I put a new chain on my bike and after 3 rides or so, I developed a stiff link. I'm not sure what caused the issue, but now it barely bends at the pin at all, unless forced. It causes skipping problems when it goes through the derailleur. I've tried scrubbing it and applying lube to the link that is stuck, but that hasn't had any effect.

It's a 10 speed chain, so I'm wary about trying to just remove the link, since these chains are not as easy to reconnect and I need to keep the chain long to work well with the wide range 3x10 MTB drivetrain.

Is there any way to fix this stuck link?

  • Are you not able to return it?
    – jimchristie
    Mar 11, 2013 at 19:37
  • It's not worth the shipping cost or time to return a $25 chain if they would even accept returns on a used chain that I didn't get installed at a bike shop.
    – Benzo
    Mar 11, 2013 at 19:53
  • also, I'm curious to know what other people would do, especially a 'field repair' situation to get yourself home. I couldn't keep the rear derailleur in any gear but the 11t small cog without having the chain try to skip between cogs on the cassette since the derailleur would shift every time it hit the bad link.
    – Benzo
    Mar 11, 2013 at 19:56
  • 2
    How did you assemble the chain? If you used a chain tool, did you do as instructed, and use the second anvil of the tool to loosen the joined link slightly? Mar 11, 2013 at 21:48
  • 5
    (See, as usual, the Park Tool site, for info on how to deal with this.) Mar 11, 2013 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


Right solution is to use the "tight link removal" position of most chain tools:

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Just choose the side where the pin is showing most outwards, and pull it in a tiny bit. This is very subtle, and your link will be released.

An alternate solution is to grab the chain with both hands (dirty!) and force it as if you were to bend it sideways, in both directions. This always works and is very quick, but is not very elegant.

  • 3
    By the way, my whole life I used the dirtyest method, untill I finally discovered, here in BicycleExchange, why chain tools had that weird second pair of tips.. Mar 12, 2013 at 1:46

Even though I am commenting long after the this question is already answered, I think it is worthwhile to point out some safety information.

The pins of modern 9 speed and up chains are mushroomed at the ends to prevent prying the chain apart with lateral force when changing gears. Because of this, not only should pins no longer be re-used, but the bushings are also damaged by removing the pin, so should not be reused.

Therefore, when adjusting a pin at a stuck link, one should consider both whether the bushing may have been compromised, and if it may become compromised by loosening the pin.

As a reference to back up this thinking please see: http://www.thetandemlink.com/articles/billschainltr.html The application is slightly different and the info old, but I think it is valid to apply it to the case of stuck links as well.

The conclusion is that removing the outer plates at a stuck link and replacing with a KMC "missing link" or equivalent is a safe solution.

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