BROKEN WRENCH TIP OF THE DAY #5 – The Almighty Chain – Part 2

Yesterday, I gave you some tips on maintaining your chain, so I’ll teach how to install one today.

  1. Remove your current chain. You’ll need a chain breaker like the Park Tool CT-3.2. You can also find cheaper chain breakers (eg, Spin Doctor for $15). Some mini-tools have chain breakers too.Using a chain breaker is pretty easy. You basically insert it between two links, and turn it until the pin comes out enough so you can break the chain. Don’t worry about breaking anything, since you’re throwing the chain away anyway (or recycling it). Of course, if you have a master link, removing the chain is a lot easier…
  2. Bust out the new chain and measure how much you need. It’s going to be a little greasy, but at least it’s clean! The easiest way to figure out how long the new chain should be is to count how many links were in the old chain. If you want to double check how long it should be, loop the new chain around the biggest cog in back and the biggest chainring in front. Bring the ends of the chain together, and leave 2 links at the end where they meet. This is where you should break the chain. I usually mark it with a Sharpie, so I don’t make a mistake. Once you know where to break the chain, you basically do what you did in Step #1
  3. Put the chain together. This where things will differ a little. If you have a master link, it’s pretty easy. However, if you’re just using a new pin, it requires the use of the chain breaker. You want to push the new pin far enough in, so the indented part sticks out the other side. Once you’ve done this, you simply break it off with a pair of pliers.

That’s it…that wasn’t hard was it? Here’s a video that shows you how to do it:

Use a chain tool to break the chain.
You can always determine the right chain length by counting the links in your old chain. The best way would be to loop the chain as follows and leave 2 links.
Master links make installing and removing chains a lot easier.
Inserting a new pin into the chain to complete it. Break off the extra with the chain tool or a pair of pliers.

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