Dealing with mountain bike issues, especially in the middle of riding, is stressful. If you are new to biking, you may not know how to fix minor issues. One of the issues that most bikers face is with the chain. Bike chain skipping when pedaling hard is the most concerning one. Many riders may not know how to fix skipping bike chain.

There are a lot of reasons as to why this can happen. For most people, it is easier to deal with tire issues than chain issues. To fix your chain, you need to know why it is skipping. In most cases, the bike chain skips when you are changing gears. Let’s have a look at potential reasons and their solutions.

How to identify a skipping bike chain

There are a few telltale signs that your bike chain is skipping, and it’s important to be able to identify them in order to prevent damage to the bike and rider. The most common symptom of a skipping chain is when the pedals seem to suddenly lose power and the bike slows down or stops moving altogether. Another sign is if you hear a clicking or rattling noise coming from the chain area.

Reasons why bike chain skips when pedaling hard

The bike chain can skip for various reasons; you need to figure out the issue before solving it. Hence, we are pinpointing potential reasons here. Let’s begin:

1. Lose cable

If you are a biker who loves biking and often does it, your bike will need maintenance. The bike often needs service; you need to lubricate the chain to function correctly. If your chain keeps skipping when pedaling, one of the reasons could be that the cable has become stretched. This is an issue that people often ignore, especially if you are a beginner. If you have installed a new cable, it will stretch a little. However, the cable becomes way too stretched when it is old. In such cases, you need to replace the cable with a new one and ensure it’s suitable for the bike.

2. Chain too long

There are many reasons why the chain keeps skipping when you pedal hard. However, one of the most common reasons for it can be if the chain is too long. If you are new to biking, you must ask for a professional’s advice when changing your bike’s parts. If you have recently replaced your bike’s chain, the chances are the chain is too long. If you have kept your previous chain, you can compare the recent one to it. Your current bike’s chain should be shorter as chains stretch over time than the previous one.

3. Damaged cog teeth

Bent cog teeth are a common issue that can happen to any bike. One thing that happens when the cog teeth are bent is that a chain skips over it. It may cause the gear to shift, or you can end up shifting two gears. It is dangerous when riding on rugged trails as it can cause accidents. Unfortunately, you cannot correct the cog teeth using a tool on your own. If your bike has a cheap chainring, only you can fix it. It’s better to take your bike for service and get the issue fixed.

4. Dirty or oily chain that need cleaning

A bike chain skipping while paddling hard is often a sign that the chain is dirty or oily and needs a good cleaning. To clean a bike chain, you will need a degreaser, a brush, and some rags. First, use the degreaser to clean the chain. Then, use the brush to scrub off any dirt or grease. Finally, use the rags to wipe off the chain and dry it off. If your bike chain is skipping while you’re paddling hard, cleaning it may solve the problem.

5. Damaged chain

One of the most common reason of skipping bike chain is that your chain is damaged. If you think your chain might be the issue, the first step is to take a look at it and see if there is any visible damage. If there is, you will need to fix it before you can continue riding. This can be done by using a chain repair tool to remove the damaged links and then re-joining the chain with a new link.

6. Incorrectly sized chainring

Skipping bike chains can be caused by a number of things, one of which is an incorrectly sized chainring. If your chainring is too small, it will cause the chain to come off the cog more easily. This can be corrected by adjusting the chainline. The chainline is the distance between the center of the crank and the center of the chainring. You can adjust it by moving the rear axle or changing the spacers on the crankset. If your bike is still skipping after adjusting the chainline, there may be something wrong with your drivetrain or you may need to replace your chain.

7. Worn cassette or chainrings

One of the most common reasons is worn cassette or chainrings. If these parts are worn, they can cause the chain to move up and down instead of moving around the gears smoothly. This can cause the chain to come off the cog and skip.

If you are experiencing a skipping bike chain, the first thing you should do is check the cassette and chainrings for wear. You can do this by inspecting them for cracks, chips, or missing teeth. If you see any damage, it’s time to replace them. You should also check the chain for wear and replace it if necessary. A new cassette, chainrings, and chain will help ensure that your bike chain doesn’t skip while paddling hard again.

8. Damaged derailleur

If you’re experiencing a skipping bike chain while paddling hard, it could be due to a damaged derailleur. The derailleur is the part of your bike that moves the chain between the different gears. If it’s not working properly, it can cause the chain to skip. 

There are a few things you can do to fix a skipping bike chain: 

  • Check the derailleur for damage and repair it if necessary. 
  • Make sure the derailleur is properly adjusted. 
  • Make sure the chain is properly lubricated. 
  • If all else fails, replace the derailleur.

9. Bent derailleur hanger

If you’re experiencing a skipping bike chain while paddling hard, the bent derailleur hanger could be one of the reasons why. Here is how to fix the problem.

First, take your bike for a quick test ride to see if the chain is still skipping. If it is, then you’ll need to adjust the limit screws on your derailleur. To do this, loosen the screws and move them towards or away from the derailleur until the chain stops skipping.

If adjusting the limit screws doesn’t fix the problem, then you’ll need to bend back the derailleur hanger. To do this, remove the rear wheel and use a pair of pliers to bend it back into shape. Be careful not to bend it too much, or else it won’t be able to hold onto the derailleur anymore.

Why is my bike’s chain skipping over teeth?

A few common issues can cause the chain to skip when riding too fast or pedaling too hard. However, one of the concerning issues is when the bike’s chain does not sit properly over the teeth. One of the things that can cause that to happen is when the chain is too worn out. You will pedal hard when riding up the hill. However, the pedal will drop, and you won’t be able to ride further. Hence, you must fix the issue before you embark on a journey on challenging trails.

How to fix the issue of the chain jumping over teeth?

One of the biggest problems with your bike can be when the chain starts skipping over the teeth. When the chain links become too stretched, it is harder for the chain to cling to the teeth. If you have not replaced your bike’s chain in a while, do it to resolve the issue. Sometimes, the issue is not the chain but the cog. When the cog becomes too old and bent, the chain will not cling to it properly, causing it to skip over. It would be best to store your bike in a cool and dry place to avoid rust.

What you’ll need to fix a skipping bike chain

In most cases, you can fix a skipping bike chain by cleaning the chain, aligning the chainring, and replacing the worn-out chainring.

If your bike chain is skipping, the first thing you should do is clean it. Use a degreaser to remove any dirt or grease from the links. You may also need to use a brush to scrub off any caked-on dirt. Once the chain is clean, lubricate it with some bicycle oil or WD-40.

How to properly lubricate your bike chain

A bike chain needs to be lubricated in order to keep it functioning properly. If the chain is not lubricated, it will start to skip. 

There are a few ways to lubricate a bike chain. One way is to use a lubricant that is specifically made for bike chains. Another way is to use oil that can be found at most hardware stores. 

Here is the step-by-step process to properly lubricate your bike chain.

  • Begin by wiping the chain down with a rag to remove any dirt or debris.
  • Apply a light coat of lubricant to the entire chain. Be sure to avoid getting any lubricant on the brakes or gears.
  • Allow the lubricant to soak in for a few minutes
  • Wipe off any excess.
  • Finally, spin the crankset a few times to distribute the lubricant evenly.

Make sure that you apply the lubricant liberally and evenly. Be sure also to apply it to the derailleur, which is the part of the bike that moves the chain between gears. 

Preventing your bike chain from skipping in the future

Once you fixed your skipping chain, you would like to avoid this to happen again. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent your chain from skipping in the future.

  • First, make sure that your chain is properly lubricated. If it is dry, it will be more likely to skip. You can either use a lubricant specifically made for bike chains or a general-purpose lubricant such as WD-40.
  • Second, make sure that your chain is properly adjusted. If it is too tight or too loose, it will also be more likely to skip. You can adjust the chain by using the barrel adjuster on the rear derailleur.
  • Third, make sure that your gear ratios are appropriate for your riding style and terrain.

Why is my bike chain skipping?

First, Chain is too tight and it’s not able to move smoothly around the gears. Second, gears themselves are misaligned, which can also cause the chain to skip. Third, Chain is old and rusty, it might not be able to grip the gears properly.

How do I stop my bike chain from skipping?

There are a few things you can do to help stop your bike chain from skipping. One is to make sure the chain is properly lubricated. Another thing you can do is make sure the gears on your bike are properly adjusted. Finally, make sure the chain is properly aligned.

How to fix bike chain with gears?

The best way to fix a bike chain with gears is to take the chain off of the bike, put it in a vise, and use a chain tool to remove the links. You can then put the chain back on the bike and reattach it using the appropriate tools.

How do you fix a loose chain?

Loosen the screws on either side of the chain link that is loose. Push the pin out of the chain link. Re-insert the pin into the chain link. Tighten the screws on either side of the chain link.

What happens if bike chain is loose?

If the bike chain is loose, it can cause the bike to not ride smoothly and may even cause the chain to come off completely. It’s important to check the tightness of the chain regularly and to adjust it as needed.

Why does my bike chain keep falling off?

One possibility is that your chain is too loose. If the chain is too loose, it will come off the gears more easily. Another possibility is that your gears are not properly aligned. Finally, if your chain is old or worn out, it may be more likely to fall off.


If you are into biking, you need to maintain the bike to enhance your performance. The bike’s chain plays a pivotal role in providing you with more control when riding. Bike chain skipping when pedaling hard happens due to various reasons. We made sure to state a few potential reasons so that you can fix the issue. On the other hand, taking your bike for service is crucial to ensure it remains in good shape for longer.