This Is How Many Links Are In A Bike Chain!

How Many Links Are in a Bike Chain

Do you have an old bike and aren’t sure if its number of chain links is ideal? Are you considering replacing your bike chains with new ones and aren’t sure what number of links would be perfect?

Worry not because this article will help you answer all of those questions.

There are approximately 116 chain links in a new bike, but this number of links isn’t standard for all bikes. That’s because different drivetrains such as eight, nine, or ten-speed bikes require higher or fewer links. However, irrespective of the type of drivetrain you have, your chain length must meet the requirement of the cassette to prevent jamming.

How Many Chain Links do I Need on My Bike?

How Many Links Are in a Bike Chain

The number of chain links on your bike must be right for your bike to run well. These chain links must not be too short or too long that it causes slack in the cog in your bike.

However, a new bike comes with 116 chain links. If you’re looking at changing the chain links in your bike, there are two ways to adopt them. 

#1. Using the Old Chain

You can compare the old chain links you used before with the new ones. Doing that means laying them side by side and counting to what point the old link stops on the whole new link’s length.

Then, remove the excess chain from the new chain links, and voilà, you have your new chain links at the right length.

#2. Using a Chain Links Calculation

The chain length calculator will help you to know the number of chain links you need for your new bike.

All you have to do here is to input three parameters into the calculation to know the number of chain links. 

  • Know the length of your bike’s chain stay.
  • Estimate the largest sprocket’s teeth.
  • Know the teeth on the largest chainrings.

However, the calculator method has advantages and disadvantages, which are expressed in the table below.

This method gives a total value of the chain length in centimeters which you can use to estimate the number of links.Using a calculator requires some bit of technical know-how. You’ll find this method stressful if you’re not a mathematical person.
The calculator method is easier to know how many links you’ll need than the length of your old chains. Also, if you get the parameters wrong, your calculation will be wrong.

How Many Links Does a 10-Speed Bike Chain Have?

When you buy a new bike, it has an approximate value of 116 links. However, depending on the speed derailleur of your bike, the original links might be too short or too long.

If it’s too long, it’ll slack, and you won’t be able to ride your bike properly. 

The chain links of your bike are one important component and must work hand-in-hand with the speed derailleur.

These speeds come in different numbers, less than ten or greater than ten. However, you must ensure that the chain links you get are right for the speed derailleur of your bike.

If you have confusion about what the speed derailleurs do, you can think of them as gear controllers.

They tend to determine the number of speeds your bike can run; the bike links must adjust themselves to meet gear changes. 

That emphasizes why you must ensure that the chains on your bike are right for the speed. If this isn’t in place, you’ll be dealing with defects in the derailleur hangers.

Too short chains will make them break from excess tension, and too long links will cause a slack and affect gear changing.

How Do You Count the Number of Links in a Chain?

To count the number of links, you must first be aware that there are two types of links in the chain of your bike; there are the larger links that you’d find on the outer surface of the chain.

And the smaller links situate themselves underneath the larger links in such a way as to create a smooth contour.

You’ll need to follow these simple steps to get your bike chain’s actual number of links.

#1. Position your Bike

If the chains are in the bike, it’d be difficult for you to count the links while the bike is standing.

That’s because it’ll need you to squat before assessing the chain, which might seem too stressful.

Hence, you can prop the bike so that it stands on its maintenance stand upside down.

#2. Mark the First Link

With your chain links lying flat on a surface, you’ll want to mark the first link to start the count.

However, that’d be useful if the ends of your chain links are connected to create a loop.

If the chain ends are not in connection to form a single strip, start counting from one end and end at the other.

#3. Multiply by Two

After counting the total number of the outer larger links, multiply by two to get the actual links of the chain.

For example, if you counted 50 large links, your total link number will be 100 links.

That’s because the internal links are inside the larger ones, so you won’t access them when you try.

How Do I Know How Many Links My Chain Needs?

If you have an old bike and are willing to buy new chains, you can use the old links as a reference.

However, what happens if you have a new bike and don’t know what number of chain links would fit? Also, you can have an old bike and not be sure if the chain links are ideal for it.

I’ll use this table to illustrate some methods you can use to tell what number of chain links your bike needs.

#1. Method One

The first thing to do is to ensure that your bike is in an upside-down position. Ensure that the front neck is in the position of the large chainring.

Take your new or old chain when it’s in strip form and thread it on the rear wheel’s sprocket. Thread it to the front wheel, ensuring the links fit into the teeth.

Next is to join the ends of the links so that it leaves an extra when you make a loop. Add four links from the extra links hanging down for allowance.

However, if you’re using a power link for your chain, you can recede two links to get the actual links. 

#2. Method Two

Here, you’ll use the small rings instead of the big chainrings and sprockets. So make sure that your small neck is in the small chainring position.

You’ll need to put your bike on flat ground for this method, meaning that you’ll be squatting. 

Start by fitting your links onto the small front sprockets, around the small rear cog, and finally, through the jockey wheels.

Join the link ends together to know the actual length of the chain for your bike.

#3. Method Three

This method is the chain length calculator that uses an elastic meter tape and an equation.

Note the number of teeth your larger front neck wheel and the larger rear sprockets have. Then measure the length of your chain stay. 

The equation says to double the length of your chain stay. Then add the answer of four, dividing the larger front wheel length.

Finally, add the answer of four, dividing the larger sprockets by your answer. That gives you the total chain length of your bike.


It isn’t easy to figure out what chain length would fit your bike, especially with a high-speed derailleur such as ten.

That’s, however, possible with the right hands and information from a reliable source such as this one.

Also, ensure that you position your bike properly before attempting to count the chain links for ease.

Josh Matthews

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