Easy guide to changing your chain and sprockets

Tools, time and parts required are:

  • Chain and sprocket set
  • Chain breaker and riveter tool (all in one)
  • Socket set
  • Torque wrench
  • Hammer and punch
  • Big pliers or plumbers grips
  • Plenty of tea
  • One hour

Step 1

Remove the front sprocket cover then put the bike into first gear and get a friend to activate the rear brake and undo the front sprocket bolt, normally a 15mm or 17mm socket size. Some bolts have locking taps that need to be hammered flat using a hammer and an old flat bladed screwdriver/punch.

Step 2

Now undo the rear sprocket nuts which are often a 13mm socket size. Again have the bike in first gear and the rear brake applied. Once slackened, undo and remove the rear axle spindle and slide the rear wheel forward to take the chain off of the rear sprocket. Once the chain is off the sprocket, remove the rear wheel.

Step 3

Remove the rear sprocket from the wheel and fit the new sprocket. Once the nuts are nipped up then use a torque wrench and tighten to the correct torque setting. Refit the rear wheel but leave the rear axle spindle loose at this stage.

Step 4

Remove the front sprocket and fit the new part. Every front sprocket should have a marking on one side indicating which way round it is to be fitted so it will be in line with the rear sprocket. (ie. F for Facing out). Just tighten the front sprocket bolt with your fingers at this stage.

Step 5

With both sprockets replaced, now focus on the chain and locate the “soft” link which has the two rivets which look different from all the rest on the chain. Then get your chain tool lined up on the rivets and wind the punch in on the tool which cleanly removes the rivets. The old chain is now broken.

Step 6

Get the new chain and join it to the old chain by pushing the link into it temporarily. Then pull the old chain through the rear and front sprockets until the new chain is fitted and the old chain is removed.

Step 7

Now link both ends of the new chain together whilst remembering to fit the new ‘O’ rings to the joining link. Push the joining link on with pliers or plumbers grips. This is best done on the rear sprocket to keep the chain still whilst you do this step.

Step 8

With the chain tool, get the correct adapter (instructions come with every chain riveting tool) wind up the tool until you can see the copper ends on the rivets. Most chains come with spacers so you cannot over tighten the joining link. Once tightened then use the domed punch of the chain tool to flatten the copper ends of the rivets.

Step 9

Now adjust your chain to the correct tightness and tighten the front sprocket and rear axle spindle to the correct torque. Remember after tightening the front sprocket, bend the locking tabs back in place before fitting the sprocket cover.

Step 10

After successfully replacing the sprockets and chain, sit back and admire your handy work with a cuppa and a wide grin because you have just saved yourself quite a bit of money. There is no need to lube the chain for the first 100 miles because it already comes with ample chain grease. Just remember to check the link and lube the chain after 100 miles.

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