Loose Chain

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by mossman, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. mossman

    mossman New Member

    Apr 6, 2015
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    I bought a new Specialized Crosstrail (non-disc model) last year and the chain seems a bit on the loose side. It's come off the front sprocket two or three times and the rear sprocket once (just yesterday) while switching gears at relatively high speed. Luckily nothing binded up and I was able to push the chain back on by hand. Question is, is it possible to adjust the slack out of a derailleur-style bike. For instance, by installing a stiffer spring or by some other means? Perhaps my derailleurs just need adusting. The chain always falls off to the right side when it comes off the front and when it comes off the rear.

  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2005
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    FWIW. Without actually seeing your bike, I reckon that it was possibly set up improperly ...

    Yes, it is very possible that the shop from which you bought it was as indifferent to the assembly as many people think that those who assemble bikes at a big box store may-or-may-not ...

    BTW. If your "chain always falls off to the right ..." then the front derailleur's outer STOP is probably not OR was never adjusted properly ...

    Depending on your chainrings & the largest Cog on your cassette, you may-or-may-not be able to remove 2-to-4 links ...

    Shift the chain onto the largest Cog & OUTER chainring ... look at the rear derailleur cage ... it is "okay" if it is possible to pivot it forward some more, but it should NOT be pointed downward.

    You need to EITHER bring the bike back to have them adjust it (for free since you bought it less than a year ago) ...

    OR sell it & buy a new bike (FROM ANOTHER SHOP or via mail order or eBay) ...

    Since it should be under some sort of warranty, I recommend you have your shop adjust its derailleurs until the chain doesn't drop off when you are shifting.
  3. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

    Aug 31, 2003
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    It's pretty hard for a dealer to screw up the chain on a new bike because the manufacturers, especially a reputable one like Specialized, have chain selection and chain length down pat by the time the bike comes out of the carton. What the dealer can screw up, though, is derailleur adjustment. Then there's an off chance the bike was damaged during shipping and the dealer didn't catch it.

    It sounds like yours totally missed the limit screws, possibly among other things. Take the bike back, tell them what's happening, and give them a chance to get it right. Then go out for a cup of coffee to give them some time to think about it and not feel rushed.
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2008
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    See page 9.

    That shows you how to adjust the rear gears and the stops correctly.

    Basically, the top Phillips screw sets the limit for the smallest sprockets and the bottom sets for the dinner plate sized sprockets next to the wheel's spokes.

    Change the gear all the way to the smallest sprocket (biggest gear) and make sure the pulley wheel on the rear derailleur lines up with the smallest of the 8 sprockets. Tighten the screw to move the derailleur inwards, loosen to move it outwards. Do the same for the bigger sprocket adjusting the lower screw.

    Adjusting those correctly will more than likely stop you from having the chain fall off.

    You can slowly go through the remaining pages to check the rest of the settings. It's all pretty easy but like everything else, if you haven't done this before read twice and adjust once. You'll quickly learn how easy it is.

    Have fun!
  5. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2015
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    Please bear with me, this is my anecdote.

    Being young and restless, biking is one way of releasing adrenalin. When I vacationed in the province, there were bicycles for rent. Those were the old fashioned bikes that are big with high seats and no hand brake, just foot brake. Anyway, my cousin and I rented for each of us and off we went to the pathway to the farm. It was a hilly pathway. Guess what? My bike lost traction, not the tires but the chain. It got loose and I panicked becase the foot brake is not working anymore and I was on a downslope. I was really fortunate when one guy noticed what was happening and he was able to grab my bike and prevented me from taking a bad spill.
  6. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Member

    Apr 25, 2015
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    Oh that is good. I've had these moments where it became loose and I just didn't know the problem. I had to buy new chains from a shop but I don't think I needed to actually do that.
  7. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

    May 16, 2015
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    Loose chains are extremely dangerous, and you need to take your bike back to the shop so that they can check it out. I had a nasty mishap a few years ago due to a loose chain, and it's now one of the first things I check before riding my bike.
  8. rajeshcycles

    rajeshcycles New Member

    Mar 27, 2016
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    Yes, I agree with you. Loose chains are very dangerous. Just like you, I have also been a victim of an accident caused due to extremely loose chain in my cycle. I would highly recommend you to replace or change the chain if the adjustment does not solve your problem.
  9. doctorold

    doctorold Member

    Dec 14, 2010
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    Alfeng is correct. Sounds like the limits have not been set properly. Also, it sounds like you may have a few extra links. Just take it to a shop and have them fix it for you. If you lived near me I'd do it for you. Easy peezy.
  10. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2013
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    Depending on how much you rode the bike since you got it last year (and how well/poorly you maintained the chain between rides), in addition to what has been said above about the limit screws needing some tweaking, your chain may also be a bit worn and have elongated enough to make shifting wonky.
  11. ZXD22

    ZXD22 Member

    Mar 21, 2015
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    Whenever I had loose chains, I usually just tighten them up if I have a single speed. If its on my road bike, I would Usually bring it to the shop and have them deal with it.