Bikes are fun to ride. They are a widely owned and a frequently used transport means, especially over short distances and if you need fun.
Nevertheless, many individuals do not know proper maintenance tips. And as such, they face numerous challenges, one of them being their chains popping. If you own a bike and keep asking why my bike chain keeps popping, this blog is for you.
It will help you know the causes, how to fix the problem, and simple tools you can use.
What Causes a Bike Chain to Pop?
Chain popping in bikes is a result of several factors. However, the causes are not extreme and can be rectified easily.
Here they are;
1. Shifting Problems
The shifting system is one of the important parts of a bike and needs utmost care. But when neglected, it may lead to many problems, such as the chain sliding off.
This is caused by four major parts, which include;
- Bad shifter. If a shifter is low-quality, cable tension can be lost, leading to uneven gear shifts and chain pop.
- Derailleur Hanger. A bike’s hangers are relatively soft and fragile to help in smooth shifting and avoid frame crack. However, if you hit something, it may cause bad shifting and make the chain jump
- Rear Derailleur. The rear derailleur often loses its alignment and therefore needs proper care. When the alignment is lost, it cannot work well with the cassette cogs, leading to the chain slipping.
- Shifting Cable. A bike’s shifting cable can lose its tension after prolonged use. If you continue to use it, your chain will often slip because the two cannot hold together.
2. Worn Out Cog Teeth
Your bike’s chain will frequently pop out if the cog teeth get worn out. This is common even if you have a new chain.
The rollers and cog teeth can’t engage properly with a new chain, especially if they are not the manufacturer’s recommendation. The result is loose contact, leading to the chain coming off.
3. Excessive Lube
Even though lube is core in a bike’s proper functioning, too much of it comes with the challenge of chain popping.
Too much lube in the chain increases slipperiness, reducing the contact between the sprocket teeth and the chain.
Further, excessive lube traps more dust and small particles, which speeds up the wearing out of the teeth.
4. Using Non-recommended Parts
Although bike parts can sometimes be used interchangeably, they should be used cautiously.
Failure to use recommended drivetrain parts may lead to more problems than rectifying the previous challenge.
If you use big parts, there will not be adequate tension and grip, which causes the chain to pop.
5. Worn Out Chain
This is the most common cause of bike chain popping. Just like any other part, the chain gets worn out, especially after heavy pedaling.
The wearing out causes the chain and the teeth to lack that proper and tight contact, leading to the chain slipping off.
Methods to Fix Chain Popping
If you do not know how to fix chain popping, here is a detailed rundown of how to rectify the problem
1. Check the Front Derailleur
If your bike has a front derailleur, there are a few more things to check. If this is misaligned, it could cause your chain to drop out as you shift. It’s important to ensure that the cage is parallel with your chainring and not bent or twisted.
Also, check that your derailleur hanger isn’t bent. This component bolts onto the frame and holds everything in place. If this is bent, it will prevent your gears from shifting properly, leading to rubbing in one direction or another and possibly causing your chain to drop off entirely.
You should also check that both of your limit screws are adjusted so that they don’t allow the chain to fall off either end of the cassette. If they’re too loose, adjust them using an Allen key until they’re snug against each side of the cassette, respectively.
2. Clean and Lubricate your Chain
One of the easiest methods to fix the chain popping problem is to adequately clean and lubricate the chain. You can buy a chain cleaning tool or use a clean rag.
Ensure that the rag is not too dirty because you don’t want dirt on the chain. Get some bike-friendly lubricant for the chain and apply it in small amounts to avoid creating a mess.
3. Re-install your Chain Correctly
After removing the old chain and your new one is ready to go, it’s important to install it correctly.
The links in a bike chain are shaped like rectangles. One long side is flat; the other is shaped into peaks and valleys that mesh with your cassette sprockets and chainrings.
A new chain should be installed with the quick link at either the top or bottom of the drivetrain for derailleur and single-speed bikes. If installing it at the top of your drivetrain, push your derailleur forward, so there’s enough slack to put on the new chain.
After installing both ends of the master link, pull back on the rear derailleur to take up any extra slack in your chain. If installing it at the bottom of your drivetrain, you’ll need to remove one end of a link or use a specialized tool called a master link pliers to break open two links on each side of your old chain before removing it from your bike entirely.
4. Check and Fix Worn Out Teeth at the Rear Cassette and Front Chainrings
Look at your rear cassette and front chainrings for worn-out teeth. Here you should check and replace bent, broken, or out-of-shape teeth.
You should also check for teeth that are missing, loose, or chipped and replace them as necessary.
Simple Tools you can Use
When fixing the chain popping problem, these tools can help ease the work
Chain popping is a common problem, and you should not worry so much about it. With a simple diagnosis, you can identify the cause and fix it even without going to a technician.
The major causes are worn-out teeth and chains, while fixing requires proper maintenance.