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There are a lot of effective ways to determine the right chain length for your road bike, but former Highroad pro mechanic Greg O’Keeffe has a way that works perfectly every time no matter what length derailleur cage you are using. See how the pros set chain length in this quick video.
Greg prefers to use a slightly different chain sizing technique than most. He uses the small-to-small sizing technique that is employed by most bicycle manufacturers. With the correct derailleur (short cage derailleur with 28t max cog or mid cage with 32t cogs) and chainrings (a manufacturer intended spread such as 34-50, 36-52, 39-53, etc), this will always ensure that your chain is the right length to work in every possible gear combination.
If you are using a wide range cassette with a short cage derailleur or prefer an unusually large jump between chainrings and have a custom setup, you’ll need to set chain length in the large chainring and large cog to ensure that your chain is long enough to prevent damaging your derailleur or frame.