DIY Tire Chains

diy bicycle tire

In this article, we’ll be talking about a DIY method of making your own bicycle tire chains was not as hard as I thought it would be. I went to a local hardware store and picked up a few things I needed for this project. It turned out to be fairly inexpensive.

Things I picked up were:
15″ of braided chain $7.20
15″ of 1/16 uncoated cable (picture frame wire) $3.15
3 packs of 1/16 cable ferrule (used to bind wire together) $.78 a pack
A whopping grand total of $13.66 tax included.

Tools needed: needle nose pliers, wire stripper, wire cutter, and zip ties.

First, let some air out of your tires.

Then split the chain links into 6 links a strand.

diy bicycle tire

Place the first strand of links on the tire and secure with a zip tie. Subsequent strands are spaced evenly with a 6 link strand.

diy bicycle tire

Once the chain links are in place, route the cable through the end links and secure with cable ferrule.

diy bicycle tire

Ensure the cable is taut. I wrapped the cable around the wire cutter and pulled to get leverage.

diy bicycle tire


Finished product. I left the zip ties in place to ensure the chains would not move.

Lastly, inflate tires for normal use.

Review: Fezzari Alta Peak UPDATE

Earlier this week, RL & I spent some time tweaking the Alta Peak to fit my dimensions. We initially tried to install a longer stem, but we were missing a headset spacer, so we scrapped that idea.

We then spent some time tweaking the air pressure in the rear shock to minimize pedal bob & adjust the front fork to better fit my weight. These minor adjustment paid off nicely.

Where once I felt minimal pedal bob I now find virtually no pedal bob. When I climb, no bob. When I hammer, no bob. Pedal bob has disappeared to the point that I didn’t lock out the shock on any of my climbs.

Ario 2.2
This simple fix was completed rather quickly with the use of RL’s shock pump. You just find the cap on the shock, unscrew it, put the pump on and pump or release air until desired air pressure is achieved.

We also spent some time fiddling with the front fork. This change was less dramatic but helpful as well. Because RL previously rode this bike, the fork was a bit soft for my tastes. I noticed this when I was climbing on a previous ride. During the climbs, I had the feeling that the front end wanted to lift up. I originally attributed this phemomenon to bike geometry and the fact that the bike was a little too small for me. But after fiddling with the fork, the front end of the bike felt much more planted, even during my climbs. It might not hae been just a size issue afterall.

I guess the moral of this post is that getting your bike fit to you will help you to maximize the abilities of the bike as well as your comfort on the bike. Not doing so can leave you feeling unsure and uncomfortable.

How To Tune A Rear Derailleur

Tuning derailleurs have always intimidated me. Everytime that I mess with them, I make it worse. So I turned to RL, our resident master wrench, for some advice.

Here’s the basic procedure with illustrations. We used the Ibex Trophy with a Shimano Deore LX derailleur. Your bike maybe different but the same principle applies.

First, make sure that the tension on the cable is adequate. It should feel tight like a guitar string. If it’s there’s too much play, then tighten the cable.

Try shifting again. If you’re still having shifting problems, keep reading.

tuning a derailleur

Second step is to shift the chain on the front middle ring:
tuning a derailleur

Third step is to have the chain on the smallest cog:
tuning a derailleur

and then shift to the next cog up:
tuning a derailleur

Now turn the adjusting barrel all the way to the right:
tuning a derailleur

Start cranking the wheel and turn the adjusting barrel to the left while counting the turns until the chain jumps to the next cog.

tuning a derailleur

Once the chain has jumped to to the next cog, shift all the way down to the smallest cog. Turn the adjusting barrel all the way to the right.

Then turn the adjusting barrel 1/2 the number of turns, counter clock wise, you counted (for example, if it took 4 turns for the chain to jump to the next cog, then you turn it 2 turns).

tuning a derailleur

You should now be able to shift gears without hesitation. If you see that there’s a little hesitation, adjust the barrel slightly, taking half turns counter clock wise until you are satisfied with the shifting.

Hope that helps, we just saved you $20-$30!