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I'm not sure if 'starter pin' is the correct terminology. When you buy a new chain, that doesn't have a master link, you get a longer pin that allows you to put the chain together. Then you simply take a pair of pliers and snap the extra piece of pin off. Is there anyway to just buy the pins without buying a new chain?

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Of course, the other option is to do it the old-fashioned way, and use the existing pin. The trick is to not drive it all the way out. This worked fine for decades before Shimano invented the replacement pin scheme. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 17 '12 at 15:44
    
@DanielRHicks: I screwed up this time and pushed the pin out. –  Joe Johnson 126 Apr 17 '12 at 17:34
    
It's tricky. For a given chain and chain tool you need to practice on an old chain and count the number of turns to push the pin so that the one end is just flush with the plate. Then write that down somewhere where you can find it when you need it. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 17 '12 at 18:35
    
Shimano invented the replacement pin "scheme" because of the inherent weakness of the reuse idea. Modern chain pins are peened. That is, the ends are pressed to expand to lock them into the plates. Technically speaking, they are rivets, not pins. When one is pressed out, it removes a small ring of metal from the plate as it pushes through. Replacement pins are a slightly larger diameter than the original rivet, to account for the metal removed. It's been years since chains started using rivets, but replacement pins have only recently become available. Not all new things are scams or bad ideas. –  zenbike Apr 18 '12 at 19:13
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Yes. Any local bike shop should have them in stock, and they should cost no more than 5 dollars. You need to know the brand and type of your chain. (i.e. Shimano 10 speed or Campag 11 speed) If you know the model (i.e. Ultegra or Dura Ace Shimano, that is a bonus.

By the way, Shimano refers to it only as a reinforced connecting pin, or replacement connecting pin.

Shimano Reinforced Connecting Pin

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