How to Loosen a Stiff Chain Link
Stiff chain links cause noise, shifting problems, and even injury. Watch how to fix it by hand!
A stiff chain link can cause problems with your shifting, and can even cause injury if it slips while you’re pedaling. Here’s how to easily diagnose and fix the problem.
Find the Stiff Link
You’ll know you have a stiff link if your chain skips every 3 or 4 rotations. If you have several stiff links you’ll feel it skip even more often. To find the link, shift down to your smallest rear sprocket and then run the chain backwards through the derailleur by rotating your crank. Keep a close eye on your chain as it rolls over the lower derailleur pulley. When the stiff link passes through you’ll see it jump over the pulley. This means the inner and outer plates of one of your chain links are squished together too tight at the pin.
Loosen by Hand
To fix this by hand, simply work the plates loose by twisting the chain up and down the same way it was meant to. Then point the stiff link upward and firmly grab the closest connecting points on either side. Now twist the chain side to side, the way it was not supposed to bend. If all goes well, your stiff link should now be loosened and you can continue riding.
Loosen with a Chain Tool
If this method doesn’t work, and the link is still stiff, you’ll have to use a chain tool to fix it. Place the stiff link into the chain tool, on the slots closest to the turning handle. Now thread the chain tool’s pin gently against the chain pin about 1/8th of a turn, or just enough to slightly loosen the chain plates. That should loosen it enough.
If you still have problems, the chain may actually be bent and need replacing.
Discuss this topic in the Chain Forums
Would there be any issues with one less tooth on the high gear as regards shifting or otherwise?...Read more
Just bought a new bike. It has a KMC H700 8speed chain and I am would like to know if, when the time comes and the chain must be replaced, I could replace it with a Sram PC 850 8 speed chain that I have on hand....Read more
The chain is slipping on my MTB when I'm on the middle chainring and smallest sprocket on the back, but only when I put a lot of force on the pedals. I replaced the chain last year along with the 7 speed freewheel and the middle 32T chainring. I've probably cycled only 1000 to 1500 miles since and tried to only oil the chain when it was clean, so I'm not sure whether it is excessively worn (have...Read more
Hi, All! I recently got a broken bike from one of my friends, and want to fix it as a fun project. Seemingly its chain is off from the rail and completely distorted like a helix, so it needs to be replaced. Also, rear derailleur is shattered into two parts, each has a gear, not sure if it can be repaired as I'm a total newbie, so I decided to buy a new part for it as well. However, I don't know ...Read more
Hi, my chain on a 2016 Specialized fatboy keeps getting sucked into the tire and comes off when I am in the top gear coasting. I have had multiple bike shops look at it and they say that those bike are not made to be in the top gear which sound ridiculous to me. It also been suggested that I change the front sprocket from a 28 to a 32. Also the chain measured fine. Any suggestions?...Read more
I fitted a black 105 5800 compact chainring set (50/33) when I built my new bike. I prefer the 50 chainring cos, on our flat terrain, I can push it, but I can't push a 52 0r 53. However, I would like to change the 33 inner ring for a 42. I have found some rings with the same PCD, but they all seem to have some qualifications which I don't entirely follow. Is there a straight forward way to ...Read more
Hi, I have the following issue on my bike (see video): https://youtu.be/XtuR7BI_7SU When stopped at traffic lights I need various attempts at putting the pedal at the correct hight to set off. Is this to do with play in bottom bracket or another issue? I have this play in bottom bracket: https://youtu.be/ikX9hNyDs6g It's an old bike so do not want to spend much money on it. I can live with th...Read more
I'm having an issue on my CX bike. Which is shimano with 38/48. On the last 2 rides when I'm in the lowest gear on the cassette my chain drops off the small chain ring. It doesn't happen on the 2nd from lowest gear on the cassette. I decided that maybe my rear mech was limited enough so perhaps was pulling the chain off at an angle. Therefore I played with the Lo limiter screw and indexing ...Read more
I have an older frame with an ultra-6 freewheel. When the rear wheel is removed the stays measure 122.78 (hub is a 120 for the ultra-6). I can cold bend it out to 126, I'm sure, but do I need to if I just put a regular 6-speed freewheel on? I'm not sure how tight that would be as far as the chain scraping the frame. has anybody tried it? Has anybody bent a 120 out to 126 or 130 without p...Read more
I recently picked up a Park CC-3.2 to put in my portable bike tool-bag (12 inch ruler won't fit). With it one of my chains that measures fine with the ruler, fails, even at the .75 side. Reading on the subject states that the CC-3.2 doesn't take into account roller wear, which the Shimano TL-CN41 does. So, I took a popsicle stick (perfect thickness) and shaped it to press the roller nearest th...Read more
Hi all. 1st time post. I am unablr to remove the cassette from my rear tyre. I followed the easy tutorial on bikeradar but havent managed to get any success. See link to pics of my cassette and the lockring i bought. http://s1067.photobucket.com/user/Nexus62/library/Mobile%20Uploads I think i know where i went wrong. The lockring i purchased didnt fit properly, so i just used a spanner to remove...Read more
i've recently started riding my bike for exercise. was going well for a couple weeks, but a few days ago the chain on my bike has been slipping off of what i think is the gear shifter. it is very annoying and i haven't been able to ride my bike because of it. Edit More info: i have a Schwinn Ranger 10 speed. the gear only slips like that in high gear. it does not slip while in low gear. i have...Read more
Hey Guys, Have a BMX bike that the single speed freewheel is worn out on. The problem is that the freewheel was installed backwards. So, the notches that the freewheel tool would grab on to the freewheel to remove, are on the inside of the wheel next to the spokes. There are two small holes that are 180 degrees apart from each other on the outside of the freewheel. Is there a tool to use th...Read more
I have an older(vintage) bicycle, it,s a 7 speed using suntour radius parts. I want to change out my chain ring. Some say compatible with 9 or 10 speed, does it really matter? If I buy the same rings as 52/42 with the right BCD....Read more
I have a Bianchi with SRAM Red components. The cassette is a 11-28 10 speed. The crank is 53-39. I recently put on a new SRAM 10 speed chain and the chain skipped while riding when I was applying heavy pressure to the pedals. I then put the old chain back on and the problem went away. It feels as if the skipping is coming from the cassette rather than the crank. I tried it again with y...Read more