How to Tighten a Single-Speed Bike Chain

How to Tighten a Single-Speed Bike Chain

On kids' bikes or any single-speed bike without a derailleur, adjusting the chain tension requires either resizing the chain or adjusting the position of the back wheel.

TOOLS:

• Wrench

• Chain tool

1 Check the tension. Push down on the chain in the middle of its top length. A properly tensioned chain will bend down about an inch from its starting height.

How to Tighten a Single-Speed Bike Chain

2 Move the wheel. If it bends just a bit more than an inch, use a wrench to loosen the nuts that hold the back wheel in place and slide the wheel slightly farther back along its mounting channels. Retighten the nuts and check the chain tension again.

How to Tighten a Single-Speed Bike Chain

3 Remove links. If the chain pushes down 2 inches or more from its starting height, pushing back the back wheel won't be enough to pull the chain taut. In that case, remove the chain with a chain tool (see also Step 4 in How to Maintain a Bicycle Chain).

How to Tighten a Single-Speed Bike Chain

MANAGING CHAIN STRETCH

Chains don't actually stretch. What riders and bike mechanics call chain stretch is actually the chain metal wearing to the point that it develops play, or movement, around the pins. Enough play around enough pins can lead to a loose chain—one in which each link is a little longer than the manufacturer of the gears intended. This "stretched" chain can round the teeth of the gears, eventually necessitating that you replace the cog set. Rather than pulling a link or two to return it to its original length, replace it. A new chain costs less than new gears.

How to Tighten a Single-Speed Bike Chain

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE