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  1. #1
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    Removing chain without chain tool (to install Powerlink)

    Okay, so I'm not really sure if this is doable, and forgive the newbieness of this question, but I got my hands on an old 10-speed (the make of which is confusing, but that's not the point, I don't think). I was going to do the Simple Green + Chain in a soda bottle method of cleaning the chain, and I figured that it'd be easier to make the chain come off for future cleaning if I got an SRAM Powerlink.

    I don't really feel like getting a chain tool, because I'll more than likely only use it once, if I get the chain off and the Powerlink installed.

    I've read all sorts of methods as to how to get a chain off without a chain tool, and since I'll probably be installing the Powerlink, I don't really mind destroying a link.

    Anyone have ideas?

  2. #2
    Body By Nintendo Psydotek's Avatar
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    Um, i'd still recommend buying the tool... Even if you were going to cut the plates on one link, you'd still have to press the pin out.

    I suppose you could lay the bike on the side, set up 2 wood blocks under the chain, leave a small gap between them, then use a center punch and hammer to bang out the first pin...

    On the other hand, if you don't already have a small mutlitool for your bike (every cyclist should have a small multitool), there are afew that come with a chain breaking tool which is more than enough for removing/installing the occasional chain pin.

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  3. #3
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    You choose:

    a) The chain is the right length right out of the box. All you need to do is install the Powerlink.
    b) Buy a chain tool.
    c) Have your LBS install the chain.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    The only gripe, ok HUGE gripe, I have with these powerlink thingies is that they are impossible to take off just using your hands. Sure, they are a snap to put on, but they are way too difficult to remove only using your hands. So, you end up buying another tool anyway to get them off. Something like that Park powerlink chain removal tool made just for these so-called easy link things.

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  5. #5
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    @ roadfix:

    The chain is already on the bike.

    It was a garage sale acquisition.

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    What will you do when the chain wears out and you have to shorten the new one?

    Buy a chain tool before we rename you colourmecheap!


    Btw, do you know how to measure your chain to see if it's worn out?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF View Post
    Buy a chain tool before we rename you colourmecheap!
    That'd be accurate.

    I'll probably just end up buying a new chain and a tool anyway, as the only information that I've read about measuring the chain's wear and tear has to do with having a chain tool anyway.

  8. #8
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    I've seen mediocre chain tools for sale at big box stores like KMart or WalMart or whatever, I forget exactly where. I already have a good chain tool, so I don't remember how much they charged either, but it can't have been much, maybe $3. Either get the right tool for the job or take the job to a pro. I'm a cheap ******* myself, so I often try to do things without the right tools. I often end up making an extra trip to the store to buy the tool that I thought I could do without.

    BTW, you don't need a chain tool to measure chain wear, you can measure chain wear while the chain is still on the bike. Just hold a ruler up against a straight, taut section of chain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by likeguymontag View Post
    I've seen mediocre chain tools for sale at big box stores like KMart or WalMart or whatever, I forget exactly where. I already have a good chain tool, so I don't remember how much they charged either, but it can't have been much, maybe $3. Either get the right tool for the job or take the job to a pro. I'm a cheap ******* myself, so I often try to do things without the right tools. I often end up making an extra trip to the store to buy the tool that I thought I could do without.

    BTW, you don't need a chain tool to measure chain wear, you can measure chain wear while the chain is still on the bike. Just hold a ruler up against a straight, taut section of chain.
    And than do I just measure links per inch or foot?

    You'll have to forgive me. While I've owned bikes all of my life, I've only really become a "cyclist" the beginning of this year...

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    Quote Originally Posted by colourmeawesome View Post
    And than do I just measure links per inch or foot?

    You'll have to forgive me. While I've owned bikes all of my life, I've only really become a "cyclist" the beginning of this year...
    Sheldon Brown to the rescue once more! Scroll to the bottom of the page. Basically, you hold a ruler up to the chain, line up the zero mark with a rivet, and then see whether the rivet at the 12" mark also lines up ok, or nearly enough. It's pretty easy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    The only gripe, ok HUGE gripe, I have with these powerlink thingies is that they are impossible to take off just using your hands. Sure, they are a snap to put on, but they are way too difficult to remove only using your hands. So, you end up buying another tool anyway to get them off. Something like that Park powerlink chain removal tool made just for these so-called easy link things.

    All you do is squeeze the side plates together as you push the links together, they come right apart. No tool necessary.

    And to the OP, you can get a cheap chain tool at Walmart for $3.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    The only gripe, ok HUGE gripe, I have with these powerlink thingies is that they are impossible to take off just using your hands. Sure, they are a snap to put on, but they are way too difficult to remove only using your hands. So, you end up buying another tool anyway to get them off. Something like that Park powerlink chain removal tool made just for these so-called easy link things.

    Wippermann Conex and Forester Superlinks come apart by hand with no tools needed.
    Last edited by HillRider; 06-13-08 at 07:18 PM.

  13. #13
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    Thanks everyone for their help and advice.

    I love how many different opinions I got just on this one thread.

    Luckily, I'm going out to rock some karaoke tonight, and just past where I do, there's a 24hr Wal-Mart, so I think I may very well try to get my hands on a cheap-o chain tool.

    Again, seriously, thanks to everyone.

  14. #14
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Wippermann Conex and Forester Superlinks come apart by hand with no tools needed.
    Yeah, the Connex never needs a tool. You just turn it 90 degrees and slide it off. A few years ago, I had a different quick link that needed pliers to pop it apart.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad6mj View Post
    All you do is squeeze the side plates together as you push the links together, they come right apart. No tool necessary.

    And to the OP, you can get a cheap chain tool at Walmart for $3.


    ???
    I don't see how. I mean, this just is not possible with the SRAM links. There is no way those SRAM link thingies are just going to come off with using your hands only. I mean sure, you guys that can take these off by brute force alone probably have like gorilla hands or something, but I don't see how an average person can take these things off without a tool like the picture above.
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  16. #16
    njm
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    ???
    I don't see how. I mean, this just is not possible with the SRAM links. There is no way those SRAM link thingies are just going to come off with using your hands only. I mean sure, you guys that can take these off by brute force alone probably have like gorilla hands or something, but I don't see how an average person can take these things off without a tool like the picture above.
    I take mine apart with my hands all the time, and I am a 5'9" skinny nerd.

    The key for me is to take the tension off that part of the chain by grabbing the chain on either side of the PowerLink. Practicing with the chain off the bike helps.

  17. #17
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    There is no way those SRAM link thingies are just going to come off with using your hands only.
    I do it all the time. With the right touch, you can...

  18. #18
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad6mj View Post
    All you do is squeeze the side plates together as you push the links together, they come right apart. No tool necessary.

    And to the OP, you can get a cheap chain tool at Walmart for $3.
    Do Not buy one at Walmart. I did and the flange that holds the link, "Bent" the first time I tried it.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Do Not buy one at Walmart. I did and the flange that holds the link, "Bent" the first time I tried it.
    Oh well. A good one is still inexpensive. One of the first google results for "chain tool" is one on sale at REI for $3.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Yeah, don't go for cheapo tools. You'll just have to buy another one for the next job.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    The only gripe, ok HUGE gripe, I have with these powerlink thingies is that they are impossible to take off just using your hands. Sure, they are a snap to put on, but they are way too difficult to remove only using your hands. So, you end up buying another tool anyway to get them off. Something like that Park powerlink chain removal tool made just for these so-called easy link things.

    That's because you're doing it wrong.

    Sram masterlinks can be taken off by hand. Done it several billion times. The tool *does* make it much easier though.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    ???
    I don't see how. I mean, this just is not possible with the SRAM links. There is no way those SRAM link thingies are just going to come off with using your hands only. I mean sure, you guys that can take these off by brute force alone probably have like gorilla hands or something, but I don't see how an average person can take these things off without a tool like the picture above.
    It's not brute force, you just squeeze the sides together widthwise while pushing the links shorter lengthwise. It's kinda like a childproof cap, doesn't take force, just knowing that you have to do two things simultaneously.

    10 Wheels, I must have got lucky, I've used mine about a dozen times so far and it's working great.

  23. #23
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    Those SRAM Powerlinks are sometimes tricky to open, but they definitely can be opened. However, I would say there are two typical scenarios:

    1. You are a person that likes to clean their chain frequently, in which case the Powerlink is fairly easy to open. Besides, you'll remember the trick from one time to the other.

    2. You are a person that never removes their chain until it needs to be replaced. In that case, you may use your chain tool to break a "normal" link and discard the chain.

    I tend to be a "type-2" person. So why do I use a Powerlink? Because I generally use SRAM chains and they come with a Powerlink. And I prefer those because I don't have a good track record with the special Shimano pins. I broke three chains in my life, and all three were Shimanos; at least two of them broke at the special pin.
    Michel Gagnon
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  24. #24
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    For me, no problem with SRAM links by hand but had to get the Park tool to take apart KMC/Nashbar master links. The cash I've saved on chains more than paid for the tool and then some.

  25. #25
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    For me, no problem with SRAM links by hand but had to get the Park tool to take apart KMC/Nashbar master links. The cash I've saved on chains more than paid for the tool and then some.

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