According to: http://www.sram.com/sram/road/technologies/powerlock

"SRAM chain engineers developed PowerLock as a tool free, sure and consistent way to connect our 10 speed chains. While PL does not require special tools for install, the especially tight tolerances of 10 Speed drive trains mandated that each PowerLock is good for a one-time application only."

According to: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/sram-pc-1051-chain

The SRAM PC-1051 Chain is compatible with both SRAM and Shimano 10-speed drivetrains. Please note that while the PowerLock installation can be done tool-free, it's recommended to be used only once due to the extremely close tolerances required by the narrow 10-speed design. So if you must break your chain for maintenance reasons, a new 10-speed PowerLock link will be required to reassemble it.

Two questions:

  • Why is this the case?
  • Have people hear observed or seen tests about what happens if you re-use?

I use the Park Tool Master Link Pliers to remove master links. I have a hard time believing that doing it that way stresses it significantly.

Related, from http://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gear/article/trail-tech-mastering-master-links-36757/:

"According to SRAM, the ridge that joins the two plates of the PowerLock together can be damaged when unlocking it, increasing the risk of failure if reused. So yes, if you choose to reuse a PowerLock there is an increased likelihood of if failing, according to SRAM."

I know a number of professional and team mechanics who routinely reuse PowerLocks on their own bikes, but replace them with a new link when dealing with a customer or athlete, so it’s a bit of “do as I say, not as I do.”

  • 2
    I've reused the one on my road bike a number of times (3??) with no ill effects that I've noticed. Although I don't recommend this as the manual specifically says not to. I'm always slightly aware in the back of my mind that it could pop open at any time, it's one of the reasons that my SRAM mountain bike has a 9 speed drive train. Time for a new chain on my road bike anyway, I will probably order a handful of links too.
    – alex
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 3:06
  • 1
    The link for a 10-speed is pretty light, and I suspect that there simply a (legitimate) concern that the piece will become worn or deformed with reuse, especially if not carefully disassembled. I wouldn't be too reluctant to reuse the link in an emergency, but would attempt not to in normal maintenance. Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 10:53
  • Cynic in me feels its a good way to sell lots of parts that cost a few cents to make but cost you a few $. The almighty "Safety Card" trumps everything. Do you really think your fingers are strong enough can damage a part designed to handle the forces a bike chain is subjected to? However, in case I am wrong, I do use new ones, but would not hesitate to reuse one in an emergency....
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 3:45

7 Answers 7


It's not so much that reusing the link increases the chance that the pins or plates that the Powerlock is made up of will fail, but rather that it increases the chance that the link will come apart the same way it was put together. Each time you remove that link it wears down the "ridge" that snaps the pins in place on their opposing plates. This increases the chance that the link can undo itself in unusual circumstances. It may also slightly increase the chance of the link failing in the case of shifting under heavy load, which should be avoided anyway.

SRAMs 9 speed quick links were notorious for coming apart on the trail as they are reusable- some of this had to do with improper removal which damaged the relief that held the pins in place. It's probably easier for the company to just say "don't do it" than to say "do it this way" and folks don't adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations, leading to failures.

TL;DR version- if you only remove the link on occasion, its good for the life of the chain. Don't reuse an old quick link on a new chain.

  • 1
    I just popped open and SRAM 10 speed PowerLock as I was swapping some components. The PowerLock still fit together quite tightly, so tightly in fact I couldn't get it to lock by hand. I suspect you can do it a few times before worrying about it randomly coming apart.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Oct 16, 2013 at 5:42

I would follow SRAMs guidance on this one. Note that there are other quick links available that work with all chains (and can be reused). KMC's missing links (depending on the model) are reusable: http://www.kmcchain.eu/?en/products/connectors/missing_links/

  • This makes sense as a comment, but not as an answer.
    – David J.
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 2:52
  • A caveat with this - KMC missing links only really work with KMC chains on 10 speed. Theres a bit of play with Shimano (though they market it with Shimano as acceptable) and way too much play when used with an SRAM chain.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 16:12
  • I use KMC's missing link with SRAM chains all the time with no play. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 14:30

If you're worried about stressing master links during removal/application, I really really suggest taking a look at Wipperman Connex master links. They have a U-shaped interlocking design that requires no tools and similarly no stressing the links during manipulation. In my experience, I've also never had any noticeable issues with these links while shifting (both with and without load). They're a bit more expensive than most master links (~$12/pop), but they're also built quite well and I tend to use a single master link for the lifespan of two chains (i.e. I'll go through two, say Dura Ace chains, and just move the Connex link to the new chain when retiring the old chain).

  • I had repeated problems with SRAM chains breaking on me or coming apart (in both the 9 speed and 10 speed colorways). I finally gave up and switched to Whipperman or Shimano chains. It's probably due to repeated cleanings and removals reading this. I am known as the "anti-SRAM" guy at my LBS, but it's all in good jest. I think. If a quick connect can't solve the tool free AND reusable problem, it's a poor solution in my book. Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 18:18

I had my master link fail on the weekend. It had been reused 5 times, and separated itself from the rest of the chain at the base of a 4k climb. Will be replacing it each time from now on. I was lucky that the chain didn't go through the spokes, damage the bike or go under the wheel and cause a pile up.


I wax my chains, which means they have to come off the bike every 700-800 km for lubing. You're crackers if you think I'm going to buy a new PowerLink every two weeks. But I had a (non-Sram) chain blow up on an out-of-saddle climb a couple of years back, sending me arse over tea kettle onto the tarmac (thankfully with only with minor cuts and bruises), so I also am all to aware of the possible consequences of another master link letting go under heavy load.

Since I learnt of Sram's no-reuse advise (no, I'd never bothered to read the instructions), when the chain comes off for re-waxing, I take a digital macro-photographs of the PowerLink with a Nikon Coolpix camera that has a really extraordinary macro mode. This not only lets me examine the link in great detail on the PC looking for signs of cracking or stress fatigue, it also lets me compare to the original pic to determine how much it's changed. I reckon this is as certain as I can be short of magnafluxing the links or x-raying them, neither of which am I equipped to do.

Today makes 14 times I've waxed this chain -- and macro photographed it -- since I started caring. I don't have the chi-chi Park tool but I am very deliberate when I remove.reinstall it, never forcing it, and as yet, it shows little sign of deterioration, and no signs of impending failure.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't weigh on my mind every time I'm climbing out of the saddle.


It seems that if you are running a SRAM Force or Red drivetrain, the cost of a $4.00 link is a drop in the bucket. If you are concerned about it, just get a new one.

The worry about your chain's integrity is probably not worth the price of a Red Bull...

  • This is a comment -- and may be good advice -- but it doesn't fit as an answer. The Q&A format works better when the community uses it carefully.
    – David J.
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 2:54

When I used KMC Missing Link, it bent as I changed gears under load. Stupid me! But with SRAM PowerLink, I did same thing, and so far so good. However disconnecting regularly was a real nightmare. Now I grease pins before assembly and the problem is gone. I have reused eight to 10 times to rotate chains on 9 speed. Have started same method on 10 speed, and so far so good.

  • 4
    Can you fix your spelling and grammar?
    – Batman
    Commented Apr 26, 2014 at 6:27
  • 2
    Welcome to Bicycles SE. As @Batman has indicated we ask that you write to the best of your ability on this site. A post like this, lacking in punctuation and sentence structure is likely to be downvoted and possibly deleted.
    – jimchristie
    Commented Apr 27, 2014 at 21:51

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