprocket and the chainring so that the ends meet below the chainstay.
- You can now cut the chain to the measured size. Dropping the chain link you want to work on in between the jaws of the chain tool, start turning the handle until the joining pin starts to push the center of the link.
- Then insert the joining pin: this is inserted when the ends of the chain are slotted together. You will need to push the pin into the chain from the drive side.
- Still having the chain tool, slot the link with the pin inside it. You will then screw the handle to make sure that the pin is driven right to exact position.
Remember to do all this slowly.
- Once everything is done, ensure that the link moves freely.
How to Choose the Right Chain
There are a few key things you should look at when choosing the right chain. Here.
Every cyclist needs a durable bike. And the cost to replace bicycle chain is determined by the quality of the chain.
Steel chains with hard rivets are more likely to be durable. But you should be prepared to pay a little more for durable chains.
- Number of Speeds
The bike chain you are picking out on should match the speeds of your bike. For example, a 6-speed bike chain will only fit on a 6-speed bike.
This is due to the difference in the widths.
Just keep in mind that too long chains or too short chains would be problematic. \
- Easy Usage and Installation
Installing a bike chain should not be that difficult. This should also apply when using them.
The right bike chain should present minimal issues on installing and using them on the bicycle.
- Chain Size
The size of a chain is everything. You want to get the right size so that the chain is not thick when it’s going to be used on road bikes for example.
The type of bike you have should help determine the size of the chain. Look at the sizing table right next.
|6||7||8||9||10 (standard)||10 (Narrow)||10 (Narrow, Direction)||11|
|Brands||All brands||SRAM, Shimano, HG/IG||SRAM, Shimano, HG/IG||All brands||Shimano, Campagnolo||KMC, Campagnolo||Shimano, CN-6700, CN-7500, CN-7900||KMC, Shimano, CN-9000, Campagnolo|
How much does a bike chain cost?
This depends on many factors including the type of the bike, durability, the brand among other things. But the bottom line is to look for a bike chain that can resist wear and tear and can last long. \
With that said, the cost of the chains will vary. The mountain bikes need heavy-duty chains while the road bikes may just need simple, basic bike chains to run.
Otherwise, the price range is anything between $10-$100 or more. This depends on your needs.