Steps for Fixing Skipping Chains

September 07, 2023

To some people, fixing a skipping bike chain may seem like a daunting task. Perhaps it even seems like a task that should be reserved for a professional. However, if your bike chain keeps slipping, then there is actually a step-by-step method for identifying the problem and fixing it. If done effectively, the bike chain skipping will never occur again. Here are six easy steps for fixing skipping bike chains.

Step 1: While in a stationary position, simply manually pedal your bike while shifting gears carefully. You want to get your chain on the smallest ring in the ear and one of the largest rings in the front. This will make it easier to inspect and replace, if necessary. From this position, you should try shifting again. If your chain fails to shift, you likely need to increase the tension on the bike chain.

Step 2: Now look at the back of your derailleur. You will find a small part that has the cable passing through it to get to the derailleur. That is your barrel adjuster. Twist that all the way away from you.

Step 3: Next, go back to the shifter. Keeping the bike in a stationary position, try to shift again. You should be able to shift to the smallest ring in the cassette. If you are unable to do so, then you still require more tension. Go back to the barrel adjuster and twist it even more.

Step 4: If the first three steps failed to correct the bike chain skipping or slipping problem, then you need to inspect the chain very carefully. Look for imperfections. Does the chain look rusty? Is it old and worn? Is it too loose? Too tight? These are all things that could impact its ability to perform. If there are defects with the chain or the cassette, they will need to be replace.

Step 5: Most likely, you will need to tighten or loosen the cable. Look at the derailleur again and find the end of the cable. The cable should be held in place with a small part that looks like a bolt. Adjust this bolt to either tighten or loosen the cable. Now try to shift gears again to see if the chain is still skipping.

Step 6: If all else fails to stop the skipping, find the limiting screw, which should be located on top of the derailleur. Sometimes it is labeled with the letter H. Your chain skipping problem may be due to this screw being too tight, keeping the chain from shifting to the smallest ring. Try loosening this limiting screw and then shift again. You should be able to shift properly now without your bike chain slipping.

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