How To: Go singlespeed if you break your rear derailleur

How To Video

Broken rear derailleur or busted derailleur hanger? What now? Before you reach for your phone and call for a ride, you may be able to turn your rig into a singlespeed and pedal home. Tools required include a chain tool, Allen keys and preferably a quick link.

Step one is to open your chain. If you’re using a powerlink or other quick link, this should be easy. If not, you’ll need to use your chain tool to break the chain. Now un-thread the chain, pull out the rear derailleur cable and remove the rear derailleur.

Next select a gear where the chain line is straight (usually the small chainring and the middle of the cassette), then put the chain back on, and reattach it with either the quick link or using your chain tool.

You should now be good to go. Just know that this system will be weaker than your previous set up, so avoid putting too much pressure on the chain when pedaling home.

About the author: RoadBikeReview is an online community of cyclists who share a passion for the sport. Visitors of the site regularly purchase gear to upgrade their bikes, share inspiring photos of rides, and keep up to date with the latest industry and technology news. Which products perform best? Where to buy them? Where to ride? How to ride better? Cyclists come to for the answers.

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  • Eric says:

    What about rear suspension?? Won’t it fall off quickly ?

  • Juro says:

    Necessary things to fix: 3x Big Plastic Secure Strips, 3 Small Plastic Secure Strips, 2 small piece of wood … good luck

  • Allan says:

    Good lord! I wonder why he didn’t slide the wheel forward a little and then shorten his chain? After mounting the shorten chain, he could loosen the wheel and slide it back. This would be FAR easier to get his chain tightened for a safe ride home.

    Everything else seemed find on what he was say, except for the comment that it wouldn’t work on a MTB. Oh really?????????

    • T says:

      You don’t seem to know much. Those aren’t horizontal/track dropouts, so there is no sliding the wheel forward. He said full suspension mountain bikes, not mountain bikes.

  • MWL says:

    If you’re riding a full suspension bike, you’ll want to either lock out your rear suspension or at least tighten it up as much as possible.

  • RJB says:

    I had to do this once on a FS MTB. It does mean the chain is locking out the rear suspension and taking a lot of stress, but it did get me the 10 or so miles back to the trailhead, Just ride gently on the smoothest possible line, and walk anything gnarly.

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