If you are a regular traveler, you should see at least one biker per week standing beside the road with broken chains. The chain is an integral part of your bike. It might break or wear out. It has not been designed to last for generations. Instead, you’ll need to change your bike’s chain at a regular interval. So, you might be in the same scenario.
With a broken chain, you should be wondering, “How much does a bike chain cost?” If you have no idea, then this is the best place for you.
I’ll describe the idea of different types of chains. You can also repair chains instead of replacing them sometimes. I’ll give you an idea about that too. Finally, we’ll be discussing how you can prolong the lifetime of your bike.
- Repairing or Replacing?
- Different Types of Bike Chains
- 5 Popular Bike Chains
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Bike Chain
- Frequently Asked Questions
Repairing or Replacing?
Do you have a damaged chain? What do you do? Do you repair it, or do you replace it? Unless you are a mountain biker, this won’t be a regular incident in your life. But repairing saves a good amount of money. The broken chain can be fixed and improved, especially if you have one broken end.
Professional bike repair shops can do that with ease. You can also do it following some of the DIY videos from YouTube. Anyhow, if you have multiple broken ends or your chain has worn out, it is better to replace it. But, how do you know that your chain has worn out?
Your bicycle’s chain will fall more often than usual. You will feel that despite a lot of pedaling, your bike is not catching the speed. There is also a way to ensure it. You just need to pull a part of your chain towards the ground. It will show loose ends. Eventually, it might fall from the roller. The chain’s length has increased over time. If you don’t change your bike’s chain, it will affect your whole bike, making it less effective. An average bike chain should serve for 1500 miles. As it gets weaker over time, replace it with a new one.
Different Types of Bike Chains
Long before discussing the price, you need to choose what type of chain you are looking for. Let’s know more about chains.
Chains are made with several pairs of plates with a steel exterior. The interior is held with one another through rivets. A roller keeps them separated from each other. Modern bike chains consist of a “one-half inch pitch” standard. This dictates that two adjacent hooks have 0.5 inches distance between each other. Sprocket teeth use those 0.5 inches distance for moving the bike forward. Anyhow, you can always modify your chain.
There are mainly two types of chains- one-speed chains and derailleur chains.
One speed chains are more common. One-speed chains are designed for bikes with two sprockets where one remains on the wheel and another on the crankset. The usual width for such a roller is usually 1/8 inches. They are not suitable for the numerous rear cog sets that come in derailleur bikes.
They are 9 mm long across the bike’s rivet. Instead of regular 1/8 inches width, some of the bikers prefer using 3/16 inches one-speed chain. The wider chain provides more extended durability and enormous stability while grinding.
On the contrary, we have derailleur chains. Derailleur chains can be used with multiple sprockets. In selecting your derailer chain, you need to consider the number of your rear sprockets. The usual gear bicycles have 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 sprockets. With an increasing number of sprockets, your chain will continue getting narrower.
Usually, derailleur chains are 3/32 inches. Anyhow, modern ones can size from 5.3 mm to 7 mm. Before you ask, it won’t be a wise choice to use a 10 or 11-speed chain on 8 or 9 chainrings. You’ll end up with fallen chains. Additionally, you will face trouble while shifting gears.
After reading all this, you might feel confused. It’s better to stick to the chain brand and size that has come along with the bike. Anyhow, you can mix, but I would suggest discussing it with a professional mechanic.
More details: Bike Chain Size Guide And Chart
5 Popular Bike Chains
Bike chain price varies depending on companies, sizes, qualities, and width.
For making it more convenient and easy to choose, we have selected a few well-rated bike chains and reviewed them over here, along with their price.
Shimano XT 10- Speed Chain
Shimano produces some of the best chains in the market. Though I have stated only one over here, you can find many online. Their chain is made with zinc-alloy. They have used Sil-Tec technology in their chains. Sil-Tec technology supports the plates to pivot around the cogs, derailleur, and chainring, providing ease. Shimano’s chain has sixty percent lower friction than usual bike chains. This makes the biker’s journey smooth.
Shimano is the type of bike chains that regular or professional bikers may use in their rides.
- Lenght – 116 links
- Compatible with 10-Speed MTB DriveTrains only
- The outer plate is specially designed to prevent chain suction.
- The inner link can prevent mud.
- Sil-Tec technology on the plates
- Zinc-alloy plated chain is corrosion resistant.
SRAM 9-Speed Bicycle Chain
SRAM is also a renowned brand in the bicycle chain industry along with KMC and Shimano. They come with an almost similar quality compared to Shimano but are priced significantly lower. This specific chain is designed for 9-speed bikes.
We can hardly deny the strength of this chain. They have riveted in 2 steps. First, they have used push pin power, and then they have hardened it using chrome pin treatments. With a Powerlink connector, you can easily disconnect the chain from the bike’s drivetrain and clean it. For fighting against dust and corrosion, occasional lubing should be enough.
SRAM’s Power Chain II technology allows you to shift gears without hampering the precision properly. Anyhow, it won’t last long like Shimano, but you should be safe for a year.
- Lenght – 114 links
- Designed for 9-speed bikes
- Uses Power-II technology
- Pushpin power with chrome pin treatment
Zonkie Bicycle Chain
If you are a beginner and want to assemble yourself, try Zonkie Bicycle Chain. It is also inexpensive. The bike chain comes with internal oiling and surface polishing. So, it will be ready to put on after unboxing. Zonkie Bicycle chain supports multiple speeds.
So, you have a variety of choices, and needless to worry about bike details. It is made of forging steel. Besides, the design is corrosion and rust-resistant. Anyhow, it won’t be lasting against bad weather.
- Lenght – 116 links
- Made with forging steel
- Comes with internal oiling and surface polishing
- Especially suitable for 6, 7, and 8-speed
KMC Z50 Bike Chain
KMC Z50 is one of the most inexpensive yet durable ones. It is mainly designed for 6 or 7 speeds. Weighing around 336 grams, it is pretty lightweight. It also has a master link connection. Inner chamfering allows bikers to shift gear smoothly. KMC Z50 is preferable for anyone who wants to go for a long-lasting inexpensive option.
- Lenght – 116 links
- Width – 3/32″
- Inner plates have chamfering.
- The chain is z-bridge shapes.
- Comes with KMC missing link
- Designed for 6 or 7 speeds
Things to Consider Before Buying a Bike Chain
As you have already seen, several types of chains do not bear the same quality and features. Bike chains vary based on several factors, such as type of bikes or speed. Road bike chain and mountain bike chain would be different. So, let’s help you with some criteria and considerations before buying a bike chain.
There are mainly three types of bikes- road bikes, mountain bikes, and BMX bikes. There is no universal bike chain that supports all these bike types. Instead, you need something that properly sets the bicycle chain links with the bike’s sprockets.
For road bike chains, you want to keep them as lightweight as possible. It is not only about bicycle chain price but also about keeping it easy for you to carry. Road bikes are designated for regular rides. Alloy chains are better for such type of usage.
On the other hand, mountain bike chains can be heavier than road bikes. Mountain bikes are dedicated to off-road dirt biking. You need to protect your chain from corrosion and rust more than road bike chains. So, keep your eye on bicycle chains that come with extra coating and are easy to clean.
BMX bikes have totally different characteristics. Their chains are narrower compared to the other two models. A good number of BMX bikes have single-speed chains. So, try to pick a one-speed chain. If you are doing bike tricks more often, use lightweight chains. You should also consider coating and anti-rusting measures.
We’ll be doing a separate article on chain sizes. But just to give you a fundamental idea, bikes have a different number of speeds, usually from 5 to 12.
The bicycle chain size varies based on the number of rear sprockets. So, read the details and go through the sizing chart before buying bike chains.
The bicycle chain price varies based on the material used. Usually, alloy, nickel, or carbon is used to make bicycle chains. Nickel and alloy come within an inexpensive range. Carbon chains are premium graded with better durability and technology.
Based on all the stated criteria, the bicycle chain’s price varies. After educating yourself about available options and setting aside from $10 to $100, you can make some great choices for your bicycle.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should you replace a bike chain?
You should replace a bike chain every 2000 miles. For preventing any worn or breaking down, it is ideal for changing the bike chain after riding around 2000 miles. The rate varies based on the quality of the chain and how you are riding it. As soon as you start to feel that your chain is starting to have issues, bike chain replacement is the best solution.
How do I know if my bike chain is worn?
You will know your bike chain is worn by noticing greater slack while shifting speeds. Besides, you can use a standard ruler to detect a worn chain. One riven should be half inches away from another rivet. You can measure the distance by calculating 12 inches distance.
Should I replace a rusty bike chain?
Yes, you should replace a rusty bike chain. Severely rusty bike chains will also damage other parts of your bike. So, you should immediately replace a rusty bike chain. Anyhow, if you have only a small amount of surface rust, you can use WD-40 or lime juice to restore the previous cleanliness of your bike. Clean your chain and reattach it.
Bike chain costs are variable. There is no universal chain that is compatible with all bicycles. So, while answering this critical question, we have to think about many factors that come in the background.
Overall, an inexpensive standard bike chain for daily use should cost you 15 to 50 dollars. For casual riders, it is better to stick in this range. If you are a more advanced cyclist, you should be looking at heavy-duty bike chains priced at several hundred dollars.
Before buying, consider the criteria, read the features and reviews, and then check the price. If needed, you can discuss it with a professional mechanic. Be safe, ride safe!