The Bikes Way

bike chain slipping when pedaling hard

Bike Chain Slipping When Pedaling Hard: Cause and Prevention

As cyclists, you were maintaining our bikes is essential for a smooth and safe ride. There are many small details to remember when cleaning, lubing and fixing your bike, especially if you ride it every day. One of the trickiest things to deal with is keeping your chain from slipping while you’re riding. No matter how smoothly your gears shift or how well-oiled your chain is, slippage can get annoying fast! Luckily, there are many ways to prevent slipping on your chain and fix it if you start to fall. Let’s review everything you need to know about preventing and curing slipping on your bike chain.

Why Does My Bike Chain Slip?

There are a few reasons your bike chain might slip when pedalling hard. One reason is that the chain might be too loose; due to this, it may spin freely and not engage with the teeth on your cog or chainring. Another reason for chain slipping is that the chain might be dirty or rusty. If the chain is dirty or rusty, it can cause the gears to slip, resulting in a loss of power and speed, which is bad, especially when trailing uphill. Lastly, if the bike chain is not properly lubricated.

Rusted chain and chainrings
Rusted chain and chainrings

5 Checks For Preventing Slipping on Your Chain

1. Check Your Chain and Cassette

A lot of the time, slippage can occur when the chain becomes loose or when the cassette teeth become worn. If the chain is loose, it can fall off of the cog, causing the chain to skip. If the cassette teeth become worn, they can no longer grip the chain, causing the chain to slip. To prevent chain slippage, make sure that the chain is tight and that the cassette teeth are not worn.

2. You Have the Wrong Amount of Lube

Many factors can cause chain slippage, but one of the most common is using too much or too little chain lube. Using too much chain lube can build up on the chain and cause the links to slip past each other, resulting in a loss of power. Too little chain lube can cause the chain to dry out and become brittle, leading to slippage. To avoid it, you can check your chain for lube by putting it in your hand and turning it. If you notice lube dripping down your hand, you have too much on there. You should clean off the area above the chain, lubricate it, and then let it sit for a few hours so the chain can absorb the lube. After that, it should be fine. If your chain is too dry, you can clean it off and add more lube.

Lubricated cassette and chain
Lubricated cassette and chain

3. Check Your Chain Length

Make sure your chain is the right length. If the chain is too long, it can become tangled and not mesh correctly with the teeth on the cog and chainring, which causes the chain to slip off the sprocket. You can check the size of your chain with a ruler or a chain checker.

Bike Chain
Bike Chain

4. You’re riding with the wrong Gears.

If you’re trying to shift into a gear that your bike doesn’t have, the chain isn’t going to go into the cog correctly. It’s going to either get stuck or fall off. This is common if you’re riding a bike with gears you aren’t used to. You might not be shifting with the right sequence or pushing the levers down.

5. Your cogs are dirty.

Cogs are the teeth on the rear sprocket of a bike that help drive the chain forward. Over time, they can become clogged with dirt and debris, which can cause the chain to slip or jump off the cog. So, keeping your cogs clean and free of debris is important. You can use a brush or rag to wipe them down after each ride or a special degreaser designed for bike chains

Bottom line

Keeping your chain clean, well-oiled and properly lubricated will help prevent slipping. You can also use a chain cleaner to keep your chain extra clean. If your chain is too loose, too tight or too short, it will start to slip and may cause damage to your drive train. Make sure your chain is the right length. If it isn’t, it may not mesh correctly with the teeth on the cog and chainring. You can also try adjusting the rear derailleur to give your chain a bit more slack so it can mesh with the cogs and chainring.

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