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  1. #1
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    Chain breaking question

    I purchased a shimano 6/7/8 speed chain for my 97 schwinn frontier. I had to remove some links to make it fit the 7 speed freewheel, but it was still to long. In the process of determining the proper length I removed some links and replaced them. I think I have done this incorrectly. The chain is now locked up in a couple of places. I think I removed and replaced reinforcement pins in stead of the link pins. Is this fixable or have in made a $40 mistake?

  2. #2
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    Just use a 'quick link' (Wipperman Connex is my person favourite ) - much easier and much better than Shimano's stupid, expensive replacement links.

    You *have* been using those special pins to join that chain, haven't you? It's a *must* on modern chains, you can't just re-use the old pins like on chains back in the day.

    And don't tell me that chain cost you $40 did it?!

    BTW - Always measure twice, cut once - make sure that the chain is long enough to go over the largest chainring and also the largest rear sprocket (missing out the rear derailleur) with two full links overlap.

  3. #3
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    Nope didn't not know I needed to use the replace to pins, and yes my LBS is not cheap.

  4. #4
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    Yeah - you usually get at least one of those pins with a new Shimano chain (IIRC) - you just *can't* push a pin out and then push it back in on newer chains.

    I *much* prefer using quick links to join chains - much better than the stupid Shimano pins (which are bloody *expensive*).

    BTW, $40 for a Shimano chain (unless Dura-Ace level) is not just 'a bit expensive' - it's financial ******! Where are you that your LBS can justify charging those sorts of prices - and what model of Shimano chain is it? (HG40 or whatever)

  5. #5
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    Incidentally, this is what the Shimano pins look like:


    And this is what the (vastly superior IMO) Wipperman Connex links look like:


    You *are* using a proper chain tool, aren't you?

  6. #6
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    I like KMC missing links, easier to use, and never had one come apart unless I want it to...... Chains and links, and tools, are cheap on Amazon.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  7. #7
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    Actually, I'll pose an alternate theory. While quick master links and replacement pins are all well and good, if some of your links are "locked up", it isn't because you used the wrong part (even though you did) it is because you didn't finish the job.

    After you are done pressing a pin back into the chain using the 1st anvil on the chain tool (the one furthest from the t-handle), flip the chain over and put it in the 2nd anvil on the chain tool (the one closer to the t-handle), and give the pin just a tiny press, like 1/16th of a turn. That unbinds the link, and finishes the chain assembly. You'd be amazed how many people miss that last step and end up with chains with a stiff link.

    And regarding the fancy pins you are supposed to use, and nice Connex links, they are proper, but I've carefully reassembled Shimano HG style chains many times without issue - I wouldn't get bent out of shape about it on this round - just keep it in mind for the next time you do it.

    -Sam

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    Thanks that is a very helpful bit of advice! Upon further research I realized that I had not fully finished the job. I'm excited for round 2.

  9. #9
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Modern chains tend to slip right off of the old-fashioned "2nd anvil" on Rivoli-style chain tools, which is why Shimano's chain tools don't have this 2nd ledge and they instead recommend flexing the chain laterally, using force.

    My FinishLine pocket chain breaker even came with a slotted shim that you would insert between chain plates before pressing, then you'd remove the shim. I still use mine.

    If a compromised link shows up within a few inches of either end of the chain, you could get a new chain trimming of 6-10 links from the shop, these are discarded almost every day. Then with 2 proper connectors, you could splice that in.

    Shimano "special pins" must never be pressed out, or the sideplate hole will be hogged out. You'd have to cut that part out and splice in a new trimming of chain, hopefully removing all of the "worked-on" chain link rivetings in the process.

    Likewise, the original chain pins on modern chain get their peening sheared off when pressed out and should never be re-used. I have seen many almost-immediate failures from ignoring this last point, especially with the off-road bikes with their lower gearing and frequent, forceful shifting.

  10. #10
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    The bike is a '97 Schwinn, I doubt it is being wailed on the way a hard mountain bike would be. I agree that the special pins are good practice, but I doubt he needs to chuck his chain because of this.

    Laterally flexing the chain makes sense, though I've not ever had the problems you speak of with the 2nd anvil - sometimes you need to hold the chain in a bit with your thumb while getting it started, but that's been it. My pedros and park chain tools have the 2nd anvil.

    -Sam

  11. #11
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Any of the tools I've used to loosen Shimano chains not only had the chain slipping sideways off of the 2nd ledge, but even holding them in with the secured jaws of a large adjustable wrench still had the chain slipping off one side or the other, even to the point where one chain ended up with a bent sideplate and at least one tool's ledge broke off on one side. I've "given this a go" with more than one tool over the last 20 years, and have yet to find it effective with Shimano chain.
    The problem seems to be the smaller outside radius, i.e. the height of the modern chain's sideplates, plus the beveling of the inside edges of the inner sideplates which aggressively "ramps" the sideplate off of the edge of the ledge.

    Maybe some of these tools fit more snugly around the roller, but one shouldn't count on it.
    Last edited by dddd; 04-05-13 at 10:46 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by phidauex View Post
    The bike is a '97 Schwinn, I doubt it is being wailed on the way a hard mountain bike would be. I agree that the special pins are good practice, but I doubt he needs to chuck his chain because of this.

    Laterally flexing the chain makes sense, though I've not ever had the problems you speak of with the 2nd anvil - sometimes you need to hold the chain in a bit with your thumb while getting it started, but that's been it. My pedros and park chain tools have the 2nd anvil.

    -Sam
    This bike has only been commuted on. I got it when I was 13. The rear wheel was stolen in college. It sat for 7 years, I'm resurrecting it now. It has never seen a trail, but that will be changing soon.

  13. #13
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    Got it all back together! Bending the tight links back and forth did the trick! Thanks for all the help folks! I took it for a cruise on the road tonight and I'm hitting the trail tomorrow. This old beast is back in action!

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