How to Remove a Link From a Bike Chain? – 3 Easy Methods

As you know, a bike chain plays an essential role in your bicycle. However, your chain will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. That’s when you need to remove a link from the chain.

Desire to know how to remove a link from a bike chain? For the inexperienced, this removal process is not a simple task. But don’t worry! You are at the right place!

There are different methods for removing a link, and the exact procedure depends on your bike chain type. Today, we will cover the three most straightforward methods for bike chain link removal; These include:

  • Removing a link that is a master link
  • Removing a regular link with a tool
  • Removing a regular link without a tool

So, without further ado, let’s read on!

3 Common Methods to Remove a Link from a Bike Chain


Removing a Link That Is a Master Link

  • Needed Tools

A pair of pliers (Master-link pliers are highly recommended)

  • Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Find the master link/quick link

A quick link or be called a master link that helps remove your chain without tools. In most cases, this link is darker or lighter than the rest of the links of the chains. Also, it is usually wider than the others.

It sometimes comes with a dart or arrow. It is actually easy to spot the quick link, but you have to check the bike chain carefully to find it.

Step 2: Utilize Master-Link pliers to press the master link

Once you have found the quick link, all you need to do is compress it to open it. However, this link is quite stiff. As a result, you cannot remove it with your bare hands unless you are the Hulk.

So you will want to use the pliers to make things easier. Master link pliers are the perfect tool for this job as they are designed to fit into the chain easily.

You’ll insert your pliers into the master link so that this link is between the jaws of the pliers. After that, squeeze the handle on your pliers to unlock the pin.

It is possible to squeeze the master link together using needle-nose pliers. However, it can be more complicated than using the master-link pliers.

Step 3: Release your pliers to separate the quick link

Pull the jaws of your pliers out from the master link, and there you have it! Your master link has been removed.

If you want to put your chain back on, all you need to do is attach the rivets at the end of your bike chain and use master-link pliers to secure the master link in its proper place.

Check out this video to have more information about the master link and how to remove it.

Removing a Regular Link with a Tool

  • Needed Tools

A chain breaker tool or chain tool

  • Step-By-Step Guide

If the bike chain does not have a master link, it is considered a regular link. In such a case, you will need to use a chain tool or chain breaker tool to remove chain links.

Step 1: Take a chain tool

This tool is designed to push a rivet out from the link. In most instances, it is just a handheld device with a rotating handle and metal pin.

You can easily find a chain breaker tool at a local bike shop. Alternatively, you can order it online.

Step 2: Put the pin on the link into your chain breaker tool

Now, take a look at your chain breaker tool. Next to the small metal rivet, you will see two prongs. They are designed to fit one of the bike chain links.

Place the link you need to remove between the two prongs so that these prongs fit in the gaps on either side of this link. In other words, the pin of the link should be in the center of the rivet.

You must not mount your chain tool to any other part of the chain other than its pins. Otherwise, you may damage your bike chain.

Step 3: Twist the handle to push the pin.

Once the link is aligned correctly, twist the handle clockwise to push the pin from the link. Due to some resistance, this process requires a firm grip and maximum force.

Keep twisting the handle until the pin is almost out of the link. If the pin drops off, reattaching the link is nearly impossible. If you need to reattach the link, just reverse the process with your chain breaker tool.

As we mentioned, you cannot reattach the link if you continue to shove the pin all the way out. So, in this case, remove this link and shorten your chain. However, this can negatively affect bike movement if your chain is already tight. That is the reason why we recommend visiting a bicycle repair shop to request a new pin or replace the whole thing.

Step 4: Pull your chain tool out of the link

Once the pin is almost shoved out from the link, removing bicycle chain links will become easier. Now, it is time to pull the chain from the chain tool. To do that, hold the link on all sides with your hands and wiggle it back and forth until it comes apart. Again, you should do it slowly to avoid deforming your bike chain.

If you want to put your chain back, you need to shove the pin back using the chain tool.

Want to know more about using a chain tool effectively for chain installation or removal? Please refer to this video.

Removing a regular link without a tool

  • Needed Tools
  • Nut
  • Nail punch, narrow screwdriver, or anything similar
  • Hammer
  • Step-By-Step Guide

If you do not have a chain tool, you can use the recommended tools above. However, this procedure is only an alternative because it is more challenging than using a chain tool.

Step 1: Position the chain

Put the link in place so that the pin will come out into the nut hole.

If you do not have a nut, you will need to find a drill bit and a piece of wood. Drill a small hole in the wood, ensuring it is enough for the pin to pass through.

Step 2: Point nail punch to the pin

Next, place a nail punch/narrow screwdriver or anything similar in the center of the pin.

Step 3: Hit the nail punch until the pin comes out

Hit the nail punch with a hammer until the pin comes out. There you have it; your link has been removed.

As mentioned above, this solution can be a difficult approach. If you are not careful, you can deform your chain, making it impossible to reattach the link.

Here is a useful video that gives you a better look at our guide.

Final Word Of Advice

In general, learning how to take a link out of a bike chain is one of the essential skills that a cyclist should know.

It is pretty obvious our biggest piece of advice is to get a chain breaker tool. This tool doesn’t cost much, so put one in your bike bag. There is no denying that such a tool is the safest, most convenient, and fastest way to remove chain links.

But, whatever method you choose, bear in mind that your safety comes first. So, you should wear thick gloves to protect your hands.

What do you think about our guide? Do you feel satisfied following the above steps for removing a link from a chain? Tell us more by leaving a comment.

Thank you for reading. Please share this article on how to remove a link from a bike chain with your friends. It will really mean a lot to us!

Happy fixing!