Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Rans Rockst (Retro rocket) Rans Enduro Sport (Retro racket) Catrike 559, Merin Bear Valley (beater bike).
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Depends on the chain.
We used to resize chains by pushing a rivet almost all of the way out and replacing it. The problem with doing that is the chain isn't quite as strong when the rivet is pushed back into place.
Shimano chains come with special, replacement pins so you push the old rivet all of the way out and insert the special, replacement pin to rejoin the chain. The problem with that is you have to be sure to get the right size replacement pin for your chain, they are kind of a PITA to use, and you have to use a new pin every time that you break the chain.
Sachs, and some others, use special replacement links to rejoin the chain. They are kind of nice because they make it easy to take off and replace the chain for cleaning.
Lengthening a chain isn't something that you have to do very often. Usually, when I've had to do it, it's been because I had gotten a new cassette. I always replace the chain when I get a new cassette so adding additional links isn't something that I'd do.
In the case of a tight link I use my chain tool to loosen the link and never shorten the chain. A chain that's too short to safely cover the big/big combination is dangerous.