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Parts of a Bicycle Chain (Illustration)

Closeup of a bicycle chain.

When it comes to our children, we’ll do all we can for them every step of the way. This is even true for what many may think is a small thing. Thus said, we will even look into what is needed for our children’s bicycle chains when it’s about time to get another bicycle chain for them. 

Chain Components

Chain Components

The components of a bike chain are the inner plates, side plates, rollers, and a rivet. There are many pairs of steel inner and outer plates that rivets hold together. Also, every pair of inner plates is separated by a roller, and the tight pressing of the rivet (pin) occurs through both outer plates. Then, the rivet freely pivots on the roller and the plates.

Also, bushings are inside the inner plates, and they are there to hold the rollers in place. The rivet also presses through the bushings.

It is critical to know about the workings of this interface because two kinds of wear and tear happen here. This wear and tear include bushing-on-roller wear and rivet-on-bushing wear, and the main cause of chain elongation is the rivet-on-bushing.    

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And when it comes to modern bicycles, all the chains are at a one-half-inch pitch standard, i.e, from rivet to rivet, which is usually 0.5 inches.

The Different Types of Bicycle Chains

When it comes to the types of bicycle chains, there are two basic types. These chains are one-speed chains, aka single-chain chains, and derailleur chains. The following includes more details about these types of chains: 

Single Strand Chain

Single Strand Chain

The single-strand chain is common for a one-speed chain. So, it is created for bikes that only have one sprocket on the wheel and one on the crankset. A sprocket is also known as a chain wheel or chainrings attached to the arms, or crankarms where the pedals are attached. 

The roller width is usually 1/8″ (3.3 mm). These chains are not made to shift on several derailleur bikes’ rear cog sets. Also, the rear hubs come with several internally geared speeds. However, the chain is still commonly referred to as a ‘one-speed’ chain.

Another name for this is an “eighth-inch chain”, and the measurement of this chain is around 9mm across the rivet.

Derailleur Chains

Derailleur Chains

Derailleur bike chains are made for moving from sprocket to sprocket. These chains also come with a lot of different design standards. So, when choosing a bike chain, we should first take into consideration the number of rear sprockets.

The rear cog sets are made of five to 12 sprockets. Additionally, the spaces between cogs are usually reduced. .

Deraillerur chains are also called a “3/32-inch chain.” The thing is, however, is that this measurement is non-existing, and modern derailleur chains’ sizes may vary.

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Other than that, the following includes some nominal widths

  • 12 rear cogs — 5.3 mm
  • 11 rear cogs — 5.5 mm
  • 10 rear cogs — 6 mm
  • 9 rear cogs — 6.5 to 7 mm
  • 6, 7, and 8 rear cogs — 7 mm

When it comes to chains, drivetrain manufacturers design them to work as a system along with the shift levers, rear sprockets, and derailleurs. Chains can vary in side plate shape, sizing, and height. So, there are various shifting between models and brands.

Additionally, the quality of steel used determines the chain needed. And with better chains, we can ensure our children will enjoy riding their bikes due to their credentials of being longer-lasting and more durable. They also tend to have harder rivets.  


1. What condition will worsen chain wear?

Different factors affect the chain in various ways. The wear all depends on the following: 

  • The usage (chain, shifting frequency, and performance)
  • The circumstances (salt, water, mud, dry, wet, terrain)
  • Degree of maintenance
  • A lot of dirt and debris remains on the chain.
  • The line of the chain is off. 

2. During riding, how can we prevent our children’s chains from getting broken? 

For one, refrain from changing gears when the bike is heavily slanted sideways. Also,  refrain from changing gears when at high speed uphill. 

3. How to choose the right speed chain? 

The following measurements are the usual ones: 


1/8″ or 3/32″ is the specification that must be confirmed first for an internal gear or a single speed chain bike. For an outer gear bike, counting cassettes and then choosing the right speed chain are in order. 

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4. What makes the chain wear out? 

The inner link touches the sprocket teeth when there is engagement and stretching running force with the freewheel. This activity wears out the inner link, but there usually isn’t wear on the outer links.

5. How do we properly maintain the chain?

  • Wash the chain

First, apply to degrease while spinning the pedals backward. Then, wash and rinse it off.  

  • Wipe the chain

After a thorough wash, run the chain through a clean rag while spinning the pedals backward. This should be done to get as much moisture as possible from the chain. The chain should be wiped down after each ride since debris collects and oil seeps through the chain during each ride.  

  • Lube the chain.

Using a top-notch lube for bike-specific chains is key. Also, it is critical that the oil gets inside the chain’s moving parts. The best way to achieve this is to have a small nozzle to apply it directly to the chain’s roller in the center.

A drop or two will suffice. Also, this application should be done while spinning the chain backward. Once there is enough oil in the chain, just keep spinning the chain backward without applying any more oil. Doing this will ensure the oil will go through all the parts of the chain. 

  • Wash, wipe, and lube regularly.

Washing, wiping, and lubing regularly will keep grit out. This routine maintenance will also ensure the longevity of the bike chain. Also, the sound and shift will be better. 

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