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To install a new chain I need a chain tool to shorten it to the proper length. Why not just use that same tool to replace the pin and not deal with a magic link? Seems to me the pin would be stronger than a breakable link. Am I missing something?

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  • When you say 'magic link' are you talking about a quick release link? – Michael Jan 30 '15 at 9:23
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You can do that (*) - you just need to make sure you don't push the pin out all the way before reinstalling it (else it becomes quite hard to put the pin back in). However, a quick link is easier to install and remove (**) the chain (also, carrying a few of them around make for easy emergency repairs), since you only have to use the chain tool to shorten the chain and not risk damage to the plates when re-attaching or not aligning the pin correctly when re-attaching (this is the most common cause of failure for a chain, especially on higher speed chains). Thus, re-installing the pin is more likely to weaken the chain vs a quick link (which doesn't have this problem).

In any case, the quick link isn't usually the place of failure, so theres not really a reason not to use it unless your chain doesn't come with one.

(*) Well, check the documentation that comes with the chain. Normally, if there is a quick link, the manufacturer will tell you to use it, which the end of the paragraph will tell you why.

(**) On 10/11 speed systems, they are normally one time use links. On lower speeds, you can open and close the chain a bunch of times.

(***) As the comments point out, Shimano chains ship with a special pin to use (as do some Campy chains). You have to use this pin in this case (see this link for details/intricacies).

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    Shimano provide special pins for connecting their chains. It is claimed that re-using a normal pin will weaken the chain significantly (and I believe them). – Vorac Jan 30 '15 at 9:54
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    This ^ concerning 10sp chains. I have re-used 8sp normal pins without issue. The rule is to never cut the chain in the same place twice. – Vorac Jan 30 '15 at 13:26
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    Shimano's Hyperglide and Interglide chains required the special single-use pin, and it's best to use that or a quick link to re-join one of those. I wouldn't re-rivet either of those types of chains. Sachs, SRAM and KMC all seem fine to rivet so long as you're careful, but Batman makes salient points about how easy it is to use quick links. – Michael Lemberger Jan 30 '15 at 18:07
  • Shimano prohibit the re-use of a pin to close a chain. You must use their special pin otherwise the chain will break at that link. Pushing back a pin will damage the plate on the opposite side by widening the hole. – Carel Jan 31 '15 at 8:46
  • Indeed,Shimano does a peening thing like Campy and you should use their pin to re-attach the chain. – Batman Jan 31 '15 at 13:28

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