A single speed replacement bicycle chain with the width and height dimensions of ½ x ⅛ inches.

Before the development of the chain the cyclist would sit directly over the wheel of the bicycle which had a large wheel and a smaller wheel i.e. a penny farthing.  The pedals were attached directly to the wheel. One turn of the pedals equalled one turn of the wheel.

After the invention of the bicycle chain the cyclist was able to sit between 2 wheels, and be better balanced. The chain was attached to the front and back cogs and moved once the cyclist started pedalling.  Gears and brakes were then added to help the cyclist to be able to go faster, climb hills and brake.

In 1880 a Swiss man Hans Renold based in Manchester invented the first roller chain whose design is today still used all over the world.

Due to wear & tear all bicycle chains have a limited lifespan. As they begin to wear out, they stretch and start to skip over the teeth.



Key theme(s):


More information:

Date 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Material(s) MetalPlasticCardboard
Item number MBPO151

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Have you ever had to change a chain on a bike?
  • Can you remember how long it took to change it?
  • Did your hands get very oily?

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