Somehow the new chain must be on the bike. Or you wonder how to get the old chain off? In principle, there are two fundamentally different techniques for closing a bicycle chain. You can close the chain with a chain rivet pin, or you can use a bike chain lock to connect the two ends of the chains together. Depending on which of these two methods the chain was closed, one must proceed differently when opening the chain.
But that’s already a pretty strong generalization – because almost every chain manufacturer has its own bike chain locks, which differ from each other in the locking system and are therefore different to close and open. Some bike chain locks have the advantage that you can open and close them without tools, while others still require a tool. Thus, confusion often arises between cyclists in conversations and on Internet forums – one needs pliers to open the chain lock, while the other takes the hands to do so. We clarify the classic chain rivet pin and the different bicycle chain locks depending on the manufacturer.
How to Lock A Bike
There are different best ways to lock up a bike properly. Below are some possible easy and best way to lock up a bike.
A) High-quality parking facilities: Ironing or similar parking spaces offer cyclists the opportunity to chain their front wheel and frame to them.
B) Lock towards the ground: Many bicycle thieves use a lockpick to open the bicycle lock. Having the lock face down made it very difficult for thieves to use lock picks.
C) Instead of just closing! Securing the bike with a high-quality lock does not protect against being carried away. Therefore: Always connect!
D) Do not lock on the ground: The bicycle lock should not rest on the ground. Otherwise, it’s easy to break open with a hammer and chisel.
E) Never secure only the front or rear wheel: If only one wheel and not the frame is connected to the parking facility, there is a possibility that the thief will separate the wheel connected to the parking facility from the frame and steal it.
The Difference Between Bike Chain Pin And Bike Chain Lock Explained
But first, let’s explain again what this is really about and where the difference between bike chain pin and bike chain lock.
Chain rivet pins are a bolt that can be used to connect the two loose ends of the chain. Thus, this locking link can be practically indistinguishable from the other links afterward.
A chain lock, however, connects the two ends of the chain in a different way. In principle, you get an additional link that connects the two ends of the chain. So, unlike the chain rivet pin, the locking link can be distinguished from the other links. This is also quite useful – because the chain can also be opened again here. Chain locks are often also referred to as “master links”, but manufacturers often use their own designations, such as “missing link” or “snap-on”.
Many cyclists have a negative attitude towards “the chain lock”. But as explained at the beginning, this is a blanket statement – each chain manufacturer has a unique chain lock system. Some chain locks are more difficult to use than others. If you want to remain sweeping, it can be said that the attachment of a chain lock is much easier than the closing with the help of a rivet pin. However, opening a chain lock sometimes requires some fiddling, while the conventional opening of the chain with a chain rivet works relatively easily if you have already dealt with the use of the chain rivet.
How To Close A Chain With A Chain Rivet Pin?
To close a chain with the rivet pin, you need a chain riveter – just as you do to open a chain without a bike chain lock.
The chain rivet pin consists of two parts, which are later broken apart at a predetermined breaking point. One part has a rounded or pointed end – this is then broken off. But first, you push the tabs of one end of the chain over the inner roller of the other end of the chain. Here you push the part of the rivet pin, which has a rounded or pointed end, through. Then place the chain – which has been helpfully closed for the time being – at the attachment point of the chain rivet and press the protruding, flat end of the pin into the chain with the chain rivet. Now the other, round end of the pin should protrude. Break this off at the predetermined breaking point using pliers or a similar tool. The appearance and the play at the end of the connecting link should not be very different from the other chain links.
Here you are actually done – but some chain riveters have an additional adjustment. Instead of the pin of the chain being forced out through a hole on one side, this adjustment presses the pin against a surface that is crossed. This serves to further spread and expand the chain rivet pin on both sides – making it sit a little more securely in the chain and preventing it from slipping out. This means that you place the locking link in this setting and press the rivet pin of the chain rivet again against the locking bolt. This deforms the bolt and you can see afterward that one end is crossed. This spreads the ends a little.
How To Open A Riveted Chain?
To open a riveted chain, simply place the chain against the chain tool. Similar to closing or spreading, you press the rivet pin of the chain riveter against the chain pin so that it is pushed out of the other side. Do this until the chain can be opened.
If you want to reuse the chain later, you can reuse this pressed-out pin to close the chain again!
Is Bike Chain Lock Compatible?
As a rule, a chain is supplied with either a suitable chain rivet pin or bike chain lock to mount the chain on the bike. But in principle, chains are also compatible with the chain rivet pins and chain locks of other manufacturers.
The important thing is that the size fits! bicycle Chain locks usually give an indication of whether they are suitable for 7-speed or 8-speed chains, for example. This is – as with the size of the chain (see Which chain do I need now? ) – the number of sprockets at the back of the wheel. If you attach an unsuitable chain lock to the chain, it can happen that the chain jumps off the sprockets under load or at certain gears.
Connex Bicycle Chain Locks
Chain manufacturer Connex advantageously has a strong online presence with online store and PDF instructions for their newer chain lock designs. If the link to one of the following Connex chain lock systems no longer works, you may find a new link to it here:
The assembly and disassembly of the Connex Link chain lock are managed without tools. The Connex Link is currently available in four different sizes: 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed, and 11-speed chains. And in two different colors: silver or gold.
The assembly and disassembly of the Connex Snap On-chain lock are mastered without tools. The Connex Snap-On is only suitable for 7-speed chains. It is available in steel, nickel, and with anti-rust coating, which is to withstand especially the sea air.
Connex Spring Lock
The assembly of the Connex spring lock works without tools. For disassembly, you may still need a screwdriver to push out the locking bolt. Compatible with a 1-speed system such as single-speed and hub gear chains.
Connex Crank Link
The Connex crank link is actually not a chain lock per se – it is a special attachment part. Namely, the crank link is a half chain link for a single speed/hub geared bicycle to thereby achieve the perfect chain length and thus the perfect chain tension. You also need a chain riveter and a chain rivet pin to install the crank link.
KMC Bike Chain Locks
The chain manufacturer KMC also has quite a strong online presence with assembly instructions, but only a fraction of their bicycle chain lock range can be ordered directly from them. In fact, with KMC bike chain locks, you have a huge choice – depending on bike type, size, and extras like color and Reusable / Non-Reusable. The point here is whether you want to use the bike chain lock merely as a disposable chain lock or whether you want to eventually reuse it after disassembly. However, it can be difficult to find the desired KMC chain lock online – if, in doubt, we advise contacting your local bike shop.
KMC Missing Link
The KMC Missing Link is probably the most popular and universal bicycle chain lock that KMC offers. This chain lock is available in almost all conceivable sizes and designs – whether mountain bike or city bike, whether 1-speed or 11-speed chain.
The Missing Link differs in Reusable and Non-Reusable – so reusable and disposable. The assembly and disassembly are different for these two variations! The Reusable Missing Link can be installed without tools. The Non-Reusable Missing Link requires a special pair of pliers.
The Missing Link is available in silver, black, and gold.
KMC Snap On
The KMC Snap-On is much less common than the Missing Link. The KMC Snap-On there is namely only for 1-speed systems, so hub gears or Singlespeeds / Fixies. To distinguish the Snap On-chain locks are, however, in such for narrow and such for wide hub gears. The narrow Snap On-chain locks have a bolt length of 7.3mm, wide a bolt length of 8.6mm. The assembly and disassembly are done without tools.
KMC Spring Clip
The KMC Spring Clip – also known as KMC Uni-Connector and KMC Inox SC – is another special feature. This chain lock from KMC is only suitable for 1-speed systems and has a bolt length of 10.4mm – so here we are talking about a particularly wide chain, as you sometimes find on BMX, fixies, or track bikes.
For the assembly, you need common flat nose pliers.
KMC Half Link
The KMC Half Link is – similar to the Connex crank link – a half chain link for single speed/hub gears bicycles. This allows you to set the perfect chain length. For mounting, you need a chain riveter and chain rivet pin.
Shimano Bike Chain Locks
Shimano Quick Link
Shimano chains are closed classically with the chain rivet pin. But recently Shimano has now also brought its own bike chain lock on the market: the Shimano Quick-Link. This is available in two different versions: the SM-CN900 for 11-speed chains and the SM-UG51 for 6-speed, 7-speed, and 8-speed chains.
The instructions for installing the Quick Link look very technical at first glance with many instructions for proper use – but in principle, the assembly is not much more difficult than with other chain locks. You do not need any tools.
SRAM Bike Chain locks
There are 2 types of SRAM bike chain locks discussed here.
The SRAM PowerLock is the chain lock design of SRAM. It is very similar in appearance to the SRAM PowerLink. The SRAM PowerLock is available for 10-speed, 11-speed, and 12-speed chains. The assembly is done without tools. For disassembly, however, you need special chain lock pliers. The PowerLock is namely not intended to be reused.
The SRAM PowerLink actually looks almost identical to the PowerLock. But the PowerLink is considerably easier to open than the PowerLock and while the PowerLock is for 10-speed, 11-speed, and 12-speed chains, the PowerLink chain locks are for 6-speed, 7-speed, 8-speed, and 9-speed chains. The PowerLink is reusable.
How to Install a Bike Chain Lock?
A bike chain lock can only be installed on an open bicycle chain. This is because the bike chain lock is an additional chain link that connects the two open ends of the bicycle chain. bicycle Chain locks from different manufacturers differ – but in principle, they always have two bolts with which you connect the chain lock to the two open chain links. Closing a chain lock usually works without tools.
How does a bicycle Chain Lock Work?
The chain lock is a special chain link that connects the two open ends of a bicycle chain, thus closing the chain. This works with a special locking mechanism that you usually close and reopen with your bare hands. This locking mechanism withstands the forces and pressure while riding – just like a normal chain link. The locking link must not be weaker than the other links, otherwise, you get a predetermined breaking point. The bicycle chains of some well-known manufacturers are closed with a chain lock as standard.
Where is the bicycle Chain Lock?
Provided that the bicycle chain has a chain lock – the chain lock is a separate chain link, which is different from the other chain links. However, some bicycle chains do not have such a visible locking link. Then it is a bicycle chain closed with a rivet pin. Thus, the locking link resembles all other links and is indistinguishable.
What is a bicycle Chain Lock?
The chain lock is a special chain link that allows you to close and open the bicycle chain. “The chain lock” doesn’t really exist, though – every manufacturer makes their own chain locks with brand names like “Missing Link”, “Snap-On”, etc… Sometimes chain locks are also referred to as master links. Not all bicycle chains have a chain lock.
How Much Does a Bike Chain Locks Cost?
Usually, a matching chain lock always comes with a new bicycle chain. But chain locks can also be bought individually – either in bicycle shops or you order them online at Amazon, for example. Often you can also order the chain locks directly on the manufacturer’s website, like Connex. Depending on the quality level, the price can vary and be up to 20 euros – but an ordinary chain lock from a brand manufacturer usually costs only a few euros or is even in the cent range.
Bicycle Chain: Where to Open?
That depends on whether the bicycle chain was closed with a rivet pin or a chain lock! Shimano and Campagnolo chains are usually closed with a rivet pin. Connex, KMC, SRAM chains usually have a chain lock. The chain lock is different from the other links and can often be opened without tools. If necessary, you need chain lock pliers. A bicycle chain closed with a rivet pin has no visible locking link. These bicycle chains can be opened at any chain link with a chain riveter. Theoretically, this method is of course also possible for chains with a chain lock, if the chain lock cannot be opened.