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Tag Archives: Chains

  • How to remove and install a bike chain

    Whether you are assembling a new bicycle or your chain has succumbed to chain stretch, changing out or installing a chain can be an intimidating, dirty job if you don't know what you are doing. Luckily, the process is very straightforward. Let's dive in!

    First, we have to understand the basic nature of a bike chain. It consists of a repeating set of links connected by rivets (also known as pins). Over time, the holes through which the chain rivets pass can elongate due to the strain of powerful pedaling stokes. This is called "chain stretch" and can make your chain slip while shifting or when pedaling powerfully.

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  • Bike Chains 101


    Bikewagon - BWCC

    The chain is one of the most critical components on your bicycle. It is responsible for transferring the power generated by your pedaling feet to the rear wheel, and from there to the ground to give you your forward momentum. Without a chain, you ain’t goin nowhere -- unless it is downhill.

    bike chain

    The earliest bicycles didn't have chains. The pedals connected directly to the wheels, so one turn of the pedals would turn the wheel one revolution. Though simple, this setup required massive drive wheels (we've all seen pictures of the old Penny-farthing style cycles with a huge front wheel) and only had one gear, making hills a problem. Luckily, the development of the chain and the geared bicycle in the 1880’s made riding much safer and more efficient.

    Modern bicycle chains generally are usually constructed of plain steel, although some lightweight -- and expensive -- titanium models can be found. Chains are designed in a loop that wraps around your crankset (which is the forward set of sprockets - also called chainrings) and the rear sprocket or sprockets (often called a cassette or cogset).

    Let’s dive into some of the basic information about chains.

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  • Bicycle Drivetrains 101


    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Your bicycle's drivetrain is comprised of all of the parts that power the bicycle and make it go. Bike pedals move the cranks, which turn the bottom bracket and the chainrings, which drive the chain that spins the rear sprockets, turning the rear hub, which moves the wheel and propels the bicycle forward. The crisp movement of these parts and the ability to minimize effort while maximizing speed is the heart of cycling. It is essential that your drivetrain be clean, true and well-maintained in order to more fully enjoy riding your bike. When one of these parts gets out of whack, the rest soon follow.

    Bicycle drivetrain

    It is also important to get individual components that are compatible within the system (e.g. typically Campagnolo and Shimano parts are not inter-compatible). Many times the difference between 9- and 10-speed parts is enough to make them incompatible as well. The collective term for a complete bike drivetrain kit is "group" or "gruppo." Multi-speed drivetrains are classified by the number of cogs in the rear cassette. A modern day 10-speed bicycle can have as many as 30 "possible gears," with 10 in the rear and three in the front, but still have a 10-speed drivetrain.

    Pedals

    Clipless pedal for mountain bike

    Your pedals are the power transfer points between you and your bike. As you pump your legs and turn your feet, you cause the cranks to turn. Proper pedal choice is important for comfort, control and safety on the bike. Many recreational and enthusiast cyclists prefer the adaptability that platform pedals offer. They allow you to ride in any type of shoe and give a sense of security to a novice rider who is cautious of locking the feet into clipless pedals. Many platform pedals can be adapted with a toe cage to give more control and power while retaining the sense of security associated with platforms.

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