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  1. #1
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    Removing/Re-attaching Chain Links - Help!

    Hey -

    So, I decided to build a fixie as a little learning project to familiarize myself with the way the most simple of bikes is put together and maintained. I've got everything pretty close to completion (frame, wheels, hardware, cranks and new BB, etc etc), although I am kinda stumped on the proper way to disconnect and then reattach chain links to get the desired length.

    I found the length I wanted, busted out my chain tool, and went to work. What happened was that any link I re-attached was totally binded. I could barely get them to "swivel" as they should with my bare hands. I tried a few tips and wiggled them in different angles. I tried removing and re-poking the pin in. I did it three times on different chain slices and every time (even when i was SUPER sure I hit the pin direct on and could not have possible bent the actual chain) it binded up.

    Anyone have any tips? I tried two different chain tools. The chain is 3/32... would this be a problem for any reason? Do I need to regrease it a lot or something? Thanks in advance for helping a newbie .

  2. #2
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    Shimano are pretty insistent that their chains can't be reconnected with the pins already there, and that their special connecting pin shall be used. I'm quite certain that I've accomplished a working bodge reusing a standard pin, but maybe I was just lucky?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    After installing the pin, did you try SLIGHTLY poshing it back from the opposite direction. You move it an imperceptible amount.

  4. #4
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    After pushing in the pin to reconnect the chain, you need to set the chain on the other fins of the chain tool, and press on the pin slightly. They support the chain from the middle. This frees up the link by spreading out the side plates so they don't bind the roller.

    Park Tool explains here. It's a great site for learning how to do your own maintenance.

    Last edited by rm -rf; 07-23-08 at 06:47 AM.

  5. #5
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    What he said, give that a shot and you should be all set.

    On another note, that's the first I've heard of shimano chains being un-reconnect-able. And I've done a lot of them, works fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekine View Post
    hat's the first I've heard of shimano chains being un-reconnect-able. And I've done a lot of them, works fine.
    Sounds like a Shimano scam to me.

    If both ends of the pin appear to be evenly protruding from the chain, and it's still stiff, then in my experience fiddling with the chain tool doesn't help - I just stick a small screwdriver into and jiggle it about, and the very light pressure to the plates around the stiff pin is enough to free everything up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekine View Post
    On another note, that's the first I've heard of shimano chains being un-reconnect-able. And I've done a lot of them, works fine.
    You haven't read the instructions. For 8-speed chains and higher, Shimano is very clear that you should NOT reconnect the chain using the same pin you pushed out even if you didn't push it fully out. They sell specific pins to use to reconnect a broken chain. You must push the original pin completely out and reconnect the chain using the special pin. Some riders have had good success using the Craig/Forester Superlink or SRAM's Powerlink masterlinks to rejoin Shimano chains.

    Using the original pin to reconnect the chain is an open invitation to chain breakage under load. It's not a scam.

  8. #8
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    it's not a scam, but it seems so ass-backwards compared to something like the removable powerlink. just use your hands to connect\re-connect. wonderful IMO.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    it's not a scam
    I'm deeply skeptical of everything Shimano since I once walked into a bike store with my '84 Stumpjumper:

    "I need a new 14t sprocket to replace the worn one on this cassette"
    "Sorry sir - we can't get sprockets for that kind of cassette any more"
    "Well, how much is a new cassette then?"
    "The new cassettes won't fit on that hub - it's got the wrong number of splines"
    "Jeez! How much for a whole new back wheel then?
    "Well, the thing is, Shimano only make 8-speed cassettes now, so your derailleur won't work properly"
    "Are you saying I need a new wheel AND a new derailleur???"
    "And a new shifter."

    At that point I declined and converted the bike into a singlespeed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    I'm deeply skeptical of everything Shimano since I once walked into a bike store with my '84 Stumpjumper:

    "I need a new 14t sprocket to replace the worn one on this cassette"
    "Sorry sir - we can't get sprockets for that kind of cassette any more"
    "Well, how much is a new cassette then?"
    "The new cassettes won't fit on that hub - it's got the wrong number of splines"
    "Jeez! How much for a whole new back wheel then?
    "Well, the thing is, Shimano only make 8-speed cassettes now, so your derailleur won't work properly"
    "Are you saying I need a new wheel AND a new derailleur???"
    "And a new shifter."

    At that point I declined and converted the bike into a singlespeed.
    You expect nothing to ever change and things to be exactly the same as they were in 1984? BTW, the dealer was wrong. Your 7-speed rear derailleur would have worked fine and 7-speed cassettes are still available today.

  11. #11
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    7 speed? sheesh! There is 9-speed now I used to read all these "problems" with 9 speed right after I converted my bike to an LX 9-speed drivetrain. What I found odd was that I have never had any problems I read about, in fact 9-speed has been a joy to use, especially for mountain biking where you can get a few more in-between gears to help with hills/rolling terrain. It was a huge step from 7-speed...for me.

    I use Sram chains for all but my beater bike, which I put a cheap $7 KMC chain from the hardware on, because the bike itself was built to be a cheap 'round town bike. I love the SRAM powerlink, and actually the kmc chain has their version....Shimano is stuck in the past with their chain connection...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Your 7-speed rear derailleur would have worked fine and 7-speed cassettes are still available today.
    Mine was a 6-speed block.

    No, of course I didn't expect all development to halt at the point where I entered the market, but nor did I expect someone to charge me more than 200 quid to fix a worn sprocket just a few years later!

  13. #13
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    I think obselescence and the ridiculously high price of components compared to whole bikes is turning bikes into a throw away item. If more than a couple of small components need replacing or the bike is a few years old then the prices push consumers into buying a whole new bike.

    re chains, can the sram powerlinks be used on shimano chains or are the pins different sizes?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bailout View Post
    re chains, can the sram powerlinks be used on shimano chains or are the pins different sizes?
    The pins are the same size. Generally, people have had success using 8 or 9-speed Powerlinks on the corresponding width Shimano chains. Wippermann's Conex links also work if used on the same width Shimano chains. SRAM says their 10-speed link is not reusable.

  15. #15
    There's time now icedmocha's Avatar
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    So only certain reusable links work with certain chains?
    http://www.pricepoint.com/thumb/3-Pa...ains-False.htm
    If it says Sram, is it only usable with an Sram chain?

  16. #16
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    So, to get back to the OP, you need a new chain at this point, sorry to say. Any time you reconnect, it needs to be with a powerlink, or the like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tellyho View Post
    So, to get back to the OP, you need a new chain at this point, sorry to say. Any time you reconnect, it needs to be with a powerlink, or the like.
    Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll definitely try re-nudging the pin a bit back and forth and maybe even the screwdriver-rattling method already mentioned .

    I need a new chain? Now I'm hearing both "new chain" and "wiggle it and you should be fine" arguments, haha.

  18. #18
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    You really don't need a new chain. Unless something else is wrong, I mean, it might be stretched, but that's not at all what's causing your problem right now. You've got a stuck link, the top half of chain tools exists to correct this. Do what the dude is doing in the photo in the 4th post.

    Because in that setup the chain tool doesn't support the back of the link, you're only pushing it though the near side, which increases the gap between the two outside half links, thus freeing up the inside half link to pivot.

  19. #19
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    I have tried and tried to get a sram link on my shimano 8 speed chain and it DOESNT work, the chain widths are just a tiny bit different. The KMC missing link works, but is permanent unless you file off the small "teeth" that make it lock permanently. By filing off the teeth it becomes a "sram style" removable link.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    Push the pin in, remove the tool, bend the chain into a slight curve sideways near the link in both directions. It has worked every time for me, and I've never broken a chain either. Of course I only have one bike more than 7 speeds.,,,,,BD

    Oops, forgot the 8 speed C'Dale 600. Make that two bikes with more than 7 speeds, hehe.....

  21. #21
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    Question for you: are you attached to that chain?

    If you are making a fixie you can use a 1/8 chain if you want, say a SRAM PC-1 or a KMC Z chain.

    If you are using a fixie, I'd recommend using one of those chains. A lot of the people I know who ride fixie's don't use masterlinks on their chains.

    If you want to run a 3/32 [ derailleur width chain ] go with a SRAM PC 850 or 870.

    The chain's come with a quick connect link [ which you may or may not have to use ].

    If you want to salvage your Shimano chain, get a KMC Missing Link or a Connex link. They are both masterlinks that would work with that Shimano chain [ just make sure you get the right width, they come in 3 or 4 different sizes ]. The masterlinks are reusable so you can remove your chain to clean it if you want to.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekine View Post
    You really don't need a new chain. Unless something else is wrong, I mean, it might be stretched, but that's not at all what's causing your problem right now. You've got a stuck link, the top half of chain tools exists to correct this. Do what the dude is doing in the photo in the 4th post.

    Because in that setup the chain tool doesn't support the back of the link, you're only pushing it though the near side, which increases the gap between the two outside half links, thus freeing up the inside half link to pivot.
    Awesome, thanks for the clarification. I was a bit off with using the right slot in my chain tool for my purpose. I actually broke my tool by stepping on it today >.< (It obviously wasn't that well made). I'll have to go buy a better one and do it right ;D.

  23. #23
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    Parktool has a good illustration for barehanding it too. And yeah, if you broke it stepping on it, it wasn't really strong enough. Good luck with it, and enjoy the bike!

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=53

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFatDave View Post
    Question for you: are you attached to that chain?

    If you are making a fixie you can use a 1/8 chain if you want, say a SRAM PC-1 or a KMC Z chain.

    If you are using a fixie, I'd recommend using one of those chains. A lot of the people I know who ride fixie's don't use masterlinks on their chains.

    If you want to run a 3/32 [ derailleur width chain ] go with a SRAM PC 850 or 870.

    The chain's come with a quick connect link [ which you may or may not have to use ].

    If you want to salvage your Shimano chain, get a KMC Missing Link or a Connex link. They are both masterlinks that would work with that Shimano chain [ just make sure you get the right width, they come in 3 or 4 different sizes ]. The masterlinks are reusable so you can remove your chain to clean it if you want to.
    I bought an IRO parts package to supplement the vintage-esque frame I bought, so my 3/32 chain is an IRO one which matches the 3/32 cog they sent me. I actually bought a neat KMC fixie-only 1/8 chain but I've read a few places that it's "bad news" to rock a 1/8 chain on a 3/32 cog. Is this right? If not I'll just trash the chain I've already mangled and stick the nifty one on. Thanks!

  25. #25
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    The 1/8 chain used on a 3/32 cog will cause more wear on the cog. If used on a 3/32 chainring it will cause more wear on the chainring. So it's doable. Not drivetrain life friendly, but doable.

    Most people either do the all 1/8 drivetrain or an all 3/32 drivetrain.

    So I guess the question is what width is your chainring? If it's 3/32 then keep the 3/32 chain. If it's 1/8, you have to use a 1/8 chain.

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