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Chain Joining - Is this a completely muppet idea?


Been pondering something.

Back in the times of black and white, chains were riveted together, then came along those cleaver folks and the split link was born. Consequently all our chains are now joined by the magic split link.

Does it have to be this way?? When cutting a chain to length, can you not just push the pin almost out join the chain and push the pin back in, like we did in the good old days? ... The chains on our older tandem are Shimano HG 6-Speed, and I recollect having to join these with a special pin. Obviously it would be an issue removing a wheel, but with vertical dropouts and a correctly tensioned chain (or an eccentric)it shouldn't be too difficult.

What am I missing, apart from convenience?

If you want to use an chain tool to push the pin back in like we did in the old days, go for it.  I have done that a few times with eight speed KMC chains.

If an eight speed chain will work on your bike, you could use the newer quick links if you chose to do so.

I use KMC chains, some eight speed chains use a quick link with a 7.3mm pin, some a 7.1mm pin, thus it is possible to have the wrong eight speed quick link for an eight speed chain.  I think that Shimano and Sram use different pin lengths, but not sure.

Pushing the pin back in might not work with some of the chains for cassettes with lots of sprockets, but I do not know if there is a dividing line, or where that line is.  I do not think I can do that on my bike with a 10 speed KMC chain.


--- Quote from: Aleman on September 06, 2021, 01:51:59 PM ---When cutting a chain to length, can you not just push the pin almost out join the chain and push the pin back in, like we did in the good old days?
--- End quote ---

Depends on the chain. And the tool used.

Quite a few years ago when I was maintaining several derailleur bikes I bought the old model of this tool, following the advice of the mechanic in my LBS:

This works for most chains, it has a position for "spreading" the end of the rivet after re-riveting the chain.

The 8-speed and single-speed (hub-gear) chains that I use myself can all be joined with the cheap (and light) chain tool in my touring toolkit, with the possible exception of the KMC X1 (or E1).

Shimano 8-speed chains with their special joining rivet might be a problem with my cheap chain tool, but I didn't like this brand in chains, preferring SRAM or KMC.

I had a couple of not so good experiences with split links breaking in my derailleur days. So I went old school and just ignored the split link and just joined all my chains using the rivets in the traditional manner.

Then on a German bike forum someone was talking about the Connex quick link being totally reliable on high mileage derailleur bikes and dead easy to change without any tools on hand. I tried a Connex 808 chain and found the link to be reliable, and the chain to be long-lived compared with the Shimano chains I had been buying to that point.

Roll on to my Rohloff powered bike. My Wippelmann Connex 808 is 12,300km old and still working. The only problem I had with the split link was dropping it when removing the chain to dip in hot wax, and not being able to find one half of it. So I pilfered the one from my derailleur bike and joined that 808 using the rivet tool as the split link was now on the Rohloff bike.

But overall, yes you can use those funny pins, or split links or indeed rivets to join your chain.

Andre Jute:
KMC makes clear in their advertising literature that the "bullet" riveting on some of their chains is a contributing factor in their longevity.


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