Bicycle Chain Size Chart Explained (Everything you need to know!)

Bicycle Chain Size Chart
A Bike Repairman Fixing Bicycle Chain

The bike chain is one of the most important components of any bike. It is responsible for propelling the bike forward and allowing the bike to shift into different gears. There are numerous bike chains on the market today, and we have noticed that when you use the wrong chain, chances are that your journey will not be as fun.

About the bicycle chain size chart? Since there are numerous different bike chains, you must know which bike chain is best for your bike. Each bike chain has different dimensions and styles, which contribute to certain aspects of the journey. A good bike chain would ensure efficient gear changes and overall comfort.

This article aims to help you better understand each bike chain and give you some insight into how they work. We will not only look at the various bike chain sizes but also at the various components.

Looking at each chain individually will allow you to see whether it would benefit your cycling journey. 

You might also enjoy reading: Mountain Bike Brakes Explained (Disc Brakes And V-brakes And Caliper Brakes)

Bike Chain Components Explained

Before we can dive into the various sizes and how these sizes would affect your bike chain, we should look at some of the intricate components of the bike chain.

The following components are what make up a bike chain and ensure that it is in the best working order:

  • Roller Chain: The roller chain is one of the most essential components and will do plenty of work. The roller chain is the component that is constantly moving when you are pedaling and moving the crank.
  • Side Links: The side links are the small chain links you see holding the chain together and can help propel the drivetrain forward.
  • Cylindrical Rollers: The cylindrical rollers are the various rollers on which the chain would lie, and this would ensure that the chain can move efficiently.

Bike Chain Materials

Another important consideration when you are setting up a bike chain would be the materials of the chain. Yes, you will often apply grease or oil to ensure that the chain can move more efficiently, but it would also come down to the materials.

Keep in mind that the various materials you are using could be responsible for the price going up or down:

  • Stainless Steel: The most common material used for bike chains is often stainless steel. It is the most affordable of all the different bike chains and features a solid coating that will last you a couple of years.
  • Carbon/Alloy Steel: Another great option would be the carbon or alloy steel versions of the bike chain, which are often nickel plated to prevent rust. These are also some of the more affordable bike chains.
  • Titanium: Those willing to spend something more would love the titanium bike chain, which has a durable and lightweight structure. However, this can increase the price of the drivetrain significantly.

While other materials are also used in many cases, these are three of the most common, and you will have to choose a bike based on these three materials. 

Types Of Bike Chains

One of the biggest issues for most people is finding the right bike chain for their bikes. Unfortunately, you don’t simply have a single bike chain that you can rely on.

There are four different types of bike chains that you need to choose from. It is important to understand which chain would serve your bike the best:

1- Single Strand Bike Chain

One of the earliest bike chains ever made is the single-strand bike chain, which is common to see on most single-speed bikes. The bike chain is designed with 1/8 of an inch roller, which allows the chain to move as it should naturally.

If you pedal backward with this bike chain, it would also go in the opposite direction, which is why many BMX bikes would often have this bike chain. Unfortunately, it does not bode well for mountain or road bikes.

2- Double Strand Bike Chain

The double-strand bike chain is one of the most common and impressive options you could buy. Most mountain bikes would feature this chain, and it has double the width of the single-strand version.

The idea is that with a thicker bike chain, you should be able to generate more power when you are pedaling.

3- Triple Strand Bike Chain

You can choose the triple-strand bike chain if you are looking for your bike’s ultimate level of power. These bike chains feature a thicker roller, which is around 0.125 to 1.875 inches in width, and the diameter is around 0.130 to 1.875 inches in size.

The triple-strand bike chain is one of the heaviest options and features a design that ensures maximum power and durability.

Those who prefer off-road riding would find that the triple-strand bike chain is one of the best options that you could consider.

4- Derailleur Chain

The chain you see on most bikes is often the derailleur chain, which often features incredible flexibility. The idea of this chain is when you have numerous gears on the bike with different sprockets, it would jump from one sprocket to the other.

You will often find these chains on mountain and road bikes, and they should ensure that you have adequate functionality and performance when you are riding around.

The derailleur chain is one of the most common of the modern era and has gained prominence in many mountain biking and road biking competitions.

Bicycle Chain Size Chart

Once you understand the bike chain size, you should be able to know which chain would work the best for your bike.

The bicycle chain size chart is one of the ultimate guides in sizing, showing how the sizing would affect the speeds. Whichever speeds you have with your bike drivetrain would be affected by this:

Drivetrain CapabilityWidth (Inches)Width (MM)Internal Width (Inches)
5/6/7/8 Speeds9/32-inches7.1-7.3 mm3/32-inches
9 Speed¼ – 9/32-inches6.5-7.0 mm11/128-inches
10 Speed¼ – 9/32-inches6.0-7.0 mm11/128-inches
10 Speed Narrow7/32-inches5.88 mm11/128-inches
11-Speed7/32-inches5.5-5.62 mm11/128-inches
12-Speed13/64-inches5.3 mm11/128-inches
Table Shows Bicycle Chain Size Chart –

Single-speed bikes are often left in the dark, and people think that single-speed bikes have a universal chain size.

However, most bikes can be single-speed bikes, and you will notice that the chain size would also vary depending on the bike. However, this table should allow you t see which chain would work best for your bike.

How To Know Which Bike Chain You Need?

Three different methods could help you determine the bike chain size you need. You must understand these different features to make sure that you can find the right chain for your bike.

Here are a few methods that we use to help people find the right chain size.

1- Old Chain Size

Most people simply have a worn or broken bike chain, and they aim to replace the chain with a different version. Unfortunately, the length might become one of your enemies, and you will need to understand the size.

You can easily find the right size chain by taking apart the older chain and using a measuring stick or tape.

2- Cog And Chainring

Most modern bikes have a cog and chainring, which is responsible for holding the bike chain in place. One method that you can use to measure the length of the bike chain would be to use these components. Since you are not changing them, they serve as one of the best tools for measuring size.

You can place your new chain over the largest cog and chainring to see whether it fits or not. This should be done before you buy the new chain to see whether it would fit or have the optimal level of performance for your bike. 

3- Equation

The final method is one of the most tricky methods that you can use to ensure you have the right bike chain size. However, this would force you to tap into basic high-school mathematics. The idea is that you would count the teeth on the front and rear sprockets, preferably the largest two. 

Next, you would want to measure the distance between the rear axle of the bolt to the midpoint area. Finally, you measure the distance to the first 1/8 of an inch to help you determine the actual length you will need.

These numbers would allow you to get an estimated chain size, which turns out to be very accurate for the most part. 

The video shows how to replace a chain on a bike.

What to read next:

Final Thoughts

The bike chain is a minor component that carries plenty of weight, and when you have the right bike chain, you will inevitably see some improvements in your bike and the overall performance that it could bring to the table.

In the comment section below, let us know how you have replaced your bike chain.


Hello fellow bikers, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind I am a biker and very passionate about reading, sports, and all things outdoors. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting

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