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Master Link Question. How many sizes needed?

Old 04-04-17, 06:02 PM
  #1  
bikebikebike
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Master Link Question. How many sizes needed?

Sorry if this is discussed elsewhere, but I have been looking long and hard and missed it, if it is.

I have several bikes and want to keep some Master Links on hand.
I have all kind of set ups from SS, IGH's, old 10spd, newer 27spd's, ebikes
(Ok, I can't say no. They needed homes.)
I have been burned getting the wrong size Masterlinks
(big PITA. Inconvenienced, to be precise. I prefer to have everything in hand before starting a job)

I often can't get ID on a chain from markings, to determine size (not length).
I know there are LOTS of different chain sizes, even within the basic groups.

My Questions:

1) How can you determine a chain's size by measurement , before starting?

2) Do the 3+ basic chain group sizes just need the 3 basic KMC masterlink/Masterlink,Spring Clip Type
sizes?

I don't mean to over complicate this, but there really isn't an easily accessible answer to this,
and rather than go buy a bunch of stuff, I am trying to know what I might need.
I don't expect any "oddball" sizes or brands, but would like to know if I am up against one.

Thanks

With appreciation


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Old 04-04-17, 06:21 PM
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Chainsizes

Did you buy new chains and took them out of the bag and don't remember the size?
Per Sheldon using a SRAM masterlink on Shimano may be a problem.
i'd think the masterlink should be suitable for the chainsize and the masterlink you buy will have that specified.
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Old 04-04-17, 07:11 PM
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Nope. Old bikes, with no masterlink.
Either chains with no ID marks , or ones that don't reference on search.
no problem with anything I have bought, I usually keep any extra chain wrapped in the bag it came in
and they usually have stamped ID on the chain.
Assuming a chain size based on the gears of an old bike is not really more than a guess, and guessing is a more problematic approach.
This is for Sound chains that I am removing to clean or shorten, mostly, often with no Masterlink
or wanted spares for the tool pouch to carry and take from bike to bike.
I also help others rebuild old bikes , where their heritage is not known.

Last edited by bikebikebike; 04-04-17 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 04-04-17, 08:14 PM
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KMC missing link for Shimano or SRAM 11 speed chains is part number CL-555.


-Tim-
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Old 04-04-17, 09:19 PM
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First of all; scrap the chains that are on the bikes.

Purchase KMC chain in bulk; Z410 for single speed, X8.93 or Z8 for derailleur bikes upto 8 speed, X9.93 for 9 speed. You probably do not have to worry about 10 & 11 speed yet.
for example: Bulk KMC X9.93 Chain (by foot) : TerraCycle, Exquisite Recumbent Parts & Accessories

Then you need KMC connectors for each flavor of chain.
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Old 04-04-17, 09:36 PM
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I would that the OP learn to measure the chains he has. A Vernier caliper is a tool with life long assumption killing capacity. Andy
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Old 04-04-17, 09:49 PM
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My old manager had the strategy:
just use 10spd chains on all his bikes.

they fit just fine on 6-7-8-9spd sprockets, since the narrowing of the higher speed drives is in chain plates and rivets, not the width of the rollers themselves.
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Old 04-04-17, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
My old manager had the strategy:
just use 10spd chains on all his bikes.

they fit just fine on 6-7-8-9spd sprockets, since the narrowing of the higher speed drives is in chain plates and rivets, not the width of the rollers themselves.
It's not the space between the chain's plates that's the potential problem; it's the space between cogs and chainrings. A KMC Z33 6-speed chain is 7.8 mm wide. A 10-speed chain can be as narrow as 5.88 mm. With a chain that's 2 mm narrower, I've got a feeling I could end up getting the chain jammed between rings on some of my older bikes.
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Old 04-05-17, 06:23 AM
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I keep 8,9 and 10 speed links. I carry 9 and 10 speed on the bike. If you feel obliged to use an old generic chain with no ID markings, probably the 8 speed link will work or just reinstall the pin. i don't have any 11 speed bikes and after years of assisting other riders, I've kind of lost patience with folks who won't carry what they need for basic on the road repairs.
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Old 04-05-17, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
First of all; scrap the chains that are on the bikes.

Purchase KMC chain in bulk; Z410 for single speed, X8.93 or Z8 for derailleur bikes upto 8 speed, X9.93 for 9 speed. You probably do not have to worry about 10 & 11 speed yet.
for example: Bulk KMC X9.93 Chain (by foot) : TerraCycle, Exquisite Recumbent Parts & Accessories

Then you need KMC connectors for each flavor of chain.

What brand it is doesn't matter.

SRAM Power Links fit KMC chains and KMC Missing Links fit SRAM chains. They both fit Shimano chains.

Throwing the chains in the garbage is a waste and standardizing on one brand isn't necessary. The solution is finding the correct part for the application, that's all.


-Tim-
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Old 04-05-17, 08:00 AM
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I second the idea of measuring the width across the chain's inner links. A master link that fits properly will have .004-.008 inch clearance. A feeler gauges work for that measurement. Too little clearance can break the head off a pin.

I've always preferred the connex link.
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Old 04-05-17, 09:58 AM
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I understand the OP's problem coming from a motorcycle perspective. Between different brands there would be different specs for side plates, pin diameter, etc, so even though you had the chain size right that didnt mean your masterlink would fit.

We might even have similar problems with KMC product since they also have a stronger e-bike chain.

I'd rather keep a couple part numbers that fit most everything rather than one part that only fits one product.

So has anyone even noticed there might be variations between chain brands for the same application?

-SP
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Old 04-05-17, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
So has anyone even noticed there might be variations between chain brands for the same application?

-SP

With 11 speed, KMC Missing Links and SRAM PowerLinks are interoperable with KMC, SRAM and Shimano chains.


-Tim-
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Old 04-05-17, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
So has anyone even noticed there might be variations between chain brands for the same application?

-SP
I measured several different brands of 10 speed chains and found significant differences in the width across the inner links. I probably posted something on it, years ago.

In the early days of 11 speed, there were significant differences in the width across the inner links that would make some brands of master links too tight and others too loose. It's easier to get by with a little loose.

At that time, Wipperman had no 11 speed chain, but I had no problems with the sloppy fit of their 10 speed connex link. I've been out of cycling for 6 years, and haven't looked into the issue since. Maybe a search will reveal whether anyone has bothered to compare the exact dimensions of SRAM, Shimano, Campy, KMC and Wipperman chains.

If I return to road cycling, I may want a well-fitting master link for my Campy 11 chains.
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Old 04-05-17, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
So has anyone even noticed there might be variations between chain brands for the same application?
Yes. KMC produces two different 10 speed missing links - one for Shimano/SRAM, and another for Campagnolo.
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Old 03-29-21, 07:08 PM
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OP returning to this thread.
Never got an answer and have had Masterlinks that did not fit, failing to span the inner link and fit into their groove.
Trying to measure my chains has not been easy as I have not been able to find a chart of dimensions to give them
meaning. As stated above I have SS, IGH , 5, 7 , 8, 9 and 11 speed bikes no off brands, but occaisional unbranded stuff
and there is no joy in finding the link doesn't fit late Saturday or on the trail.
I take it the folks with no problems just ride 11 speeds, buy new replacement sets a lot and so everything fits.
Thanks to all who recommended carrying a micrometer and an extra chain.
May they have two flats and one patch.
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Old 03-29-21, 07:59 PM
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It surely can't be so difficult. There are only so many chain sizes used on bicycles. Here are some chain-related resources that I hope will help:
Wikipedia Bicycle Chain Width
Park Tools Chain Compatibility
Park Tools Chain Replacement
Sheldon Brown Chain Info
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Old 03-30-21, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by bikebikebike View Post
OP returning to this thread.
Never got an answer and have had Masterlinks that did not fit, failing to span the inner link and fit into their groove.
Trying to measure my chains has not been easy as I have not been able to find a chart of dimensions to give them
meaning. As stated above I have SS, IGH , 5, 7 , 8, 9 and 11 speed bikes no off brands, but occaisional unbranded stuff
and there is no joy in finding the link doesn't fit late Saturday or on the trail.
I take it the folks with no problems just ride 11 speeds, buy new replacement sets a lot and so everything fits.
Thanks to all who recommended carrying a micrometer and an extra chain.
May they have two flats and one patch.
As we are a volunteer shop, we run into many chain variations and have assembled a number of different masterlink links.

If you have no use for the non-fitting ones you have we would be happy to accept them, Let me know and we will message you our mailing address (not the same as the shop address), thanks
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Old 03-30-21, 04:08 PM
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Thanks
Found : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_chain and they had a good chart. Perzactly the right thing.
Strangely, Sheldon had nothing but the Park Tool and wiki had it. plus info on chain pin rivets should I be driven to that.

I think my bad experience came from older chains (5-6-7-8) that I was given higher speed masterlinks for by shop staffed by folks younger than my bikes.
I bought a handful of assorted ones now just to measure. I was that bugged.

Collection of odd stuff on way to Joe, with my blessings and two extra tire patches for luck.
I , too, rebuild old bikes for the grin of it and give them away to kids who otherwise wouldn't be riding.
A lot of them get stolen afterwards, so it's like giving a bike to 5 kids.
Good for repeat business. Learning moment. Bikes have to work out their own karma.
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Old 03-31-21, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bikebikebike View Post
Thanks
Found : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_chain and they had a good chart. Perzactly the right thing.
Strangely, Sheldon had nothing but the Park Tool and wiki had it. plus info on chain pin rivets should I be driven to that.

I think my bad experience came from older chains (5-6-7-8) that I was given higher speed masterlinks for by shop staffed by folks younger than my bikes.
I bought a handful of assorted ones now just to measure. I was that bugged.

Collection of odd stuff on way to Joe, with my blessings and two extra tire patches for luck.
I , too, rebuild old bikes for the grin of it and give them away to kids who otherwise wouldn't be riding.
A lot of them get stolen afterwards, so it's like giving a bike to 5 kids.
Good for repeat business. Learning moment. Bikes have to work out their own karma.
Thank you, PM sent with mailing address. We are turning over about 1,700 bikes a year now and just added a local foster parent group to our list of partners
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