How To Find Master Link On Bicycle Chain?

The master link is an essential component of a bike. This article explains how to find master link on bicycle chain.

If you love riding and appreciate the exhilaration of the open road or the serenity of off-road trails, you know the value of a well-maintained bicycle.

Your bike chain has an essential component critical for its functioning: the master link. When removing your bike chain, you have to disconnect it. But because it’s small, it is sometimes hard to find it.

I’ll cover finding the master link so you don’t waste time looking. Let’s dive in.

Understanding the Master Link

bike masterlink


The master link in your bicycle chain performs a vital function that simplifies your cycling life. It is not just a tiny piece of metal in your chain. 

You’ll have greater respect for the master link’s inclusion in your bike chain once you understand its perks.

Why Master Link Is Used:

master link in bicycle chain

The primary function of the master link is to create a handy break in the chain that makes installation and removal simple. When you need to clean your chain, replace it, or perform any maintenance, you should disconnect it. 

By doing away with the need for complicated tools or chain breakers, the master link makes it easy.

The Master Link’s advantages 

You gain several advantages by adding a master link to your bicycle chain which include:

  1. a) Efficient Chain Removal and Cleaning: The master link simplifies chain maintenance. The chain’s crevices are easily accessible, allowing for improved lubrication. 
  2. b) Simple Chain Replacement: The master link makes it easier to replace your worn-out chain. Without struggling with complex tools or techniques, you may easily remove the old chain and install the new one. This saves you time and hassle by simplifying routine chain replacements.
  3. c) Roadside Quick Fixes: Imagine you’re out for a long ride when you suddenly experience a broken chain. The master connection comes in handy in these cases. 

You may easily remove the damaged piece, fix it, or, if required, replace the chain entirely. It makes it possible for you to continue riding without interruptions.

Types of master links

finding master link

Master links differ based on the particular bicycle chain you own. Here are the two types of master links:

Conventional Master Link: It has two plates with holes and pins that fit into the chain’s outer plates. Simply pushing the plates in opposing directions to disengage the pins will open the link. 

If you want to close the link, align the pins and squeeze the plates together until they snap into place.

The Quick-Link Master Link: This more recent variety of master links is made for particular chain companies, such as SRAM and KMC. It comprises two interlocking parts that may be quickly joined and severed by hand without any tools or additional pins. 

Press the plates together to open the link, then align and snap them into position to shut it.

Locating The Bike Master Link

There are a couple of ways of finding the master link. Here are the most effective ways:

Visual Inspection

At the basic level, finding the master link should involve a visual inspection. You can recognize the master link in your chain by closely analyzing it. Here is how to go about it:

Looking at the Chain Links:

Start by carefully examining the chain links on your bicycle. Look for color, form, or pattern differences from the ordinary chain links. The master link typically has a different finish, such as nickel plating or a unique coating.

Look for something that stands out. It might be larger or smaller or feature engravings or other markings. These labels could be logos, company names, or even arrows pointing to indicate how the chain should be oriented. 

The master link is often found either on the upper side of the chain or close to the rear derailleur. But this may differ based on the specific bicycle chain and the maker. 

The master link usually comprises connecting pins that slide into the chain’s outer plates. Look for these pins. Comparing these pins to the pins on standard chain links, it’s possible to notice minor differences in their design or look. 

Don’t worry if through this method you can’t find it. In the parts that follow, we’ll discuss some alternatives. However, you can usually find the master connection successfully with just a visual inspection.

If you don’t find it, there are other ways to locate the master link. Continue reading:

Manufacturer’s Documentation

The manufacturer’s paperwork is a good source of information. Referring to these materials can provide accurate instructions and information about your particular bike and chain model. 

Here are some tips for finding valuable resources:

User Guide

Locate your bike’s instruction manual to get started. The user handbook is a thorough guide that includes crucial details on the different parts of your bicycle, such as the chain and master link. 

Look for sections with information on the chain, chain care, or chain removal. The handbook can have instructions on how to find and use the master link, extensive illustrations, or step-by-step instructions.

Manufacturer Website

Visit the manufacturer’s website if you don’t have a physical copy of the user manual or would instead use a digital resource. Manufacturers often have tools and support to handle customer queries.

Go to the website’s help or downloads section, where you can find user manuals, frequently asked questions, or technical documentation. Find the instruction manual or guide for your particular bike model and download it.

Once you find these resources, analyze the information. Look for clear explanations, illustrations, or images that show the master link’s look and where it is in relation to other links in the chain. 

Using a Chain Tool

Don’t panic if you’ve gone through visual inspection and manufacturer resources and have not found the master link yet. You can use a chain tool. Here’s how you use it:

1.Assemble The Required Equipment

Ensure the chain tool you choose is the appropriate size and type for your chain. Also, set up a tidy, well-lit desk so you can comfortably work on your chain.

2.Set the Chain Tool in Place

Place the bike chain within the tool’s jaws. It should be parallel to one of the standard chain links. 

3.Apply Pressure to Push Out the Pin

While the chain tool firmly holds the chain, apply pressure by gently turning the handle or knob. The chain pin is partially forced out of the link by this motion. 

Apply steady, controlled pressure so you don’t break the chain or master link. 

4.Examine the Links

 As you pull the pin out, look at the chain’s links. Pay particular attention to the links near the chain tool because they could show distinct traits from standard links.

Look for any indications of a master connection, such as a distinct shape, color, or marking.

5.Finding the Master Link

Push the pin down until you find a connection that sticks out. This link could look different or display a mechanism that makes it evident that it is the master link. 

It could be a specific master link with pins and plates or a quick-link type with interlocking halves.

6.Relink the Chain

Carefully retract the chain pin using the chain tool after locating the master link. Before reusing the chain, ensure the master link is shut and firmly fastened. 


Is there always a master link on a bicycle chain?

No, not all bike chains have master links. While many bicycle chains have master links for chain removal, others might not. Without a master link, a chain is called “one-piece” or “continuous” and needs a chain tool to be broken and reassembled.

Which link is the master link?

The master link is a specific bicycle chain link that is made to be quickly opened and shut. It makes it easy to remove the chain and put it back on. The master link is either at the rear derailleur or the chain’s top side. Distinguishing characteristics differentiate it from conventional chain links, such as different shapes, sizes, or unique markings.

How do you fix a master link bike chain?

Use pliers or a chain tool to open the master link by pushing the side plates apart. Remove the master link and inspect it for any damage. Clean the chain thoroughly, align the ends, and reinsert the master link, ensuring the pins fit into the side plates. Close the master link by pressing the side plates together until they snap securely. Then, test the chain by rotating the pedals to ensure smooth movement.

What size master link for a bicycle chain?

Master links often come in 8-speed, 9-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed, and so on, depending on how many gears the rear cassette has. There are many master link designs for various chain manufacturers and models. 

Can you put a chain together without a master link?

Yes, you can. With the help of the chain tool, you can remove a chain pin, unlink the chain, and then relink it by pushing it back into the targeted link. This technique could take some time and requires a bit of skill. 

Can you remove the master link of a chain?

Yes, you can take a chain’s master link out. It is simple to open and close the master link, making it easy to remove and reinstall the chain. You can separate the side plates of the master link and take it out of the chain using pliers or a chain tool.

Wrap Up

Your bicycle chain’s master link fulfills a vital function. It provides convenience, ease of maintenance, and quick chain changes. Take advantage of the ease the master link offers when cleaning or repairing your bike. And keep your bike chain in good condition; it’s what keeps you moving.

So, are you ready to go cycling now?

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