Does your bike chain skip between gears as you pedal, shift twice instead of once, phantom shift, or refuse to shift when you have to? Your chain, more specifically the cables that connect the shifters to the derailleurs to move the chain from cog to cog, need the tension adjusted.
Learn the following facts about skipping bike chain and how to fix it:
Often, a skipping bike chain is due to a cable stretch. In the first few rides on a new bicycle, the cables stretch the most. They can also stretch over time as you ride. It takes cable tension to open a derailleur, which shifts the chain between gears. Adding tension to the cables will prevent cable stretch.
To fix a skip in the rear derailleur, shift the chain into the smallest ring on the rear cassette (hardest gear), and the middle or bigger ring on the front derailleur. Press the shifter once. If the bike chain does not move up a gear, add tension.
Twist the right barrel adjuster, which is on the brake laterally opposite from the brake lever. The brake cable passes through it as it enters the shifter. Unscrew the adjuster by turning it away from you half a turn.
Then shift down into the smallest ring in the rear cassette again and press the shifter again to check if the bicycle shifts properly. If it still does not shift, repeat the whole process. When the first cog shifts properly, continue to move through the gears in the cassette, fine tuning with the barrel adjuster as you go.
The same method works for the front derailleur, which also has a barrel adjuster. But the front derailleur barrel adjuster tensions in the opposite direction. So to add tension, screw the adjuster towards you.
If barrel adjusting still gives you skipping bike chain, you may need to seek for the help of a mechanic. The cables may have been improperly tensioned to start, and they might have to be adjusted where they enter the derailleur. Or the derailleur may be bent during a crash.
But if you want to be spared from the hassles of a skipping bike chain, consider internal gear hub bikes. Internal gears protect the chain from dust, mud, and potential damages while riding.
Watch this video to learn more about causes of skipping bike chain and how to fix it.