A properly functioning bike chain is essential for any cyclist, as it helps transfer power from your pedals to the wheels so you can get a smooth ride. Unfortunately, bike chains can break or wear out over time, leaving you needing a replacement.
As such, knowing how much a bike chain costs before purchasing one can help you budget accordingly and avoid any unexpected expenses. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of bike chains available on the market and how much they typically cost. We’ll also provide helpful tips on how to know when to replace your bike chain. Lastly, we’ll discuss the cost of chain replacement and guide you on how to maintain your bike chain.
By the end of this article, you should have all the knowledge necessary to make an educated decision when it comes time to buy a new bike chain.
How much does a bike chain cost?
A bike chain costs between $10 to $90; however, the cost of a bike chain depends on the type, size, and material of the chain you purchase.
If you want a basic, non-specialized bike chain, expect to pay between $10 and $20 for one. Higher quality chains can cost up to $90, depending on the type and size of the chain. Chains made from titanium or other high-end materials can cost a little more than steel chains.
So how can you tell how much your bike chain will cost and if you really need to buy a new one? In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know about different bike chain costs, when to replace it, where to replace it, and what types of chains are available.
When to replace a bike chain
Although they will eventually need replacing, there are only a few reasons to replace your bike chain. Therefore, knowing when exactly you should do so is important to save yourself some money. However, remember that a bad chain can damage your bike’s other, more expensive components.
With that said, here are the reasons why you should consider replacing your chain:
Generally, it would be best if you replaced your bike chain every 2000 miles. But, of course, this may vary depending on how often you ride and your conditions.
For example, if you live in a particularly dusty or muddy area, you may need to replace your chain more frequently. You’ll also need to replace your chain sooner if you don’t clean and lube it regularly.
Another common reason to replace your bike chain is if it snaps or keeps snapping. Several factors, including dirt buildup, broken links, or excessive wear, can cause a snapped chain.
Not only is a broken chain dangerous to keep, but it can also be less cost-effective to repair. Sometimes, if it isn’t too serious, you can remove the snapped link or replace it using a chain break tool.
But depending on the cost of the bike chain, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire chain.
Rust is another big reason why standing the costs of a bike chain would be a good idea. Rust causes the metal in the chain to corrode, which weakens its strength and can cause it to snap.
If you inspect your bike chain and notice any rust, it may be time to replace it or take your bike for a tune-up.
A worn-out bike chain can cause the bike to skip or misshift, making riding very difficult and frustrating.
Worn-out bike chains put unnecessary stress on the bike’s drivetrain components, which can cause them to wear out more quickly.
Finally, a bike with a worn-out chain will be less efficient and require more effort to pedal.
So if you’ve ever noticed that your bike keeps skipping gears or feels like it’s just not grabbing when you pedaling in a lower gear, it may be time to replace your bike chain.
How to Check if your Bike chain is Worn
Checking if your chain is worn out is quite easy. All you need to do is follow one of these two methods:
Use a Ruler to Check
It is important to regularly check your bike chain for wear and tear so that you can replace it when necessary. One way to do this is to use a ruler.
First, line up the zero mark on the ruler with the center of any pin on the chain. Then, study the chain, and you should see every pin being one-half inch down to the 12-inch mark.
Pay close attention to the pin at 12 inches to see how closely it aligns with the corresponding pin center. The chain needs replacing if the pin is past the center of the 12-inch mark or more.
Use a Chain Wear Tool
Using a chain-wear tool is by far the fastest method to check if a chain is worn and needs replacing. First, you take the hook side of the tool and insert it into the chain, then try slotting the T side of the tool in between the chain. If it fits, then you know that the chain needs to be replaced.
Note that these tools do come in different sizes that correspond to the percent of elongation your chain is at. So for a 5 to 10-speed cassette, you’ll need to replace your chain if the .75 side of the tool fits. You’ll need to replace 11-12 speed bike chains if you see that the .5 side fits.
Bike Chain Costs
As mentioned earlier, the cost of replacing a bike chain can vary depending on your bike and the type of chain you want. Generally, a new bike chain should run between $20-$30.
For higher-end chains, such as those made from titanium or ceramic, you can expect to pay anywhere between $50-$90. Sometimes it will be even more expensive depending on the type of bike and the components it supports.
How much does a mountain bike chain cost?
A mountain bike chain can cost anywhere from $15 to $60, depending on the quality of the chain.
How much does a road bike chain cost?
A road bike chain can cost anywhere from $25 to $60, depending on the quality of the chain.
KMC Single Speed Bike Chain Costs
These chains typically cost between $10-$50, depending on the quality of the chain.
6/7/8 Speed Chain Costs
These chains will generally start from $15 and can go up to $60.
Ceramic Bike Chains
If you’re wondering which types of chains typically cost the most, it’d be the ceramic bike chains or some other branded chains like the ones from Shimano. These chains costs from $70 up to $200.
How much is a bike chain replacement?
The bike chain replacement is another cost you must factor in when considering bike chain costs. Typically, you’ll have to find an additional $30 to $50 to pay the bike shop in order to have your chain replaced.
This might not seem like a lot, but it can quickly add up when you consider the cost of the chain plus the service charge to chain it. Then when you think about how much you paid for the bike, it really starts to look like a lot of money.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Bike Chain Yourself?
Replacing a bike chain yourself is a relatively easy process, saving you some money in the long run. However, there are still some costs associated with it.
The first cost is the price of the new chain itself. Chains come in a variety of prices and quality levels, so it’s important to do your research and find one that fits your needs.
The second cost is the tools you’ll need to replace the chain. While not mandatory, having the right tools will definitely help you save time.
Furthermore, if you mess up while changing your bike chain, you could damage it, costing you more to buy another one to try again.
With that said, changing your bike chain yourself isn’t rocket science. So if you watch the video below and DIY, then you can save yourself $30-$50 and foot the cost of the bike chain itself.
How to Make Bike Chain Last Longer
To make your bike chain last longer, there are several steps you can take to properly maintain it. Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your bike chain:
Clean your bike chain regularly
Dirt, debris, and rust can build up on your bike chain, causing it to wear out more quickly and making it less efficient. To clean your bike chain, use a degreaser to loosen any dirt or debris, and then use a clean, dry cloth to wipe it off.
Lubricate your bike chain
After cleaning your bike chain, apply a light layer of lubricant to all the moving parts of the chain. This will help to prevent rust and ensure that the chain moves smoothly. Be sure to wipe off any excess lubricant, as excess lubricant can attract dirt and debris.
Inspect your bike chain regularly.
Over time, your bike chain can wear out or break
To avoid this, it’s important to regularly inspect your bike chain for signs of wear, such as stiffness, rust, or loose links. If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to replace your bike chain.
Avoid putting excessive stress on your bike chain.
When you ride your bike, try to avoid shifting gears too quickly or applying too much force on the pedals. This can put excessive stress on your bike chain, causing it to wear out more quickly.
By following these tips and regularly cleaning, lubricating, and inspecting your bike chain, you can help to extend its life and improve its performance. This will not only help to make your bike chain last longer, but it will also help maintain and extend its life.
With proper care, you can help to ensure that your bike chain will last for many years to come!
The cost of a bike chain can vary depending on the type and quality of the chain. Standard bike chains are the most traditional and are typically the most affordable option, while quick-link and master-link chains offer convenience and durability, respectively, but may be more expensive.
It’s important to replace your bike chain regularly to avoid more costly repairs and to ensure that your bike is safe to ride. If you’re not confident in your ability to replace your bike chain yourself, you can have a professional do it for you, although this can be more expensive.
By properly maintaining your bike chain and replacing it when necessary, you can help to extend the life of your bike and ensure that you can continue to enjoy smooth, safe rides.
Last Updated on October 14, 2023 by Daniel White