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It was very easy to find master links for 3/32inch (aka 9-speed chain) but I cannot find them for 1/8 inch (aka BMX chain). My chain is the Nexus CN-NX10. Cannot understand the odd observation that the master links are much more popular with the 9-speed category, I can find only one seller selling "BMX master links" in eBay. I need the master links to easily clean my chains in a fixie that has a lot of dirt in the internal of the chain. Currently, I use a multitool to remove the pin very carefully so not to damage the chain but it is not that fast. So which master links would you recommend for the 1/8 inch chains? If it is a poor idea to use master links with BMX chain, please, explain why.


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...still researching but found SRAM PC-1 that comes with master link. Seems to be a bit like SRAM PC-951 (9-speed) i.e. not too expensive for a quality chain, non-verified. Now have to find out where/which the master link in the chain is. –  user652 Feb 28 '11 at 9:35
google.com/search?q=master+link+site%3Adanscomp.com master links are usually avoided because they are weaker than a normal link...and you know how the saying goes... –  dotjoe Apr 25 '11 at 18:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I suggest asking your local bike shop (LBS) because I've never seen a bike shop that doesn't have them, and they're only a couple of bucks. I found the three piece master links easily enough (on eBay and Amazon). You might prefer the two piece style in silver (Amazon)

I searched for "bicycle master link" rather than BMX to get those results.

For single speed chain I'd always use a master link, but with the narrower chains I often don't bother. But I rarely take the chain off the bike, preferring to run it through the chain cleaner on the bike (but I don't get my chains very dirty). For a single-speed it's possible that a really dirty chain would be easier to clean off the bike, but I still try on the bike first because itś so much easier.

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There's an implicit question about why master links are much more popular in 9 speed (and 10 speed, and no doubt 11 speed too) that I'll answer. It's actually fairly challenging to get a 9 speed chain joined with a chain tool such that it both runs smoothly and is reliable.

For 9 speed chain it's possible, with practice, to accomplish it, but I don't think anybody on the planet who manufactures 10 or 11 speed chain would suggest even trying it. The hub shell that the cassette fits onto is the same width for 8, 9, 10, and 11 speed systems. This necessarily means that the chain gets narrower and narrower as the number of speeds goes up.

The problem for somebody trying to join a chain with a chain tool is that the tolerances get so small that it's hard to hit the sweet spot between a chain that's too stiff and a chain that comes apart the first time you stand in the pedals.

A master link is manufactured to tight tolerances so that it hits this sweet spot reliably, saving the mechanic and rider a great deal of irritation.

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