1/8" Chain
at Yellow Jersey

Here are some tips and comments on joining the ends of 1/8" chain. That's the chain traditionally used for three speed bikes and many other non-derailleur bicycles, such as coaster brake equipped bikes and track bikes for the sprint.
Of course in bicycles there are no hard and fast rules about equipment. Pursuit bikes go either way, some with fat 1/8" chain and some skinny 3/32". Now, even many fixed gear urban riders use the skinny stuff. Which to choose gets to be a different discussion. But if you have 1/8" chain, there are a couple of styles of 'master link'. In the classic era, these larger end-links were not suitable for derailleurs as their width would not pass the cage smoothly. (Modern derailleur chain makers have a plethora of new diminutive 'snaplink' designs for ending a chain) Here's one way to join the end:

Not difficult

The two pins are not parallel.

No tools needed

Just flex the chain until the plate pops on

Nor for removal

And let go. That's all there is to it. It will not pop open unless the chain is flexed quite a bit -which cannot happen in situ on a bicycle. For many years, I bought these mostly from Union Fondeburg in the red and blue box so we call these Union type links. I think if you said the two piece type , anyone should know what you mean.

Now that the world has been "improved", we cannot buy a case of good German $5 chain. So lately, we've been getting used to this new type, the three piece master link . Here's one of those:

Not 50% more difficult

These pins are parallel

In spite of 50% more parts

So just drop the plate over them

A tool is helpful

And slide the clip across the pins

Just any tool will do.

There are people who will tell you that these clips must only go in one direction,from front to back, such that, if snagged while in motion, it will not come undone. Seriously. But when you pull out $20 and ask them to show you how that might happen, the conversation stops. Maybe it is like the putative fatal skewer which was pointed the wrong way . On my bike, the handlebars are a lot wider than the skewer.

There's another type of joining link, , Izumi's miniature machine bolt with a cute little square nut. You don't see those around much. We can suppply them, but I betJohn Dacey would have them in stock.

As long as we're talking about 1/8" chain, here's an answer to a question we are asked more often now:

One shouldn't need it

We used these as a last resort with the tight fit of a 22t cog under the full chain case of a Raleigh DL-1 Tourist. If you find yourself changing the sprocket from 46 to 47 as your chain wears, this is one way to deal with the fact that you have the wrong frame.
Of course we have a better idea - just reformat your frame to nice, ample horizontal ends

And if you're curious about end links for derailleur chain, click here.

For the definitive word on chain wear click HERE

For nice easy to understand consumer's chain care page, click HERE

And if you are not completely conversant after that just WRITE ME

at least look at it Quick Release Directions from Suzue

It's always nice to buy something!
how to order

More about Chain
Even more about Road Chain
Special notes on Joining Shimano Road Chain

And as always your comments are welcomeClick here to email