Chains

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How to choose a BMX chain: The chain is obviously a very important part of a bicycle, but you may not be aware that they are not all the same. There are various quality, size, color, and chain plate shape options. Choosing the one that’s right for you can make the difference between riding home or walking home after a session.

Types

Traditional – Traditional chains have been around the longest and are used on most bikes. This style is made up of an alternating outer link/inner link configuration. To shorten it you have to remove one of each type of link – one outer and one inner.

Half-Link – Half-link chains are made from several of the same links. The link starts at the width of an outer link (on a traditional chain) and narrows to the width of an inner link. This style has only existed in the BMX world for a relatively short time. Because of the link design, you can get much more precise with the position of your rear wheel in the dropouts. Half-link chains aren't better or stronger than a traditional chain, but the half-link design can solve wheel position problems.

Sizes

Most park, street and trails riders use 1/8-inch width chains. Race bikes will occasionally use a slightly narrower 3/32-inch wide chain. There are also extra wide, heavy-duty chains that are 3/16-inch wide, but they aren’t use very often.

Also, keep in mind that not everyone is running the same gear ratio so chains are sold in universal lengths (usually 96 or 112 links) and will require a special chain tool to install it properly.

How Much To Spend

Chains range from about $6 to $50. The price is often dependent on link style, machining, heat-treating, and color. A simple, plain, traditional, unpainted, and unplated chain is the least expensive, and colored half-link chains are usually on the more expensive end of that price range. We’d recommend spending at least $10 to ensure decent quality.

What To Look For

When it's time to get a new chain, it's important to figure out the problem you had with your old one and solve it.

Did it come off because the plates broke or the pins bent? – You can find chains that have heat treated pins and thicker plates.

Do you have an adjustment or wheel position issue? – Choose a half link chain, or buy a traditional chain and a single half-link that you can add to it.

Maybe you just want something lighter? – Check the specs for weights. There are some chains with hollow pins that help save weight.

Product Reviews

Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you’ve purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.

We hope you’ve found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn’t answered in this guide, our BMX forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.

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