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pointing at the quick link on a 12 speed sram chain pointing at the quick link on a 12 speed sram chain

How To Change Your Chain

As a cyclist, you will need to replace your chain at some point, whether it's worn out or broken. We're going to show you how to remove the old chain and then measure and fit a new one, using a quick link.

Tools you will need:

You will need quick link pliers, to remove the quick link from the old chain. To shorten the new chain you will need a chain splitter tool, along with the correct chain.

park tools chain removal tools and sram 12 speed chain

 Remove old chain:

Locate the quick link in the chain, then using the quick link pliers, squeeze the link and remove the quick link.

park tools quick link pliers being used to remove a sram quick link

New chain:

To find out what chain you need, simply count the cogs on the rear of the bike. This will give you the speed, for our purpose we have 12 cogs so we will need a 12-speed chain.

counting cogs on sram 12 speed cassette

Measuring chain:

Next, you'll need to get the chain to the correct length. Too short and you won't be able to shift into the easier gears. Too long and the chain will sag and won't shift correctly. First loop the chain around the largest cog on the rear, then around the front chain ring. Pull the chain taught and add 2 links, this is where you will break the chain.

feeding sram 12 speed chain to measure and mark where to break links

Route the chain:

Now you need to feed the chain through the derailleur. (Fig. 1) Looking at the derailleur the chain first will go to the right of the top jockey wheel and the left of the lower jockey wheel. Make sure that you feed the chain inside the metal tab (Fig. 2), if you don't your drivetrain will make a lot of noise.

how to route the chain through a 12 speed sram derailleur

Connect quick link:

The final step is to fit the quick link. The quick link we are using has a direction on it, so this must be fitted so the arrow is pointing in the direction the chain will move. 

direction on a sram 12 speed chain

Secure the link:

One-half of the link goes each side of the chain, then use the quick link pliers to snap the link in place. place the head of the pliers on each side of the link and spread the handles until you hear a click.

snapping a quick link into place using park tools quick link pliers on a sram 12 speed chain

Go and ride: 

The final step is to double-check what you have done. Turn the cranks and check there is no excessive noise, if there is there may be an issue with the chain routing. If all sounds good, then it's time to get out there and enjoy smooth shifting!

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