Why is my chain skipping and popping?

In addition to the steps below, consider using our interactive guide to diagnose and resolve sound issues with your KICKR.


  1. What is the hub width on your frame? Nearly all modern road bikes are 130mm spacing and modern mountain bikes are typically 135mm spacing. If you're using a mountain bike, be sure to flip the spacer on the KICKR to the 135mm setting (located on the non-drive side). If your frame is not a standard size, it's possible that your are slightly flexing the frame in order to install it on the KICKR, this could cause a misalignment of your derailleur. We DO NOT recommend this setup. 

  2. Does your bicycle currently have a SRAM or Shimano drive train that isn't 11 speed?  You will need to make sure you have the correct cassette and spacers installed for your drive train. 

  3. Is your bicycle properly installed on the KICKR? If the frame is not completely in the drop-outs, it is possible that the cassette does not properly align with your derailleur. To check this, undo the trainer quick release and lift up on your handle bars while pressing down on your seat. This will allow the drop outs to sit completely parallel to the axle. Clamp the quick release back shut (make sure it's tight!), shift through the gears, and check performance.

  4. We know it's a little obvious, but if your bikes not shifting smoothly on the road, it probably won't work on the KICKR either! Get a tune up and see if this helps things out.

  5. Drive trains wear out and chains will "stretch". This is just a fact of life. Have a bike shop verify that your chain is in good working order. If your chain is "stretched" you will need to install a new chain. NOTE: If it was working just fine before, you may have a worn out cassette on your bike! A new chain and worn out cassette won't mesh well and may cause a new chain to wear out quickly! We (and your local bike shop) highly recommend replacing a worn cassette for best performance. Check your chain monthly and replace it at the first sign of wear. This significantly prolongs the life of the entire drive train and ultimately saves time, money, and frustration down the road. A new chain can have your KICKR riding much more smoothly without any popping or skipping.

  6. If you've tried these steps but still feel grinding/skipping, it's possible the cassette on the trainer doesn't perfectly align with the spacing on your wheel's cassette relative to the frame. More than 90% of tested bikes work out of the box, but some need some slight tuning of the derailleur for the smoothest shifting experience. If you're not comfortable adjusting the derailleur, we recommend consulting your local bike shop. Usually a few turns of the barrel adjuster are enough to get you shifting smoothly. Note: When re-installing the rear wheel, you may need to set the derailleur back to its original setting for optimal performance.

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