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The Ultimate Guide on How to Remove Master Link from Bike Chain

Remove Master Link from Bike Chain

How to remove master link from bike chain may present itself to you as a challenge, especially if you are new to the process. On the other hand, it is a process you have to embrace especially if you are a biker, since you will have to change the chain and deal with chain issues occasionally.

We have good news though, because we made a simplified step by step guide on how to remove master link for you. I’m sure you will find it helpful.

What is a Master Link Anyway?

A master link is a conspicuous pat of a chain that is on the outside, so that you can easily connect your bike chain or even disconnect it. It does not necessitate any special tools to remove or connect.

Step By Step Guide On How to Remove Master Link from Bike Chain

Now that we have an idea what a master link is, let’s skip to the main content on successfully removing it from the bike chain.

You will need;                                          

  • A chisel
  • A hammer
  • 2 pliers
  • A cable/ toughened wire


Step 1: Wear Protective Clothing

Just like everything else that has to do with the bike chain and tires, you are sure to get dirty. If you are in bright clothing, wear a protective cloth, especially from the front. Also, gloves will come in handy, preventing your hands from the sticky grease mess.

Step 2: Locate the Master Link

First off, you need to put your bike in a position whereby you can turn the chain. Turn the pedals slowly, all the while checking out for the master link.

How will you identify the link? Simple; the link has a clip, and it is the only clip that protrudes to the outside from the chain.

Anyway, concentrate on the chain until you mark it. Now rotate the chain so that the master link is at the bottom part of the chain.

Finding it exciting? Let’s proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Get the Chain Hanging

Remove the chain from the rear cassette, from one tooth to another. Eventually, you should have the chain loosely attached to the front cassette. You actually don’t have to remove the chain from all the teeth of the cassette, as long as a substantial part of the chain is hanging.

The master link part will obviously be on the hanging section of the chain.

Step 4: Wipe Off the Oil

If you just had your bike oiled recently, then the greasy oil may get in the way of your task. To curb this, get a rag and wipe the oil off the chain on the section where the master link attaches. A damp rag dipped in hot water will simplify your task.

Step 5: Remove the Master Link Clip

This is a step I actually just learnt could simplify the next step, and the time it takes will surprise you. usually, a maximum of a minute is enough to get the clip out.

So, put the chisel on one side of the master link clip. Taking the hammer in one hand, hit the chisel with just a normal force, towards the opposite side of the master link.

One or two hits will be enough to loosen the clip, consequently pushing it to one side. It will have left the bolts holding down the master link, so you can get it off just like that.

Step 6: Put the Cable to Work!

At this point, you can confidently put your cable or wire to work. Firstly, you need to identify the two holes bordering the master link. Then, insert the cable on one of the holes, just adjacent on one side of the master link. Insert it from the bottom, so as to get it to emerge from the upper side.

Take the same side of the cable on to the hole adjacent to the master link on the opposite side, inserting it from the top. Emerging from the bottom end, again insert the cable the first hole. Take it through the second hole from the top to the bottom once again.

The reason for all this is to ensure that you sandwich the master link in between the cable, and more confidently at that.

At the end of it all, you should have the two ends of the cable on the bottom side of the master link, each on either end of the link.

Step 7: Use the 2 Pliers to Get the Job Done

Hang on, because we are almost there.

Taking the two pliers on each hand, clip on the two sides of the cable tightly.  Pull cable ends using the pliers, each to the extreme end.

This will get the chain link loose and out of the way. You just did it! You can now proceed to the main task that required you to remove the chain master link.

Can You Add Links to a Chain?

Yes, you can. Using the right type of tools, two or more master links are actually okay on the chain. So, if you feel that this will be at your convenience, then just go ahead.

Do All Bikes Have Master Links?

No, not all. Only some bikes will have master links. Those that use derailleurs and belts instead of chains will not have a master link.

Do I Need Tools to Open the Master Link?

Essentially, you will not require any tools to remove the master link. It is the simplest way to break a chain actually. All you need a simple readily available items in your bike tool kit, and you are set to go.

Parting Shot

How to remove master link from the bike chain is actually as simple as the illustrations above. In fact, 10 minutes are too many to be dealing with the master link, as long as you have these basic steps. By the end of it all, you will enjoy doing this simple task yourself, saving you some mechanical maintenance costs.

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