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.
- Park Tool CT-5 Chain Tool
- Park Tool CT-3 Chain Tool
- Park Tool CC-3.2 Chain Checker
- Park Tool CC-2 Chain Checker
- Wippermann Chain Wear Indicator
- Park Tool CG-2 Chain Gang Chain Cleaning System
Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum
I just registered here to ask for help. I have this bike; https://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeSpecs.aspx?item=91408 Which I rescued from the trash. I know how to do the basics, like changing a tube or tire, but I don't have a lot of experience replacing parts, or doing much bike maintenance in general. To be honest, I'm not a hardcore cyclist. To me, the bike is mostly just a way to get pla...Read more
So I read about Shimano filing a patent for bicycle gearbox both for MTB and road bikes. What are your thoughts about it? They must be serious about it and definitely have the R&D capacity compared to the existing bicycle gearbox manufacturers. Looks like an ebike motor. I've always been (and probably will be) a derailleur boy though. https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/ac/c6/46/60b59...Read more
Has anyone had any luck with homemade chain oil? im looking for some recipes, a lot include motor oil and mineral spirits any good?...Read more
There is a product used in major tool rooms I have been in as an engineer for 34 years. It is called Kroil. I think you would have to get it off the web though, but believe me it is the BEST I have seen..... Penetrating-Lubricating Oils Loosens Frozen Metal Parts! ... Nothing Works Like Kroil Kroil - An industry proven penetrating oil that has no equal. Used by 480 of the Fortune 500 companies! ...Read more
Hi, got a fresh new KMC chain back in August for urban commuter bike. Have lubed it twice during this time, and weekly I cover around 30 miles on the bicycle. Measured chain wear yesterday ... it's worn already until the 0,75 mark. Isn't this too early for a chain to be done??...Read more
I've read other threads and lots of info online, and I'm still stuck. My son is unable to shift the gears on his new 6-gear bike. We tried adjusting the derailer to release some tension and tinkered with adjustments here and there, and nothing seems to be working. Is there anything that we can do? I really want him to be able to shift his own gears. Going uphill today we had to stop several t...Read more
In the spring I installed a new Fenix 26 x 1.90/2.125 inner tube on my year old mountain bike front wheel. It has been fine all summer until my last ride this fall. The following day after my ride both front and rear tires were flat. I thought that they might have lost air due to the cooler temperatures. But that was not the case. The tubes had failed. The tubes were inflated to the recommended 50...Read more
Had an accident on the way home today. Luckily no one got hurt except for my bike. Front wheel now has one broken spoke. Can I still save it somehow? Or do I need to get a new spoke and are they sold one by one just like that? Or better to visit local bike repair? broken-spoke.jpeg (Size: 162.16 KB / Downloads: 60) ...Read more
Hi. I don't get why would you choose nexus hub over the classic derailleur shifters? Isn't it much pain when the hub brakes? Or am I just too used to the derailleurs and shifting .. #justasking...Read more
Hello, bike riders! Our community member Gabriel has shared his unpleasant experience with Deore T610 brake levers: "After 2 years of very limited use ... I'm still trying to understand why is there so many holes in such a critical place" Can anyone help by explaining the reasoning for such lever design and what might be the cause of the particular break (material quality, usage, design flaw). ...Read more
Hello! I was forwarded here from from Reddit, where I asked around about this dent I caused. So long story short, I dropped this frame by accident on a sharp corner and it caused a smallish dent. I've been told that this is no concern on a steel frame, but I'd like to be 100% certain, if possible. Edit: added the picture... IMG_05102019_215231_(1080_x_1080_pixel).jpg (Size: 181.86 ...Read more
Ciao. I have been looking at road bikes and most of them (unlike my Giordano) have double butted frame. Can anyone explain what are the advantages or characteristics of such bicycle frame? Like an elderly would explain it to a child ...Read more
Hi All, Got a new Trek MTB and attempted to change the pedals. Unscrew the drive side pedal easily by turning anti-clockwise; all good there. This is where my noob mistake happen... Did the same by turning the left side pedal the same way (anti-clockwise) and over crank it such that the bolt is now just spinning clockwise and anti-clockwise without coming off. It's not loose.. just spinning in ...Read more
The bike, new, was $199 from an Amazon dealer, and it came with a load of great reviews and very few negative ones. That should be a warning to anyone looking for a new bike; the shills are out there. If anyone buys one with the idea of putting it together and going for a ride, they would be disappointed. Walmart bikes are better. Seriously! I knew that it would need some work because you do...Read more
Years ago, oil cans had long spouts. Even the throw away cans had long spouts, but makers started putting little nubby spouts on the cans which makes it hard to get into some places such as my bike derailleurs. To oil those I have to pour oil onto a screwdriver blade and let it run down. The cans of '3 in 1' oil I used as a kid, on my bike, had a long spout. So after digging around I found cans w...Read more