How to Remove a Bike Chain Without Master Link

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Having difficulties removing a bike chain? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this post, we’ve going to share how to remove a bike chain without master link.

Whether you want to tune, replace, or repair your bike’s chain, you must remove it from the bike. Sometimes even cleaning the chain might require removal.

What if you don’t find the master link? How will you break the chain?

There are several ways to remove a bike chain that has no master link, and we have explained them in detail right here. But first, what is a master link?

A master link is a quick-release accessory that allows you to easily break or join the chain without using a chain tool. It consists of two outer plates, which connect to two inner plates.

The master link is usually darker than others in most chains, but some manufacturers make it lighter. Either way, it is different, and the best way to spot it is by cleaning the chain to get rid of dirt, grease, and lubricants, which will expose the colors.

Not all bike chains have master links. Until recently, most bikes with derailleurs had chains with no master links because they would get caught up between the sprockets. These links were only in chains on bikes with one to three speeds.

However, modern master links have clever designs that do not interfere with the derailleur. Manufacturers like KMC, SRAM, and Shimano now build chains with master links because they can also handle higher stress than plain pins.

Therefore, the only way to know if your chain has a master link is to visually inspect it or look for the model number on the side, then look up its details/features on the manufacturer’s website.

how to remove a bike chain without master link

Before getting into the steps, you need to know what you’ll be handling. Bike chains consist of an inner and outer plate joined by a pin/rivet with a roller in the middle to create room for the sprocket tooth.

Removing the chain involves pulling or pushing the pin to separate the inner and outer plates and break the link.

So, how do you go about this? Follow the steps below.

Use a Chain Tool

Also known as a chain breaker or rivet puller, a chain tool is an essential bike maintenance tool that comes in handy when shortening the chain. It consists of a shelf where the chain rests as you drive the handle clockwise to push the rivet out using its driving pin.

You can either push the rivet fully out of the other end or partially. We recommend the latter because it might be difficult to push it back when it is fully disconnected.

That said, it is better to replace the rivet with a new one after pushing it out, so if you have some, there’s no point returning the old one.

The tool is relatively affordable and is widely available in almost all bike shops. If you are a biking enthusiast, make sure you have this in your maintenance equipment.

Use a Nail and Hammer

Chain tools use a screwing mechanism to push the rivet out, but you can substitute it with a nail and hammer. The process is quite risky, so it’s better to have a pair of pliers as well to prevent you from hammering your fingers.

You also need a hard surface with a hole to place the chain and push the rivet out. The plane will function like the chain shelf in a chain tool.

With all these tools, mount the bike on a stand, then place the chain sideways on the hard surface (a block of wood or brick will do).

Hold the nail using the pair of pliers, then point it directly at the center of the rivet and hammer it out.

Reassembling the chain afterward is simply a reversal of this process. Align the inner and outer plates, then hammer the pin back inside.

Use a Saw

If you want to replace a worn-out chain, it is possible to cut it using a saw or steel cutter. Please note that this will damage the chain at the cutting point, so only perform this action to a worn-out chain.

Wrap Up

Figuring out how to remove a bike chain without master link can be a bit challenging. But with the right tools, you can use any of the methods above to remove the links.

Also check out: How to tighten bike chain

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