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Is your bicycle chain worn out and due for replacement?

  • How to know if your chain is worn out and due for replacement?
  • Why is it important to check the lifespan of your chain?
  • How to use a chain checker?
  • Which chain checker do I recommend?
  • Does it apply to all types of bicycles?
  • What are the common problem faced which leads you to check your chain?

If any of these questions sound familiar to you, do read onto my blog. Whether you are a recreational or competitive cyclist, it is common for the chain to wear and tear in all types of bicycles. Common problem faced by cyclists when riding with a worn out chain is the skipping of the chain on the cassette and chainring during pedalling. It is important to replace the chain when it is worn out in order to prevent damaging the cassette and chainring which will be very costly to replace compared to replacing a chain.

Chain Checker

To find out if your chain is worn off and due for replacement, simply use a device known as the chain checker. There are various chain checker in the market. I am currently using the Park Tool CC3.2 Chain Checker as you can see from the photo above. Firstly, Park Tool is a well-established brand in the bicycle industry. Secondly, the model CC3.2 is simple to use where you only need to alternate between the 0.5 and 0.75 ends to check for chain wear.

Inspecting the bicycle chain for wear with a chain checker tool

Steps to do:

  1. Check for 50% lifespan of chain
  • Insert Tip 1 into the chain, then check to see if the 0.5 pin at the other end is able to slot into the chain.
  • Conditions:
    • No: It means the chain is almost new
    • Yes: It means the chain is at its 50% lifespan, proceed to step 2. (10 speed and below)
    • Yes: It means the chain is worn off. It is time for chain replacement. (11 speed and 12 speed)
  1. Check for 75% lifespan of chain
  • Insert Tip 2 into the chain, then check to see if the 0.75 pin at the other end is able to slot into the chain.
  • Conditions:
    • No: It means the chain is still usable for 8-10 more rides and should check the chain frequently as its susceptible to problems arising.
    • Yes: It means the chain is worn off at 75% or more. It is time for chain replacement. 
Parts of Chain Checker