The chain is a crucial part of any bicycle and is responsible for driving the bike and rotating the wheels. As part of the drivetrain, this MTB part suffers the most friction and wear and tear as it’s made up of several moving parts – all accounting for more movement and more wear. While it can be easy to see when a sprocket or derailleur hanger has too much damage, it can be more difficult to tell with a chain, which is why our MTB parts specialists have created this guide.
Use a Chain Wear Indicator
If there is no visible damage to the chain, then a chain wear indicator may be used to find out how worn down it is. Typically, these tools have 2 sides, and both tell you when to change the chain before it starts to wear down other MTB parts such as the cassettes and chainrings. One side is usually the A-side, used for aluminium components and one is the S side, for steel components. Using the smaller notch on the indicator, place this into the links and then lower the larger notch onto the chain, If the larger notch doesn’t pass through the link then you can continue to ride it, but if it does, then it is best to change out your chain as this indicates it has overstretched the safe limit.
Do Some Maintenance
When you’re checking your chain for wear and tear, it’s a good time to assess the rest of the MTB parts and see where they stand in terms of damage. Look for any visible signs of rust, splits or breakages on the cassette, chainrings and chainring bolts and see if they are affecting the ride by turning the pedals through and evaluating the drivetrain without load. If there is any resistance or unease, chances are you need to replace some of the MTB parts.