Why Does My Bike Chain Slip When I Pedal Hard?

Bike Chain Slip When I Pedal Hard

If your chain skips, it can be frustrating and dangerous. You risk losing traction with the pedal, which could cause you to lose control of your bike. If you find your bike chain skipping, fix it at once.

A bike chain slip can lead to various problems with your bike.

The most obvious problem with a skipping bike chain is that the chain will not move as smoothly as possible; this can cause problems in other areas of your bike and lead to damage over time.

The most common reason for a slipping bike chain is that the chain has become too loose. If you do not regularly check your bike chain for wear and tear, it will eventually start slipping when you pedal hard or shift gears quickly. When this happens, you must replace your bike chain as soon as possible.

What Causes My Bike Chain To Slip?

Bike Chain Slip When I Pedal Hard

The bike chain should stay in place and not slip when you ride your bicycle. But if you find your bike chain slipping, you must stop riding and fix it.

After all, you do not want to fall over while riding because your bike chain came off.

If you find your bike chain slipping, several things could be wrong with it. You will need to check each bike component carefully to see what is causing the problem.

Here are some of the most common causes:

#1. Worn Out Chain

Your chain can slip for several reasons, but the most common cause is being worn out. When you buy a new bike, the chain should come with a few thousand miles of life left in it.

If you ride your bike every day, that mileage might last five years or more. 

But if you are not riding regularly, even a new chain can wear out in just a few months. A worn-out chain will be noisy and rough when you pedal or shift gears, and it may skip under load.

If your chain started occasionally skipping at first but now slips all the time, it is probably time to replace it.

You will also need to replace your chain if it gets rusty or dirty, whether because of lack of use or because you have been riding through mud puddles or other muck on your rides.

Worn-out chains will not last long if they get dirty. They will not last long because they can not move smoothly when dirt and grime build up between their rollers and plates.

#2. Bent Derailleur Hanger

Derailleur hangers get bent all the time, usually when you hit something hard while riding in the mountains or bashing into rocks on the trail.

When this happens, your derailleur will no longer be able to shift properly, and your chain will slip off.

#3. Worn Out Bottom Bracket Bearings

The bottom bracket bearings hold your crankset in place and provide smooth spinning motion for your pedals.

Over time these can become worn out or damaged by dirt and grit building up inside them. This action can cause your bearings not to spin smoothly or even stop if one breaks completely off its mountings. 

If this happens, it will cause your chain to jump around as it tries to find its home position every time you pedal forward or backward.

Hence, it can not find a good spot on the sprockets to rest in between shifts due to misalignment from bad bearings in either direction.

#4. Too Much Lube

If too much lube is on your bike chain, it will move around easily and may slip out of place. Be sure that all of your components are sufficiently lubricated but not overly so.

Too much lube can cause other problems, so be careful when adding more.

Not only is it a good idea to apply lube to your chain, but it is also a good idea to clean the chain afterward. Chain lube is designed to stick to the chain and not get into your bike’s gears.

You could create problems on your bike if you do not clean the excess lube off your chain.

Another problem with over-lubing is that it can cause rusting on metal parts like derailleurs and gears.

This action will also cause slipping problems when riding your bike because of the friction created by this process.

#5. Under-Lubing

Another common cause for slipping chains is under-lubing them. Yes, it could also cause your bike’s chain to slip.

When there is not enough lube on the chain, then you will find that it will start making noise while riding. 

When this event occurs, there is not enough lubrication to keep things running smoothly together during use. Your bike might also start skipping gears while trying to cycle around. 

#6. Incompatible Drivetrain Parts

The drivetrain, or the parts that connect the pedals and rear wheel, are very important to the smooth operation of your bicycle.

The bike chain is a key part of this system. You must work harder to get up hills and shift gears while riding when it slips.

If your bike chain is slipping, you may need to replace some worn parts to fix the problem.

You can check for several possible problems that cause a bike chain to slip by examining your drivetrain and checking for any telltale signs of wear or damage. 

#7. Worn Out Parts

Over time, parts like chains and sprockets wear out and become less effective at doing their job properly.

When this happens, you may find your bike chain skipping or even breaking altogether if they are not replaced soon enough.

When replacing these parts on your bicycle, ensure they are compatible with one another before installing them on your bike. 

This action will enable your bicycle parts to work together smoothly without causing any problems down the road while riding.

How Do You Fix A Slipping Bike Chain?

Your bike chain is an intricate part of your bicycle, but it is also one of the most important. You will notice if your chain is slipping or not engaging properly.

Here is how to fix a skipping bike chain:

#1. Check The Chain Tension

You can check the tension on your chain by removing it from the rear derailleur and placing it on a ruler.

The chain should be able to move freely back and forth without too much resistance, but there should be no slack in the chain either.

You will need to tighten the chain by adding more links if there is too much slack.

#2. Adjust The Rear Derailleur

If you have checked out the tension on your bike’s drivetrain and can not get rid of that annoying clicking sound as you pedal, it might be time to adjust your rear derailleur.

Your rear derailleur is responsible for shifting gears when you are riding; if it is not positioned correctly, it might not be able to shift into gear properly. 

This action may cause other problems with your bike as well.


If you find out you have a skipping bike chain, fix it immediately. This action can be dangerous, as the derailleur can get damaged and cause the chain to come off.

A loose chain can cause problems with shifting gears. When you are pedaling hard on a climb, for example, this causes the chain to skip and jump across the sprockets as it tries to move around.

Josh Matthews

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