How to Put Bike Chain Back on Derailleur in a Few Easy Steps

Have you ever faced the problem of chain slipping while cycling? If you do, you are in the same boat with many people. We know that it’s common for chains to slip, and sooner or later, you will have to experience it.

The good news is that you can completely put a chain back on a bike by yourself. So, you should not take your bike to a repair shop every time because of such a common problem.

So, how to put bike chain back on derailleur? Here’s a quick overview of the ideas, but we go into more detail just below the list:

  • Step 1: Prepare your bike.
  • Step 2: Check out your drive chain.
  • Step 3: Loosen the chain.
  • Step 4: Let go of the derailleur.
  • Step 5: Replace your bike chain if it is broken
  • Step 6: Last check

Let’s get into details!

What Are Chains and the Derailleur?

Before delving into putting a bike chain back on a derailleur, it would be better to understand bicycle chains and derailleurs.

The bike chain has a simple structure, including plates, pins, and rollers. It links the front and back gears. The power is transferred from the pedals to the gears, and your bike moves as a result.

Each bike may have two derailleurs, one in the front and one in the rear. The rear derailleur helps maintain the tension and shift of the bike, while the front derailleur only exists on bikes with multiple chainrings.

The bike chain moves in vertically and horizontally in the back derailleur. Meanwhile, In the front derailleur, the bike’s chain moves horizontally. Hence, the chain is more likely to slip in the rear derailleur.

There are many reasons for a bicycle chain to slip, including:

  • The bike chain or rear caster is worn out.
  • Lack of shifting techniques.
  • The bike chain is too long.
  • Improper adjustments.
  • And more

Things You Need

You only need many tools in the removal process. However, this article will cover putting a bike chain back on. So, you need to make sure that you are done with tweaking.

Here’s what you need for this project:

  • Chain Tool
  • Protective Gloves

Then, let’s explore how to put a chain on a derailleur.

Step by Step Guide


Step 1: Prepare Your Bike

Thanks to placing the bike on a bike stand, you can quickly put the chain back.

This gives you the space you need to work as well as prevents the bike from shifting. If you leave your bike to stand like usual, you will need to lower yourself to get access to your bike chain derailleur routing.

If you do not have a bike stand, it is possible to turn your bike upside down to rest on the saddle and handlebars.

Step 2: Check Out Your Drive Chain

After placing your bike onto a bike stand, it is essential to check the bike for any bent or broken parts. If so, you need to have the chain repaired or replaced before putting it back together.

In addition, you also need to check both the derailleurs and the gears for any kind of damage.

Step 3: Loosen the Chain

If the bicycle chain is still intact and can continue to operate, thread your chain through the rear derailleur and around the back gear. Then, you need to loosen the chain by pushing the arm of the back derailleur forward. This part is a small metal arm at the rear derailleur’s bottom.

Use the thumb of your left hand to push this metal hand forward as much as you can. Then, use 2 fingers of your right hand to slightly lift the chain and place it onto the smallest part in the frontal sprockets and keep it in place.

Check if there is enough space to fit ten to fifteen teeth of the cog into the chain groves.

If you don’t have gloves, you can use a protective pencil, pen, or thin stick to put the chain back on the bike with gears. Thanks to that, your fingers will not get dirty.

To give yourself more understanding, you should check out the following video guide that’s highly detailed:

Step 4: Release The Derailleur

Slowly release the derailleur after placing some teeth into the chain groves and see if your bike chain is in the proper place.

Next, you will be required to pedal with your hand. You should do three to four rotations to ensure your bike chain is working back.

Step 5: Replace Your Bike Chain if It Is Broken

If your bike chain is broken, you need to repair or replace it. Untangle bicycle chains to remove or replace broken links. You can replace broken links with new ones or simply connect the two ends together if possible.

Then, wrap your bike chain onto the smallest gear of the cassette and the rear derailleur. Then, push the arm of the back derailleur forward and run the chain through the tiniest part in the frontal sprockets, as mentioned above.

Step 6: Last check

Last but not least, you need to check for every possible cause of the bike chain slipping. It is wise to remove all clogged grease, dirt, or foreign objects. Also, clean all gears and re-lubricate them with grease if necessary.

What’s more, it is essential to check that the alignment of the derailleur and the chain is correct. In fact, the incorrect alignment can damage your shifting gears.

If your bike chain is too long or short, consider removing or adding links. On the other hand, if your lousy derailleur is the leading cause, it’s time to replace it with a new one.

Bonus Tips

You need to bear in mind some things when fixing your bike chain. These include:

  • Please do not place your fingers on the bike chain to avoid injuring them.
  • Wear protective gloves to prevent your hands from getting greasy when fixing your chains.
  • Tie up long hair and any loose clothing before repairing the chain.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. What parts does a gear set include?

The bike chain derailleur diagram above shows that a gear set includes front derailleur, rear derailleur, chain, cassette, and chainrings.

  • Front derailleur: The front derailleur is seen near the pedals. It looks like small metal covers over the gear where the bike’s chain must be placed.
  • Rear derailleur: It is usually located near the rear wheel. It looks like a mechanical arm and slides underneath the cassette to help move the chain.
  • Chain: The chain connects the rear gears and the front chainrings. As a result, when you pedal, the rear wheel will rotate.
  • Chainrings: Bikes typically have one, two, or three front chainrings (gears).
  • Cassette: The rear cassette is the group of gears (cogs). It is mounted on the right-hand side of the rear wheel.

The bulk of bicycles will tell you the number of gears on the handlebars.

2. Do derailleurs wear out?

Sure. All derailleurs wear out at some point.

3. How often should you lube your bike chain?

Once every month is the best.

4. Why is my new chain slipping?

In most cases, a new bike chain slipping is caused by loose cables.

Final Thought

By now, you have reached the end of our article. By knowing how to put bike chain back on derailleur, you won’t have to go to the mechanic and waste money on minor faults.

Please let us know what you think about this guide through the comments section and share it with your friends to keep them going on the road.