How to Remove Bicycle Chain Without Tools – Full Guide

Bicycles are a great way to get around but can also be a pain to maintain.

One of the cyclists’ most common problems is getting the chain off their bikes.

This can often be done without any tools, but it can be tricky.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of how to remove bicycle chain without tools.

What You Will Need

Bicycle Chain

Like most people, you probably think you need to use a special tool to change a bike chain. But this is not the case.

In fact, it’s possible to change a bike chain using only your typical household toolbox:

  • flathead screwdriver
  • needle nose pliers
  • wire cutter

Read Also: How To Remove Bike Crank without Puller

Step-by-Step Instructions For Changing A Bike Chain Without Special Tools

How to change a bike chain without special tools:

Remove the Old Chain.

To begin, remove the old chain from the bike. There are several ways to do this, but one of the easiest is to unhook the links that connect the chain.

Find the Master Link.

The second step to changing a bike chain without a special tool is finding the master link.

The master link is the link that is detached and reconnected to change the chain. It is typically located in the middle of the chain.

There are several ways to find it. The easiest way is to look for a small metal circle on one side of the chain.

Once located, look at the master link and follow the next step.

Identify the Type of Master Link.

There are two types of master links: SRAM-style and C-style.

The SRAM-style master link is the more popular type and is used on most modern mountain bikes. The C-style master link is less popular but can be found on some older mountain bikes.

The steps to changing a bike chain without a special tool are different for each type of master link. For the SRAM-style master link, there are a couple of different ways to remove it

without a special tool.

The first way is to use a flathead screwdriver. Then, insert the screwdriver into the space between the link and the chain and pry it open.

Once the old chain is off, you can remove the SRAM-style master link by pushing out the pin with a small punch or screwdriver.

The second way is to use a pair of pliers. Grip the master link with the pliers and twist until it pops open.

If your bike uses a C-style master link, you can use needle nose pliers to remove it. Grip the link between the pliers and twist it until it pops open.

Another way is to use a flathead screwdriver. Place the screwdriver in the groove of the link and twist until it pops open.

Measure How Much Chain You Will Need


Once the old chain is removed, you will need to measure how much new chain you need. To do this, take the old chain and stretch it out, so it is as straight as possible.

Measure from one end of the chain to the other and add 1/2 inch for slack. This is how much new chain you will need.

If you have a derailleur system on your bike, it is best to buy a pre-cut chain with the correct length.

Connect the New Bicycle Chain

The new chain should then be attached by threading one end through the nearest connecting link on the old chain and then pushing it over the pin until it snaps into place.

The excess length of the new chain can then be trimmed off using diagonal or wire cutters.

Maintain Your Bike Chain


Bicycle chains can be a bit finicky, but with the proper maintenance, they can last for years. Here are some tips on how to keep your bike chain in good condition:

  • Always check the chain for tightness and wear before each ride. A tight chain can cause damage to the gears, while a worn chain can lead to a loss of power and poor performance.
  • Lubricate the chain regularly using a quality bike lubricant. This will help keep it running smoothly and prevent corrosion.
  • Keep an eye on the cogs and sprockets, and replace them when necessary. A worn cog or sprocket can cause the chain to skip or jump, which can be dangerous.


In conclusion, removing a bicycle chain without tools is a relatively straightforward process that can be completed with a few simple steps. Following the guide provided in this article should make the process a breeze and have you back on the road in no time.

FAQs on How To Change Bike Chain Without Tool

How Often Should I Perform Maintenance On My Bicycle?

How often you need to perform maintenance on your bicycle depends on how often you ride, what type of terrain you ride on, and how well you take care of your bike. For example, if you only ride a few times a year, you should do a complete overhaul every other year.

If you ride more frequently, you should perform maintenance every six months to a year.

How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain?

The answer to this question depends on how often you ride your bike and your riding type. If you only ride a few times a month, you may only need to lube your chain once every few months.

However, if you ride more frequently or do a lot of off-road riding, you may need to lube your chain more often, such as once a week or even daily.

One way to tell if your chain needs lube is to look at it closely. If the links are dry and shiny, it’s time for some lube.

Another way to tell is to listen for any clicking or rattling noises when your bike is in motion; this could indicate that the chain needs some attention.

What Type of Bicycle Lubricant Should I Use?

There is no one perfect lubricant for all bicycles; selecting the correct type of lubricant for your bike is essential. The three most common bicycle lubricants are wet, dry, and wax.

Wet lubes are the most popular type of lubricant because they work well in all weather conditions and are easy to apply. However, they can be messy and attract dirt and debris.

Dry lubes don’t work as well in wet conditions, but they are less messy and don’t attract dirt and debris as much as wet lubes.

Waxes provide the best protection against corrosion, but they can be challenging to apply.

How to Determine the Length of My New Bicycle Chain?

There are a few ways to determine the length of your new bicycle chain. One way is to measure the old chain.

Another way is to measure the distance between two points on the frame. A third way, which could be more accurate, is to use a chain gauge.

How Often Should I Change My Bicycle Chain?

A good rule of thumb is to replace your chain every 2000 miles or 3000 km. Of course, if you ride in hilly or mountainous terrain, you may need to replace your chain more often.

If you have a high-quality chain, it may last longer than 2000 miles.

How to Change My Bike Chain Using Specialized Tools?

The first step is to remove the old chain from the bike. This can be done by using a chain breaker tool to break the chain at the connecting link.

Once the chain is broken, it can be removed from the bike.

Next, put the new chain on the bike. The easiest way is to put one end of the chain over the small cog on the rear wheel and then push it up until it connects with the large cog on the wheel.

Then, hold on to one end of the chain and use your hand or a pedal to twist it around until it is fully connected.

Thomas Kersten

Hi, I am a passionate biker, and I have been riding for more than ten years and share my biking tips and tricks with the world. I've tested more than 300 bikes.

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