During the pandemic, we saw millions of American citizens taking to their bikes in a way we haven’t seen in years, according to National Geographic. It may be the case that you are one of those people who realized all the benefits of getting out in the fresh air and pedaling to your heart’s content?

If so, at some point or another, you might want to learn how to take a chain off a bicycle. In this guide, we’ll talk you through how to take off your bike chain, along with some other bike-related skills that you should find useful. Plus, we’ll round up the article with a little bicycle buying guide.

So, without further ado, let’s look at how to take a chain off a bicycle. But first, you need to identify what type of bike chain you have:

Bicycle Chain Types

When you look at the chain on your bike, if all the links look identical then you have a regular chain. If you notice one link is different from all the others, it’s going to be a chain with a built-in master link.

A master linked chain makes it super-easy for you to remove and attach your chain without needing a chain tool. It uses a quick-release mechanism to do this.

Reasons for Removing Your Bike Chain

Some of the most common reasons you will want to remove your bike chain are because it rattles, makes clunky noises, or makes it hard for you to shift gears.

Another reason you might need to remove your chain is due to it rusting over. This can happen if you leave your bike out in the rain or allow it to have other forms of water exposure for long periods. Furthermore, your bike chain can stretch out making it come out of the chainrings too often.

How To Remove a Regular Link Bicycle Chain

To remove a regular link bicycle chain, the easiest way is to use a chain tool. A chain tool has a metal pin that you use to push the rivets out of your chain links so that your chain comes apart. These chain tools are easy to find online or in a local bicycle shop. 

Begin by fitting the two metal prongs on the chain tool around a link on your bike chain. The prongs will fit in spaces on each side of your chosen link. 

Then, use the metal pin in the chain tool to push out the pin in your bike chain from its rollers. It’s a simple process and you should have more detailed instructions provided with the tool.

What If You Don’t Have a Chain Tool?

You can still remove a regular bike chain without a chain tool. You will need a hammer, a punch tool, and two supports like wooden blocks to remove the chain though.

So first, you need to set your chain into a bridged position beside the two supports. Then, take hold of your punch tool and line it up over one of your chain’s rivets. Finally, with a few gentle taps with the hammer on the punch tool, you should be able to knock out the rivet and separate your chain, with no specialist chain tool needed.

Removing a Master Linked Chain

Removing a master link is very simple, with no need for a specialist tool to do so. After all, the whole purpose of this link is to make it easier for you to remove and attach the chain to your bicycle.

If you wish to take off your chain with the master link, first locate it and then find a pair of needle-nose pliers. Take the pliers and clamp them around the master chain link and twist. You may need a heavy object like a wrench or hammer to aid you in tapping the link out.

General Bicycle Care Tips

Now you know how to remove your bike chain, here are a few extra tips that you may find valuable when it comes to bicycle care.

The first tip is to regularly clean your bike. The reason for this is if you let dirt and grease build-up, over time they can ruin the mechanical parts in your bike. You don’t need any special cleaning products to do this, just use some basic soap or dish liquid to clean the bike with a sponge and toothbrush, then rinse it all down with water afterward.

Another key tip is to lubricate your chain often. We recommend that you do this after every ride you go on. But before you lubricate the chain, make sure to wipe it down first, as it may have collected dust and dirt from the ride.

One last tip is you should always inspect your tires before and after a ride, as a rule of thumb. If you don’t check your tires properly before you ride, you might end up being stuck in the middle of nowhere changing a flat. A good way to know that your tires are fine is to use a floor pump that will show your tire pressure and whether it’s going down or not.

Bicycle Buying Guide

Last of all, let’s run through a quick checklist of fundamentals you should look out for when buying a bike. Check all of these aspects on a bicycle that interests you:

  • The frame
  • The suspension (if any)
  • Wheels, spokes, and tires
  • All the contact points (such as the handlebars and saddle)
  • Brakes, chain wheel, and gear shifters

You should test ride the bike to get a feel of the frame and whether it feels the right weight for your needs. If the bike you’re checking out has suspension, then test it out. Then finally, check all the other components to see if they provide the comfort and ease of use that you require.

If you’re interested, we recommend you check out this ride1up prodigy review as a way of understanding the different aspects better.

How To Take a Chain Off a Bicycle Explained

Now you have the answer to your “how to take a chain off a bicycle” question. A chain tool is the easiest way to go about the process. However, if you don’t have such a tool, there are other ways.

Get more info on topics like this on our blog.