24 October 2014

HOWTO: Open Chain Quick Link with Nose Pliers

My s.o.'s commuter bike has a stubborn quick link on the chain which just can't be undone by hand. There are a number of nice tools specifically for this (Park Tool and others) but a pair of nose pliers will work just as well - in 5 easy steps! Click on the pictures for full sized versions.

A pair of inexpensive nose pliers for opening a bicycle chain quick link (also called master link, missing link or power link)
Step 0: Find a pair of nose pliers

I had read that it could be done, but it took a while before I figured out the trick. Note that this works only for chains with a removable quick link (also known as Master link, power link or missing link, depending on manufacturer or brand).

If your existing chain does not have this, you can purchase just a master link, available as a pair from Decathlon, also from most other bike shops here in Bangalore. Remember that 8spd, 9spd and 10spd links are different widths and not interchangeable. You can then "break" open your chain with a chain tool and insert the master link.

Bicycle chain in two hands with the quick link in the middle
Step 1: Put chain in the small-small gear combination, giving maximum slack.
Locate the quick link. Having the bike upside down helps.

Bicycle chain held in one hand with the quick link exposed
Step 2: Hold the quick link and chain with your left hand as shown above.
Mirror if you are left handed.

Nose pliers forcing together the pins on the quick link of a bicycle chain
Step 3: Align the jaws of the pliers on the pins of the quick links.

Quick link open with pins moving towards each other
Step 4: Press! Mind your fingers - don't catch them in the pliers.

Step 5: Pull apart the two halves of the quick links to open

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