Step-By-Step: (How to Remove a Link From a Bike Chain)

Are you looking for a simple way to remove a link from a bike chain? Well, look no further; the solution is right here for you. Bike chains tend to wear out after some time, and you would feel them stretching whenever you take your bike out for a ride.

Here’s how you can remove a link from a bike chain:

  1. Find the Right Chain Tool
  2. Put the Pins Into the Chain Gadget
  3. Fix the Pin In the Link
  4. Pull the Chain Away
  5. Reattach the Chain

Tightening your bike chain becomes important at this point in order to avoid any accidents. You can tighten your bike chain by removing a link from it.

So, let’s dive deeper and learn how you can do the procedure without any hassle!

What Do You Need to Remove a Link From a Bike Chain?

Bicycle rear wheel, wheel sprockets, and chain. Orange and black, out-of-focus background, pedal

To remove a link from a bike chain, you only require the bike chain remover tool for a regular bike chain. While on the other hand, to remove the link from a master chain, you would also require a master link plier or a needle nose plier. 

Removing a bike chain link isn’t exactly an easy process. It requires very specific tools that you’ll have to use in order to get the task done.

There are two types of bike chains, and you need different tools to remove chain links from them. 

» You can also read my post: How to Remove Rust from Bike Chain?

Removing a Link From a Regular Bike Chain

As mentioned earlier, removing a link from a regular bike chain requires a bike chain remover tool. To do this entire method correctly, closely follow the steps mentioned below.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

#1 Find the Right Chain Tool

If you wish to remove the link from a regular bike chain, you must first arrange the right chain tool. It is highly likely that you won’t have this available at your house; hence, you can go get it from a nearby local bike store. 

This link removal tool is a handheld device with a spinning handle and a metallic pin. This tool’s metallic pin part removes the chain’s rivets, undoing the entire chain in the process.

Whereas the spinning handle is used to unscrew or screw the rivets of the chain links. 

This chain tool would basically cut the chain from wherever you wish to remove the link, and then you can reassemble the chain and put it to use.

#2 Put the Pins Into the Chain Gadget

The most significant part of the chain remover tool is the metallic pin. This metallic pin is mainly used to stick in the chain rivets and remove them. 

To attach the metallic pin to the chain link, you would first need to locate two prongs on either side of this pin. Next, you must attach the prongs to one of your chain links.

The prongs of the metallic pin would perfectly fit the part of the bike chain link and hold it in position. 

The link removal tool is fixed to the bike chain, and now you can move to the next steps.

#3 Fix the Pin In the Link

You have already attached the pin to the chain link, and now, you have to slightly nudge it in order to bring it in contact with the centre of the chain link. 

With that being done, you can now start rotating the spinning handle of the tool clockwise. Please note that you will face some slight resistance while doing this. 

As you rotate the spinning handle clockwise, you should observe that the rivet is moving towards the other side of the link.

However, you should not be aiming to remove the rivet entirely and should stop spinning the handle when you think that the rivet has almost gone out of the link. 

If you accidentally remove the rivet, then putting it back together is really difficult; therefore, you should be careful to stop pushing the pin into the link when the outer link just holds the rivet. 

#4 Pull the Chain Away

The bike chain link is weak enough for you to pull the chain away from the opposite sides slightly, and the link would break off from the middle.

Remember to perform this action by wiggling the chain to and fro and not using excessive force because that may cause even more damage.

Now that the chain has broken from the middle, you can remove as many chain links as you want. Once done, you can move towards reassembling the bike chain. 

You would again need to use the chain link tool you used earlier to remove the link and reattach the bike chain.

» Read my blog post about: Chain vs Belt Drive Bicycles

#5 Reattach the Chain

To reattach the chain, pull the ends of the chain together. After that, use the chain link removal tool to put the chain pin back through the chain link.

This process should not be difficult if the chain is aligned properly. If you’re facing any difficulties with pushing the rivet back in the chain, you should try realigning both ends and then try again.

Removing Link From a Unique Link Bike Chain

Things get a little bit different when the bike chain contains a master link. A master link chain is usually used in modern bikes.

As mentioned above, you will have to use the master link pliers or needle nose pliers for this method. I will explain step-by-step how to remove the link from a unique link bike chain. 

#1 Locate the Master Link

The master link is the most vital part of your bike. The first step is to identify the master link in your bike chain. 

The master link is easily identifiable because it looks different from your bike’s other chain links. The master link sometimes comes with rounded metallic pins near the middle of the bike links.

Other times, it may be in a different color than the rest of the chain link. 

» Read more about this in my post: How to Remove Bike Chain w/o Master Link?

The bike master’s link sometimes comes with a sign, such as an arrow or a dart on it. Anyways, the point is that you will be able to identify the master link because it looks different from the other chain links. 

#2 Press the Link With the Master-pliers

Now that you’ve identified the master link, you can break the link with the help of the master pliers. The master pliers fit the crimps of the chain link and break it from the middle. 

Now you need to put the master pliers’ jaws on the chain link in such a way that they are positioned on either side of the link.

Once you’ve ensured that the master link is between the jaws of the master pliers, you can put pressure on the master link and squeeze it. 

You can also use needle nose pliers instead of master pliers. However, this tool is more difficult to use than the master pliers.

#3 Detach the Link

If you squeeze the master pliers tight enough, you can separate the link by pulling them off from the side portion. The master link is detached now, and now you can move toward the next steps. 

#4 Remove the Bike Chain

Finally, since the link is detached, you can remove the bike chain. You can tug at the bike chain and remove it from its sprockets. Once the bike chain is removed, you can work on removing any chain links you want. 

When you remove the master link, please ensure that you keep that in a safe place because you will need it to fix the bike chain. 

Once the master link is removed, you can now remove the other links. You would have to remove the pin holding a link together to do that.

Please note that you may have to use pliers and a hook to remove the pin if it is stuck well inside. However, make sure that you are gentle with the pliers because you don’t want to damage the pins or the links, for that matter.

#5 Fix the Bike Chain

In the final step, you would have to reconnect the master rivet. You can do that with the help of a flathead screwdriver.

When the master rivet clicks into place, you will know that your shortened bike chain is fixed again. 

» Maybe this also could be of interest to you: Flat Pedals vs. Clipless Bicycle Pedals

Removing a Link From a Split Link Bike Chain

The split link bike chains are usually used in BMX, single-speed, or three-speed town bikes with internal gears.

Let’s find out how you can remove a link from a split-link bike chain.

#1 Find the Split Link 

The first step is to locate the split link. You can find the split link to look different from the rest of your chain’s links. To locate this link, you should look for a link that has a metal side plate cut out in the middle. 

#2 Release the Metal Plate With Needle-Nose Pliers

The needle nose-pliers have long jaws with a pointed tip. These pliers can also be used to remove the master link from the chains but are usually used to remove the split links.

Take the needle-nose pliers and place one jaw on the right side of the split link’s left rivet. Position the other jaw on the left side of the metal plate that is cut out in the center. Squeeze the handle of the pliers and click the metal plate, causing it to shift to the right. 

#3 Remove the Metal Plate

The metal plate is loose now, and you can move towards removing it. Start by sliding off the rivets in the link. You can then remove the metal plate from the chain.

It is appropriate to use pliers if you face any difficulty. Now put the metal place somewhere safe because you will need it to reattach the chain.

#4 Take Off Another Metal Plate to Separate the Chain 

There is another solid plate placed below the plate that you removed earlier. Now you can slide this metal plate off with your fingers and set it apart with the other metal plate. The split link should open now. 

#5 Reattach the Split Ends

After opening the split link, you can take off the bike chain from the sprocket and remove as many links as you like. To reattach the link, simply place back the two metal plates that you removed earlier. 

» Read my blog post: Single Speed vs Geared In Cycling

Things To Keep In Mind While Removing Links From a Bike Chain

Removing the link from a bike chain is a skill that you should know. This task can be performed efficiently if you follow the steps closely.

However, you should keep the following things in mind while removing the links from a bike chain.

#1 Be Careful to Not Bend the Link

When you’re separating the link, you need to make sure that you don’t bend it. Bending the link may cause the chain to twist or break. If something like that happens, you would have to replace the bike chain. 

If you have only bent a few chain links, then the chain can be functional again if you remove those bent links. .

However, you also need to consider that removing the links will inevitably shorten the link, and that may not sit right with your bike.

#2 Give the Chain Some Slack

For master chain link extraction, you can make the process easier by giving the chain some slack and more room to move. 

You can give your chain some slack by simply putting the chain on the tiniest cog at the back and putting the tiniest ring in the front

#3 Don’t Put Extra Stress On Your Bike Chain

If you have removed the link from your bike chain, the chain length will be shortened. Thus, it would be difficult for the chain to move efficiently in tougher gears and even in cross-chaining. 

Moving in such conditions would add extra stress to your bike chain and may reduce its longevity.

Why Should You Remove Chain Links From Your Bike Chain?

The bike chains wear down over time, and some links get damaged more than others. These links should be removed before they break the entire chain while you’re riding. 

A faulty bike chain can cause great damage to your bike. The bike chain can break in the middle of your ride and that can be dangerous as it can lead to an accident. 

One reason for the bike chain to break while you may be cycling is that a faulty chain won’t shift well and stretch according to the appropriate gears and may eventually break.

This is not an ideal condition and may lead to damage to the cassettes and chainrings as well. 

» This could also be something for you: How Much Is a Bike Tune-Up?

How Do You Remove a Link from a Chain Without the Link Remover?

To remove a chain without the link remover, you should position the bike chain between two solid supports.

For the next step, you need to place the punch tool over the rivets of the chain. Now push the rivet out with the help of a hammer. 

At this point, the rivet will be removed, and the chain will be undone. You can now simply remove the chain links from the bike chain and then reattach the chains.

To reattach the chains, bring the ends of the chain together and then place the rivet in the chain link. You can also shorten new chains by this method. 

Final Thoughts

Removing a link from a bike chain lessens its stress and may extend your bike chain’s life. You should know this skill if you are a frequent biker because you will inevitably face this situation someday. 

Though there are multiple types of chains, and they follow relatively different methods, the basic principle stays the same.

This only means that removing the chain link from a bike chain is a very doable task and only requires some focus and energy from your side. 

What are you waiting for then? Go and remove the chain link from your bike chain and extend its life. Happy riding!

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