How to Remove Bicycle Chains

How to Remove Bicycle Chains
Removing the chain from the bike is necessary for many chain repairs and may also be done for cleaning the chain. If your chain does not have a master link, you'll need to enlist the aid of a chain tool. Carry a chain tool with you as part of your emergency repair kit when you ride. This way, if your chain is damaged or broken during the ride, you'll be able to repair it and ride home.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Chain tool
Step 1
Find the area of the chain you'd like to break. If there is a problematic link, be sure to locate it so that you can break the chain at that link and remove it.
Step 2
Place the chain so that the space between the links sits over the tooth on the top of your chain tool. If there are two teeth, you'll want to use the outer one farthest from the chain tool pin.
Step 3
Align the pin on the chain tool with the chain link rivet. Slowly crank the tool clockwise into the rivet until it begins to push it out the other side.
Step 4
Crank the chain tool until you have pushed most of the rivet out and are able to pull the chain apart. Do not push the entire link rivet out of the chain, but leave it attached to the link. The rivet will be difficult to reinstall if you push it all the way out.
Step 5
Crank the chain tool open and remove it from the chain.
Step 6
Hold the chain on either side of where the removed rivet is. Gently bend the the chain toward the rivet that is sticking out. Slowly pull the side opposite the removed rivet until you get it to separate. Remove the chain from the bike.

Tips & Warnings

Master links are single chain links that can be taken apart by hand; methods vary by style. If you're unsure if your chain has a master link, consult your bike owner's manual. Alternately, just use the method above to remove a regular link in the chain.
Avoid removing the chain regularly, as this can weaken the hardware. If you find yourself removing the chain often for cleaning or other reasons, consider adding a master link.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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