It acts as a set of the chain’s outer plates, so joining two sets of the chain’s inner plate ends. Such master links may or may not be re-usable. A chain tool is nonetheless needed to adjust a chain’s length, for example to shorten a new chain before connecting its ends. They are used on bicycles and motorcycles.
5 Answers. Each set of “inner plates” is a link. Each set of “outer plates” is a “link.” In the photo below you can see two whole links.
A chain is a serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope in that it is flexible and curved in compression but linear, rigid, and load-bearing in tension. A chain may consist of two or more links.
A new bicycle chain usually comes with 116 links. This is long enough for the biggest chainrings and for most distances of rear wheel from front chainrings. So for optimal length a new chain is usually shortened from the 116 links that come in the box.
Not all bikes have these links. They are most likely to be found on BMX bikes, single speed bikes or three-speed town bikes with internal gears. The more sprockets a bicycle has on its rear cassette, the narrower the chain must be and therefore the less room there is for this extra-wide master link.
However, even Shimano is now changing its tune and its latest 11 and 12 speed chains are available with master links.
How do I know which bike chain to buy?
When selecting a chain, the first consideration is the number of rear sprockets. The rear cog sets have been made with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 12 sprockets. As the number of cogs on the rear hub increases, the spacing between cogs tends to be reduced.
How do I know my bike chain size?
Add the multiplied chainstay length, the divided number of teeth for the chainring and rear sprocket, and add 1 (or 2.5 cm). The result is the ideal chain length for your bike. For example, you’d add 32.5, 13, 7 and 1 to get 53.5. The length of the chain should be 53.5 inches or 135.89 cm.
If you have a standard chain with no master link: Seat the chain in the chain tool, with the pin of the chain tool aligned with a pin in the chain. Turn the handle of the chain tool until you push the pin out far enough that you can break the chain.