How to Remove Bike Chain Without a Master Link

  • By: Georg
  • Date: October 13, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

When removing the bike chain, you may want to learn how to disassemble the chain without a master link. You can do this by squeezing the master link together in between your fingers. Alternatively, you can use pliers to remove the master link. Once you have the chain completely unattached, reconnect the master link. You should hear a clicking sound when the link is back in place.

Disassembly of bike chain without master link

Disassembly of bike chain requires the use of pliers. Using these pliers requires a light touch and patience. Heavy-handed dismantling could cause the chain to bind. Traditionally, bike chains have a master link with a slid-on clip and a rivet on the side.

The master link is the most difficult part of the bike chain to disassemble. Some chains feature two master links. One is attached to the chain and the other to the sprocket. Identifying a master link is tricky; some master links stand out more prominently than others. However, chains can get dirty and make distinguishing marks harder to see.

To remove the master link from your bike chain, find the link that looks different from the others. This link is found at the lower end of the chain. Using pliers or a chain tool, you can disengage the master link. Wiggling the link will release it from the sprocket and separate it from the chain.

Master links are not present on all bikes. However, they are common on BMX and internal gear bikes. You can also identify a master link by measuring the connecting plates of the chain. Afterwards, you can disconnect the master link and remove the rest of the chain.

Master links are usually colored differently than the rest of the chain. They are intended to make the process easier. Often, you need to use pliers to squeeze the pins on the master link. You can position the jaws of the pliers over the pins on the master link and squeeze them together to pull the master link out.

Disconnecting a master link without master link pliers

Disconnecting a master link is usually a simple procedure. Most master links come with two pieces with a pin/rivet on each piece. The first piece is inserted into the widest part of the link while the second piece is slid into the narrower section. The pins then lock into place when the master link is squeezed and withdrawn. A flat head screwdriver works well for this task as it allows you to work with both pins at the same time.

Park Tool Master Link Pliers MLP-1.2
Park Tool Chain Link Pliers

To disengage the master link, first determine which type of chain you have. If it is a Shimano quick link, you can use a pair of pliers to disengage it. Alternatively, you can use the Park Tool Chain Link Pliers, which are available on Amazon.

One type of master link is the SRAM link, and it is made up of two halves. In order to remove the SRAM master link, you will need a Quick Link Chain Remover tool. You can also use a pair of shoelaces.

BIKEHAND Bike Bicycle Chain Master Link Pliers Tool - MTB Road Quick Link Remover Removal - Compatible with All Brands: Shimano Sram KMC Chain
Quick Link Chain Remover tool

If you cannot find the master link, you can try using a needle-nose pliers. By pressing the nubs through the master link, you can remove it. If you cannot locate it, you can also use a hammer or a wrench.

Disconnecting a master link without master-link pliers is not a difficult task if you use the right tools. A flathead screwdriver is useful if you don’t have the proper tools. Nevertheless, novices may find it difficult to find the master-link. If you’re unfamiliar with how to remove a master-link, it’s best to first place the bike on a workstand and turn the pedals slowly.

Squeezing the link together between fingers

Fortunately, removing bike chains without master links is not as difficult as it may sound. A steel wire clotheshanger can work as a link opener. Simply place it over the open end of the chain and press on the pins, keeping the pins parallel to the length of the chain. If you can’t find a tool of this type, you can try a similar method.

In addition to the pliers, you can use a cord or shoestring to locate the master link. Insert it through the chain on either side of the master link and cross the ends of the cord until they are snug around the master link. Once you have found the link, pull the pins outward and out. Some links stand out more than others. However, if your chain is dirty, they may be less easy to spot.

Next, use pliers to disengage the master link. For smaller master links, you can use needle-nose pliers, as these will fit between the chainplates. While normal pliers will not work well, needle-nose pliers have teeth that can grip the plates and squeeze both chain links at the same time. Once the link is disengaged, you’ll need to remove the outer plate to remove the bike chain.

Another method to remove the master link is to use a flat head screwdriver. The link will be much easier to remove if it’s not covered with dirt. When using the flat head screwdriver, make sure that the head is perpendicular to the surface of the link. Also, you should place the screwdriver closer to the open end of the clip. As the screwdriver rotates, the prongs will spread and loosen the grip on the pins.

SRAM Eagle PowerLock Chain Connector 12-Speed Chain Link w Decal - Available in 2-Pack and 4-Pack (4)

SRAM-style master link

If your bike doesn’t have a SRAM-style master link, you can still remove the chain easily. To do this, you need to hold the chain in your arms, like you would a string. First, identify the type of link you’re working with. If the link is a C-style, it has two pins firmly mounted in one of its plates. Then, loosen the pins and squeeze the plates with pliers.

The SRAM-style master link is a little more difficult to remove than the other type. The top part of the master link is thicker than the rest. This is to prevent the link from moving when it’s slotted in. This means you have to apply extra pressure to make the pins move. Once you’ve loosen the link, you need to pull it out with both hands.

To remove a bike chain without SRAM-style master link, you first need to identify which link is the master link. Usually, the master link is labeled with an S or a clip. Depending on the style of chain, you may need to remove a few links.

Luckily, removing a bike chain without SRAM-style master link is relatively easy, as long as you have the proper tools. However, it is important to know what type of chain you have before starting. If you’re unsure, you can check the links with a chain breaker tool.

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