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How to Get a Loop Out of a Bike Chain, and Other Problems

How to Get a Loop Out of a Bike Chain

Picture yourself during a ride when you suddenly face an issue. Let’s say, for example, a punctured rear tire. You take your bike to the side of the road and solve the problem.

But once you’ve tackled this obstacle, feeling all MacGuyver-ish, you see a new one has appeared, and it seems to bring your heroic act to an end. A loop in your chain! Just how did this happen?

Why Do Chain Loops Happen

Most problems, if not all, are the result of something that is misaligned or in the wrong location. This may either cause damage to other parts or make them stop working as well. In the case of chain loops, this simple rule is equally applicable.

In the case stated above, for example, where the solution implied placing your bike upside down and removing the rear tire, your chain may have become ‘inverted.’ This means the part that should have been at the top of your crank lost support and fell to the bottom, thus creating one or two loops.

In a different scenario, when transporting your bike, you most probably need to disassemble it. Once again, chain loops are quite probable to happen. This is because there are some missing parts that regularly hold it where it belongs.

The important thing to bear in mind here is, once you see a loop in your chain, something is not working properly, or some other part of your bike is surely involved.

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How to Avoid Getting Chain Loops

Now that we know some of the reasons why a chain loop can be formed, we can look at different ways of preventing this from happening.

If you need to remove your rear wheel, be sure to place the loose part of the chain on top of the derailleur, or at least leave it in a safe place where it cannot fall below the opposite side.

If you need to transport your bike, a good way of preventing your chain from getting tangled is to split it and lock it once again when you reassemble everything. Another possibility is to look for something to resemble the wheel’s support. You can remove the spokes from an old wheel, for example.

When working on your bike, it is a good idea to use a bike repair stand, rather than turning your bike upside down. This ensures that your bike saddle stays in good condition, and prevents your chain from inverting.

How to Get a Loop out of a Bike Chain?

Getting rid of a chain loop is easier than it looks. You just need to be patient!

This video shows you what should be done when your bike chain forms a loop (credit to Global Cycling Network):

The most important thing to check is how the chain got that way. Once you know this, you just need to reverse it following the exact same steps, working backward from the end to the beginning.

Sometimes you may need to un-twist your chain if it accidentally got twisted. If this doesn’t work, or you feel it’s getting you nowhere, you can always split the chain and shake it so as to straighten it. Once this is done, you can then reassemble it.

Bike chain double loop tangle

Another similar, related problem is the tangled chain with a double loop. It is a fairly common problem that cyclists encounter with their bikes. Fret not, as it is very easy to straighten your chains out. Follow the right procedure, and have a little patience, and you are ready to ride again.

You need to ensure sufficient slack for you to be able to untangle the chain. The more slack you provide, the easier it will be to work out the kinks. If this does not work, removing your rear tire will give you enough space to slide the chain off the sprockets. You can then proceed to shake out the loop tangles. But be careful – don’t end up creating more tangles than you had before.


“My bike chain is loose when not pedalling!”

When you notice a loose chain, do not keep riding. This is important because a loose chain could cause damage to your bike. A bike chain can come loose due to something as simple as rust, dirt, or a string causing binding.

Once you stop riding, check the chain area for these obstacles. If there is no string or dirt, then your bike might need servicing. If your chain still remains loose after servicing, it may be time to change the freewheel because wear and tear could also be a possible cause.

What to do when your bike chain keeps falling off

A chain falling out can have disastrous consequences. Imagine if you are in traffic when it happens. Regular bike check-ups are important, and you don’t want to leave anything to chance. The chain can keep falling off if there is a change in your bike’s arrangement. Perhaps the drive chain has loosened, the chain is old, dirt has clogged the chain, or something has shifted out of place.

A quick check-up will show you what the exact issue is. You may need to adjust your front derailleur limit screws if the chain keeps coming off at the front. If it comes off at the rear tire, adjusting the rear derailleur limit screw should do the trick.


Bike chain quality

There are differences in chain quality. The more expensive chains usually last longer and do not bend so easily. Cheap chains tend to break quickly, whereas most bikers would opt for something in the middle. Whichever chain you choose to use, it is important to clean it regularly.

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