How to Fix a Bike Chain that Keeps Falling Off: Reasons and Solutions

Nothing is as frustrating as dealing with a bike chain that keeps falling off. Read on to know why and how to fix it today.
John Watson
John Watson
John is an experienced cycling enthusiast and a great asset when it comes to writing skills. He's a Bachelor of Arts and a talented journalist. John is in charge of our blog read more
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Jessica Kingston
Jessica Kingston
Expert Consultant
Jessica is our expert consultant on all things connected to biking - gear, technique, you name it. Being a pro cyclist in the past, she knows exactly how things work in and read more
Last updated: August 28, 2023
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Riding a bike while the bike chain keeps falling off can be discomforting. Not only is this unpleasant, but it’s also dangerous. But despite how troubling this is, it’s not a new or uncommon experience for bike lovers and professional cyclists alike. If you’re asking the question, “why does my bike chain keep falling off?” there are several reasons you have to look at to arrive at your answer and a solution.

A chain drop is nothing new. But when it becomes too frequent, it can be frustrating and even put your life at risk. We’ve researched multiple reasons that may cause your bike chain to keep falling off. Strategies and remedies that will help you put a stop to this mechanical malfunction have also been detailed in this article.

Common Reasons Why Your Bike Chain Keeps Falling Off

Knowing how to fix a bike chain that keeps falling off is essential. But before you can arrive at the most fitting solution, it’s important you get to the root of why your bike chain keeps falling off at a single speed.

1. Stretched Chain

How to Fix a Bike Chain that Keeps Falling Off: Reasons and Solutions

If your bike chain has been roughly used, it will likely be stretched. With this, it tends to keep falling off the sprockets. If you can resonate with this, you might need to get a replacement for the chain. These days, finding the perfect chain for your bike can be a bit difficult. You may consider checking out the Bike Chain Kit by RUBY.Q if you need a high-quality replacement.

2. Incorrect Chain Length

One mistake a lot of bike lovers make is to get a chain with an inappropriate length for their bikes. The sprocket of a bike cannot conveniently flow with a chain that’s too short or too long. So, it’s important that you’re mindful of the chain length. You may want to move the rear derailleur to lengthen it if it’s too short. If it’s too long, you should consider detaching the chain. Note that this may also be why your mini-bike chain keeps falling off.

3. Worn Sprocket Teeth

If you’re struggling to pedal and the chain can’t stop falling, you may be dealing with worn sprocket teeth. You need to check if the teeth of your sprockets are in good shape. If they aren’t, you’ll keep finding yourself in a slipping-off situation. This is because they would be struggling to grip the chain. If you confirm this is the issue, you can add new sprockets or replace your sprockets.

4. Worn Sprockets and New Chain 

How to Fix a Bike Chain that Keeps Falling Off: Reasons and Solutions

One of the common mistakes most newbie bikers make when they’re dealing with a falling chain is to get a new chain without considering their sprockets. Before you get your new chain, confirm if your worn sprockets are fit for the new change. While checking, you may discover that you’ll also need new sprockets.

5. A Bent Rear Derailleur

If your kid’s bike chain keeps falling off, it may be that the rear derailleur has been broken or bent. Mind you, this can also happen to adults’ bikes. When this happens, the bicycle will find it difficult to shift gears. This can also affect the chain’s length. Getting a replacement for your rear derailleur will easily solve this.

6. Bad Quality Shifters

Using poorly constructed or low-quality shifters can hurt your chain. This can make your chain become too short or even come off because of the inability to perform effectively. You may want to consider confirming how your old shifters are fairing. If you realize that they’re in bad shape, then you should buy new shifters. However, don’t make the mistake of buying whatever kind you see. Go for high-quality ones.

7. Chain Rubbing on The Derailleur Cage

How to Fix a Bike Chain that Keeps Falling Off: Reasons and Solutions

Have you ever ridden your bike and you keep hearing an unknown sound? After a short ride, you may find your chain falling off. This experience can even leave you embattled and ask yourself, “why does my electric bike chain keep falling off?”. Well, it may be that the rear derailleur is constantly getting hit by the chain. This will make you experience a falling bike chain because it will make the shifting job more challenging.

To fix this problem, you might need to replace your derailleur cage. But sometimes, a slight filing down of your derailleur cage will solve the problem. Replacement is also the best solution if the rear derailleur is already bent.

8. Hitting Hard Bumps

Not all bikes can survive the intensity of hitting hard bumps without feeling their little scar. If you’re not riding one of the best road bikes known for their resilience, you may want to be extra careful while you ride on bumps. Big bumps are best avoided, and the small bumps should be approached slowly.

If you’re mountain biking, you’re likely to come across hurdles like this. This is why you should ensure one of the best mountain bikes is fit for the job.

How to Fix a Bike Chain That Keeps Falling Off

1. Lubricate the Link

How to Fix a Bike Chain that Keeps Falling Off: Reasons and Solutions

Whether you’re dealing with a mountain bike chain that keeps falling off or even a BMX bike chain that keeps falling off, lubrication might be the spot-on solution.

However, never guess. Confirm that lack of lubrication is truly the problem by taking a keen look at the link of your bike chain. Get the inside and the sides of the link lubricated. Don’t be quick to start riding after your application. Wait for about 10 minutes.

2. Look out for rust  

If the chain keeps falling off your mountain bike or road bike, it may be that it’s rusty. You’ll need a high-performance lubricant like the WD-40 Specialist Bike Wet Chain Lube to keep your chain in the best condition. Before you apply, make sure you first use a rag to wipe the rusty link. After that, you can proceed to apply your lubricant. Again, you may want to wait for a few minutes for everything to settle in well before you start pedaling.

3. Loosen and Tighten Your Chain

It’s important that you ensure that your chain is in perfect condition. Your chain will be unable to stretch and will likely keep falling if it’s too tight. So, you’ll need to lose and tighten your chain again to keep it in the right shape.

Dealing with chain issues in a bike can be a bit messy. You may want to look at the list of our best kids’ bikes to get a trusted bike for your kid that won’t worry you with chain issues.

4. Align the chain by using a screwdriver 

How to Fix a Bike Chain that Keeps Falling Off: Reasons and Solutions

Poor chain alignment isn’t good for your bike. If you’re in motion, there’s a high likelihood that your bike chain will fall off if a side of your bicycle chain isn’t well-aligned. You can keep both sides of the link addressed by using a screwdriver.

5. Remove the Old Chain

Sometimes, simple removal and replacement solve the whole chain problem. Once you’ve started replacing certain parts in the old chain, it may be that the chain is already due for a total overhaul. You can buy a new chain and attach it to your bike, and you can enjoy better riding experiences.

Helpful Tips to Prevent Your Bike Chain from Falling Off?

The first thing you need to do is to ensure that you clean your bike chain regularly. The teeth on the front and rear sprockets will be in the best shape when you don’t leave dust and dirt hanging on your bicycle.

Secondly, let your bicycle stay in good working condition. Even if you’re not using it frequently, don’t leave it for too long without greasing or oiling it. Whenever you clean your bike, you should also lubricate it. But then, you also have to be meticulous with how frequently you clean because excessive cleaning isn’t healthy.

Keep the bolts on your bike tightened before you hop on it for another ride. More so, never leave any problem unattended.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions about bike chains;

1. How long do bike chains last?

The wear factor is what’s usually used to measure a chain’s lifespan. The bike type and terrain are factors that can also affect the durability of a chain. It’s best to use a chain wear indicator to know if a replacement is needed.

2. What can you use to detach a chain?

You can break and reconnect the link of your chain with a chain tool. There are also some chains that don’t require a tool before they be disconnected. These kinds of chains come with quick links or master links.

Final Thoughts

Often, there is usually more attention on other parts of a bike. However, a bike chain remains an essential part of a bicycle. This chain can determine the kind of biking experience you’ll have. If it’s in a poor state, it will keep falling off.

Other factors can also negatively influence and make it fall off consistently. No one deserves the stress of dealing with a chain that will never stop falling off. This is why you need to know what to do if your bike chain keeps falling off.

We’ve already provided you with tips you can follow to fix this issue when it arises. And more importantly, don’t forget first to uncover why it’s happening so you can adopt the most appropriate solution.

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