Ride your chain back on, without touching it!

If your chain comes off the chain ring, ride it back on.
You don’t have to stop, or even slow down. There’s no need to get your hands dirty.

  • Put chain back on bike without touching chainIf the chain comes off to the outside of the chain ring, simply keep pedaling gently and downshift to the middle ring. The derailleur will pick the chain up and roll it back on the ring.
  • If the chain comes off on the inside of the chain ring, keep pedaling gently and shift up to a bigger ring.
  • If the chain falls off while you are riding uphill, you may not have enough momentum to pedal a couple of strokes, so just turn the bike around and shift while you gently pedal downhill. Be careful not to get the chain stuck in the derailleur.

Why does my chain come off?

We’ve all had it happen: the chain comes off the front ring of a bicycle while you’re riding.

  • If it comes off to the outside (falling on the crank and pedals) it’s usually because the front derailleur outside limit screw is set too far out.
  • If it falls between the small ring and the bike frame, it may be that inside limit screw needs to be set tighter

Avoiding operator error

  • bicycle chain changing ringsThe chain coming off between the frame and the small ring often occurs from downshifting too rapidly as you approach a hill, which is common with inexperienced cyclists.
  • To avoid that particular problem, begin your shifting as you approach the hill. Shift, shift, shift as you begin climbing, going to bigger cogs and a smaller front ring. Don’t wait until you’re pushing hard on the pedals in the big or middle ring to shift.
  • As you crest the hill and begin your descent, start shifting into the the bigger rings and smaller cogs.

What happens when I shift?

  • Your chain ring drives the chain. The bigger the ring the chain is riding on, the more chain it’s moving and the faster you go.
  • Conversely, the cogs in the back drive the wheel. The fewer cogs the chain engages to turn the wheel, the faster the bike can go. So– you climb hills in a small ring and big cogs. You go fast downhill in a big ring and small cogs.

If your chain comes off in the back or gets stuck, stop pedaling and get off the bike.

Make sure to keep your rear derailleur stops set accurately, since if your chain comes off the cogs on the rear wheel, it may become stuck between the frame or spokes.

  • Immediately stop the bike and try to get the chain back on by hand. Do not try to pedal the chain back on if it’s off the rear wheel cog set.
  • Do not pedal backwards, which can make the chain jam even worse.
  • Tighten the derailleur limit screws (turn the screw in) to limit the the chain’s travel. Most derailleurs are marked with hi and lo, but if you are unsure, experiment and just remember how many turns you gave the screw in case it’s the wrong one. The limit screws on the front derailleur are similar.

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