How to Change a Bike Chain Without a Chain Tool?

A bike chain is a crucial component that facilitates propulsion. Every cyclist needs to take care of the chain to increase the drivetrain lifespan. Having a reliable tool kit will help in removing and repairing the chain. But there is a way to chain a bike chain without a chain tool. Most bike manufacturers use special links in chain technology to enhance easy removal and repair. These innovative features have reduced the need for master link pliers in changing the bike chain.

My research on how to change a bike chain without a chain tool in this article will be helpful to you and your family. Take the time to read through it and learn how to remove chain links with bare hands.

How Often Should I Change My Bike Chain?

Seasonal bike users make the chain vulnerable to grime and dust collection from the trails and roads. The climate condition can cause chain corrosion to result in gear shifting experience and increase chain depreciation rate.

How Often Should I Change My Bike Chain

So, how often should I change my bike chain? Every 2000 miles. It will help avoid accelerating the wearing out of chainrings and cassettes. But the frequency of changing the bike chain depends on its quality and maintenance. If you spin easy gears, clean the chain, and never ride in the rain, the bike chain will last longer than 2000 miles. But if you are an off-road cyclist, the bike chain is likely to break or age before reaching the 2000 miles.

The riding style and chain quality will determine the bike chain’s durability. I recommend using a chain wear measuring tool to determine its condition. The readings on the equipment will help tell when to change or replace the chain.

Most cyclists use a standard ruler to determine the bike chain stretch. I have been in the cycling industry for over two decades, so noting the need for chain replacement is easy. Signs of bike chain wearing out are slow gear shifting, drivetrain noise, and gritty pedaling feelings.

How to Change a Bike Chain Without a Chain Tool

Removing and replacing a bike chain from a local bicycle repair shop is super expensive. I only take my bicycle to the local repair shop for tuning alone. But there are other few repairs like changing bike chain that you can do yourself regardless of experience level. Besides that, changing the bike chain does not need any special tool.

How to Change a Bike Chain Without a Chain Tool

Today, I will teach you how to change a bike chain without a chain tool. Take the time to read each step and implement its respective action throughout the process.

Remove a Chain without a Chain Tool

Removing a bike chain without any special tool is a no-brainer task. But you will need a hammer, nail punch, and a nut or socket to complete the job. Position the chain to ensure the rivet is on the nut or socket by laying the bicycle on its side. It will be challenging to deal with the bike in the upright position. Place the nail punch close to the rivet center, then hit it with a hammer until the rivet pops out of the bike chain. The rivet will pop into the nut or socket.

Remove a Chain without a Chain Tool

Repeat the process to remove the necessary links. Ensure you have compatible parts on the chain ends for easy fixing back since the links have big and small ends. Start with the big end and wind up with the small part when reassembling the bike chain. Pop the rivet if you got it wrong and start again.

Put Back the Chain without a Chain Tool

Place the bike chain on the sprockets and follow the original chain routing via the derailleur to avoid making mistakes. Use the disconnected ends of the chain hanging from the sprockets. If your bike chain has a master link, connecting it will be a straightforward process. But do not worry if your chain lacks the master link.

Put Back the Chain without a Chain Tool

Create a slack on the chain and work on the ends. A slack is anything (a wire) that will help hold the disconnected chain together. Loop the ends of the slack to grab the chain parts and hold them together. The hanging chain will now make it easy to route. Use the master link to connect the chain ends.

Clean the Chain

Cleaning the chain is a crucial maintenance routine to master since it will determine the durability of your drivetrain and other components. Flip the bicycle upside down to rest on its handlebars. Use a rag to wipe the chain and remove the excess grime. I recommend using a degreaser if the bike chain is dirty and dusty.

Clean the Chain

Pick a thin lubricant for bicycles and spray it on the chain. Use another rag to wipe the excess lubricant from the chain. A clean and oiled chain will last longer and make it safer to ride the bike.

Master Link Pliers: Is It Worth Buying?

A master link plier is also called a quick link or power link. Modern generation bicycles have derailleur chain that uses quick links. So, is it worth buying master link pliers? Yes. It makes the removal and replacement of a bike chain master link quick and effortless.

Master Link Pliers

Ensure the chosen master link pliers are compatible with the quick link features of your chain for easy installation and removal.

Is a Chain Breaker Tool Worth Buying?

A roller chain is the only component on a bicycle vulnerable to wearing out, and replacing it can be challenging. But having basic knowledge and appropriate tools will make it possible. So, is a chain breaker tool worth buying? Yes. It helps in pressing a chain pin out when disconnecting and drives a new connecting pin to put the chain back together.

Is a Chain Breaker Tool Worth Buying

Buying a chain breaker tool will make the task at hand easy and the outcome more precise. Besides that, the tool is durable, and you only have to buy it once.


Changing a bike chain with appropriate tools will make the job easy, and the outcome is more precise. I recommend embracing any method that works well for you. I hope this article about how to change a bike chain without a chain tool was helpful. Feel free to share with your friends or families in any community.

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