Ebike Chains: Are They All the Same Size? Tips & Care

In this article, we’ll dive deep into a hot topic among new and seasoned electric bike owners: ebike chains. Are they all the same size? Can I use my normal bike’s chain in a new ebike? What happens when my chain needs a replacement? All these questions and more will be answered in detail for you.

Keep on reading to learn more about ebike chains and how to properly care for your own.

Composition Of An Ebike Chain

Before we start talking about the differences between certain chains, we must explain their composition and the role they play on a bike.

At first sight, an ebike chain might look like a simple chain of the same pins and metal components, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that there are a few more things involved.

Ebike chains are made by connecting a series of pins in a specific pattern up to a certain length. The pins are not all facing the same side, so think about this like aligning the “front face” of a pin with the “back face” of another one, or making a sandwich of pins. From now on, we’ll call them outer pin (bread) and inner link (PB&J)

These pins are held together with another type of pin called rivet, with a roller (small metal circle that’s a bit bigger than the pin’s inner circle) attached to the outer link.

Understanding how your chain works and the different components involved can help you make better riding choices, as well as aid in any situation where you might need a quick fix.

Are Ebike Chains All the Same Size?

As we’ve said before, bike chains might look the same, but we can assure you they’re not. Not all ebike chains are the same size, therefore you might want to pay attention to your bike’s chain length to ensure you get the right replacement if needed.

To discover which size to get, make sure to consult your bike’s manual, contact the manufacturer, or take your bike to the nearest bike shop to get it measured.

The chain needs to be tight, but not too much that the first pedal motion will rip it off; on the other hand, make sure your chain is not too loose, otherwise it can easily get off its position, preventing you from using the bike.

We clarified length differences between chains, but what about their width? The most common distance between the links of a chain is half an inch or 12.7mm. You might find different numbers on certain bikes, such as the ones used by Olympic teams or high-competition groups. But for your standard, everyday bike, this distance is used.

Different Types Of Ebike Chains

If you thought ebike chains were simple metal links intertwined, think again. We explained the composition of chains, their common width, and more, now it is time to talk about the different types of ebike chains.

There are two main types we’ll be discussing in this section: one-speed chains, and derailleur chains.

One-speed chains, also known as single-speed chains, are the widest, compared to other chains used in different types of bikes. They have a width of one-eighth of an inch, or 3.175 mm. These chains are the cheapest and can fit most single-speed bikes.

As for derailleur chains, things can become a bit tricky, since a derailleur system involves a special chain that moves the chain from one sprocket to another. Depending on the amount of rear cogs your bike has, the chain you need might vary.

As a quick guide, the more gears your bike has, the narrower the space between cogs; the fewer gears, the more space between them.

Outer Plates ebike chain

E-bike Chain Links and Pins

How Often Do You Replace A Mountain Bike Chain

The frequency of replacing your bike chain will depend on a few factors, such as how long you’ve been using the same bike, how you take care of your bike and more.

We recommend you consider replacing your ebike chain every 1,000-2,000 miles, but you’ll need to assess your situation to determine if this baseline works for you.

No matter if you use your bike for commuting or for exploring the outdoors, it is essential that you take care of your chain to prevent it from wearing out fast, and to take care of yourself. Thus a poorly-used chain can become a risk pretty quickly.

Ebike Chain Care 101

To close this informative article about ebike chains, we’d like to teach you how to properly take care of your chain to extend its lifespan.

Lubricate your chain with an approved product to reduce friction between the rollers and sprockets. This also protects the pins and bushings from wearing out quickly.

Regularly inspect your chain and pay attention to each individual pin and roller for early signs of wear. In most cases, addressing the issue on time can save you a lot of money and failed adventures.

Finally, make sure your ebike chain has the right amount of tension that allows you to easily pedal and shift gears. Not too tight, not too loose. To find the sweet spot of your specific chain, consult the manual or the manufacturer. You can also adjust your chain and do various test drives to find the perfect setting, but, if you have no idea about chain tension, we’d advise you to refer to the manual.

Final Words

In this post, we talked about all you need to know about ebike chains, including their composition, common types, and how to look after your own. It might seem difficult at first, but we assure you once you start familiarizing yourself with specific terms and habits, you’ll become a great ebike chain caretaker.

And remember, if you have any doubt, consult your manual, or the manufacturer or get to the nearest bike shop for advice from a qualified technician. Happy riding!

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