How-to Guides

How to count bicycle chain links

August 7, 2024
How to count chain links

It does not matter if you are a fan of bicycles or a person who is just taking his first pedal strokes. In any type of case, it is essential to know how the bike is composed. In this article, we will show you how to count bicycle chain links besides other useful information.

If you know how your bike works, then when something goes wrong, or you need a part, you’ll know exactly what’s missing or how you can fix it.

The world of bike parts is huge and can sound intimidating, so we’ll break it down to make it much easier for you to understand. We will dedicate this article to the bike chain, more specifically to how to count links in a chain. We will also tell you what the usefulness of this is and how you can use it in your favor.

What is a bicycle chain?

The chain of a bike is made up of a set of links that connect the different elements to generate movement on the bicycle. Without the chain, the bicycle does not work, so it is just as important as the handlebars or the frame of the bike, even though most people do not pay as much attention to it.

Depending on how well your bike chain is adjusted will vary how well it can work. For the same reason, it is important to check the tension of the chain so that it does not move or slip.

What is the link of a bicycle chain?

Each of the parts that make up the chain is called a link and is usually made up of two sides and two pins. To disassemble each normal link, a chain cutter is necessary.

This can be a tiring task, so if you are a person w ho is not very good with crafts, you may want to opt for a bike chain that is made up of quick links. These quick links can easily be put on and taken off with your hands. Joining or separating it with chainsaws will not be necessary, so they are very useful.

The good news is that not all the links in your bike chain need to be quick links. If at least one of the links in our chain is a quick link, then this is enough to be able to quickly remove the chain in case you need to clean it or do any other type of repair.

Some bikes already come with a detachable link from the factory, so you can check with the seller before buying the bike. Generally, bike dealers will be more than willing to advise you on this, so don’t forget to ask as many questions as you want.

How many links should a bicycle chain have?

A new bike chain typically comes with 116 links, each one inch long. This is to fit even the largest chainrings and sprockets.

In the case of touring bikes or single speeds, this can change depending on whether you need more or less of a chain of this length. However, it will make it easier for you to adjust your chain.

On most bikes, you will have to shorten the original chain to fit. This can be done by removing the link using a chain wrench to remove the stud or bolts from the chain when it is the proper length.

It is important because if the chain is too long, there is a risk that it will come off the bottom bracket and get wound up, and if it is too short, it can damage both the derailleur and the groupset.

How to know what is the correct length of a bicycle chain?

All these measurements usually come in the manuals of the bicycles you use, which you can also find on the Internet. Or, if not, you can always use the chain your bike already has for an easy alternative.

A good technique is to count the links to measure the chain of your bike and know the exact measurement. This may seem like a difficult task, but in the next segment, we will teach you how to count links in a chain so that you can do it without problems.

How to count bicycle chain links?

The easiest technique of how to count chain links is to use whatever kind of ruler you have and measure one link, then measure the entire chain and divide the total number of the chain by the number of each link, so the number you get will be the number of links in your chain.

In any case, a flaw that this way of measuring has is that it gives an estimated number and it is not such a reliable number. This is because when you use a bike a lot the pins wear out and take up the slack, so when the chain is tightened, the links spread apart. This makes the chain measurement longer, but the links aren’t as big.

Anyway, this is a margin of error of a couple of millimeters, so you shouldn’t have too many problems. Another way is to check the manual of your bike, see when the links come and how long each one is, and this will make the task much easier. That is why it is important that you do not throw away the manual of your bike, so the work on how to count chain links will be faster.


Now that you know how to count links in a chain, you can see how easy the task is and how useful it is. By measuring the links, you can calculate the stretch of the chain, so you will know how much it takes to change it, or if it needs to be fixed in any particular way.

Knowing all the parts of your bike is essential, and something as small as the links in your bike’s chain can make a difference in how it works. Prevent your bike from failing you and leaving you walking by following this simple technique in how to count links in a chain.

If you are looking for an electric bike, you must check our buyer’s guide on the Best Electric Bikes Under 1000 this year.  However, if you have a bigger budget available make sure to check our buyer’s guide on the Best Electric Bikes this year.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Dearin November 5, 2024 at 9:58 pm

    I adore how you incorporate your personality into your posts. It seems like we’re having an enjoyable conversation over coffee.

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