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Quick links / powerlinks are a single use item?!

Old 04-04-22, 10:16 AM
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msu2001la
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Quick links / powerlinks are a single use item?!

I've been running quick links (or SRAM power links) on my 11sp Shimano and SRAM chains for a few years. I like being able to quickly remove the chain for cleaning.

I was listening to Cyclingtips "Nerd Alert" podcast over the weekend and they were talking about chain waxing - and during that segment someone mentioned that you should not re-use the quick link after you've unlocked it. I was super confused by this, as I've unlocked and re-locked the quick links on my chains many times and never noticed an issue. I assumed it had something to do with chain waxing (which I've never done), but after reading more I'm now seeing that manufacturers say these are single-use items and once you've unlocked, you should remove and replace with a new one.

Does anyone know why? Have I just been super lucky that I've never had an issue with mine? I definitely do not want to risk breaking a chain while out riding and will start tossing these after one use, but I'm curious if this is common knowledge or if anyone has seen one break after re-using?
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Old 04-04-22, 10:29 AM
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Some quick links are single use. You can probably re-use them a few times until they become too easy to close or open.
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Old 04-04-22, 10:37 AM
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I use Shimano single-use quick-links for the lifetime of the chain with no issue. I open them up and re-close them twice a month. I still need the chain pliers to do so. If I had any hint that this created any real danger, I would not do it. I am very paranoid about falling.
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Old 04-04-22, 10:42 AM
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Depends on manufacturer and model/speed.

​​​​​​https://www.kmcchain.us/Frequently-A...s_ep_43-1.html
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Old 04-04-22, 12:04 PM
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I reuse all of them, itís fairly easy to tell when theyíre bad
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Old 04-04-22, 12:16 PM
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The story I've heard is that SRAM (or some other brand) grabs the patent for reusable quick-links whenever a new chain "speed" comes out. In order not to infringe on that patent, other brands must mark theirs as one-time-use only. Of course, in reality, people find that they can re-use quick links from many brands without dying. (Ever notice that this issue seems to follow the chains with the highest number of speeds?)

If I'm wrong, I expect Cunningham's Law to kick in...
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Old 04-04-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
The story I've heard is that SRAM (or some other brand) grabs the patent for reusable quick-links whenever a new chain "speed" comes out. In order not to infringe on that patent, other brands must mark theirs as one-time-use only. Of course, in reality, people find that they can re-use quick links from many brands without dying. (Ever notice that this issue seems to follow the chains with the highest number of speeds?)

If I'm wrong, I expect Cunningham's Law to kick in...
Does SRAM say that it's OK to re-use Powerlinks? The internet seems to vary on this answer. I no longer have the original packaging for the ones I bought (a few years ago), but I was going to order some new ones. If there is a brand that says they are OK to re-use, I'd prefer those. Replacing each time I clean my chain seems crazy and annoying and/or will result in me not removing my chain to clean it.
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Old 04-04-22, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
I reuse all of them, itís fairly easy to tell when theyíre bad
Just for the sake of people who may be slower on the uptake than others... what exactly should one look for when determining if the link is bad or not?

I typically use a Park Tools Master Link Pliers (MLP 1.2) to remove and re-install. They don't need a lot of effort to unlock, but seems like enough that I've never worried (until now) that it might come undone while riding. They kind of "snap" back in pace on re-install.

I would worry if they didn't snap back in place or seemed really easy to unlock, but so far I've not encountered that. I've got 1500-2000 miles on one now that has been opened/closed at least a dozen times for cleaning.
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Old 04-04-22, 12:41 PM
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Wippermann Connex are advertised as multi-use quick-links that don't require tools.

I feel safer using Shimano, which requires a tool to get them apart (and in my experience) to get them back together.
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Old 04-04-22, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Just for the sake of people who may be slower on the uptake than others... what exactly should one look for when determining if the link is bad or not?

I typically use a Park Tools Master Link Pliers (MLP 1.2) to remove and re-install. They don't need a lot of effort to unlock, but seems like enough that I've never worried (until now) that it might come undone while riding. They kind of "snap" back in pace on re-install.

I would worry if they didn't snap back in place or seemed really easy to unlock, but so far I've not encountered that. I've got 1500-2000 miles on one now that has been opened/closed at least a dozen times for cleaning.
I've never had one wear out. If you manage to bend it, so you can't get it to snap back on easily with the MLP 1.2, then bin it.

Last edited by Polaris OBark; 04-04-22 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 04-04-22, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Just for the sake of people who may be slower on the uptake than others... what exactly should one look for when determining if the link is bad or not?

I typically use a Park Tools Master Link Pliers (MLP 1.2) to remove and re-install. They don't need a lot of effort to unlock, but seems like enough that I've never worried (until now) that it might come undone while riding. They kind of "snap" back in pace on re-install.

I would worry if they didn't snap back in place or seemed really easy to unlock, but so far I've not encountered that. I've got 1500-2000 miles on one now that has been opened/closed at least a dozen times for cleaning.
If it no longer takes some effort to lock the link itís time to replace
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Old 04-04-22, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Does SRAM say that it's OK to re-use Powerlinks? The internet seems to vary on this answer. I no longer have the original packaging for the ones I bought (a few years ago), but I was going to order some new ones. If there is a brand that says they are OK to re-use, I'd prefer those. Replacing each time I clean my chain seems crazy and annoying and/or will result in me not removing my chain to clean it.
I checked the SRAM website and their 11-speed PowerLock is "good for a one-time application only", so I guess they're not the ones responsible for what I'd heard. KMC's 11-speed MissingLink connectors are reusable, but not their 12-speed. Still, it seems like something must be up, if quick-links of a particular speed manage to become reusable once they are no longer the latest and greatest tech...

I agree that if I couldn't reuse that link, I'd have to do things differently. And I wouldn't be happy about it!
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Old 04-04-22, 01:45 PM
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I like to test these things out and have found with the "one time" links I have used, KMC, Connex, SRAM, that the pins and side plates will start to wear grooves before anything breaks so they get changed when the wear is visible. Never had one fail even after using on 3 chains and 12K plus miles with 20+ remove and replaces for the same link. Most failures I've heard of are from installation error where the sideplates weren't engaged properly with the pins.
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Old 04-04-22, 03:10 PM
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My experience is similar to those that R&R the chain periodically: though the makers of several quick links do
specify "1 use" in practice this means use on one chain until the chain wears out then discard chain and link
and don't worry about periodic chain removal
for cleaning or what. I have only had one quik link fail in the past 15 yrs and that was on a tandem.
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Old 04-04-22, 03:32 PM
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Single use or multi use they all use an interference fit to stay connected so I use the closing force to determine whether it goes in the trash. I get the link up and hold the wheel an if I can easily close it with my hand on the crack it is trashed, some as early a five uses.
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Old 04-04-22, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by sch View Post
My experience is similar to those that R&R the chain periodically: though the makers of several quick links do
specify "1 use" in practice this means use on one chain until the chain wears out then discard chain and link
and don't worry about periodic chain removal
for cleaning or what.
Same here, but then I tuck that quick link into a tool pouch in case the one on the chain needs replacing on the road. OK, that hasn't happened yet, but as insurance they weigh next to nothing.
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Old 04-04-22, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Wippermann Connex are advertised as multi-use quick-links that don't require tools.

I feel safer using Shimano, which requires a tool to get them apart (and in my experience) to get them back together.
I use the Wippermann, prefer it to SRAM and KMC. Well designed, isnít going to open in use.
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Old 04-04-22, 08:27 PM
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I've always just assumed that this referred to the life of the chain, single use to the chain and don't use after the chain wears. I've yet to run into a link that hasn't worked just fine for the rest the chain life, and can't recall seeing a chain that snapped at the link, usually always somewhere else so I suspect it isn't that important an issue.
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Old 04-05-22, 05:05 AM
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More speeds = thinner plates on the quick links.

I've never seen a single-use 8-speed quick link, while I've seen many single-use 10 and more speeds links. I have successfully re-used 10 speed quick links that were sold as single-use, but for regular re-use (like weekly chain cleaning and similar), I'm comfortable with up to 8-speed quick links, the rest I consider emergency re-use only, even if manufacturers say otherwise. Colour me conservative.

Having said that, I've seen quick links fail on other people's bikes, but it could have been from improper installation, a defect, or some other problem, but never had problems personally.
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