How to Fix Drivetrain Binding

Are you experiencing drivetrain binding when you’re pedaling your bike? If so, then it’s time to take a closer look at what may be causing the issue. Drivetrain binding can be difficult to fix and can cause discomfort for riders who have an underlying mechanical problem. Fortunately, by understanding what causes drivetrain binding and taking the necessary steps to correct the situation, you’ll be able to enjoy cycling again with no issues.

How to Fix Drivetrain Binding

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of drivetrain binding on bicycles, as well as how you can troubleshoot and repair any related problems that arise. With this guide on how to fix drivetrain binding in hand, even inexperienced cyclists will know how to identify and eliminate annoying drivetrain binding forever! So stay tuned to learn more about recognizing and fixing this affliction before it becomes too disruptive!

What is a Drivetrain Binding?

Drivetrain binding is the result of friction between the components of your bike’s drivetrain. This can include the chain, crankarms, pedals, and derailleurs. When these parts don’t move freely as they should, it’s known as drivetrain binding. The issue can be caused by anything from a worn-out chain to a damaged or bent derailleur, and it can cause friction that makes pedaling difficult or even impossible.

When you experience drivetrain binding, the first step is to identify where the problem is originating from. A worn-out chain may be causing friction, while a poorly adjusted derailleur might be creating an extra drag on the system. Once you’ve pinpointed the source of the binding, you can take steps to fix it.

Identify Where the Problem is

Common Causes of Drivetrain Binding

There are several different factors that can contribute to drivetrain binding on a bicycle. Some of the most common include:

  • Worn Out Chain- A chain is considered “worn out” when the teeth on the links start to wear down and create a rough surface. When this happens, the chain will rub against other components in the drivetrain, creating extra friction and making it difficult to pedal.
  • Improperly Adjusted Derailleur- A derailleur is responsible for moving the chain from one gear to another while pedaling. If the derailleur is not properly adjusted, it can cause extra friction on the system, resulting in drivetrain binding.
  • Misaligned Crank Arms- Crank arms are responsible for moving the pedals up and down as you pedal. If they’re slightly misaligned, it can cause extra drag on other parts of the drivetrain, leading to binding.
  • Mismatched Components- If you’ve upgraded your drivetrain with different parts, there’s a chance that they aren’t compatible or that one part isn’t properly adjusted for the rest of the system. This can cause excess friction and interference between the components, resulting in drivetrain binding.
A Derailleur is Responsible for Moving the Chain

10 Steps on How to Fix Drivetrain Binding

Step 1: Clean the Drivetrain

Start by cleaning the drivetrain, especially if it hasn’t been done in a while. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may be causing friction and binding. Dirt may also be hiding a more serious issue, such as worn-out parts, so it’s important to get rid of any obstructions.

Step 2: Inspect the Chain

Take a close look at the chain and check for any signs of wear or damage. If there are any bent or broken links, replace them with new ones. Also, look at the teeth on the links to see if they are worn down or bent. If so, you’ll need to replace the chain entirely.

Take a Close Look at the Chain

Step 3: Adjust the Derailleur

If your bike has derailleurs, make sure they’re properly adjusted for smooth shifting and no binding. Check that all screws are tight and the derailleur is properly aligned with the cassette.

Step 4: Check the Crank Arms

Make sure your crank arms are straight and not bent or misaligned in any way. If they are, you’ll need to have them professionally aligned before continuing. The arms should move freely and not rub against any other components.

Step 5: Check for Mismatched Components

If you’ve recently upgraded your drivetrain, check to make sure all the parts are compatible. Different manufacturers may have different standards, and even small differences can cause binding or friction between components.

Step 6: Lubricate Chain and other Components

Once you’ve identified and fixed any underlying issues, make sure to apply a light lubricant to the drivetrain components. This will help reduce friction and make it easier for them to move freely when pedaling.

Step 7: Check Cable Tension

If your bike has cables, check that they’re properly tensioned and not too tight or loose. Too much tension can cause extra drag, while too little tension can cause shifting issues. The cable should have some slack, but not too much.

Step 8: Retest the System

Once you’ve made all of your adjustments and lubricated the components, test out the system to make sure it’s running smoothly. If you don’t feel any binding or hear any strange noises while pedaling, then your drivetrain should be good to go.

Step 9: Monitor for Further Wear

Even after all the adjustments and lubrication, keep an eye on the drivetrain components to make sure they aren’t wearing out too quickly. If you detect any issues, address them right away so that they don’t lead to more serious problems in the future.

Step 10: Enjoy the Ride

Now that all the adjustments have been made and your drivetrain is running smoothly, it’s time to enjoy the ride! Make sure to take proper care of your bike by cleaning and maintaining it regularly. This will help ensure its performance for years to come. 

 Take Proper Care of Your Bike

By following these steps, you can make sure that your drivetrain is functioning properly and free of any binding or friction. With the right care and maintenance, you’ll be able to enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride.

8 Maintenance Tips to Fix Drivetrain Binding

Maintaining your drivetrain is an essential part of ensuring reliable performance from your bicycle. If you’re experiencing binding in the drivetrain, it’s important to take measures to fix it. Below, we’ve outlined eight tips for fixing drivetrain binding and getting back on the road quickly:

  1. Inspect the chain. Inspect your drivetrain’s chain for any signs of damage or wear. Replace if necessary. Then, use a chain cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or debris that may be causing the binding.
  2. Check for proper lubrication. Make sure your drivetrain is well-lubricated with a good quality bicycle oil or spray lube. Too much or too little can cause binding issues, so adjust as needed until the chain glides smoothly.
  3. Adjust the derailleur limit screws. Your drivetrain’s derailleurs act as a guide for the chain, so if your bike has limit screws, make sure they are properly adjusted to prevent the chain from binding up.
  4. Clean and adjust the cassette cogs. Check that your bike’s cassette cogs are clean and free of debris, then adjust them, so they run smoothly with the rest of the drivetrain. Cleaning and lubricating the cogs help reduce friction and prevent binding.
  5. Check for bent or broken parts. Inspect your bike’s drivetrain components for any signs of bending, warping, or breakage, which could be causing the binding issue. If you find any damage, replace the component as soon as possible.
  6. Adjust the chain tension. Make sure your drivetrain’s chain is properly tensioned so it has just enough slack to move smoothly without binding up.
  7. Inspect the bottom bracket shell. Check that the bottom bracket shell is not damaged or worn in any way, as this could be causing the binding issue. If needed, replace or repair the bottom bracket shell.
  8. Inspect the crank arms. Check that your bike’s crank arms are straight and free from any damage or wear, as this could also cause drivetrain binding issues. If needed, replace them with new ones.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can reduce the chance of experiencing drivetrain binding and ensure more reliable performance from your bicycle. However, if the binding persists or worsens, take your bike to a qualified technician for further diagnosis and repair. Keeping your drivetrain properly maintained is key to extending the life of your bike.


Ultimately, drivetrain binding can be easily addressed with a few simple steps. You should begin by sourcing the correct parts that are needed to replace or repair the binding components. If you think the drivetrain is having issues, then make sure to check your bike’s chain and derailleur regularly, as they are often causes of binding issues. Disconnecting and reconnecting railings and end caps can also help resolve the issue.

Lastly, it is always preferable to have a professional technician provide advice or assistance if things become too complicated. Addressing bicycle drivetrain binding is something every experienced cyclist should know how to do correctly. Taking the time to learn these simple maintenance tips on how to fix drivetrain binding could save a lot of headaches down the line and ensure that you get back on your road quickly and safely.

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