How to Tighten a Bike Chain With a Derailleur: Quick Guide

Bicycles are a significant investment, and the more you use them, the quicker they wear out. One of the most common bike problems is how to tighten a bike chain with a derailleur that has come loose or detached from time to time.

It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your bike; it just means that there may be some adjustments needed on how to adjust rear derailleurs. In this post, we will show you how to make these adjustments quickly and easily!


What causes a bicycle chain to come loose?

A loose bike chain may result from many factors, but one thing is for sure: it can cause quite a problem. Here we’ll explore why and how to fix this common issue with your ride!

You know that moment when you get a new chain and the first few times it slides smoothly across your bike’s pulley? That feeling is everything! Unfortunately, no matter how well-made these things are, there will always come the point where they start slipping.

The reason for this occurrence can vary from an old or worn-out part resulting in more friction against metal particles rubbing off onto chains to simply too much force being applied during riding, which could break away any weak links between plates on either side of sprockets connecting them all into one long line going around each wheel attached by rivets running through their center hub respectively called “gears.”

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Chains become loose due to two reasons: older bikes have components with less durability, and the other is because of how people use their bikes.

People that ride bikes with poor components or who don’t know how to maintain them properly can cause stress on these parts, which could result in damage and eventually loosening up chains. New riders need to learn how to tighten a bike chain with derailleurs correctly so they don’t cause any damage to the bike.

Is it dangerous?

A loose chain on a multi-gear bike is dangerous and can cause damage to other parts of the bicycle. Loose chains also reduce the efficiency of pedaling and waste energy. On the other hand, a loose chain will only get worse with time, so you’ll want to repair it as soon as possible to avoid additional annoyance.

It’s important for riders who experience this issue regularly or are experiencing problems with their derailleurs, shifters/ transmissions rods that these issues get repaired by professionals ASAP, so they don’t result in injuries!

Quick tips on how to tighten a bike chain with a derailleur:

1 Step

First, put the bike on a stand or a soft surface. Next, flip it upside down. Now you can touch the tire and derailleur.

3 Step

Now you need to adjust the rear tire. To do this, you need to remove the brakes from the cable so that you can take off the wheel. First, lift on the brake lever and then raise it to have access.

4 Step

To adjust the tension on the chain, slide the wheel axle towards the rear dropouts until it is at a good level. Then, only move it a little bit at a time. Don’t make it too tight. For every adjustment, lower the brake lever and examine for adequate chain tension. If not, lift the lever and make additional adjustments until you’re pleased with the outcome.

5 Step

Reassemble the bike. When you think you have enough chain tension, put everything back together exactly as it was and make sure the derailleur screw is installed correctly and tight. Check that the tire is spinning freely and isn’t rubbing against the bike frame or the chain itself.

This may seem like a lot of effort, but after doing it once or twice, you’ll be an expert. Keep gloves on to protect your fingertips, and keep a towel close by to wipe away lube as you go.


Is it possible that lubricating the chain has an impact on the chain’s tension?

If you don’t clean and lubricate your chain often, it will rust and wear away. And it will become slack easily. When the chain is well-lubricated, it’s easier to ride your bike, and the chain lasts longer.

How do you tighten a Shimano derailleur chain?

Same as all multi-gear bikes.

How tight should a derailleur chain be?

The chain should be tight enough to where you can push it 1-inch, and it will come back. If you need to, continue pulling the chain until it is tight and then tighten the derailleur screw. It should make a noise when tightened, and this means that the chain is tightened correctly.

Final Words

Bikes are a great way to get around, and new riders need to learn how to tighten a bike chain with derailleurs correctly, so they don’t cause any damage. It may seem like a lot of effort, but after doing it once or twice, you’ll be an expert- keeping gloves on and having access to towels will help keep your hands from getting dirty as well.

These quick tips should give you enough information about how to go about tightening the chain that is causing issues on your multi-gear bicycle.


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By Marco

Marco is an avid cyclist and passionate blogger. He takes great pride in sharing his insights and experiences with the cycling community, hoping to inspire others to take up the sport and enjoy its many benefits. His words are an ode to the joys of cycling, and the exhilaration it brings.

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