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Old 04-03-14, 12:52 AM   #1
RandomTroll
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Removing a KMC 'missing link' without KMC's tool

I tried to remove the 'missing link' on my last KMC chain but failed: it would slip out of needle-nose pliers, my fingers couldn't grip it tightly enough (?), I tried squeezing it in the middle with needle-nose vise-grips, no amount of cleaning and lubricating and manipulation helped. KMC sells a specialty tool but I hate specialty tools when I should be able to do without.

Does someone know a good trick? I'm thinking of a buying a bulk box of KMCs so may want to get serious about their 'missing link'.

Of course I have a regular chain tool. I hope this will be easier enough to make it worth asking.
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Old 04-03-14, 01:02 AM   #2
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For their 11 speed chain, KMC advises the use of their removal tool. Do you have an 11 speed chain?

For other size chains you can do a search on BF, I am sure that this topic has been previously discussed. You may also want to search on YouTube.

Good luck.
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Old 04-03-14, 05:56 AM   #3
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Wrap a wire thru the link, and twist with the pliers. It will snap right open. cut the wire once yo have it off.
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Old 04-03-14, 06:01 AM   #4
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There are several methods but I have to say that using the tool (Park version) made it so much simpler and cleaner. Well worth the $15. Having the right tool is a joy each time you use it.
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Old 04-03-14, 06:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RandomTroll View Post
I tried to remove the 'missing link' on my last KMC chain but failed: it would slip out of needle-nose pliers, my fingers couldn't grip it tightly enough (?), I tried squeezing it in the middle with needle-nose vise-grips, no amount of cleaning and lubricating and manipulation helped. KMC sells a specialty tool but I hate specialty tools when I should be able to do without.

Does someone know a good trick? I'm thinking of a buying a bulk box of KMCs so may want to get serious about their 'missing link'.

Of course I have a regular chain tool. I hope this will be easier enough to make it worth asking.
Park's master link pliers are the best solution. However, if you don't have the pliers (yet), try squeezing the plates together at the pins then pushing the chain ends towards each other. You want to force the plates inward a little to release the friction on the quick link.

Wanderer's idea is a great idea, by the way.
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Old 04-03-14, 06:55 AM   #6
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There are several methods but I have to say that using the tool (Park version) made it so much simpler and cleaner. Well worth the $15. Having the right tool is a joy each time you use it.
+1 Park tool is the way to go.
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Old 04-03-14, 07:06 AM   #7
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I like the "hit it with a rock" method. It's free.

Set the master link at 3 o'clock on the crank, then pull an extra link of chain so the master link now sticks out in a ' > ' at 3'oclock.

Hit it with a rock and it should pop open.
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Old 04-03-14, 07:11 AM   #8
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Wanderer +1
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Old 04-03-14, 07:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
I like the "hit it with a rock" method. It's free.

Set the master link at 3 o'clock on the crank, then pull an extra link of chain so the master link now sticks out in a ' > ' at 3'oclock.

Hit it with a rock and it should pop open.
Good one in a pinch.
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Old 04-03-14, 07:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
There are several methods but I have to say that using the tool (Park version) made it so much simpler and cleaner. Well worth the $15. Having the right tool is a joy each time you use it.
Just used mine last night, it makes opening them very easy and clean. The only thing I use my chain tool for now is shortening new chains, or working on friends bikes. If your going to buy chains with 'missing links' in bulk, the proper tool is a wise investment.
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Old 04-03-14, 09:48 AM   #11
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Believe it or not but Park are not the only tool makers.
My removal pliers cost a third of Parks and work perfectly.
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Old 04-03-14, 11:10 AM   #12
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A pair of pliers, set so that the jaws are open ~ inch, work well for me (for SRAM or KMC links). It helps to relieve chain tension @ the link first with a piece of coathanger (or large paper clip) bent into a "bracket" shape. Then grasp the link w/pliers, the jaws gripping the opposite side plates (i.e. diagonally) and open the link while squeezing the side plates with you fingers.
Install by diagonally gripping the opposite way, if it is a tight link.

Remove & Install a bicycle chain - YouTube

..skip to 1:00 minutes.
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Old 04-03-14, 11:12 AM   #13
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2 screwdrivers and a pair of regular slip jaw pliers .

insert the screwdrivers in the chain links and squeeze the screwdriver shafts with the pliers ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-04-14 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-03-14, 11:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RandomTroll View Post
I tried to remove the 'missing link' on my last KMC chain but failed: it would slip out of needle-nose pliers, my fingers couldn't grip it tightly enough (?), I tried squeezing it in the middle with needle-nose vise-grips, no amount of cleaning and lubricating and manipulation helped. KMC sells a specialty tool but I hate specialty tools when I should be able to do without.

Does someone know a good trick? I'm thinking of a buying a bulk box of KMCs so may want to get serious about their 'missing link'.

Of course I have a regular chain tool. I hope this will be easier enough to make it worth asking.
I use KMC X9 chains and just open the link with my hands. Squeeze the plates together, then push the ends together, and it opens. If you push the ends slightly together as you squeeze the plates together that may help.
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Old 04-03-14, 12:26 PM   #15
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Squeeze the plates together, then push the ends together, and it opens. If you push the ends slightly together as you squeeze the plates together that may help.
Hmmm... This reads like the best answer. I'm not sure I understand - I think I tried this. When you wrote, 'Squeeze the plates together', did you mean squeeze the sides of the links from the left and right sides between the pins? Or did you mean squeeze them together from behind the pins? Squeezing the plates together while pushing the ends together reads as though it requires 3 hands? Are you perchance an alien?
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Old 04-03-14, 12:52 PM   #16
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Hmmm... This reads like the best answer. I'm not sure I understand - I think I tried this. When you wrote, 'Squeeze the plates together', did you mean squeeze the sides of the links from the left and right sides between the pins? Or did you mean squeeze them together from behind the pins? Squeezing the plates together while pushing the ends together reads as though it requires 3 hands? Are you perchance an alien?
You need four hands for it to work. One holds each pin, one holds each plate, then you press them all towards the centre at once. If you have less than four hands you're pretty well hosed.


Seriously, two hands are enough. What I do is position the missing link so it's in the lower half of the chain, making sure the pedals are out of the way. Use the right forefinger and thumb on one half of the link and the left forefinger and thumb on the other half. Push both inwards, so you're effectively pushing the two opposite corners of the missing link towards the middle.

It's tricky if the link is gunged up, and it takes a little practise, but it's not that difficult once you've got the hang of it.
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Old 04-03-14, 02:12 PM   #17
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A coathanger works in a pinch. Similar to the wire approach but you don't need to twist the wires and its reusable. I'd get a generic version of the tool though for like $5 on amazon
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Old 04-03-14, 04:06 PM   #18
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Believe it or not but Park are not the only tool makers.
My removal pliers cost a third of Parks and work perfectly.
Care to point us in the right direction???

(I tried looking but not having good luck. The strength of a tool like this is in the hinge point. Small jaws & lots of handle make for lots of torque. One might immediately assume snap-ring pliers, but I've also read forums where they say they don't work like the Park tool does)

TIA
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Old 04-03-14, 05:16 PM   #19
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Care to point us in the right direction???

(I tried looking but not having good luck. The strength of a tool like this is in the hinge point. Small jaws & lots of handle make for lots of torque. One might immediately assume snap-ring pliers, but I've also read forums where they say they don't work like the Park tool does)

TIA
I have had the Park Tool master link pliers for a while, and it works very well. I bought it b/cos I was having problems opening master links on three bikes. Since then, no issues at all. If you have a regular slip joint plier and an access to a grinder, you can make a workable master link plier.
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Old 04-03-14, 05:27 PM   #20
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Wow. This is the first I've heard that there is a dedicated tool for this job. All this time, I've been using my fingers.

I'll keep Wanderer's suggestion in mind, if I ever run into a trouble-maker.
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Old 04-03-14, 05:32 PM   #21
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Why wouldn't you just purchase a KMC removal tool. These work great and are quite cheap assuming you are going to use it more than once. Amazon $13.83 plus prime. http://www.amazon.com/KMC-MissingLin...kmc+chain+tool
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Old 04-03-14, 07:26 PM   #22
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I was fine with SRAM master links with my bare fingers but KMC links - couldn't for the life of me get them apart. Until I got the Park tool. That said, would never take that tool on the road. I now intend to stick some wire in with my on the road emergency kit. (Already have a small multitool with a little pliers on it)
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Old 04-03-14, 07:43 PM   #23
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[COLOR=#3E3E3E][COLOR=#000000]
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Set the master link at 3 o'clock on the crank, then pull an extra link of chain so the master link now sticks out in a ' > ' at 3'oclock.

Hit it with a rock and it should pop open.





This. It's so easy and it works so well.


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Old 04-03-14, 08:12 PM   #24
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^^^^Homebrew01's suggestion with picture here. http://www.ctc.org.uk/file/member/201107050_0.pdf
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Old 04-03-14, 08:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
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You need four hands for it to work. ... If you have less than four hands you're pretty well hosed.
Darn!

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What I do is position the missing link...
I'm not sure I have it right. What you recommend sounds obvious, and what I tried. Let me see if I understand: pinch one end of the ML with the thumb and index finger behind the pin, do the same for the other end with the other hand, squeeze the link between each thumb and finger, then push both ends together. That it? I thought I tried that.

It's curious that some people have no idea what I'm talking about - they've never had a problem using their fingers, and one guy never had a problem until he used a KMC. I've been working with chains for years but always used a chain tool after the first 'miracle link' installation; the early ones worked only once.

Here's the KMC tool for $9.45 KMC Missing Link Opener @ eBikeStop.com . I find almost any bike part cheaper at a bike site than Amazon. Shipping makes a difference for some, of course. Same people sell KMC chains by the box of 25 cheap.
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