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Old 03-28-08, 05:36 PM   #1
liv_rong
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masterlink question

I have a total of two years experience as a mechanic. At all of the shops I have worked at in the past, all of the more experienced guys have not used the masterlink, and instead used the pin. So, I just got a part time job at a shop to supplement my income, and I did a new chain on a bike. I did not use the masterlink. After the customer picked up the bike, the head mechanic found the masterlink package on my bench and asked why i didnt use it. He said that the chains with a masterlink(isnt that practically of of them), you must use the masterlink. This is news to me, but I could possibly be wrong. Whats your take on it? Even on my last bike, I didnt use a masterlink, and I never had any problems.

Anybody??

BTW this was a cheap chain on a cheap bike with cheap components, not a $6000 road bike or anything hahaha
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Old 03-28-08, 06:02 PM   #2
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If the chain comes with a masterlink it should be used as the special connecting pins aren't provided and, with modern narrow chains, removing and reinstalling a regular pin isn't recommended.

Shimano and Campy chains are the only current chains I'm aware of that still use a special connecting pin or short chain section with specific pins. SRAM, KMC and Wippermann all provide a master link and it should be used with them. In fact, there are a lot of mechanics that use the SRAM, KMC or Wippermann link with Shimano or Campy chains in place of their pin.
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Old 03-28-08, 06:12 PM   #3
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So, do you get paid less when working on a cheap bike?
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Old 03-28-08, 06:14 PM   #4
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Why not use the masterlink?
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Old 03-28-08, 07:54 PM   #5
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Why not use the masterlink?
That's what I want to know.

When I install the chain I use the parts that come in the package. I might be shorting myself but I'm pretty sure that the chain designers know a few things more than I do or they wouldn't design their chains with an installation pin or a master link (depending).
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Old 03-28-08, 08:20 PM   #6
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I have a total of two years experience as a mechanic. At all of the shops I have worked at in the past, all of the more experienced guys have not used the masterlink, and instead used the pin. So, I just got a part time job at a shop to supplement my income, and I did a new chain on a bike. I did not use the masterlink. After the customer picked up the bike, the head mechanic found the masterlink package on my bench and asked why i didnt use it. He said that the chains with a masterlink(isnt that practically of of them), you must use the masterlink. This is news to me, but I could possibly be wrong. Whats your take on it? Even on my last bike, I didnt use a masterlink, and I never had any problems.

Anybody??

BTW this was a cheap chain on a cheap bike with cheap components, not a $6000 road bike or anything hahaha
He was right. Using a masterlink is less error-prone, and much, much faster. In a business situation and from a personal pov, there's no point in NOT using the masterlink.
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Old 03-29-08, 05:01 AM   #7
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There needs to be some clarification of the practices involved here. For example, were the majority of chains in the first shops Shimano (the instructions for which specifically require use of the joiner pin)? Or were they SRAM? Or Wipperman? Or KMC? Or what?

And just what does the OP mean by saying "with a masterlink (isn't that practically all of them)"? Surely, Shimano chains are a major OEM and they sure don't use joiner links. And wiriting "hahahaha" after saying cheap bike with cheap components... what's up with that? That there should be less care taken in servicing a cheap bike than an expensive one?

Maybe some communication with the shop management on shop policy and a bit of a change in attitude might help.
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Old 03-29-08, 06:22 AM   #8
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All 10speed chains come with either a special pin (shimano and campy) or a master/quick link (wipperman, kmc, sram) You must follow their instructions and use their system. But however, you can omit the special in on shimano or campy and just pop in a quick link.

For all the other chains, you could get away with using a masterlink or just pushing in the chain pins. But if they provide you with a masterlink, why not just use it.

I have a rolhoff revolver chain tool that peens chain pins so if its 9speed or below, I really don't have to worry about special pins or masterlinks. But I do use the shimano pins and masterlinks because they make life easier
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Old 03-29-08, 08:59 AM   #9
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You need to be very careful if using a masterlink on a Campy or Shimano chain. The width of the link needs to be the same as the width of the chain. Campy is now 5.9 mm and Shimano is 6.0 mm.

Al
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Old 03-29-08, 09:27 AM   #10
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I take the same amount of time or care when working on any bike, regardless of the quality of it. AS far as the chain is concerned, I came here to find out what everyone else does. I explained that others have told me not to use the masterlink. I added that the bike and components were cheap to point out that I was not working on an expensive bike, where I would have used the masterlink without questioning it. I was told before by another machanic that the masterlink is not as strong as using a pin and that they are prone to breaking under excessive stress, that is why I wouldnt use it. Now I will always use it per your advice. BTW, I did put the masterlink on the bike in question when the dude came back an hour later with another un related problem.
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Old 03-29-08, 09:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by liv_rong View Post
I take the same amount of time or care when working on any bike, regardless of the quality of it. AS far as the chain is concerned, I came here to find out what everyone else does. I explained that others have told me not to use the masterlink. I added that the bike and components were cheap to point out that I was not working on an expensive bike, where I would have used the masterlink without questioning it. I was told before by another machanic that the masterlink is not as strong as using a pin and that they are prone to breaking under excessive stress, that is why I wouldnt use it. Now I will always use it per your advice. BTW, I did put the masterlink on the bike in question when the dude came back an hour later with another un related problem.
Whoever told you that isn't a real mechanic or is horribly uninformed. At least for Sram masterlinks - they are stronger than any other link in the chain. And it's not about care, using masterlniks to join a chain is simply faster than using a pin.

And for the nitpickers i'm talking about masterlinks as in the sram powerlinks and other similar devices that are meant to be installed AND removeable.



It's time pin connections to join chains died out with the rest out outdated, inferior and obsolete bicycle technology. KMC 8 speed masterlinks are also compatible with the $10 cheapest 6,7,8 shimano chains that everyone seems to want to buy - if you're also worried about low end stuff.

I doubt many bikeshop will bother with the added expense of retrofitting chains like this however.

Last edited by operator; 03-29-08 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 03-29-08, 10:49 AM   #12
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And for the nitpickers i'm talking about masterlinks as in the sram powerlinks and other similar devices that are meant to be installed AND removeable.
Not all are. SRAM's 10-speed link is not removable. It's installed once and is not intended for removal after that. SRAM's 8 and 9-speed links are reusable as are all of Wippermann's.
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Old 03-29-08, 11:13 AM   #13
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I think it's got more to do with history than to structural engineering. For many years master links were seen as the realm of inexpensive bikes. Perhaps it was also that when the first derailleurs came out the old master links with the retention clip on the one side were too large and bulky to work properly with derraileur systems? Such things can create a belief that a riveted chain is always superior because riveted links always came on the more expensive derailleur equiped bikes.

So your previous shop mechanics may well have thought that they were adding a touch of class and supposedly a "better" way for the customers by always using a rivet link

I personally will go out of my way to buy SRAM chains just because they have the master link. In 17 years of commuting and trail riding I have yet to have a single issue with a master link at all in any way. And the convenience of being able to pull off the chains when doing some tasks is highly addictive.

Also as someone that works with metal as a hobby I don't like the idea of pushing pins back and forth in the plates. It's impossible to retain the original first time push size and the burrs on the ends of the pins will deform the metal to some extent. Even Shimano recognizes that with their push pins by insisting that you use a new location each time instead of always going for the black rivet pins. If they are doing this right these pins will be ever so slightly larger than the original pins to allow for the deformation in the plates. I don't know if they are or not but they should be and the amount would be based on testing the size change in the plates.
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