New bike chain - stiff joining link

MattDB

Senior Member
I'm just changing my first chain. It's a shimano 9 speed sora - counted links and seems to be the correct length. The problem I'm having is in getting the pin back in. Obv using a chain splitting tool, when you split the chain, there's a distinct 'click' feel as the pin is pushed out of the link but on the way back in this doesn't seem to be the case, thought I hadn't pushed it far enough but it seemed to be protruding further out of the opposite side so pushed it back in from that side.

It looks ok but this link is stiffer than the rest, I have pushed back and forwards a few times and have got it as free as possible but I'm not sure if this is normal? Am I missing something?
 

accountantpete

Legendary Member
Photo Winner
The click is breaking the joint so you don't need to worry about a click when putting it back together. As you say, just make sure the pin emerges equally from both ends.

The stiff link is caused by squashing the chain when re-joining and is normal.

You can work the chain up and down and flex it a bit to loosen the link - I use a Park tool and found that putting the stiff link on the wider of the two cradles are tapping down with a wooden mallet does the trick.

Here's the official procedure

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/tight-link-repair-ct-3-ct-5-ct-6-ct-7
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
I gave up joining chains like that. I use a chain tool to shorten chains, and quicklinks to join them. It is, er, quicker, easier, and more convenient if you ever want to take the chain off to clean it.

Oh, and I always carry a spare quicklink on rides in case I have to repair a broken chain out on the road.
 

Crankarm

Legendary Member
Location
Nr Cambridge
^^^^^ Wot he wrote. Triple like.

I gave up with these links years ago. Best use a SRAM quick link which fit Shimano chains with chain link pliers to split the link. The chain links are £2.99 I think sold in pack of three and chain link pliers about £13 both from CRC which make splitting a chain a doddle. I have lots of spare links, not that they have ever broken or worn out, just that I some times end up washing them down the drain as I forget they are in the bottom of the bucket when I swill it out. They make taking apart and re-joining a chain a piece of cake. Ditch your old ways. Also get a box of nitrile gloves if you haven't already. Once you have them you will never ever get dirty oily hands again.
 
OP
M

MattDB

Senior Member
Thanks guys very helpful. I will take that advice as I often think I'd like to take off the chain to clean it. Also yeah, oily nails are rubbish when I'm making tomorrow's sandwiches!

Cheers again
 
Location
Loch side.
I'm just changing my first chain. It's a shimano 9 speed sora - counted links and seems to be the correct length. The problem I'm having is in getting the pin back in. Obv using a chain splitting tool, when you split the chain, there's a distinct 'click' feel as the pin is pushed out of the link but on the way back in this doesn't seem to be the case, thought I hadn't pushed it far enough but it seemed to be protruding further out of the opposite side so pushed it back in from that side.

It looks ok but this link is stiffer than the rest, I have pushed back and forwards a few times and have got it as free as possible but I'm not sure if this is normal? Am I missing something?
By the sounds of things you may be re-using a pin that was pushed out instead of using the Shimano link pin. If this is the case, have a look at the recent thread "I keep snapping chains in this section. Pins on 9-speed chains are not re-usable. I posted some pictures and explanations here: https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/i-keep-snapping-chains.173332/page-4

As the others have told you, use master links to join a chain if you want to remove it for washing. Otherwise, use the Shimano link pin that was supplied with the chain. This cannot be removed through.
 
OP
M

MattDB

Senior Member
Thanks for the link to earlier thread Yellow Saddle. I used the pushed out pin that was supplied with the chain - there was one that was sticking out at one end and once I'd shortened the chain (from the other end) I pushed this sticking out one back in - this looks slightly different from the other pins so I'm assuming that this is a link pin. Does that make sense?

Does this sound right - or am I on borrowed time?

I rode in today no problem but have several big hills on the way home.
 
Location
Loch side.
Thanks for the link to earlier thread Yellow Saddle. I used the pushed out pin that was supplied with the chain - there was one that was sticking out at one end and once I'd shortened the chain (from the other end) I pushed this sticking out one back in - this looks slightly different from the other pins so I'm assuming that this is a link pin. Does that make sense?

Does this sound right - or am I on borrowed time?

I rode in today no problem but have several big hills on the way home.
You have done right.

Some chains are supplied with a half-fitted pin like that and breaking the chain from the other side is the right thing to do. ON Campag 11-speed chains they don't supply the chain like that but with a separate pin (similar to Shimano's) but the one end of the chain is market with a tag that says something like "break from the other side). This is because the marked end has outer plates as the final links and the other side inner plates or a male link. The concept is that if you push out a pin so that you get to re-use the outer plate that previously contained a pin, your chain is compromised. The pin is so thoroughly peened inside the plate's chamfer that removing it enlarges the hole. Although Shimano chains don't carry the same information IIRC, I do think the lesson holds. 11-speed chains really require some extra skill.
 
This is totally unofficial and unconventional but when I have rejoined a chain as per instructions and ended up with a sticky link, I have found that if you get a small flat head screw driver that is just marginally wider than the chain is, insert into the chain alongside the stiff link and gently twist the screw driver so as to wooden the chain, you can free up the stiff link. It is trial and error as to how much pressure is needed but for me it is usually a punched chain link when rejoining a chain that had caused this issue and if you think about it logically...

This is totally off record and unofficial and I suspect loads of people are holding their head in their hands yelling no very loudly, but it works!
 
Location
Loch side.
This is totally unofficial and unconventional but when I have rejoined a chain as per instructions and ended up with a sticky link, I have found that if you get a small flat head screw driver that is just marginally wider than the chain is, insert into the chain alongside the stiff link and gently twist the screw driver so as to wooden the chain, you can free up the stiff link. It is trial and error as to how much pressure is needed but for me it is usually a punched chain link when rejoining a chain that had caused this issue and if you think about it logically...

This is totally off record and unofficial and I suspect loads of people are holding their head in their hands yelling no very loudly, but it works!

If it works, it works.

You are right about the stiff link when installing a link even the right way and with the next installation I shall try your trick. My trick is to grip the chain either side of the stiff link and bend it laterally to both sides with just enough touchy-feely force to free the stiff link.
 
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