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Bike Chain Secrets: How to Keep it Working Like Brand New

Bike Chain Anatomy

Bike chain accessories work like most other chains featured in cogs, sprockets, and other devices. Their purpose is to propel the system that they are a part of. The term for what a chain sits on has many different names. It's known as a "front chain-ring", "front sprocket", or a "chain-wheel". The chain sits in there on the front and then it connects to the rear of what's called a rear sprocket or rear cog. When you turn the pedals, the chain is sitting within the teeth. So as the chain-wheel moves, the teeth push the chain, thus creating enough friction to turn the wheels. As a result, the chain is an integral part of bicycle motion. Without the chain, there'd be no movement.

Now, there have been bikes that have come out boasting chain-less designs. Consequentially, they require different drive systems than the norm. There have also been belt-drive systems, which are quite similar to some motorcycles. Also with these alternatives, you can create the same cause and effect without using a chain. However, it requires the implementation of a different design. Essentially that's how a chain works. It sits on the teeth of the front chain-wheel and the rear cog. And when the pedals move, the chain locks into the teeth and it turns the wheels.

Why Your Bike Chain Stops Working

A common reason for a recreational bike chain to stop working is rust. Most times, people will leave their bikes outside and over time, rust will accumulate on the chain. This creates a lot of grinding. In extreme cases, it even prevents the chain from moving. Of course, we have chains built to be rust-resistant or made out of stainless steel. However, if a bike sits outside in the rain long enough it will rust. This doesn't only happen to bikes. Any metal left out long enough over time would accumulate rust.

Now, if your bike chain does become rusty, it doesn't mean that you have to replace it. There's a possibility you could clean it and still keep the same chain. The result depends if the rust has started to corrode and eat away at the actual metal of the chain. If it hasn't you might be able to get a brush and cleaning products and scrub the rust right off.

The Importance of Lubrication

I would say another big reason for chains to stop working is improper lubrication. With a car you have to change your oil, a chain is no different. If you're logging a lot of miles on your chain over time, it's getting dry. As a result, when you try to turn that chain, it won't be easy to turn. Plus you'll hear the annoying grinding sound that no one likes. For recreational bikes, we recommend lubrication at least once or twice a year.

This number fluctuates with a variety of different conditions. These conditions include:

  • How often you're riding the bike
  • The climate and humidity of the air

If you're riding every day you might need to apply lubrication more liberally. And if you're only riding every couple months then you may not need to lubricate it as often. Considering you aren't storing it somewhere with lots of humidity. In addition, if it looks dry put some chain lubrication on there to keep the chain working.

"Oh Snap" There it Goes

I would say there are two other reasons for chains to stop working. One is debris getting in the chain. We have a lot of people using our bikes that live very close to the beach and sand is a common thing that gets in the chain. If sand gets in there and starts grinding, the chain will not work the way it should. Again, that's an easy fix. You need to clean it and re-lubricate it. This will help you keep the chain good as new. Just because some sand gets in there doesn't mean you have to throw it away.

Another possible occurrence is a chain snapping. This happens if a bike comes from the factory with the chain at too high of a tension. As a result, somebody torques the pedals too hard, the chain could snap. Also, that's why it's important to have correct tension on a chain when installing or replacing it. To avoid this you want to make sure it's not too little or too much. You want it in the middle to keep the bike moving at the pace you want it to. These are the major reasons that would cause a chain to stop working.

Replacing a Broken Chain

To get a replacement chain for your sixthreezero bike there are a couple of options. Number one, come to us. If you would like to buy a replacement chain from us, we can offer that. We carry specific sizes for each one of our bikes. With that said, no chain is specific to our bike. You can replace the chain with a chain from a number of different brand names. The only thing that matters is that the link sizes and the number of links on the chain are the same. A lot of times when you buy a chain it may have too many links, but you can also remove links to have that chain fit your bike.

Finding a New Bike Chain for a sixthreezero

You can find a bike chain that will fit a sixthreezero bike anywhere in the world. However, it may need some technical expertise to size the links. There's an item called a chain breaker used to remove links from the chain. It's like a watch, taking links on and off to make sure things fit as intended. If you order from sixthreezero this won't be a problem as we would have the correct sizes. This is also true for any local bike shop that sells chains. Meaning that they will have the correct size replacement chain for your sixthreezero.

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