How To Shorten Bike Chain In 3 Easy Steps!

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Today in this article we will learn about how to remove motorcycle chain links without tools as well as how to shorten bike chain. Cycling is one of the most pleasurable pastimes. It not only keeps you healthy and athletic, but it may also take you somewhere you’ve never gone before. However, although cycling is a pleasant and engaging pastime, it demands technical abilities to maintain. To maintain your bike performing at its best, you need to be familiar with repair and maintenance techniques. That is, you must assess if your bike’s wheels are in good working order, the chain is not slack, and the gear changes are smooth.

The bike chain issue is, of course, one of the most prevalent issues you’ll encounter. Chains often deteriorate and become loose. You will also need to know how to shorten bike chain to ensure that your bike performs well.

Tools Needed For Shortening The Bike Chain

  • A stand for a bike
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Lubricant
  • Tweezer
  • Thin nails

By These Following Steps You Can Understand How To Shorten Bike Chain:

To put it simply, there are just three stages to shortening a bike chain:

1. Remove the chain from the bike

2. Making the chain shorter

3. Reattaching the bike chain

How To Shorten Bike Chain

Step 01: Detaching The Chain From The Bike

  • Count and measure 12 links from the beginning to the final pin. 12 inches should be the space between those pins (30.48 centimeters). Replace the chain if the distance exceeds 12 1/8 inches (30.80 cm). This is due to the wear and tear on the pins, which causes the chain to extend. If the spacing between the 12 links is right, and you have an older bike, try loosening and pulling back the rear wheel. This may take up enough slack in the chain to resolve the issue. If you want to know how to make a bike chain shorter keep reading.
  • This tool removes the pins from your chain, allowing you to remove the link. If you know the brand and model of your bike chain, you may want to look for a specialist tool for that chain. Some chains, particularly higher-end Shimano and Campagnolo types, additionally need the use of a reassembly pin. You cannot reassemble the chain without this pin, so make sure you have it before you begin. To know how to break a chain link without causing any damage, keep reading.
  • You cannot reassemble the chain without this pin, so ensure you have it before you begin. This will make removing the chain simpler.
  • To dissolve any filth or grease, use a strong, biodegradable chain cleaner or isopropyl alcohol. This will make handling the chain and locating the master link simpler. 
  • This will make handling the chain and locating the master link simpler. The master link is simple to identify since it is generally significantly lighter/darker in color than the other links on the chain. Protruding pins may also be put into a Specific outer plate. This plate usually has a large, oval hole around one or both pins. For learning more about how to break a bike chain, keep reading.
  • It will be simpler to access as a result of this change. If your chain lacks a master link, you must break it using a chain tool. If you do not know how to break a chain link without a tool or remove bike chain without tool you must own one.
  • Chain master link tool may be made in a variety of styles. Some swivel to let the pin to slip out, while others flex to allow the pin to be removed. Some master links are also disposable and may be removed only by bending them apart using needle-nose pliers or a specialist tool. Check the chain’s side for information on the manufacturer and model. To get model-specific information regarding the master link, go to the manufacturer’s website.

Step 02: Shortening The Chain

  • It is preferable to remove a small number of connections at initially rather than a large number. It will be simpler to remove one or two unnecessary links than it would be to re-add multiple links if you know how to cut a bike chain or how to shorten chain. Begin at the end of the chain that is not connected to the master link. Hold the link in place using a vise or, if available, the clamping mechanism on your chain tool. If your chain lacks a master link, begin with any link on the chain.
  • Place the tool’s punch above the link’s pin. Slowly crank the chain tool handle clockwise until the pin is free of the outer plate but still connected to the link. Please do not entirely remove the pin from the link! In many circumstances, if you totally remove the pin from the connection, you will not be able to replace it. Some manufacturers, like as Shimano and Campagnolo, do produce replacement pins, however not all pins are compatible with all chains. If you mistakenly pushed the pin all the way out, you may be able to slip it through the link’s center. Remove the upper section of the connecting link with the chain tool, then push the pin back through the link until the top of the pin is flush with the center part of the link. Replace the top section of the link, then press the pin back up with the chain tool. As needed, adjust the neighboring pin.
  • Continue to the next pin in the same link. Push this out far enough to remove one of the outer plates, followed by the middle piece that connects it to the next link.
  • Only remove the bare minimum of links required to make your chain operate, which is usually fewer than 5. Considering you know how to remove chain links without tool, the more you shorten the chain, the greater the strain on the links. Set aside all components and, as previously, leave the pins partly connected. Save the chain links you’re removing for future repairs.

Step 03: Reassembling The Bike Chain

  • You may need to use pliers or a screwdriver to achieve this. Push the two links together until the pins in the inner link click into place. To rejoin the chain, you’ll need a new component if it contains a disposable master link or unique pin. Most of these unique pins are divided into two sections that enter from opposing sides, but it’s preferable to seek for model-specific instructions.
  • Replace the two links in the outer slot of the chain tool. Check that the pins are pointing in the direction of the chain tool’s pin. Counterclockwise turn the handle. The chain tool’s pin will begin to drive the pins back through the link as you spin it. Continue until you see a little section of the connection from the other side. On both sides of the link, the chain pin should protrude the same amount. You may require a set of pliers to replace a quick-release link.
  • To realign the pin, you may need to move the chain from side to side. To do so, securely grasp either side of the stiff link and move the chain perpendicular to its rotating direction until the link loosens.
  • The chain’s longevity and flexibility will be increased as a result of this. It will also increase shifting performance and decrease wear on derailleurs and drivetrain gears.


It takes a lengthy and hard procedure how to shorten a bike chain without a chain tool that is why it is important to know how to shorten bike chain. To increase your bike performance, you must carefully follow the procedures. A chain tool will make the job simpler, but pliers, a hammer, and a tiny nail will suffice. You do not need to complicate the procedure since we have made it simpler for you. Keep the three essential processes in mind: removing, shortening, and reassembling. Then, carefully follow each sub-step to restore your chain’s peak performance. Hopefully, now you know how to shorten a bike chain without a chain tool and how to shorten a bicycle chain as well.

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