How to Remove Bike Chain Without Master Link – 3 Easy Ways

If you own a bicycle, you will have to change the chain one day when it is rusty or loose. By using a master link, you can remove your chain easily with a few tweaks.

However, this raises the query of whether removing the chain without a master link is possible. For your quick answer, it is yes. You will normally find there are three different solutions to work with:

  • Using a Chain Tool
  • Using a nail and hammer
  • Using a steel cutter or saw

However, we do not recommend the last option and we will explain why below.

So, without wasting much time, let’s find out the solutions to “How to remove bike chain without master link?”.

Three Solutions to Remove Bike Chain Without Master Link


The master link is one of the essential parts of the bicycle chain. In most cases, the master link is shinier compared to the rest of the chains. It allows you to remove the bike chain without tools.

However, if you do not have it, it is necessary to try other ways. Here are the most common solutions to take your bike chain off.

1. Remove Your Bike Chain Using a Chain Tool

A chain tool (also known as a chain breaker or rivet puller) is a must-have tool for every bike owner. It allows you to take off the chain quickly by removing a rivet from your chain.

Necessary tools

  • A chain tool.

Detailed guide

First of all, put your chain in place so that when you pull the chain tool’s lever, the rivet can easily exit through the hole on the opposite side. Then, pull out the rivet completely to remove the chain.

This tool is relatively cheap, and you can easily find it at any local bike repair shop. Therefore, get one as soon as possible because you will definitely need it someday.

You can use the chain breaker and old rivet to put your chain back. However, some chains support old rivets while others do not. That means you may need to buy a new rivet to re-connect your chain.

Check out this video to better understand how to remove your bike chain using a chain tool.

2. Remove Your Bike Chain With A Nail And Hammer

This section will remove the query for those wondering, “Is it possible to fix a bike chain without a chain tool?”

If you do not have a chain tool, you can use a nail (or anything similar) and hammer as an alternative to removing the chain. For this way, you’ll need a hammer, a narrow screwdriver/nail punch (or anything similar with a tiny tip), and something with a hole (to remove the pin).

Necessary tools:

  • A narrow screwdriver/nail punch
  • A hammer
  • Something with a hole

Detailed guide

First of all, it is essential to put your bike in place to hammer the chain with ease. Then place part of the chain on a tool with a hole so that the rivet can get out smoothly through this hole.

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

Finally, hammer the rivet or narrow screwdriver until the pin pops out completely. And there you have it; your chain has been removed.

It is possible to use a hammer to re-rivet your chain. However, we recommend using a new rivet because the old rivet can deform while breaking your chain.

3. Remove Your Bike Chain Using Steel Cutter Or Saw

As mentioned above, you can use a steel cutter or saw to cut your chain. However, this may cause your chain to be damaged or deformed. That means if you choose this solution, you may not be able to connect your chain again. So, we do not recommend this option.

How to Check Your Chain

Using a chain wear tool is the best way to check a bike chain for excessive stretch. Let’s start by hooking one end over one pin (or roller) in your chain. The other end can be placed on the top of the chain or the gap between the two rollers.

Chain wear tools have indicators that indicate chain wear. If the number you get is somewhere between 0.5 and 0.75, you should replace your chain. For readings higher than 07.5, you have to change the chain and check the condition of the cassette and chainrings.

In addition, you can also use a ruler or tape measure to check the condition of your chain. For a new chain, 12 full links are exactly 12 inches long. If 12 full links are longer than 12 1/16 inches, consider changing the chain.

How to Take Care of Your Chain

For your chain to last a long time, it is essential to lubricate and clean it regularly.

It is best to clean the chain with a chain cleaner, then lubricate every roller with a high-quality lubricant. You have to keep lubricating far from the outside of your chain. Furthermore, make sure your lubricating oil possesses the following essential characteristics:

  • Be durable
  • Minimize the accumulation of dirt

Also, it is best to use bike-specific lubricants and cleaners as they are designed to resist dirt and water.

Last but not least, always re-lubricate or clean your chain after wet driving to prevent it from rusting.

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Do all bike chains have a master link?

The short answer is no.

If your bike has derailleurs, your bike chain will not have a master link.

2. What is the best solution to clean my rusty chain?

Remove your chain from the car and soak it overnight in rust remover. Then wash your chain the following day. If the condition does not improve, it is time to replace your chain.

3. How much does it cost to replace a bicycle chain?

It is possible to own a new chain for $15.00. The higher-end chains range in price from $25.00 to $60.00 or more. As a rule, you get what you pay for. So, more expensive chains are usually more durable.

4. Can I shorten the bike chain?

Your bicycle chain can lengthen over time. Do not worry! You can shorten it by removing the excess links. All you need is a few tools, a bike stand, and a little effort.

5. What happens if I don’t change my worn chain?

A worn chain can break if you don’t replace it. Furthermore, it can wear down the gears, which could cost you more than just replacing a chain.

6. How long does a bike chain last?

Experts recommend that you change your chain every 2,000 to 3,000 miles, depending on your riding style.

7. What causes my chain to come loose?

There are many reasons why your chain might be loose. Here are the most common causes:

  • Get the wrong size chain.
  • The front and rear derailleur aren’t correctly aligned.
  • The crank tooth needs to be changed.
  • The chainring or the derailleur are damaged.

8. How many links does a new bike chain have?

In most cases, a new bicycle chain is packed with 116 links.


Hopefully, by the end of the article on how to remove bike chain without master link, you have known ways to remove a bicycle chain without a master link. Whatever method you choose, always remember that your safety comes first. Therefore, we recommend that you wear thick gloves to protect your hands when working on these projects.

Thank you for reading. We have lots of other valuable articles, don’t miss them!