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Need help/advice on chain replacement

Old 01-19-15, 09:24 PM
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Need help/advice on chain replacement

My chain is getting close to needing replacement. Itís about 12 1/16 inches. My Trek Shift 3 manual says it should last 1000-1500 miles and I have about 1300 miles on the bike. At the rate I have been riding I will probably need to replace the chain about twice a year so I am thinking of doing it myself. I am fairly mechanically inclined but I donít have a bike stand and really donít have room for one if I got one or made one. My main question is ďis it possible to replace a bike chain without a bike stand without too much additional trouble.Ē Also it looks like replacing a chain is not all that hard. Correct? I have been looking at videos and will do some more research be starting. I have a KMC Z7 chain on a 24 speed bike.
Thanks for any help/advice
Em
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Old 01-19-15, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by george25923
My chain is getting close to needing replacement. It’s about 12 1/16 inches. My Trek Shift 3 manual says it should last 1000-1500 miles and I have about 1300 miles on the bike. At the rate I have been riding I will probably need to replace the chain about twice a year so I am thinking of doing it myself. I am fairly mechanically inclined but I don’t have a bike stand and really don’t have room for one if I got one or made one. My main question is “is it possible to replace a bike chain without a bike stand without too much additional trouble.” Also it looks like replacing a chain is not all that hard. Correct? I have been looking at videos and will do some more research be starting. I have a KMC Z7 chain on a 24 speed bike.
Thanks for any help/advice
Em
You will do just fine leaning your bike against the wall or if you have a kickstand. Does the original chain have a "masterlink"? That's a special link you can easily undo for chain removal. If not, then a chain breaking tool will be required. How about the new chain?
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Old 01-19-15, 10:00 PM
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You will need a chain tool to cut it to the proper length. The new chain comes with a master link. If you remove and clean the chain periodically it will last a lot longer.
Chain care, wear and skipping by Jobst Brandt
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Old 01-19-15, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
You will do just fine leaning your bike against the wall or if you have a kickstand. Does the original chain have a "masterlink"? That's a special link you can easily undo for chain removal. If not, then a chain breaking tool will be required. How about the new chain?
Not that the OP is likely to have one but you only need something to separate the old chain if there is no master link. A chain breaker is ideal but I've used an angle grinder to separate a motorcycle chain. A hacksaw will work or even a file if you're patient. Now, putting the new chain on may require a master link. Any good shop will be happy to help you size the new chain.

Last edited by cale; 01-19-15 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 01-19-15, 11:24 PM
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IMO, replacing a chain is one of those easy jobs on par with fixing a flat or replacing brake shoes.

You will need a chain tool to remove the old chain (unless it has a connector) and to cut the new chain to length. If you don't know otherwise you can always cut it to match the old one (lay side by side, and allow for the 1/4" stretch in the old one). Chains come in two types; some are closed with special pins, and some use a connecting link which is easier to work with.

Working on your floor is fine, but if you keep your eyes open you'll find that you're surrounded by "repair stands". You can slip the nose of the saddle over a pipe in your basement, or a low hanging branch outside, and the bike will hang at a front wheel down angle. Or you can sling ropes or bungees over the same and hang from saddle and handlebars (this has been the "repair stand" of choice in much of Europe for decades).

BTW- the hardest part of chain replacement for newbies is threading it through the derailleir, so take a photo showing that in detail before removing the old chain. Also, many derailleurs have a tab across the middle of the cage. Make sure to thread the chain under this tab not around the back (most common newby error), otherwise you'll be back asking about a noisy sound like a buzz saw when you pedal.
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Old 01-19-15, 11:36 PM
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If I'm doing chain work and don't have a stand or "hanging" stand, I like to work with the bike on its side. Bikes and motorcycles rest naturally on their sides.
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Old 01-20-15, 09:37 PM
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OK I think I can hang the bike in the garage. Didnot think of that. According to the Trek info my chain is a KMC Z7 which has amissing link. Do I need the special tools to separate the link or can I do itwith needle nose pliers? And join the new missing link. I can order two chainsfor $7.50 each with $10 for shipping so for about $25 in parts I should be goodfor a year. I think the new chain comes with a new "missing link" butnot sure. I have replaced drum and disc brakes on cars, water pumps, radiators,universals and done many other car and home jobs. I can't believe that I wouldnot be able to replace a bike chain. Assuming I don't need any special tools. Ilearned a long time ago trying to do a job without the proper tools isdifficult. I do have a tool to remove the chain pins. It was in my tool box soI must have used it many years ago and forgot I had it. Can I remove a pin onthe old Z7 chain to remove it from the bike even if it has a missing link? Isthere a better chain that would last longer than 1300 miles?
I appreciate all the help and advice.
Thanks
Em
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Old 01-20-15, 09:48 PM
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I believe you can extend the life of any chain by following a chain maintenance regimen.
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Old 01-20-15, 09:58 PM
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Buy a Master Link tool.

Some are designed to help you lock the link on installation, some are designed to release the link when you want to remove the chain, and some tools are designed to both unlock and lock the master link.

KMC has separate lock and unlock tools that run about $14 each.

Park Tool has a tool for both locking and unlocking that sell for about $16.

You don't need to have the locking tool, you can lock the link pretty easily by install the chain with link on the bike and simply tensioning the chain by rotating the pedals.

But it is easier to unlock the master link with a tool. KMC "missing links" need to be squeezed at the same time that they are compressed lengthwise, and it is easier to do this with dedicated tool.

Look for the Missing Link on your existing chain. Aftermarket KMC chains include a "Missing Link". Chains that are OE on a bike may not necessarily have a Missing Link. My Trek 8000 came with a KMC chain, but there wasn't a master link, and I had to use a chain tool/chain breaker to remove it.

If you need to buy a chain breaker/chain tool, buy a shop size tool like the Park Tool CT-3.2. Don't waste your money on a compact chain tool of any brand.
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Old 01-20-15, 09:58 PM
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I buy the SRAM chains that come with a quick length.
You don't need to be fussy about the brands. Just get a chain for 8 (24) speed.
You'll need the chain tool to shorten the chain to fit.

LOOP the chain over the largest ring & cog (not through the RDER).
Make sure you have between 1-2" extra and remove the rest.
Install normally.


No need to "push in" pins.

You can separate a missing link by hand, but it's a pretty dirty job. That's the idea behind a missing link. Disassembly without tools.
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