bike chain

Bike Chain: Choose the best one in 2023

bike chain

A bike chain is a component that connects the crank to the back wheel of a bike. An MTB chain has many other names including bike gearing, bike cogs, bike sprocket, and bike drivetrain.

It’s also important to check bike chains for wear and tear regularly. This is especially true near bike chainrings, which tend to cause the most bike slip problems. Metal bike chains are very durable but tend to rattle as they wear. So it’s possible to replace them before causing damage to your bike’s drivetrain.

Different bike riders have different chain needs – and bike racks can add extra bike chain strain.

Mountain bike chains are an essential part of the bike. A bike is only as good as its parts, and a bike with a faulty or worn-out chain can significantly impact the quality of your ride. Mountain bike chains are also very simple devices. But there are some key points to consider when purchasing one that will make your riding more enjoyable.

Types of Bicycle chains

Bicycle chain types are available in many different styles. A bike chain with a master link will allow you to easily take it off your bike to clean it or replace it without having to disassemble your bike. Chain riveted bike chains require a tool to connect or disconnect them. But they are generally more durable than chains with master links.

Bicycle chain types come in different materials, depending on what surfaces they will travel over. Many bike riders use bike chains that are much heavier than they need to be. Without realizing their chain is too heavy for them. 

Bike riders who ride off-road often have chains made of stainless steel or superalloys. But bike chains made of these materials can be no lighter than an alloy chain, and they may actually be heavier.

Bike chains come in different numbers of links. This depends on whether it is a half link, 7/8 link, or an 11/128 link MTB chain. The bike chains with 7/8 links are the better bike chains because they have greater flexibility. 


Bike chains range in quality and price depending on their features and the materials used to make them.


There are different kinds of bike chains, including steel, titanium, and carbon fiber.

There are several types of bike chains such as

  1. The roller  
  2. The half link
  3. The over-and-under
  1. The roller bike chain: The roller MTB chain has a series of rollers that mesh with sprocket teeth to prevent slippage.

2. The half link bike chain:  Half-link chains consist of two chains. You can install or remove this chain by cutting it in half with a tool.

3. The over-and-under bike chain: There are a different number of links on both sides of the chain so you cannot use it as a single chain.

To conclude, bike chains are an integral part of bike management for it is through bike chains that the bike’s drivetrain transfers energy from the bike’s rider to the bike in order for it to move forward. Bike chains vary in size, a number of links, quality, and type of material used in making them. The different types of bike chains have different uses.

Bike chain materials

Bicycle chains are critical bike parts that ensure the bike’s smooth running. Manufacturers use different chain materials to build bike chains. Each material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages in terms of weaknesses, durability, weight, practicality, and cost.

Bike chain materials include

  • Steel bike chain : As steel is the most widely used chain material, steel chains are the least expensive. Steel bike chains are heavy and susceptible to rusting and corrosion.
  • But bike manufacturers continue to use steel bike chains because bike riders, especially mountain bike riders, prefer durability over lightweight bike parts.
  • Alloy bike chain : An alloy bike chain is an aluminum alloy chain. Aluminum alloy bike chains are stronger and lighter bike chains than steel bike chains. Alloy bike chains are more expensive bike chains
  • Titanium bike chains: Titanium bike chains on the other hand are lighter in weight than steel bike chains but more expensive.
  • Carbon bike chain :Professional cyclists tend to use the most expensive MTB chain.
  •  High-tech bike chain : High-tech chains are that have a variety of non-metal materials like rubber, plastic and silicon. Low-end chains only use one chain material, but high-end chain usually have a rubber sheath to protect the chains from external factors like water and mud.

Bicycle manufacturers will keep discovering new bike chain materials that can replace metal chain materials because alloy chains need a protective layer to protect the metal from corrosion and chains that have high-tech chains are lightweight bike parts.

Reasons to change your bike chain

  • How long should bike chains be? It’s pretty much impossible to give you an effective answer to this question because it will depend on your bike. 
  • A new MTB chain will give you more power and control over the pedal movement, making it better than ever before.You should disassemble your bike and remove the cassette to install a new MTB chain.
  • There are many advantages to new bike chains because they are made of high-quality materials that allow them to last much longer.
  • An inexpensive way to extend a bike’s lifespan is to change its chain, but this should be done before damage occurs. As an alternative to changing bike chains, bike owners could install derailleurs with different teeth arrangements in order to allow the old chain to work longer.
  • Bike chains that are too wide or thick for your bike will not transfer MTB chain power properly. This can cause bike underperformance or bike parts to break down. Bike links misalign when bike chains stretch and bike gears come out of alignment. If bike links keep slipping then bike efficiency services; therefore, they can recommend various strategies according to individual needs.

How to choose a new chain for your bike

Choosing an MTB chain might seem like a big decision, but really it isn’t. There is no going back once you make a decision – this is something you will live with forever!

There is no point in using an inefficient MTB chain. Not only will this affect how enjoyable your bike rides are, but it could end up costing you extra money in the long run. At the end of this article, I’m going to give you some guidelines that will help you get things right on your first try.

Here are some guidelines for bike chains

  • Men’s road bikes need a MTB chain measuring around 1/2 inch or 3/32″ wide. MTB mountain bike chains should be roughly 7-8mm in width). It is important to keep in mind that not all bike chains are equal.
  • BMX bike chains are available as well as road bike chains.Bike chains come in different thicknesses too. So make sure you don’t take measurements at face value. It is always best to consult manufacturer specifications before you buy anything.
  • What bike chains should I avoid? Bike chains that are too wide or thick for your bike will not transfer chain power properly. This can cause bike underperformance or bike parts to break down.

It is necessary to have gear

A bike can have as many speeds as it has cogs on the wheels. But the number of gears isn’t what’s important. What’s more interesting is why bike manufacturers fit different-sized sprockets. Whether you’ll need a bike with a broad range of gears or just a bike that’s comfortable to ride at a variety of speeds.

That all relates to the MTB chain, which links the pedal sprocket to the back wheel sprocket. The MTB chain is under constant tension from pedaling and it can suffer if not properly lubricated and kept clean. Over time, the chain can stretch and it will become loose. If this happens, you’ll need to replace the chain as a matter of urgency. Replacing this is a job that most bike riders can do themselves with ease.

Here are some tips on how to choose a new bike chain

  • The inner link pitch is the spacing between links.
  • The middle width tells you how wide the mtb chain is affects how big a cog it can fit over. 
  • Finally, there’s the thickness of the MTB, which also depends on how many gears your bike has.

You’ll also need to match MTB chain thickness to the number of gears you have on your bike. If you have a bike with more than 21 speeds. You will need an MTB chain with a thickness of 0.5mm or above. For bikes with 9-21 speeds, the chain must be 0.75mm thick.

The most common MTB chain width is 11/128″, which will fit cogs that are 1-3/8″ wide. There’s also a size corresponding to the fat bike – 3/32″, this MTB chain fits fat bike cogs 3-1/4″ wide. The inner link pitch ranges from 1.05mm to 1.15mm, but what is important is that bike chains must fit the width of their sprocket.

Whenever you replace an MTB chain, you should also replace its jockey wheels and rear sprocket. Replacing these parts with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) component is a much better idea than using a bike part from a bike parts supplier.

What is a quality chain?

The duration of a chain defines its function. Which depends on how well it has been maintained and its overall quality. A chain also comprises many small parts, such as pins and rollers, in addition to the main part of the chain. This adds to its complexity.

Bike chains are classified as

  • 1 Single speed bike chains
  • Multi speed bike chains
  • O-ring bike chains.
  • X-ring bike chains.
  • Non O-ring bike chains.
  • Half link bike chain

The bike chains can be made up of metal or rubber. There are different types of bike chains available, depending on what kind of bike it is being used. In addition, a chain has an inside plate that has teeth that mesh with the bike sprocket.

 The bike chain is made up of at least two parts

  • An inner chain part
  • An outer chain part. 

It can also have pins that connect the links together. The bike chain also has rollers that provide a smoother bike ride. Despite bike chains being designed to be lightweight, they can be strong and durable in different biking conditions (Bicycle Heaven).

How should you maintain your Bike chain?

When it comes to bike maintenance, there are many different aspects of the bike you need to keep up with. This could include your wheels, making sure all of your cables are in working order, etc.

One part of the bike that often gets overlooked is the chain. It’s the chain’s job to transfer power from gears into forwarding movement. If your MTB chain is rusty, slipping, or just dirty your bike isn’t going to work well.

People often ask how often they should be cleaning the MTB chain. The easiest way to tell if your chain needs a good cleaning is to look closely.

 If your bike chain is rusty or dirty, it’s probably time to give it a good cleaning. Every bike owner should be cleaning their bike chains once every couple of months. But if it’s looking worn down, skip a month. If your bike chains are really rusty and cruddy, clean them up at least every other month.

Cleaning is important

In order to minimize the amount of time spent cleaning your chain, try to avoid it as much as possible.

To clean the chain, simply un-tighten the chain with the right tools to expose all of the links. Then dunk the chain in mineral spirits. Then re-tighten bike chains when you are done cleaning to ensure bike chains don’t become loose again.

When chains aren’t properly maintained they can begin to rust. Which causes the chain to not perform as well and skip when shifting gears. This will make it harder for your bike to go more than 10 miles per hour. Keeping bike chains clean and oil is very important for bike maintenance.

Keep the bike chain oiled and clean to extend life. Pour bike oil onto the chain and swing the bike back and forth for 5 minutes, then wipe excess bike oil off the chain. Oil chain often (once every 3 rides), and wipe excess bike oil after application.

 If the bike is dirty, clean the bike more often than every 3 rides. When the chain starts to squeak, it’s too late and the bike will wear out faster if you try to ride with a squeaky chain. Try replacing or lubricating your chain as soon as possible when the chain starts to squeak.

What mountain bike chain to buy?

There are different types of bike chains on the market today. They are differentiated by size, number of links, quality, and type of material used in making the MTB chain. The different bike chains also have different uses depending on their size and design.

The MTB chain is divided into bicycles with different screw sizes. In fact, other bike components should be compatible with each other. But it is more important for the MTB chain because it is the bike component with the most movement.

The MTB chain has been divided into two parts.

  • Standard bike chain 
  • Non-standard bike chains

For example, the KMC chain belongs to the former while the Shimano bike chain belongs to the latter.

Mountain bike chains can be divided into two categories

  1. The old bike chain: The old bike usually uses a narrower screw (12mm or less) than 10mm. Most bike chains for old bikes (9 and 10mm) can be used on the bike with a screw of 10mm; the chain must meet certain standards.
  2. The new bike chain: The latest bike must use at least 10 mm screws to prevent falling off the bike. The most frequent one is the 9/10/11spd chain. If you buy a bike with 10mm screws and the chain is 9/10/11spd. You need to buy a MTB chain of 10mm (like KMC X9.93) or 11spd chain for the new bike (like Shimano HG73).

The selection of mountain bike chains depends on bike components. To ensure that bike components work properly together, bike chains must be of certain standards.

For information on compatibility between bike chains and bike chains, please see the website. The size of the screw also affects compatibility. But it depends on whether you have a bike with a screw of 10mm.

If your bike is frequent and mountain bike is often. Bike chains with carbon fiber or steel bike links are best for you. The bike chains above were not designed to last as long as these ones.

Top 5 Products of Bike Chains

Shimano Ultegra

SRAM PC-1051 

KMC X10-116L 


Schwinn Bicycle Chain


The chain is a vital bike part that is responsible for transferring power from the bike pedal crank arm to the bike wheel’s gear(s). If this bike part was broken or damaged, it would not be safe to ride your bike. 

The chain is the bike part that does most of the bike’s work. It is made up of different components that are fixed together with pins and it moves thanks to the bike pedals. This allows your bike to move, which you will find out if you don’t pedal fast enough (it prevents your bike from standing).

A bike chain can be dangerous if it is not taken care of properly. If the bike chain has too much tension. It may snap or break while you are riding your bike which could lead to injury or damage to other bike parts that would further increase your bike repair costs.