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  1. #1
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    Help with Chain/Powerlink

    Can someone please explain powerlinks to me?

    I understand that SRAM makes chains that use powerlinks, but you can also add a powerlink to another chain right?

    I have a 2012 trek marlin. I'm not sure what the chain is but its obviously not a powerlink.

    I've seen a bunch of people talk about carrying a powerlink in case their chain breaks. So i'm assuming if your chain snaps during a ride you can remove the broken link with a chain tool and then snap a powerlink on? Once its on you can leave it there right? In fact, dont some people add them to chains just to take them off for cleaning etc?

    I've also heard of people carrying extra chain links, how would you use a regular chain link to replace a broken one?

    When a chain breaks during a ride is it likely that more then one link will snap?

    Thanks for any insight.

  2. #2
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    Typically a chain will break in one spot so you just need to take the bad link (or two) out and throw in a new link Power links can be used and stay there as long as the life of the chain. Keep in mind you can not easily remove a power link. Once it's on, it's on. Make sure if you are carrying extra links that they match the chain size ( 10 speed or 9speed etc).

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I thought the point of a power link was that you could remove them to clean your chain?

  4. #4
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    Different chain brands can have different widths. Make sure the power link you buy matches the chain you have. You don't necessarily have to match the brand, but you do want to make sure you match the "fits" of the link to the type of chain you have. For example, if you have a Shimano 9 spd chain, you want to make sure your quick link says that it fits Shimano 9 spd chains.
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  5. #5
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    I have successfully used powerlinks on Shimano chains, going on maybe.2-3 years for one link.

    Your assumption about how to use the powerlink mid-ride is correct. Actually, one of the nice things about them is if you break the chain mid-ride, near the powerlink, and you don't have tools, you may be ablt to just shorten the chain and continue riding.

    You would need to carry extra pins (or power links) and chain tool if you are going to carry extra links.

    The chain break location will dependend primarily on the location of the chain that is seeing the highest load. In the instance of a chain breaking from high loads during shifting (only way I've ever broken a chain), the location depends on where the link is during the shift. When shifting, the chain if flexed laterally in a very localized area to accomodate moving from one cog to the next. If the power link is near that lateral flex point, it can break. To try and prevent this, I've tried to install power links so that when the chain moves to a larger diameter cog, the corner of one of the L sections that makes up the power link is caught by the larger diameter cog first (as opposed to the joint between the two Ls catching the larger diameter cog first). Still, I've seen power-links break just the same as pinned chains. My sample size of broken chain links is not large enough to say whether one breaks more easily than the other (three broken chains in 10+ years of riding).

    Spin more and mash less and you'll have less to worry about with regard to breaking chains).

  6. #6
    B.Ike
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    although tricky, you can remove them. Park makes a tool specific to this. Needle knose pliers work. For trail side repair you;ll most likely need a chain tool.

  7. #7
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    I have found that the first couple times you remove a power-link they can be tough, but after that, the slide apart pretty easily. I have used both sram and KMC and never had a failure. Shimano says not to use one with their chains, but if you do a search here you will find plenty of people do it with success.
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  8. #8
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    Hank, I looked up your bike and see that it is an eight-speed bike. There are two chain widths in common use on eight-speed bikes. I believe the widths are 7.1mm and 7.3mm (or maybe it's 7.4mm).

    SRAM's Powerlink is the narrower of the two sizes. KMC makes similar links -- called Missing Links -- in both sizes. I carry both eight-speed sizes, and also the nine-speed size, in my backpack to maximize my odds of being able to help someone should their chain break. (Which has happened)

    If your chain breaks on the trail, you remove the damaged links, taking care to leave an inner link at either end of the chain. Then you use the Powerlink or Missing Link to connect the two inner links together. You'll need a chain tool to remove the damaged links.

    You have now shortened your chain, and should adjust derailleur limit screws to prevent shifting into a combination that requires more chain than your bike has available. A quick fix is to tighten the front derailleur's high limit to block access to the big ring. Given a 44-tooth big ring and a 32-tooth middle, blocking the big ring compensates for up to 12 lost half-links.

    If you do not already have such a link on your chain, why not add one? Doing so will give you the practice you need in order to feel more confident doing a trail-side repair. Plus, sometimes it's just darned handy to be able to remove your chain and get it out of the way, when working on the bike, or for cleaning.

  9. #9
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    Difficult to remove once installed???

    I seldom have any problem removing the link. Do it frequently in fact most of mine come off so easy I am surprised they don't fall off during use but never had it happen on my Shimano chains. Only once I had to use pliers for a bit extra umph.

    To me they are mostly a convenience for chain cleaning, front derailer replacement etc. I do carry a spare with me but never had to use it on my bike. Fixed someone elses broken chain on the trail once.
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  10. #10
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    Yes I have to clarify, when you said Power Link I automatically thought you were talking about SRAM power links. They are tough to remove, in my experience, but probably not impossible.

  11. #11
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    Buy the kms $15 dollar chain on Amazon . It comes with powerljnk and is better quality than sram chains.

    Yiu should have spare chain any way.

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  12. #12
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    The SRAM Power Links I use on my Shimano chains are not at all hard to remove.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmodavis View Post
    The SRAM Power Links I use on my Shimano chains are not at all hard to remove.
    Perhaps they are meant to be used with SRAM chains and are designed to be difficult to remove so that they don't fall out?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Perhaps they are meant to be used with SRAM chains and are designed to be difficult to remove so that they don't fall out?
    I repeat "The SRAM Power Links I use on my Shimano chains are not at all hard to remove. I am surprised they don't fall off during use but never had it happen on my Shimano chains."
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  15. #15
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    For those that have difficulty opening the SRAM powerlinks, there is a secret for removal. Before I found it out, I thought the whole powerlink thing was bogus because it was so hard to open...

    The trick is this: you have to squeeze the two side plates together (ie, make the link/chain more narrow) in order to then slide the pins towards each other (ie, make the link/chain shorter) which will in turn release the link. That squeeze together step is key and is likely the part you are missing. Try it, and you will be surprised at how easy it is! :thumbup:

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertdc View Post
    For those that have difficulty opening the SRAM powerlinks, there is a secret for removal. Before I found it out, I thought the whole powerlink thing was bogus because it was so hard to open...

    The trick is this: you have to squeeze the two side plates together (ie, make the link/chain more narrow) in order to then slide the pins towards each other (ie, make the link/chain shorter) which will in turn release the link. That squeeze together step is key and is likely the part you are missing. Try it, and you will be surprised at how easy it is! :thumbup:

    Sent from my Galaxy S3
    I wondered how long it would be before someone that "actually" knows how to open a power link would finally post up. It took 14 replies to get there.

  17. #17
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    As far as I know all 9sp chains have the same width. So theoretically SRAM powerlink should work on all of them. Its a bummer that shimano sticks to its break off pin when many manufacturers have their similar version of powerlinks.

  18. #18
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    Sorry wrong thread

    oops
    Last edited by flteng965; 09-05-2012 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Wrong thread

  19. #19
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    The Park tool MLP-1 is well worth the money -- around $12 as I recall.

    I read somewhere that it is not good to remove and replace pins when removing a chain for cleaning -- they aren't as strong afterwards. Another reason to use a quick link.

  20. #20
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    I have used powerlinks on Shimano chains with no problems

  21. #21
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    Thanks everyone. I noticed the missing links are much much cheaper. Power links are about 5 bucks a pop and I could get 6 missing links for 10 bucks? Is this a get what you pay for situation or are you paying for the name?

  22. #22
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    I've never bought any links- I always keep ones from old chains to use in a pinch out in the woods. Somehow always seem to have new ones laying around from somewhere too

  23. #23
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    I've used KMC links on both Shimano and SRAM chains with no issues. Been doing this for years.

    As someone else said, the Park Tool MLP's are well worth the money if you remove chains often.

    I used to always have trouble getting new links to engage fully until someone taught me this trick:

    Attach the sides of the link as usual, with the ends of the chain coming together below the chainstay. Just get the two pieces attached, don't worry about them seating in place all the way yet. Instead of struggling with pulling on each side of the chain to get the link to seat, gently pedal the bike so that the connecting link is now above the chainstay. Stop when the drive-side crank arm is at the 3 o'clock position. Hold the rear wheel still with your left hand while you give the pedal a good hard smash. The force exerted on the chain will pop the link into place.

    I hope this makes sense without pictures.

  24. #24
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    umm, power links can be removed easily

    I for one use them on all my chains - to be able to take them off for cleaning or bike maintenance...

    I always carry a spare power link on my rides/races. They are good to repair broken chain quickly, but I would not ride with them as a permanent fix. Once the chain is broken - it may be compromised more than in the are that was replaced... I usually try to ride with only one power link in my chain, and not the one that was installed due to broken chain...

    hope this helps...

    Quote Originally Posted by flxpain View Post
    Typically a chain will break in one spot so you just need to take the bad link (or two) out and throw in a new link Power links can be used and stay there as long as the life of the chain. Keep in mind you can not easily remove a power link. Once it's on, it's on. Make sure if you are carrying extra links that they match the chain size ( 10 speed or 9speed etc).

  25. #25
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    shimano is full of it - just because they don't make it...

    power links can be used on any chain - just make sure you use the proper one - 9 for 9 speed and 10 for 10 speed... that is about the only rule...

    Quote Originally Posted by natzx7 View Post
    I have found that the first couple times you remove a power-link they can be tough, but after that, the slide apart pretty easily. I have used both sram and KMC and never had a failure. Shimano says not to use one with their chains, but if you do a search here you will find plenty of people do it with success.

  26. #26
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    ditto...

  27. #27
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    At the risk of being redundant...
    All of my chains have Powerlinks installed and are permanently in place and easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. And I carry a couple of spares when I ride just in case I need to replace a failed one or a repair a new break. The only thing I have so far used a spare for is to help someone else on the trail who had a chain break.
    They are worth the expense and convenience IMO!
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  28. #28
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    It looks like the 10 speed Sram power link is different from the 9 speed model. It is not meant to be removable. KMC's 10 speed link is removable.

    An additional technique for removal is to take pressure off the section of chain with the link with a piece of wire with a bend on each end. Squeeze the link with your fingers and move them in opposite directions.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmodavis View Post
    And I carry a couple of spares when I ride just in case I need to replace a failed one or a repair a new break. The only thing I have so far used a spare for is to help someone else on the trail who had a chain break.
    They are worth the expense and convenience IMO!
    +1. They weigh nothing. I carry three links -- one for nine-speed, and one each for the two different eight-speed sizes. Probably I should a ten-speed link to the mix. Even if it's someone else's chain that breaks, it's a win to be able to fix it and continue the ride.

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