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Are quick links REALLY single use?

Old 08-21-22, 11:41 AM
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rbrides
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Are quick links REALLY single use?

Quick links are described as “use only once” in the user/installation documentation.

is that just super cautious input from the manufacturer or truly a smart practice?

I have reused them before but, hey, maybe I was tempting fate.
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Old 08-21-22, 11:58 AM
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I reuse them, seems to be OK. 10 speed is the newest fangled on any of my bikes though. The 9 speed ones you were officially allowed to reuse.
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Old 08-21-22, 12:44 PM
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Depends on the link. Some say 1 use, some 1 use means the life of the chain. I've always done life of the chain running 9-10 speed SRAM chains and throw the old one in my bag as a spare when replacing a chain.

No experience with 11-12 speed.
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Old 08-21-22, 01:28 PM
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Wippermann Connex are multiple use. Not sure about KMC or Shimano.
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Old 08-21-22, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Wippermann Connex are multiple use. Not sure about KMC or Shimano.
Agree about Wippermann. I use KMC chains on my folder, and it says not to re-use it but as the chain path involves only one front and one rear sprocket (IGH), I figure there's less likelihood of the link uncoupling itself. I have re-used the link about 5 times so far, and it still requires some effort to disconnect it.
Not sure how I'd feel about trusting the link on a derailleur-based drivetrain where the chain flexes sideways. But remember that you can get the Wippermann links and use them on other brands of chains.
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Old 08-21-22, 02:25 PM
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I generally get around 10K miles on a KMC 10sp link with multiple chains and works out to around 20+ remove/replaces. I change it when slight grooves from wear show up in the inside of the link. Never had one fail yet.
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Old 08-21-22, 02:26 PM
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Polaris OBark
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I am very paranoid, and I re-use my Shimano links for the life of the chain. So far, I have never had a problem.

From a product liability standpoint, they have nothing to lose by telling you to change them each time. A bike shop will do that, too.
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Old 08-21-22, 03:32 PM
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Using a KMC 8 speed chain here, still using the original "missing link" after about 1k miles.
Still hard to remove after about 10 times.
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Old 08-21-22, 03:44 PM
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I consider "single use" to mean "use with one chain" and toss both when worn. IIRC there was some patent or another which kept folks from advertising reuseable links, calling them single-use instead; helps sales, too.
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Old 08-21-22, 03:57 PM
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I've always reused them. Some are directional, especially with 10-speed and greater. Make sure to get the direction correct.
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Old 08-21-22, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I consider "single use" to mean "use with one chain" and toss both when worn.
+1 However, after the chain has been discarded, I keep used links with my on-bike tool kits as an emergency repair part if a chain is damaged during a ride. It only has to be good enough to get me home.
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Old 08-21-22, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
+1 However, after the chain has been discarded, I keep used links with my on-bike tool kits as an emergency repair part if a chain is damaged during a ride. It only has to be good enough to get me home.
I keep new ones as spares; I would be too lazy/forgetful to take the worn link out and replace it when I get home. I also have a little piece of coat hanger wire bent into a double hook tool to hold the chain ends while I insert and close the link, that I keep with them.
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Old 08-21-22, 05:35 PM
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I have always assumed that single use meant, on a single chain. This makes sense as both the chain and link will wear over time. Therefore do not reuse on a new chain. Perhaps I have this wrong, but I've disconnected and reconnected the same link on a chain for the life of a chain. Probably a few dozen disconnects and reconnects for various reasons. It would be completely absurd to expect to literally only snap it together once and apart once and then not reuse it.

Common sense suggests that if it doesn't actually snap together anymore, then it should be replaced. But I've never had one that didn't still have a positive snap when reconnecting throughout the life of the chain.

Also, in all the things I've read in forums like this, I have never once read where a master link failed in any way. Not saying it hasn't happened, but I've yet to hear of it.
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Old 08-22-22, 06:23 AM
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The people have spoken!
common sense has prevailed!

thanks folks!
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Old 08-22-22, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Aardwolf View Post
Using a KMC 8 speed chain here, still using the original "missing link" after about 1k miles. Still hard to remove after about 10 times.
Aardy, try the Wippermann Connex link mentioned above. Connects and disconnects without tools. Bike shops, online dealers and Amazon have them. Great engineering.
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Old 08-22-22, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
Aardy, try the Wippermann Connex link mentioned above. Connects and disconnects without tools. Bike shops, online dealers and Amazon have them. Great engineering.
Interesting, quite expensive on Ebay or Amazon but £4 at SJS Cycles, I've made a note.
I've got the removal pliers for KMC links, but the link isn't going to fall off any time soon.
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Old 08-22-22, 09:40 AM
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What has changed? 10-15 years ago it seemed like ANY use of quick links was considered substandard care/maintenance. Now it seems like the preferred method for chain connection. Has the quality of quick links improved? Are they now engineered to the same standards as a normal chain link? Or have cyclists just come to accept them as they are, and just deal with the slight inferiority compared to a traditional link?

Dan
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Old 08-22-22, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Aardwolf View Post
Interesting, quite expensive on Ebay or Amazon
Seriously?
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Old 08-22-22, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Seriously?
It might be because I'm in the UK or that I need 8 speed.

Wippermann ConneX link 8 speed
Ebay £9.49 free postage (from Spain - 1 month to arrive)
Amazon £5.89 + £9.90 postage
SJS Cycles: £4
Tredz: £4

Amazon does have the 9 speed for £4.
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Old 08-22-22, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
What has changed? 10-15 years ago it seemed like ANY use of quick links was considered substandard care/maintenance. Now it seems like the preferred method for chain connection. Has the quality of quick links improved? Are they now engineered to the same standards as a normal chain link? Or have cyclists just come to accept them as they are, and just deal with the slight inferiority compared to a traditional link?

Dan
Some of the first toolless quicklinks from the mid 90's or so had different designs and some would have a side plate crack before the chain wore out. All the current QL's have pretty much the same design and have proven to be very reliable and more so than the standard masters needing a chain tool and only because there is much more chance for user error when installing pins. Anyways the mfrs. initially recommended using a new link with a new chain which most people (understandably, thinking it might fail) didn't want to test it out themselves and why there is this thread as well as "single use" being a bit vague and overly cautious.
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Old 08-22-22, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
What has changed? 10-15 years ago it seemed like ANY use of quick links was considered substandard care/maintenance.
10-15 years ago was quite a long time. Perhaps you'll be happy to know that things have improved.

Has the quality of quick links improved? Are they now engineered to the same standards as a normal chain link? Or have cyclists just come to accept them as they are, and just deal with the slight inferiority compared to a traditional link?
I have noticed no inferiority and have never had a quick link open or fail in 10 or 15 years of use. And as CrankyCrank said above, using a quick link prevents user errors on our ever-narrower chains. Many chains are supplied with a quick link, I think that means the manufacturers approve of them. Have you not tried one (in the current decade)? Try the Wippermann, no tools, German precision, puts the quick in quick link.
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Old 08-22-22, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
What has changed? 10-15 years ago it seemed like ANY use of quick links was considered substandard care/maintenance. Now it seems like the preferred method for chain connection. Has the quality of quick links improved?
Dan
I work at a high-volume big-city bike Co-op. When it comes to chain malfuntions, I've seen everything. If the quick link does not snap firmly in place, then there is a chance that during back-pedaling, it could disconnect and leave the chain on the ground; this has happened to me. In any case, read the manufacturer recommendation, and during installation, make sure that it snaps in place.

The quick link is still an inferior attachment method relative to the older approach of using a pressed-in pin, and then peening (mushrooming) the end of the pin. However, yesterday I saw a Shimano chain in which the pressed-in pin was only secured to only one of the two chain side plates; installation error.

Reason for quick-links: if installed with some care and observation they are good enough for the vast majority of miles put on by the vast majority of riders. The Shimano pressed-in pin was the best attachment method in terms of integrity and security, but shops hated them because they took 60 seconds longer to install, and you had to actually read the documentation. Campagnolo chains were similarly superior, but shops didn't want to buy a $200 peening tool.

PS: do NOT donate your old chain to your local bike Co-op; it causes us far more trouble than it is worth. A stretched-out chain has less than zero utility to anyone; please discard.
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Old 08-22-22, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Aardwolf View Post
It might be because I'm in the UK or that I need 8 speed.

Wippermann ConneX link 8 speed
Ebay £9.49 free postage (from Spain - 1 month to arrive)
Amazon £5.89 + £9.90 postage
SJS Cycles: £4
Tredz: £4

Amazon does have the 9 speed for £4.
I was being facetious.

This is a very expensive hobby. Even quick links can be pricey. I find it silly that someone can spend several thousand on a bike and still quibble about the price of a quick link.
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Old 08-22-22, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
What has changed? 10-15 years ago it seemed like ANY use of quick links was considered substandard care/maintenance. Now it seems like the preferred method for chain connection. Has the quality of quick links improved? Are they now engineered to the same standards as a normal chain link? Or have cyclists just come to accept them as they are, and just deal with the slight inferiority compared to a traditional link?

Dan
I used and reused quick links 10-15 years ago, I also used and reused quick links 25-30 years ago
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Old 08-22-22, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
10-15 years ago was quite a long time. Perhaps you'll be happy to know that things have improved.
Yes, I used quicks occasionally back then. And I use them occasionally now. But I don’t see much difference (“improvement”) in the ones from yesteryear, and the ones of today. So I ask again…what has changed? What changes have improved the individual quick link? Quality of the metal used? Closer machining tolerances? Ease of use (although that doesn’t seem to have changed)? Or have attitudes about their use changed?

Dan
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