What Size Bike Chain Do I Need? – The Ultimate Guide!

Cycling Inspire is Supported By Its Audience. As An Amazon Associate We Earn From Qualifying Purchases, at No Extra Cost To Our Readers! Learn More

Bike efficiency and speed depend on chain quality and chain length. If you want a smooth speed from your regular bike or specialized bike like mountain bike you need to choose the perfect sized chain.

So, what bike chain sizes do you need for your bike?

Well, you will get your answer and will able to choose the perfect size bike chain. You will also find different sized bike chains information helpful from this content.

You know that there are numerous bike chain lengths available for different bikes.

Your bike chain may get damaged accidentally or you are having the importance of changing the old chain. In that case, you should know how to choose and which one to choose.

To know that let’s dig into the content.

What is the Effect of Different Sized Chain?

Before knowing about bike chain size you should know why you should choose the perfect bike chain size. To gain stability and suitability there is no option other than choosing the best bike chain size.

If you are the owner of a mountain bike then you are well known about the gear changing features.

For a mountain bike the chain length matter a lot. If the chain is long then it may create floppiness and the gear combination will be hampered. Again, if the chain is shorter than the regular then it may jam between the chains.

The speed of the bike also depends on the bicycle chain size. You will find the different lengths of bike chains with the exact number of links but the wearing system is little different according to the degree of wearing.

The bike chainring sizes are also able to change the speed in varieties. As the diameter of the chainring is not the same for all bikes, it can increase or decrease the chain length.

So, you will get different speeds from the same bike by giving the same amount of pressure on the paddles.

Which Chain Size to Choose

A bicycle chain comes with roller chain form which can transfer the motion from paddle to driver wheel on the behind.

As we have control over the paddles we can also control the driver wheel easily. The best bike chain is made of carbon or alloy steel metal.

The question is which bike chain size to choose? Well, it depends on your bike and the types of bikes.  You can look at the bike chain sizes chart for different bike change sizes

Chain NumberPitchGap Between Inner Plates
5305/8 inches3/8 inches
5205/8 inches1/4 inches
4281/2 inches5/16 inches
4201/2 inches1/4 inches
505/8 inches3/8 inches
411/2 inches1/4 inches
401/2 inches5/16 inches
353/8 inches3/16 inches
251/4 inches1/8 inches

The above chart about bike chain will help you to choose the best one for your bike. The pitch is the distance from the center of the pin to another.

Bike efficiency depends on the pitch difference. For a higher pitch difference, you will get a loose chain setting and it will decrease your bike speed eventually.

For mountain bikes, it has different gear systems. In that case, you have to look forward to having the best chain size. For 9-speed, 10-speed or up to 12-speed you are going to have the variation of gearing system.

For 6-speed you should choose chain number 428.

For 9-speed you should choose chain number 520.

For 12-speed you should choose chain number 35.

You can have many more combinations for your mountain bike. Again there is a factor related to mountain bike chainring sizes for smooth speed variation. The manufacturers use a hollow pin to reduce the weight of the links across the chain.

There are two kinds of chain links found in a bike chain. One is SRAM and the other one is CONNEX. SRAM chain link has a flat hole before the chain joining and CONNEX has a slightly downward chain hole.

Changing Time for Old Bike Chain

You need to change your bike chain after a certain time regularly. As the chain is built of metal, it can be affected by rust and also be damaged by the extreme metallic friction. The question is when will you change the chain and how?

First of all, if you notice that you aren’t getting the same speed as before then you need to change the chain. Again you have to check the chain by your bare eyes whether any damage found in the chain or not. Ok, now I will show you the ways to change the old bike chain.

  1. Remove the old chain– In this step, you will see the attachment of the link between the chain pins. After that, you have to remove the old chain according to SRAM or CONNEX chain removing method.
  2. Insert the new chain– Now you have to insert the new chain by following the same process. You should open the certain chain-link first and after setting the length chain you will join the chain link.
  3. Inspection of chain for wear- In this last step you will inspect the degree of wearing to check whether it’s perfect or not.

What you should Look before Buying Different Sized Chain

There are some important factors that you should follow before buying the best bike chain.

  • Metal quality
  • Flexibility
  • Chain Pitch
  • Chain-ring size
  • Chain length


  1. What is the Ideal bike chain length?

– It depends on your bike. Read the instruction manual given by the manufactures and follow the chart for the best chain size.

  1. Does chain weight make any difference in speed?

– Yes. The excessive weight of the bike chain can decrease bike speed.

  1. Which bike chain metal is the best?

– Alloy metal is the best as it helps to decrease the chain weight.

  1. What to do when I feel loose-connection in the chain while riding?

– You should better stop riding and insert a new chain as soon as possible.

Final Note

Hope that you have understood the importance and difference of different sized bike chain and bike chain length. For a smooth and comfortable ride, you need to go for the best chain size for your bike.

Always try to stay safe while installing the chain on your bike. The paddling wheel and the drive wheel have sharp edges that can harm you. So, stay alert and wear gloves on your hands.