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Is it safe to have more than 1 master link on a chain?

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Is it safe to have more than 1 master link on a chain?

Old 05-01-12, 03:51 PM
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TwoFourOne
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Is it safe to have more than 1 master link on a chain?

Here's a story about my stupidity...

I went to the bike shop to pick up new brake pads. I got a chain breaker, too. At checkout, the employee asked if I wanted a master link, too - I said sure, and he showed me how to install it on a piece of spare chain he had. He reminded me not to take the pins all the way off (which I've already read about online.) So I get home and I try to install the master link. I take off the wrong pins or something? I'm not sure what I did, but I couldn't get the master link on. I bent a link a little bit from trying to force the master link on. Ugh, so I'm sitting there wondering what to do, and I see that I already have a master link on this chain I did some thinking, and I added the master link and made the chain so that it's only 1 link away from being able to be connected. But I can't connect it because I can't get the dumb pins back on.

I figure I'll just go to the store and buy another master link, and use that as the last pin to connect the chain. $2 versus the cost of a new chain seems nice. But I didn't even need to buy the master link in the first place >_>

So my question is, is there any reason why I shouldn't have two (soon to be three) master links on one chain?
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Old 05-01-12, 04:13 PM
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rekmeyata
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I don't think it's a good idea to have more then one master link, why would you need more then one?

If the chain went on before and now your having problem it's maybe due to you having the chain around the gears which has tension on the chain due to the rear derailleur wanting to pull the chain to take up slack. So remove the chain off the front chain rings then try to reinstall the link not that there's no tension on the chain.

The reason you bent the link plate is because you weren't careful when using the chain tool to make sure the pin was going in straight.

So you could try another master link. However, how many miles are on that chain? If you have more then 5,000 miles or close to it may be time to replace the chain anyway, and their not that expensive costing about in the mid $20's.
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Old 05-01-12, 04:23 PM
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Because I'd rather buy one master link than buy a whole new chain. My bike's a singlespeed - the problem was that I took the pins all of the way out because I wasn't sure how a master link worked. I was trying to put the master link on the wrong type of link on the chain (the big link, not the small link.) Hard to explain, but yeah. I bent the link plate because I was using my hands to force the master link in a spot where it shouldn't have gone anyway.

My chain has a bit more than 1k miles on it, so I figure I'll save some money right now and pick up another $2 master link. Other threads said it was okay to do.
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Old 05-01-12, 04:34 PM
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I've never done it but I don't see why it would be a huge problem. For future reference, every time I put a new chain on a bike I keep all the extra links. If I ever need more links for that chain (or another one that's the same size) I can use some of the ones I kept.
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Old 05-01-12, 04:52 PM
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Not to worry. A chain is as strong as its weakest link.

If a chain with 1 master link is strong enough, a chain with 2 master links will be strong enough too.
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Old 05-01-12, 05:06 PM
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Not saying that you cant do that ok? but i dont see why you shouldn't, doubt the chain will explode or anything, those links are super strong.
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Old 05-01-12, 05:12 PM
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Been there, done that, chains still there.
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Old 05-01-12, 05:51 PM
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Yes you can. I have a chain on one of myl bikes right now with two master links in it.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:04 PM
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No problem as far as I know. I've had recumbent chains with 2 or 3 master links, because they were assembled from multiple chains.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:25 PM
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Yes, lots of tandems and recumbents running with multiple master links.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:31 PM
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Yes, it's perfectly fine.

FWIW, most 1/8" single-speed chain can still be safely broken and replaced with the original pins if you would rather do that. Or, new 1/8" single speed chain is like $9...
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Old 05-01-12, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Not to worry. A chain is as strong as its weakest link.

If a chain with 1 master link is strong enough, a chain with 2 master links will be strong enough too.
+1 I suppose there is a slightly higher percentage you might install the second one improperly; I have a half link and a master link and the chain has held together just fine.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:38 PM
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Thanks guys

Can someone help me out with another question? I don't feel like starting a new thread for this.

On another bike (single speed, also, from Walmart), there's a broken link plate on the chain. It's one of the small ones.


I'm wondering if I can fix that with a master link. It would be easier if the broken link was one of the big ones, because I could just remove it (and the one that goes with it) and then link the two small links back with a master link. But is this even fixable with just a master link and no spare links? I'd have to join these two links with the master link, right?

That would significantly shorten the chain, and it wouldn't fit on the drive train anymore, it looks like.

I have just one spare link plate (from messing up my regular bike's chain), could I take these two rivets out, and then replace the broken link plate with my spare, and then attach it all back up?


Sorry for the long post, but I'd appreciate it if anyone could help. The bike is rideable for short distances if you don't mash on the pedals, so I want to be sure I can fix it before I do anything to it.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:46 PM
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No, you cannot perform that fix with master links alone. Master links are always the "big" links, so you need another small link.

Again, a new SS chain is less than $10. Maybe like $5 at Walmart. If a chain breaks, I throw the whole thing away and get a new one. Breaking chain while riding is no fun, because it always happens when you're putting maximum force into the pedals and then you come crashing down on the bike.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:53 PM
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What's the worst that could happen?

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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-01-12, 09:57 PM
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I have and will continue to have a chain/chains with more than one masterlink. Despite what everyone says about reuseable masterlinks, I still haven't ever been able to figure out how to get it apart once it's been installed. Any help or suggestions?
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Old 05-01-12, 11:03 PM
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Can I toss in another chain question?

Do you need a master link at all? I installed a new chain on my son's bike. It is a KMC 6-7 speed and came with a master link. I shortened the chain to the correct length, then used the chain tool to connect the chain, no master link used. Any problem with that?
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Old 05-01-12, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
I have and will continue to have a chain/chains with more than one masterlink. Despite what everyone says about reuseable masterlinks, I still haven't ever been able to figure out how to get it apart once it's been installed. Any help or suggestions?
They have a tool for it, but a bit of dexterity and plairs applied to each end of the link (on diagonally opposite sides) will do the trick.
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Old 05-01-12, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
I have and will continue to have a chain/chains with more than one masterlink. Despite what everyone says about reuseable masterlinks, I still haven't ever been able to figure out how to get it apart once it's been installed. Any help or suggestions?
KMC Missing Links are touted as tool-free. As mentioned, there are remover pliers, but you should be able to do it without tools.
see "Connecting Link Instructions - Missing Link" at bottom of page
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Old 05-02-12, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Can I toss in another chain question?

Do you need a master link at all? I installed a new chain on my son's bike. It is a KMC 6-7 speed and came with a master link. I shortened the chain to the correct length, then used the chain tool to connect the chain, no master link used. Any problem with that?
Chain pins shouldn't be pushed out and then used to reconnect as it flattens the factory rivet (push pin out to shorten chain and then use same pin to reconnect). Is this what you did? It's best to use the included link.

To get technical, chains out of the box are classified as RO and PPO.
RO - Roller link Open - have 2 "open" inner links that must be connected with a master link (even if you cut the chain)
PPO - Pin Push Out - have a pin sticking out of one of the end links (outer link) that can be used to push in and connect the chain. The pin doesn't have a rivet or "ribs". This is only for lower speed chains.

Useful? maybe not. Let me know if I can clarify or add on.
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Old 05-02-12, 02:52 AM
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Single speed chains will last seemingly forever, so as the others have said just get another M link
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Old 05-02-12, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Can I toss in another chain question?

Do you need a master link at all? I installed a new chain on my son's bike. It is a KMC 6-7 speed and came with a master link. I shortened the chain to the correct length, then used the chain tool to connect the chain, no master link used. Any problem with that?
No problem, with 6-7 (or 8) speed chain you do not need a master link.
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Old 05-02-12, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
I have and will continue to have a chain/chains with more than one masterlink. Despite what everyone says about reuseable masterlinks, I still haven't ever been able to figure out how to get it apart once it's been installed. Any help or suggestions?
Buy a pair of these:

http://www.parktool.com/product/mast...k-pliers-mlp-1

I've been amazed at how useful mine's been. It's just the ticket for when you find yourself struggling with a tough Powerlink or similar.
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Old 05-02-12, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoFourOne View Post
...Ugh, so I'm sitting there wondering what to do, and I see that I already have a master link on this chain
I couldn't post yesterday due to some weird database error. I just wanted to say that you are not the first person to have broken a chain only to later see a master link in it. Don't ask me how I know that.

Yeah, I felt pretty silly too.

And no issue at all with running two such links. Just make up some baloney to explain to your friends. Tell them you extend your chain life by rotating your leading and trailing halves of your chain. People are so "religious" about their chains. Who knows, they might buy that explanation.
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Old 05-02-12, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Buy a pair of these:

http://www.parktool.com/product/mast...k-pliers-mlp-1

I've been amazed at how useful mine's been. It's just the ticket for when you find yourself struggling with a tough Powerlink or similar.
I used to struggle a lot removing SRAM Powerlinks (8-speed) even after reading people's tips.

But one day it just clicked somehow and now they fall off with virtually no force. I just bend the chain into a Z shape and pinch the middle of the master-link with my thumb and index finger.
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